Netflix’s Blood of Zeus Review: A beautiful and brutal combination of Japanese anime and Greek mythology
Although Netflix is mostly known for their live-action television series and movies, they’ve also been a strong provider of original anime series as well as some anime adaptations of popular video games like Castlevania and Dragon’s Dogma – which I plan to review soon. Their latest offering, Blood of Zeus, is an impressive mashup of Japanese animation and Greek mythology.
Blood of Zeus is a thrilling mix of an anime hero’s journey with the size, scale, and world-building of a Greek epic as we follow the story of Heron (voiced by Derek Phillips). Labeled as an outcast along with his mother Electra (voiced by Mamie Gummer), Heron is forced to be a scavenger in order to keep him and his mother alive. However, his already tumultuous life takes an even worse turn as a group of powerful demons, led by the cruel Seraphim (voiced by Elias Toufexis), that are powered by the flesh of one of many giants that once squalled with the Gods of Olympus begin to ravage the lands. Now, as he learns that he is the son of the almighty Zeus (voiced by Jason O’Mara) and that he carries a familial connection to Seraphim, Heron must accept his demigod destiny in order to stop the demons and the growing conflict within Olympus that could threaten the fate of the world.
The series’ story is truly an intricate web of lies and tragedies that take place within a war on multiple fronts. There’s a great balance this series has in showcasing the destruction on Earth as Seraphim leads his demon army on a path of domination and vengeance and the slow-building story of revenge as Hera (voiced by Claudia Christian) looks to ruin Zeus for his past affairs. Even as it’s cutting between the past and the present and what’s happening on Earth versus Olympus, nothing ever feels confusing. As each puzzling look into the past begins to reveal truths, there’re game-changing connections that create new paths for characters and change how they view everything. From figuring out the connection between Heron and Seraphim and how Hera and Zeus’ feud influences what’s happening on Earth, there’s always new discoveries being made that further invests you into these perfectly flawed characters.
Heron isn’t exactly your perfect Greek hero as he harnesses a hunger for revenge and often lets his anger cloud his judgement. The same can actually be said about Seraphim as he too hungers for revenge and Zeus and Hera have their own issues that divide Olympus and play their own role in fueling this war on Earth. Pretty much no character ever fully fits into a pure protagonist or antagonist mold and it’s what makes their flaws so compelling and the personal obstacles they have to overcome more impactful. Not to mention, the great dialogue, which is a mix of stoic Greek language and anime personalities, makes you connect with the characters on a more emotional level and even brings in some nice humor with characters like Evios (voiced by Chris Diamantopoulos) and Kofi (voiced by Adetokumboh M’Cormack). By the end, the hero’s journey we’ve watched unfold comes to a head as we watch two worlds collide in an epic battle that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen and visually spectacular.
Blood of Zeus utilizes it anime art style perfectly as it showcases Greek mythology fighting, characters, and visual storytelling in an entirely new light. While many stories in Greek mythology give strong visuals of the brutal wars and atrocities and the many monsters and creatures that could cause massive devastation with a single blow, the use of anime art style and animation amplifies it immensely. The fighting in this series is intense and bloody as hell. Limbs are flying everywhere, every kill is absolutely brutal with the buckets of blood and gore, and there’re legitimately jaw dropping moments with some of the devastation seen here. The final battle is a pure testament how brutal Blood of Zeus can be and shows the true power of the Gods on full display, making you more fearful of them than ever before.
The character designs are equally impressive as they blend Japanese animation with the iconic looks of the Greek mythology’s most notable characters. While the general look of the characters resembles plenty of modern anime, especially the demons, there’s this shadowy shading and distinct details with different characters that reflect some of the Greek art style seen in scrolls and pottery. Although these are original interpretations of notable Greek characters, it’s great that they’re instantly identifiable with the way they’re designed and the use of unique color palettes. The creature designs are especially awesome as they evoke mythical wonder and horror and are just as identifiable. The most daunting designs are easily that of the giants as they are legitimately horrifying and just by looking at them, you can tell their sole purpose is to decimate anything in their path. It’s nice to see automatons as well since they add a unique visual element with their machinery, and they aren’t generally seen in Greek mythology adaptations.
The general actions and emotions of the characters are also enhanced through the anime art style. Seeing Apollo (voiced by Adam Croasdell) ride his flaming chariot really gives him a powerful presence as he rides in and Hermes (voiced by Matthew Mercer) blasting through open areas with his lightning fast feet was just mesmerizing to watch. The animation even allows for some of the stoic nature of the characters to be broken down to create some genuine emotion and more depth to the characters. During the credits, viewers can even see some behind the scenes artwork showcasing how unique the animation of Blood of Zeus really is and what makes this culture crossover so special.
Blood of Zeus is more than just another anime offering from Netflix. It’s a unique combination of Japanese anime and Greek mythology that brings together an epic story of heroism and betrayal that’s thrilling every step of the way and unique animation that perfectly amplifies the brutal combat and stoic nature of its characters. To say that there’s really nothing like it out there would be an understatement and it’s easily one of the strongest series Netflix has brought this year.