Campione First Impressions
July 14, 2012 4 Comments
Campione was one of the few series that I didn’t really look prior to the season actually starting, partly because I couldn’t really work out what it was supposed to be about. The description was quite jumbled and convoluted, with ideas to do with killing gods and becoming a Campione, it just didn’t sound particularly special. But, I decided to watch it anyway after having another little look for information and am very glad that I did, because regardless of the ridiculous description, this series looks to be brilliant. The story itself seems to need a few episodes to truly get going, especially with the introduction of all the characters that we caught a glimpse of in this premier.
Now, I truly love ancient mythology, having studied Classical Civilisations (ancient Greek and Roman literature among other things) at school I developed a love for the way these stories were told and their characters. The idea that gods can be these capricious, jealous, spiteful, and generally petty beings that might shower you with gold and fame one minute and then destroy an entire civilisation the next because it annoyed them fascinated me. The ancient myths and stories such as The Iliad, The Odyssey, and the Aeneid telling us of how these gods played with the lives of men, and how wars and civilisations have been created despite the very gods being against them. Now, a lot of this doesn’t necessarily have much bearing on the story itself, with little reference to these gods, but instead we see the gods of ancient Persia and certain areas of the Mediterranean apparently fighting for supremacy.
The story itself is a strange one, with Heretical Gods appearing on the earth and wreaking havoc for unknown reasons. They are gods who have in part lost their divinity and are therefore little more than demons, monsters who seem to have no other thought than destruction. Our main character Kusanagi Godou is caught up in one such disaster as he is attempting to deliver a mysterious stone tablet that his grandfather gave him to a woman who lives on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Here he meets a beautiful blonde haired girl called Erica Blandelli who is a knight of the ‘Copper Black Cross’ and clearly involved with bringing down these Heretical Gods. It is quite clear that these two people will stay together throughout the series, even though on their first meeting she threatens him with a knife. The short piece of Italian isn’t the best in the world, but you can hear worse in many anime dubs, and there are some terrible accents used by American actors, so a small bit of Italian in a Japanese accent is hardly important (even though I have highlighted it).
What is fascinating about this series is the way with which it switches from a fairly normal setting where Godou is simply attempting to deliver the stone table to Lucretia Zola, only for it to suddenly turn into a series about gods and monsters (although no gay men or even Ian Mckellen appear to be present). Obviously the mythological and fantasy elements will take president throughout the series, but it was nice to see how a small town on Sardinia can suddenly become the battleground of the gods. Furthermore, the gods themselves are all very imposing, but also incredibly arrogant as such gods should be. They truly see mortals as nothing but ants, as if they are merely there to amuse them, and it is this nature that makes these gods so interesting to watch. There also appears to be a nod to Hayao Miyazaki’s Mononoke Hime, with the first god appearing in the form of a giant boar that bears a remarkable resemblance to one of the gods from the film.
One thing that gives us some indication as to what will happen to Godou comes in the form of the tablet itself. According to Lucretia Zola (an acquaintance of Godous grandfather, a witch, and incredibly beautiful with a penchant for lying around in her lingerie) it is the tablet of Prometheus. Prometheus was the Titan god of forethought and crafty council who was entrusted with the task of moulding mankind out of clay. His attempts to better the lives of his creation brought him into direct conflict with Zeus, king of the gods. Promethus at first tricked the gods out of the best portion of the sacrificial feast, acquiring the meat in order for man to eat, and then he stole fire from the gods and delivered it to mortal kind hidden inside a fennel-stalk. As punishment for these rebellious acts, Zeus ordered the creation of Pandora (the first woman) as a means to deliver misfortune into the house of man, or as a way to cheat mankind of the company of good spirits. Prometheus was bound to a stake on Mount Kaukasos where an eagle was set to feed upon his liver every morning (it would grow back at night).
By using such a name for this stone tablet that clearly has immense significance if Erica’s reaction is anything to go by we can begin to get an idea as to the kinds of powers, but also trials that await Godou. By killing Verethragna the Persian God of Victory, who in his arrogance put some of his power in the stone tablet, Godou becomes a Campione, a God Slayer and inherits the ten abilities of Verethragna himself. The fight was an interesting one, showing us the arrogance of ancient gods, and how they dismiss humans as nothing more than ants that can be crushed at any time. Verethragna’s arrogance becomes his undoing, with Godou seemingly able to steal his powers and use them as his own. In the shadows we see mysterious people on the move, and it seems clear that the appearance of these Heretical Gods is not by chance, but orchestrated by someone, or perhaps a group of people from the shadows.
Furthermore, those who kill a god become kings on earth, and as stated by the narrator become a ‘Demon Lord’ which suggests something deeper and darker surrounding the entire appearance of gods and monsters. In essence this series seems to follow a battle for the control of earth and the heavens, with shadowy powers at work, and surrounding Godou who now has the power to control all at his finger tips. But having said that, Camione is also a harem anime, and according to Godou his grandfather was quite the ladies man, something that appears to have been passed on to him. It appears that his powers are only activated when certain criteria are met, which would explain why the golden swords activated as soon as Erica kissed him. This then looks to be a fascinating series about the battle of gods and monsters that centre on Godou and his new found power, all with a dash of romance. That he will get a harem is quite clear and it will be fascinating to see how they, and in particular Erica acts since she seems to be a mean and entertaining drunk. I’m glad I gave this series a chance because regardless of the convoluted plot summary, it does look like a fascinating series, although my enjoyment of it might in part be to do with my knowledge and interest in ancient mythology and gods.