It’s a good time to be a Greek mythology fan. Hades has given us the chance to run amuck in the underworld, Disney has yet to announce an inevitably terrible live action remake to their animated version, and Netflix has given us a new anime from Powerhouse Animation Studios steeped in the mythos. Blood of Zeus couldn’t have dropped at a better time and I’ve been looking forward to it since the first trailer dropped.
Blood of Zeus Review
Blood of Zeus follows the story of Heron, the bastard son of an outcast woman and the ever-philandering Zeus, as he seeks to rise into the role of hero and stop the onslaught of demons threatening to overtake his homeland. It’s a task that would have been difficult enough, but he also has to contend with Hera, the jealous wife of Heron’s father, and the fact that the gods on Olympus are prone to squabbles at the slightest provocation.
The show opens with a statement that this is a lost story from Greek mythology, which was comforting because it immediately takes some liberties with the pantheon that I didn’t expect. In the backstory to the world, we’re told that, in order to save the gods from a war they might not win, Zeus introduced “compromise and logic” to the world. This definitely isn’t his usual bag, but then later we find out that all the problems in the show started with Zeus being unable to keep it in his pants, so its kind of a wash, really.
I figured out quickly that, if I was going to enjoy Blood of Zeus, I was going to need to turn off the part of my brain that has studied Greek myths for a not-insignificant portion of my life. Once I did that, I had a lot more fun. Basically, don’t watch it with a mythology nerd like me and you should be fine.
The character designs in Blood of Zeus look like they were ripped straight from Powerhouse’s previous Netflix outing, Castlevania, so fans of the look and feel of that show will be right at home in this version of mythological Greece. However, I didn’t feel like the animation captured the same chaotic yet fluid feel of Powerhouse’s previous work. The characters, even when they are fighting for their lives, feel stiff and rigid. The budget feels smaller and more constrained here, though there are moments, such as the arrival of the powerful demon Seraphim, which have the epic impact that I went in expecting.
There are some issues around pacing in the show as well. The inclusion of an entire episode to give the backstory of the bad guy felt unnecessary and slowed down the momentum the show had going. But there is plenty of melodrama and backstabbing, which is par for the course when it comes to the Olympic gods. Their shifting alliances are one of the best sources of tension in a show that is obstinately a prolonged fetch quest.
The cast, however, is where the show really shines. There are some fantastic performances in the show. Claudia Christian as Hera beautifully captured the frustrations that would come from having Zeus as a husband. Jessica Henwick also shines as the Amazonian warrior Alexia, who spends most of the beginning of the show fleeing from one danger to the next.
Blood of Zeus Review Verdict
Blood of Zeus is a good show, but I don’t feel like it reaches the heights that Castlevania does. Perhaps it is unfair to compare the two, but when the designs and animation are so similar it is inevitable. Even with the shocking end to the first season that seems to be setting up a second season (depending on how well this one does), there is a flatness to Blood of Zeus that felt out of place to me. I still want to see the story continue, though, so bring on season two, please. Blood of Zeus is currently streaming on Netflix.