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Swords, Sorcery, and Societal Pressure

Some comments on the original Bastard!!! OVA

By Loki TavielPublished 10 months ago 3 min read

This month is my birthday, so I want to talk about some of my favorite anime. The night prior to my writing this, I watched the entire series, so everything was well and fresh in my head. It had been a few years since I'd seen it last, but I still remembered so much about it. And while most people haven't heard of it before last year, if you're looking for a silly evening, I highly recommend it. Even if only for the scavenger hunt of metal references, to which they are everywhere.

Bastard!! is an ecchi fantasy anime from long ago, and adds comedy to a lot of the typical swords and sorcery tropes. And one of the things that it touches on in almost every episode is an emphasis on virginity and purity in regards to the female characters. When I first watched during my early teens (yes, probably too young to watch most ecchi) I was too amused by some of the other aspects of the series, but now that I've seen it multiple times, and pay attention to far more details in series, that focus is something that may not kill my love of the series, but certainly is a problem.

Even a few minutes into the series, our female love interest goes under scrutiny of how pure she may be, because some magic doesn't immediately go into effect. Likewise, the princess in the series later goes on about how she won't be able to marry if she performs a ceremony, because even a kiss would render her worthless as a mate. All the women in the series have their worth determined by having never been touched by another human, rather than being seen as a person. The only exception is the protagonist's ex-love, who brings up multiple times how she was only ever with him, while he would go off and have sex with hundreds of other women.

Meanwhile, this series has some of the strongest female characters I've seen. Almost every woman is either a warrior, or integral to the plot. They aren't afraid to stand up to anyone, and frequently tell off, or attack people around them to defend themselves or their morals. While young and naive, they're intelligent and don't back down. Compared to the many series where our supporting cast is either a single personality trait, or a plot device at best, this is a wonderful breath of fresh air.

It's a shame to see a series with so many great characters have so many facets boil down to whether or not a girl is "pure enough". Such a weird social construct to put pressure on, and I'm glad it's become less of a trope as we've gotten older. I'd love to see a new version of this that replaces that aspect with something a little more appropriate. Even if it just changed some of the side pressures on virginity, I think there's so much more fun that could be had on it.

The manga has more to it that you don't notice the pressure as much as the anime, but watching those six episodes really pounds the idea of it home that if a girl is going to have any sense of self worth, they can't even kiss someone. I'm glad that we've started trying to break that idea.

And yes, I know the new anime exists, and I've watched it through already. Once the second season is out and I can watch the entirety, we'll get to some further commentary on that one.

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About the Creator

Loki Taviel

Agender sex and kink educator, with a penchant for nerdy things that make me think.

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  • Samuel Wright10 months ago

    I do not know how virginity and virtue were originally conflated, I've met lots of virgins where were evil.

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