Bayonetta: Bloody Fate
Based on the 2009 game, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate follows the story of the witch Bayonetta, as she defeats the blood-thirsty Angels and tries to remember her past from before the time she awoke, 20 years ago. Along her side are a mysterious little girl who keeps calling her "Mummy", a journalist that holds a personal grudge against Bayonetta and a unknown white-haired woman who seems to know more than she is willing to reveal about Bayonetta's time before her sleep.
For fans of the video game franchise, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is going to feel familiar as it adapts the first installment’s story into a full-length OVA. For those who have never dived into the games, everything about Bayonetta is going to be a weird, witchy experience that catches you off guard more than once. But with fantastic animation and more than a few exciting fight sequences, it does manage to be a worthwhile watch.
Bayonetta is basically a sci-fi witch who awakens with hardly any memory but a determination to bring down every last “ghost” (angelic creatures) that stands in her way. In this basic premise, the OVA works quite wonderfully. It’s engaging without being overtly complex and helps to emphasize the more action-oriented elements of the story. However, for those who have played the game, the abrupt story changes right at the beginning will be a bit of a shocker. Condensing a longer game into an anime usually poses threats to nonessential content in the story, but even the structure of Bayonetta is changed in Bloody Fate’s storyline.
The result of these changes is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s easy to enjoy because of it’s impressive animation but the character work is sometimes stale. Bayonetta is followed by (spoiler alert!) her time-displaced self as a little girl, and in that dynamic the OVA is able to find a bit more heart than the game. But Jeanne, Enzo and Rodin all have hit and miss changes that impact pacing, not always for the best. The most confusing alteration comes from Balder who pretty much gives everything away in the first act. The ending fight with Temperantia is incredible, but it’s also shorter than I would have expected as well. Despite these narrative issues, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate still captures the mood and aesthetic fans have come to love.
The visual presentation is ultimately what makes this OVA worth your time and money. It’s just a lot of fun to watch Bayonetta bring down hordes of ghosts and the monstrous leaders. The story might be forgettable to some degree, but there are plenty of exciting opportunities for the animation to show off and it helps to make Bayonetta: Bloody Fate more memorable. Yes her outfit is made of her own hair and yes sometimes that hair is necessary to summon demons and use magical attacks as an Umbra witch. This is where most of the franchises “sexiness” has come from and it’s part of the driving personality within witches of this world. It might push some away with the sometimes campy sexualized nature and fan service moments, but it does show restraint when it could have otherwise gone into full nudity. The game pulled this off and the OVA is not really any different.
Ultimately, Bayonetta: Bloody Fates is a fun anime that does a decent job at generally telling the story from the first game, but executes with awesome precision in the animation. It’s not the best game to anime adaption, and it arguably would have benefited from sticking closer to some of the game’s story beats and character moments, but it does enough to keep you entertained all throughout. It’s available now on Funimation both dubbed and subbed, so be sure to check it out!
Bayonetta: Bloody Fates is a fun anime that does a decent job at telling the general story from the first game, but executes with awesome precision in the animation.
Bayonetta: Bloody Fate: Your Halo is Mine
Writing - 6/106/10
Plot - 7/107/10
Character Development - 7.5/107.5/10
Production - 9/109/10
Music - 9/109/10
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