Record of Ragnarok is an all-out brawl for the salvation of humanity. Thirteen rounds of one on one combat between a representative of humanity and a representative of the gods and if humanity loses they are wiped out. The score at the start of the season is one win for humanity and two for the gods. Record of Ragnarok is an interesting show that I got into thanks to curiosity and I was really glad I did as I greatly enjoyed season one but I did feel that the animation was stiff and that was the real weak part of that season. So for season two, the main thing I was looking for was if they improved on the animation a bit while maintaining the incredible development of the combatants within the fights featured in the show. Thankfully my expectations were not only met but far surpassed as season two came out swinging with an improvement in every aspect of the show.
So like last season the show is best discussed by splitting the topics into individual fights. Last season we got three fights in 12 episodes but this time we got two fights in 10 episodes which may sound like we got less but the reality is we got quite a bit more. Because of this the animation quality was greatly improved and the movements did not feel stiff at all. Now I will admit it’s still not the best animation I’ve ever seen but it’s a huge improvement and to me, I find the final product to be very satisfying so props to the studio for really raising the bar in a much-needed area.
As for the fights themselves, I’ll start with the first one which was Jack the Ripper for humanity versus Hercules for the gods. First of all, I applaud the choices of the combatants here. A god who has unyielding love for humanity versus one of the most ruthless killers humankind has ever produced. The massive differences in their ideologies were a driving force of the entire battle and it made for easily the most captivating fight the show has provided. This wasn’t just a battle of life and death but one of the conflicting convictions as well. Plus with Jack the Ripper especially not being a skilled fighter like the rest of the combatants we’ve seen he instead chooses to use his wit and clever tactics which made for a fight that greatly differed from the rest of the bouts so far. What really sells this fight though is Jack himself. Now I watched the English dub because that is what I prefer as I like to be able to look away briefly and still know what’s going on. The dub actor for Jack did a masterful job as I was completely terrified of him and I loved every bit of it. I had chills at how cold, calculating, and relentless his portrayal was and it was impossible to stop watching the fight because of it. Hercules was also a lot of fun to watch as his morality and compassion make you want to root for him even though he is on the side where victory means humanity’s extinction. Now I will admit I thought Hercules was a little weird here as it’s not well explained why he fights for the gods even though he was a former human that doesn’t want humanity to end but it’s not really a point worth explaining either since it’s only the final outcome of the fights that matter. I won’t spoil anything but the end of the fight was a real shocking tear-jerker that really made this a fight I won’t forget.
The second battle was Raiden for humanity versus Shiva for the gods. Now, this fight was more like the fights we’ve seen in season one where it’s a skilled fighter versus a skilled fighter. It functions just like those fights but with the improvements in the animation, it really ups the entertainment value as the improved animation works particularly well here. Shiva fights with various dance moves so naturally stiff animation would have really been a huge disappointment in this fight. This fight is the flashier of the two and really gives the show the fast-paced hardcore action that we’ve come to know and love from season one. This is not a fight of ideology like the last fight but one between two warriors that have proven themselves to be the best in their own worlds and yet have never been able to fight at their full power. So it separates itself from the first fight by offering more brawling and incredible moments of hand-to-hand combat that was well done.
We do also see more of the behind the scenes stuff as characters are all revealing little bits of their hidden agendas but not enough to where it’s clear what everyone is up to. These scenes were fun and led to some big reveals like one being turning traitor but I won’t say much more on that because anymore and we will get into spoiler territory.
Overall season two part one has kept everything that was good about season one and managed to improve upon its flaw. The animation quality was way better and the first fight in particular offered an experience far different than anything we’ve seen in the show to date and if Record of Ragnarok continues to improve as it has from seasons one to two then I cannot imagine how great the fights towards the end of the series will be.