I love Greek mythology. I used to own a storybook that contained stories from the Greek pantheon. In my opinion, these myths are the bedrock of all modern story-telling tropes. I remember as a child, I’d watch Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess during my weekends away from school. I loved the swashbuckling nature of these shows.
Hercules might just be the most famous of Zeus’ illegitimate children. The fact that Disney created an animated feature dedicated to the character is a testament to its popularity.
It wasn’t until high school where I’d learn that Zeus fathered a bunch of illegitimate children similar to Hercules. Demi-gods whose stories would go on to inspire Hollywood blockbusters like Class of the Titans.
Netflix’s new animated series is an original story based on Greek mythology, but deviates from the source material in crafting its own heroes and villains. The interesting twist is that they created this series to invoke the style of a modern adult Japanese animation.
I can best compare the animation style of this series to the old Japanese film, Ninja Scroll.
They want to emulate the style of Ninja Scroll, but their animation lacks fluidity. At times the show’s animation style is as stiff as an episode of Archer. But that’s not a bad thing.
Archer’s animation is a stylistic choice that pairs mechanical movement with amazing dialogue. My issues with this new Netflix series is that I can tell it’s a consequence of budget and time, not style choice. But it has also been a longstanding issue I’ve had with modern 2D animation. It’s just not as good as it used to be. It’s like the overblown use of CGI in live action cinema. There was a time when animation was fluid in both the West and the East. Like Batman the Animated Series or Cowboy Bebop.
Okay, I’ll stop criticizing the animation quality. I identify that I’m nostalgic for works of the past, but how’s the story? Like I said earlier, Blood of Zeus opted to create their own narrative that seeks to fit within the pantheon of Greek myths. And I really dug it.
Without a doubt, this show depicts the best characterization of Zeus and Hera.
They have a very Game of Thrones relationship. At times I found Hera to be frightening, not knowing what she would or would not do. She’s both jealous and angry, making her extremely dangerous. And Zeus is portrayed as a bored war hero. With no conflicts to right, he spends too much time fiddling around in the world he created. He’s great but exceptionally flawed. These characters make this show work. And despite my dissatisfaction with the animation quality, I think this show put forth a solid first season.
I should point out that you need a basic understanding of Greek mythology.
The show won’t go out of it’s way to explain each Greek god and their relationships to one another. Also, the show is intensely violent which might be an issue. But aside from that I’d definitely recommend the show. If you have a Netflix subscription and are looking to try something different, give it a shot.