Anime series based on video games or card games are not rare — in fact, there's way too many of them already out there. But GOOD anime series based on video games or card games are like unicorn/Pegasus hybrids, or black astronauts; they're rarer than proper grammar in Reddit forum comments. Rage of Bahamut: Genesis is one of those rarities (a good anime based on a lame freemium online card game — And no, I wasn't charged an extra dollar to watch the next episode at regular speed, nor did I have to pay a bonus for fancy fonts in my subtitles), and it is made of pure awesome. From what I've seen, all they did was take the basic magical world of the game and write a completely new and engaging storyline based in that realm for this series, complete with freshly minted fun characters and [most of the time] great animation.
Rage of Bahamut: Genesis takes place in a mythical/mystical world filled with magic, monsters, dragons, demons, and gods. 2,000 years ago a giant destroyer of worlds appeared (the dark gigantic dragon-creature known as Bahamut) and almost annihilated everything. Only when men, gods, and demons combined their powers, and the leaders of the gods and demons sacrificed themselves to form a key that locked away the beast were they able to save the planet... But now, two millennium later, somebody has stolen the god-half of the Bahamut Key, and everybody and their sister begins hunting it down to either keep the epically-dark beast contained, or to release it for whatever stupid purpose they can think of.
Bahamut starts off with two men (one being chased, the other doing the chasing) blasting into an old, dusty town. The chaser, Kaiser Ridfauld, is a gentleman (who looks kind of like Space Dandy) from an old family of respected knights that lost its prestige thanks to a certain sucky betrayal; and the chasee, Favaro Leone, is a bounty hunter with a ginger 'fro who seems to glide through life, blowing his bounty money winnings on booze and babes within hours of claiming the cash for criminals that he bags.
Favaro isn't that bright, but his determination and pretty solid fighting skills gets him safely away from Kaiser, only to fall in with an immature demon girl who overheard him bragging to some town whores that he knows a shortcut to a barren wasteland called Helheim. This demoness, Amira, is a very cute girl with pink hair (and hot, hot boots) who casts a spell on Favaro which curses him with a demon's tail. She tells Favaro she'll only remove the new appendage once he's helped her make it to her destination (Helheim... Keep up with me here). Favaro's pissed, Kaiser is freaked when he then thinks that his rival is actually a full-fledged demon, and the forces of Hell seem hellbent on interfering with our protagonists in the most extreme ways possible (mostly in the form of a hellish inquisition [is there any other kind?]). Add to that a zombified child necromancer and a fully-fledged human soldier of the gods, lots of courtly corruption, and strange, yet pretty, wicked-looking monsters coming out the ass to attack everyone, and you get a show that throws all its cards on the table (see what I did there?) and consistently comes up Aces (or Yahtzee, or Boardwalk, or whatever).
I breathed a giant sigh of relief both when we started Rage o' Bahamut and when we finished it. Finally, I thought, a really cool, really outrageous show in the same vein as the great adventure series of the past (it's along the lines of the light-hearted Nadia, the space-faring Outlaw Star, the fairly epic Lodoss War (OVA only), and the filled-to-the-brim with great characters Scrapped Princess), and its ending didn't blow fire-dragon dong too (which tends to happen with lots of shows that build up to something big... In the end they just sputter away into a drizzle of disappointment, like Michael J. Fox trying to shuffle a deck of cards)! Bahamut though is crammed with entertaining characters, a story that constantly moves forward and constantly surprises, and a really interesting world populated with demons, gods, and a rage monster that can destroy everything if he's ever freed again.
Bahamut isn't all that deep, but it's always entertaining. I love the character designs too, even though Favaro and Kaiser took some getting used to at first... And I LOVE Amira — both her appearance and her personality. This thing's not Shakespeare (but then again, neither is anime based on Shakespeare), but it is good, clean fun.
I really don't want to say anything more about this short [12 episode] series just because it's so much better the less you know about it. I don't know if I'd say that the whole thing is super original (what truly is these days), but it's constructed with an overwhelming amount of palpable love that makes you smile while watching it. You just can't help but enjoy it.
D&D! Whoo hoooooo! It's about time, bitches! I don't think we've had a good D&D/Lord of the Ringsian anime series of this caliber since, like, ummm, Jesus! Probably since the Lodoss War of old! This Bahamut show is all about monsters and demons and dragons and gods, yo! This ain't a wimpy half-assed Sword Art or nothin', this is full on demons and gods warrin', busty babes runnin', heroes killin', other busty babes slashin' in your anime! This is what you WANT, G!
That's alls I gots to say, amigos. This show got me jonsin' for the dice though, so I'ma gonna cut things short and put on my old DM cap on and start up another game of pure awesome sauce!
*Translated from Japanese