Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

US Distributor: FUNimation
Production Studio: Gonzo
Was this provided by the publisher? Yes
More Info: Anime News Network

Bayonetta Bloody Fate Boxart - 20141017In 2010, Sega and Platinum Games rocked the gaming world with the dazzling release of Bayonetta. The title, which hit XBox 360 and PlayStation, was a blistering action game, that received high praise for its tight controls, sharp visuals, and ever-escalating story that simply wasn’t content with reaching one climax.

What garnered the most attention, though, was the game’s titular character. Bayonetta wasn’t the typical, waify Final Fantasy girl, nor was she the gruff and grizzled space marine from games like Gears of War. Rather, she was a sharp-witted, confident woman whose arsenal knew no limits, and whose sheer sexuality became as effective of a weapon as her various firearms. Where other protagonists feared to go, she strutted with a cocksure attitude and a playful sense of humor that just couldn’t be silenced, whether she was talking to her closest allies or the agents of God himself.

Bayonetta, both the game and the character, won over the hearts of many, and developed a cult following that would make many feel envious. To capitalize on the digital diva’s success, Sega and Gonzo teamed up to produce Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, an animated film that seeks to capture the larger than life essence of Bayonetta herself

Did You Miss Me?

Bayonetta Bloody Fate 013 - 20141017Bayonetta: Bloody Fate tells the tale of Bayonetta: an Umbran Witch, whose 500 year slumber left her with no memories of the past. With nowhere to turn to, and nobody to guide her, Bayonetta turns toward a life of hunting angels for fun and profit. Bayonetta’s hope, naturally, is that the angels that so relentlessly pursue her will eventually lead to the keys to her past.

Well, that, and it’s just so much fun!

After twenty long years, Bayonetta’s search finally bears fruit. In the city of Vigrid, the mysterious Father Balder of the Lumen Sages claims that he holds the key to the resurrection of great god Jubileus. With a goal in mind, the game is afoot. Bayonetta begins her long journey to Vigrid, with countless angels, and a mysterious silver-haired lady standing in the way of her goal. That isn’t to say she’ll be alone, though. Along the way, she’ll have to deal with a pesky investigative reporter named Luka, and a mysterious girl, who insists on calling her “mummy.”

For the most part, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate‘s plot is as straight-forward as can be. The main villain is made incredibly obvious from the get-go, and the few late-film plot twists are visible from miles away. There are no real surprises, and anything that needs to be told to the viewer is often done so while accompanied by explosions and roaring bombast.

Mind you, that’s not a bad thing.

The film’s simple plot works as an advantage, as it serves mostly to convey enough to drive Bayonetta and her companions from point A to point B. The delivery is solid, and the plot points are delivered consistently enough to keep viewers engaged. What’s particularly stunning, though, is the film’s ability to keep a break-neck pace, while maintaining a steady narrative. It’s a delicate balance, that the film really nails.

Nobody Said You Cold Touch!

Bayonetta Bloody Fate 015 - 20141017Visually, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is nothing short of remarkable. The gorgeous character designs are brought to life with an amazing use of color and shadow. Little details, like gilded accents on Bayonetta’s black costume, or the distinct red and blue pattern on Luka’s scarf really help the characters pop, and stand out from one another. The angels are gorgeously horrific, standing as hulking monstrosities that mash together the images of classical cherubic statues, and the monstrous visage of biblical demons.

Backgrounds are simply gorgeous, with bold colors and a fantastic pseudo-gothic atmosphere. The scenes are framed well, and make fantastic use of the various furnishings to add life to the world. The film animates well, with a generally gorgeous, silky smooth presentation throughout.

The real attraction, though, is the battle scenes. These bloody dances are an amazing blend of animation, sound, and music that really just define the experience. Every scene is meticulously planned, flawlessly executed, and simply over the top. The choreography is simply amazing, with wonderful pacing between combatants, and breathless close encounters.

The battles continue to build and feed off of one another, as the stakes continue to raise, and the settings grow more outlandish. Anywhere and anything is a potential battleground, be it a snowy mountain or the back of a massive, rampaging dragon.

Welcome to my fantasy zone. Get ready!

Bayonetta Bloody Fate 022 - 20141017Despite the epic battles and fantastic settings, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate would be nothing without an interesting cast. And, much like Bayonetta herself, the various inhabitants of her world are simply larger than life. Whether it’s the rapturously driven Father Balder, the snarky demonic blacksmith Rodin, or the eternally driven Luka, every player seems to be brimming with personality. The chemistry between characters is wonderful, as they trade wisecracks and verbal blows with one another.

The film’s acting, in both the English and native Japanese, is simply brilliant. In both cases, the casting is spot-on, and the players really seem to pull themselves into their roles. That said, though, one cannot help but commend the English adaptation of the film, which assembled the vast majority the actors from the original game. For many, Hellena Taylor is Bayonetta. Her playful and flirty take on the Umbran witch was what endeared fans across the globe, so it was wonderful to see her make a return for the film. Likewise, Grey DeLisle (Jeanne), Dave Fennoy (Rodin), and Bayonetta: Bloody Fate (Luka) all return, offering performances that celebrate their return to the franchise.

Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is a rare video game adaptation that does things right. It keeps the important elements, while jettisoning the baggage that simply wouldn’t work in the context of a 90-minute film. It’s a feature that can be enjoyed by franchise fans and newcomers alike, while delivering the elements that created an army of rabid fans in 2010. It certainly won’t win awards, but Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is sure to provide a fun, exciting action flick that will satisfy both the devoted fans, and those just looking for a night of excitement and explosions.


About the author

Samantha Ferreira

Samantha Ferreira is Anime Herald’s founder and editor-in-chief. A Rhode Island native, Samantha has been an anime fan since 1992, and an active member of the anime press since 2002, when she began working as a reviewer for Anime Dream. She launched Anime Herald in 2010, and continues to oversee its operations to this day. Outside of journalism, Samantha actively studies the history of the North American anime fandom and industry, with a particular focus on the 2000s anime boom and bust. She’s a huge fan of all things Sakura Wars, and maintains series fansite Combat Revue Review when she has free time available. When not in the Anime Herald Discord, Samantha can typically be found on Bluesky.

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