Developed By Studio Liden Films and based on the namesake manga series written and illustrated by Kazushi Hagiwara, ‘Bastard!! -Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy-‘ or ‘Bastard!! Ankoku no Hakaishin’ is a dark fantasy action-adventure original net animation. The plot revolves around Dark Schneider, the most powerful wizard in the world. Fifteen years ago, he was defeated, and his spirit was sealed inside his reincarnation Lucien Renlen. However, when Dark Schneider’s former disciples begin another violent war against the four human kingdoms to free the demon god Anthrasax, humanity has no choice but to turn to its once great enemy. If you have watched ‘Bastard’ and loved it, here is a list of similar recommendations that might fit your taste.
12. Chainsaw Man (2022 -)
Denji has lived a tragic life ever since his father’s untimely death as he is forced to repay the debt he owed. As he struggles for basic necessities, he finds some semblance of normalcy in his relationship with the chainsaw devil Pochita. But when he tries tragically, Denji is given another shot at life thanks to Pochita who fuses with his body after forming a contract with him. This marks the beginning of Denji’s new journey to find happiness while also fighting for the greater good. Although ‘Chainsaw Man’ hardly has any similarities with ‘Bastard‼ Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy,’ fans of the series who wish to watch another dark fantasy anime with gory action scenes will definitely enjoy the former as well.
11. The Eminence in Shadow (2022 -)
You may wonder what an isekai anime is doing on this list. Although it’s true that ‘The Eminence in Shadow’ and ‘Bastard‼ Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy’ are nothing alike if we strictly compare the premise. However, both the fantasy anime revolves around an overpowered protagonist who is dedicated to a higher cause. Interestingly, these shows also feature some of the best action scenes that would probably come across.
While we have already talked about ‘Bastard!! Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy,’ ‘The Eminence in Shadow’ follows a teenager determined to become as strong as he can. Sadly, his dream comes crashing down when he tragically dies in a road accident. But this turns out to be a blessing in disguise as he is reborn in a world where magic is real. As he gains immense powers, he decides to fulfill the goal of his previous life and also starts a shadowy organization on a lie, not realizing whatever he made up to fool his allies is actually true.
10. How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom (2021 – 2022)
Kazuya Souma is an ordinary young adult whose life takes an unprecedented turn when he gets mysteriously transported to the Elfrieden Kingdom in another world. It turns out that the king there is abdicating his position and has chosen Souma to take his place. Kazuya is betrothed to the king’s daughter, Liscia, and is tasked with the responsibility to save the kingdom from economic distress. The protagonist in ‘How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom’ does not face the same kind of dilemma that we see the mighty wizard Dark Schneider struggle with. However, both of the main characters eventually fight for a kingdom struggling with an existential crisis.
9. The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (2021)
Vesemir is a young witcher who has been slaying monsters for money to escape extreme poverty and earn a respectful life for himself. When he has left the demons of his past behind and moved on, they come back to haunt him again when a politically fraught kingdom is attacked by a mysterious monster. ‘The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf’ follows Vesemir’s life-altering journey. The series is a great watch and fans of ‘Bastard‼ Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy’ could naturally see the obvious parallels between the two stories.
8. Record of Ragnarok (2021)
Every thousand years, the gods of the world gather to decide humanity’s fate. Disappointed by their greed and avarice, they eventually arrive at the conclusion that the world will be better off without them so they want to destroy all humans. This plan may have meant the end of the road for the human race until Brunhilde offers to organize an event named Ragnarök that pits 13 gods against 13 mortals to decide the fate of humanity. ‘Record of Ragnarok’ revolves around the story of saving the human race from an existential crisis. While the conflict in ‘Bastard‼ Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy’ is not that huge in impact but it is certainly of the same existential nature. Furthermore, both shows have action-packed episodes that are quite entertaining to watch.
7. Detroit Metal City (2008)
‘Detroit Metal City’ is an OVA that has little in common with ‘Bastard’ in terms of scope, setting, and themes. However, in both anime, heavy metal music plays an important role in the narrative. From the names of characters, groups, and locations to the title itself — ‘Bastard!! -Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy-‘ is filled with references to the heavy metal culture. ‘Detroit Metal City’ tells the story of Souichi Negishi, a reclusive young musician who dreams of success as a pop artist. However, fate seems to have a different plan for him. When he realizes that his career isn’t going anywhere, he switches to heavy metal, becoming the lead singer and guitarist of a blackened death metal band, the eponymous Detroit Metal City. Much to his dismay, he finds massive success because of his heavy metal persona: Johannes Krauser II.
6. InuYasha (2000–2004)
Both the titular characters in the classic anime series ‘InuYasha‘ and Dark Schneider have silver-white hair. They also share several personality traits. Both of them are arrogant and stubborn but often exhibit a softer side. Inuyasha is a half-human and half-dog demon. Like Dark Schneider, he was sealed away with magic (in his case, in a tree in feudal Japan). After 15-year-old Kagome Higurashi is pulled into the past, Inuyasha convinces her to free him from his magical prison. Although he dislikes Kagome because of her physical similarities to a shrine maiden named Kikyou, he decides to help her when he discovers that demons have taken an interest in her.
5. Goblin Slayer (2018-)
The eponymous adventurer in ‘Goblin Slayer‘ is known for exclusively hunting goblins. After her entire party is wiped out during an excursion into a goblin’s layer, novice Priestess meets Goblin Slayer, who saves her life, and destiny changes for both of them. As an anime, ‘Goblin Slayer’ has the same “realistic” approach to fantasy as ‘Bastard.’ As Takaharu Ozaki is the director of both anime, they also share a resemblance in terms of style and storytelling.
4. Overlord (2015-)
Like ‘Dark Schneider,’ ‘Overlord’s Ainz Ooal Gown is a massively powerful main character. They are quintessential antiheroes. ‘Overlord’ is an isekai anime. In the real world, Ainz Ooal Gown used to be a salaryman named Satoru Suzuki. In the year 2126, after the servers of YGGDRASIL, a Full-Dive Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game or DMMORPG, shut down, one of its players, Momonga, finds himself in another reality along with all the NPCs, who now seem to have gained sentience. Adapting the name of his former guild, Ainz Ooal Gown, Momonga begins exploring this new world.
3. The Misfit of Demon King Academy (2020)
Like ‘Dark Schneider,’ Anos Voldigoad, the protagonist of ‘The Misfit of Demon King Academy,’ is a reincarnation. Two thousand years ago, Anos was the demon king. He and the human hero Kanon came to an understanding that the former would sacrifice his life for long-lasting peace. Following his reincarnation, Anos discovers that the world has drastically changed from what it used to be during his time. Among the demons, the royal class treats the demons belonging to the lower tiers harshly and magic has begun to grow weaker due to the peace his sacrifice established. Deciding to become the demon king once more, Anos enrolls in the Demon King Academy.
2. Berserk (2016-2017)
Like the source material of ‘Bastard,’ ‘Berserk‘ began its run as a manga series in the 1980s. Both projects demonstrate a considerable impression of the time in their characterization and worldbuilding. Moreover, the 2016 anime adaptation of ‘Berserk’ makes heavy use of heavy metal music. The story in ‘Berserk’ revolves around a mercenary named Guts. He joins the group known as the Band of the Hawk after its leader Griffith defeats him. However, he ultimately becomes disillusioned after realizing that Griffith is willing to sacrifice everything at the altar of his own dreams. After experiencing horrific events during what comes to be known as the Eclipse, Guts becomes a branded wanderer known as the Black Swordsman.
1. The Seven Deadly Sins (2014–2021)
Like ‘Bastard,’ morality and religion are important motifs in ‘The Seven Deadly Sins.’ Meliodas, the protagonist of the latter, is an ancient, powerful entity like Dark Schneider. As the series begins, Meliodas also embarks on a journey to reunite his own team, the eponymous Seven Deadly Sins. The plot follows Princess Elizabeth Liones. After the Great Holy Knights take control of her kingdom, Elizabeth begins looking for the Sins. In time, she becomes their ally and realizes that she and Meliodas have known each other for thousands of years.