Skip to content
Record of Ragnarock: Worth the Watch?

Record of Ragnarock: Worth the Watch?

Date Published: Fri, 2nd July, 2021

NOTE: This is a spoiler-free article, so read on with confidence. Some anime-exclusive information may be revealed, but this will not impact your viewing experience in any capacity. 

Announced in December of 2020 and released on the 17th of June this year, Record of Ragnarock was a highly anticipated title in the world of anime, especially in light of the fact that Netflix was involved in its production, a fact which in itself added to the momentum surrounding the show. For those living under a rock or simply new to the world of anime, we'll go over the plot of the show first:
Humanity has been in existence for over 7 million years and during their one of their millennial meetings, the Gods unanimously reach the conclusion that humans are vermin beyond the point of redemption and must be eliminated. The Valkyrie Brunhild interjects and coerces the Gods to hold the battle of Ragnarok- a divine tournament in which 13 Gods face off against 13 noteworthy humans in the ultimate battle to prove mankind's worth; whichever party wins 7 battles first is declared the winner.

That's the gist of it and throughout the season, the show remains completely faithful to its synopsis- something many shows often break away from as their plot thickens. For better or for worse, Record of Ragnarok's plot never actually thickens throughout the season; at least not to the point of causing a notable shift from the initial narrative. While manga readers would rightfully disagree with this claim, keep in mind that this review only applies to the anime as it has been released to date. Throughout its 12 episode run, Record of Ragnarock keeps its gaze fixed on the arena as challengers battle to the death from beyond the grave. Make of this what you will!

Although the full course of Ragnarock will take place across 13 fights, the show has so far shown only the first 3, meaning no matter what the individual outcomes would be (and rest assured, we ain't spillin' a single thing on them!), by the end of the first season, one side would be seen as either being in the lead or utterly dominating the competition. While this statistical scrutiny does leave the show open to some degree of predictability, Record of Ragnarock is sure to leave you at the edge of your seat for each fight. Suspense and unpredictability are two qualities which the anime certainly gets right.

Unfortunately, these strong attributes of Record of Ragnarok's storytelling also leave much room for scrutiny. The pacing for the show is downright terrible in the first 4 episodes, with the first fight being interrupted seemingly every 3 minutes by a backstory nobody in particular cares about. It does please us to report that this issue fixes itself almost immediately afterwards and becomes much more tolerable for the 8 episodes which follow, although it may be difficult for many to sit through the grinding torture that the first fight turns out to be. In trying to set the tone for its own story, Record of Ragnarock makes the tragic mistake of taking its own story far too seriously.

As far as plot twists are concerned, there are 3 of note in the season and one of them was revealed in the trailer for the anime, rendering its shock factor moot. Another involves a certain notice which serves no real role other than to show characters gawking absurdly at the screen for a few minutes. The last plot twist can only be called so due to how sudden and unexplained it was, and happens in the last few moments of the show as the stage is set for the events of what we can only guess will be animated if the show is approved for a second season.

The fight scenes are rather mediocre and almost reminiscent of a PowerPoint presentation during what should have been a particularly intense scene during the second fight. For an action anime, there is surprisingly little... action and enough pointless banter and screaming by useless characters to classify Record of Ragnarock as a slice of life anime- a mark it also misses due to its lack of adding any depth to its characters, with enough exceptions to count on one hand. "Swing, flashback, swing" seems to be the formula for every fight, with the only variation coming from the length of each flashback.

Overall, despite our less than stellar painting of the anime, we do feel it deserving of the following ratings:
Plot: 4/5 (simple, but it stays true to it)
Animation: 3/5 (beautiful, but lackluster when it should matter)
Characters: 2/5 (very few well-developed characters; more flashbacks do not translate to better character)

Overall: 9/15 (B-)

For the 12 episodes which the anime had, we feel that it could have performed much better. Certain characters as Aphrodite, Loki and Odin seem to exist only to either make passing remarks or to add hype to a fight that ought to gain attention on its own if it's truly that good. Nevertheless, we wouldn't call the anime a flop in any capacity. With every fight, the anime improves on both its fights and storytelling, but with only 3 such fights to build on, a trend is different to discern. We anticipate that the show will likely get approval for its second season in the months to come, but with the manga still at the sixth fight, the source material is still too little to adapt into a full season- meaning that a second season isn't coming out any time before 2022.

Is season 1 enough to leave a year-long impression on anime-only fans? Only time shall tell. Following a major controversy in India (involving the depiction of the Hindu God Shiva), the anime saw a sudden spike in attention- for better or for worse- but the issue has been swept under the rug and Record of Ragnarock seems to be fading away into the growing pile of anime that were good but could have been so much better. If the anime interests you, we urge you to take a look for yourself and form your own opinions on it. We greatly encourage debates and healthy discussions on the matter and our Discord server is a welcome environment for you to do so! Pop in and give us a shout!
Previous article Vivy Fluorite Eyes Song: Worth the Watch?
Next article This Week in Anime [Week 24, 2021]

Leave a comment

* Required fields