What They Say
From the charred pieces of the corrupt Arcadia Empire, a new kingdom arose. To protect itself from future foes, the Kingdom of Artismata established the Royal Knight Academy to train warriors in the art of fighting with Drag-Rides, ancient mechanical dragons. The Academy has a catch though: it’s strictly a no-male school, and when the former prince of the ruined Empire, Lux, stumbles into the baths, he lands himself in a compromising situation with Lisesharte, the new kingdom’s princess. Understandably upset, she challenges him to a Drag-Ride duel, launching their lives into an explosive chain reaction that will expose the dark secrets of both royal families. Whether Lux is fighting off monsters, corruption, or his female classmates, things are sure to take flight into the unpredictable skies in UNDEFEATED BAHAMUT CHRONICLE.
I’m not sure if it’s because this is a regular DVD or if the sound is just bad, but the quality of the sound is all over the place. It’s fine during most of the non-action sequences, but once the fighting starts, the audio is constantly shifting between bad and horrendous. Sound effects that should be loud are so soft you can barely hear them, while the talking is sitting somewhere between being somewhat understandable and getting garbled in translation. This only happens during the fights. It’s fine the rest of the time.
The video is strong in this one. I was actually surprised. Lines are crisp and clear, colors are perfectly fine, and while the subtitles looked a bit pixelated, I blame the font used instead of the video quality.
I like the simple packaging for this series. A black background with Lisesharte on the front. It’s not a full body shot. It goes from the crown of her head down to her hips. She’s wearing her Drag-Ride, so her outfit is the skin-tight black and white unitard, which means the image itself is quite tantalizing. The combination with the unitard and the magenta Drag-Ride gives a sexy/deadly vibe that one can’t help but appreciate. A translucent black section on the bottom shows the title. Meanwhile, the back is split between showing of Lux, the protagonist, and giving a blurb plus details on the special features.
Each disc features one of the girls, the episodes available, plus the special features. Disc 1 is Lisesharte. Disc 2 is Philuphy. Disc 3 is Krulcifer.
Special features are a clean opening and closing animation, meaning the OP and ED theme songs without subtitles or Japanese kanji, so you get just the animation. There are also four trailers for new Sentai Filmworks releases, including Monster Musume, Chivalry of a Failed Knight, Food Wars, and Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon?
Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
I feel like I should get this out of the way. I like harem anime. I do. Me and harems go way back. However, there are some cliches about the harem genre that I have problems with. Sadly, Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle is an entertaining mess that suffers from Harem Protagonist Syndrome, and not the good kind.
Our story begins with Lux Arcadia, our hapless protagonist and the prince to the defunct Arcadia Empire, chasing after a cat. On the roof. Give the circumstances, it’s only natural that the roof would cave in and he’d fall to the ground floor, and of course, it’s equally natural that this building would just happen to be the female’s bathhouse. I don’t necessarily mind this kind of opening because it’s titillating, but there is a problem that I immediately zeroed in on. Namely, I take issues with censorship. When an anime is being simulcast, whether through Crunchyroll or some other streaming site, it is always censored because that’s what Japan gives us. However, the content is usually uncensored when it gets released on Blu-ray. Maybe this is censored because it isn’t blurry, but if that’s the case, then it’s a poor decision on Sentai’s part. If that is not the case and we just didn’t get uncensored content, then shame on Japan.
The next few scenes are basically setting the tone. Lux is to attend as a student at the academy—the all girls academy. Lisesarshate, the princess of the kingdom built over the ruins of the Arcadia Empire, disagrees. They decide to settle their differences with a duel, but while dueling, they are interrupted by an Abyss, which is some kind of monster that infests this world, though we are never told what an Abyss is. I’m actually kind of pissed that we’re never told what these things are. Like, okay, we have a monster, but why is it here? What is it’s purpose? This is never explained, though it seems some people can control it by blowing on a horn… which is also never explained.
As the story continues, Lux continues to find himself in a variety of harem situations. Things like running from the all-female students because he’s being presented as a prize in a competition, building his harem one arc at a time, and rescuing his harem members from whatever situation troubles them are more common than chicken pox. Again, I don’t mind these situations happening. My issue isn’t that.
While I have to give this series props for making Lux’s personality mostly consistent—except for when the plot demands that he be more aggressive—I can’t stand him for a number of reasons. The first is that he’s been touted as the Black Knight who single-handedly destroyed the entire Arcadia Empire by himself, but he’s constantly being nerfed. For a guy who demolished 1,200 Drag-Rides by himself, he’s awfully weak. I wouldn’t have been bothered by his weakness had we not been repeatedly told that he’s this supposed badass Black Knight. This nerfing of his power for the sake of the plot gets even worse toward the end of the series. My other issue is how dense he is. I think his sister said it best.
“Having no self-awareness is not a good trait.”
Despite the fact that it’s obvious these girls want a piece of the protagonist pie, Lux is so oblivious to their love for him that it’s painful to watch. One of the members of his non-existant-but-still-present harem kisses him, and he still doesn’t seem to realize that she’s in love with him. This sort of wishy-washy behavior is cliched at best and destructive at worst. It kills any sense of romantic tension because you just know that nothing is going to happen when the character acts like this, and since half of the appeal to a harem series is trying to figure out which girl he’ll choose in the end, at least 50% of the appeal found in harem anime is not present here.
The story itself is nothing special. This is your fairly typical harem/magic academy series, but instead of magic or dragons, you have Drag-Rides, ancient technological weapons that people wear like armor. They’re similar to the human-sized mecha found in Infinite Stratos, which is sort of like the predecessor for this genre of anime. Much like Infinite Stratos, this series was adapted from a light novel. Since that is the case, it goes through a segment of linear arcs that further the plot and world building.
World building is a problem within this anime as well, since it appears either the director didn’t read the source content, or the author of the light novels had no idea how to build his world. There are a lot half-baked ideas that are never fully explored. Things like what the Abyss are and why they congregate around dungeons, why people can control them using a horn, what the ruins that randomly show up are, and why does the villain—who is younger than Lux—know more about everything than the adults, never get answered.
While the anime itself has some entertainment value, there was a lot wrong with it. Plot holes, inconsistencies in Lux’s power and the power of his opponents, and a cookie-cutter protagonist who is so harem-ed out that it’s actually annoying keep this from being anything special. It’s too bad. I feel if this anime had some better direction, built its world with a bit more of a solid foundation, and created a more interesting main character, it could have been really good.
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: C
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 16×9 Anamorphic
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Xbox 360 DVD player