Almost four months after its initial announcement, the highly anticipated Netflix anime adaptation of Kazushi Hagiwara’s famous heavy metal fantasy manga BASTARD!! Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy has finally received an official release date.

Source: BASTARD!! -Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy- (2022), Netflix

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Netflix announced the series’ official release date on June 1st, tweeting from their official Netflix Japan Anime account (via Google Translate), “exclusive worldwide distribution starts on June 30th!”

Source: Netflix Japan Anime Twitter

Set to be produced by LIDEN FILMS, the animation studio behind such productoins as Berserk (2016) and Tokyo Revengers, BASTARD!! is scheduled to receive a total of 24 episodes, with the first half of the series (Episode 1-13) debuting worldwide on June 30th with the second half (Episodes 14-24) following later this year.

Alongside the announcement, Netflix also shared a new key visual featuring Schneider, Tia, fellow Divine Kings Arshes Ney, Gara, Abigail, and Kall-Su, as well as Sheila Toel Meta-Rikanna, the second princess of the Meta-Ricana Kingdom. 

Source: BASTARD!! -Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy- (2022), Netflix

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Further, the streaming giant provided a synopsis of the series’ first episode, ‘Appearance’.

As per Japanese entertainment news outlet Comic Natalie,   “The story is set in a chaotic world dominated by magic and swords 400 years after the collapse of modern civilization.”

“In order to save the Kingdom of Meta-Ricana, which was attacked by the dark rebel corps led by the four heavenly kings, the daughter of the great priest, Tia Note Yoko, is forced to revive the great wizard, Dark Schneider, who once planned to rule the world,” the synopsis adds.

Source: BASTARD!! -Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy- (2022), Netflix

Comic Natalie also revealed that the series’ ending theme would be the single BLESSLESS, as provided by the artist Tielle.

Commenting on the announcement, Tielled explained (via DeepL), “I wrote this song with the message that in order to not let anyone else determine my value, I need to speak up for myself and say I am who I am.”

“The title “BLESSLESS” is a word that I came up with in the process of finding the overlap between the work and myself and writing the song, and in the song I put all the pain I have experienced,” she said. “I have put my experiences and pain into the song. I would be happy if you could listen to it as a song that inspires you, no matter how inferior or less fortunate you may be.”

Source: Tielle “BLESSLESS” (c) Kazushi Hagiwara / Shueisha BASTARD!! Production Committee

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Previously, Netflix revealed that the series’ principal voice cast will include Kishō Taniyama (Kittan, Tenga Toppa Gurren Lagann) as series lead Dark Schneider, an awesomely powerful wizard who was once sealed away but now returns to conquer both the world and its women:

Source: BASTARD!! -Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy- Anime Official Website

Tomori Kusunoki (Setsuna Yūki, Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club) as Dark Schneider’s love interest and the one who awakens him from his slumber, Tia Noto Yoko:

Source: BASTARD!! -Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy- Anime Official Website

Hiroki Yasumoto (Guile, Street Fighter series) as Ninja Master Gara, a former General of Dark Schneider who seeks to kill his former master:

Source: BASTARD!! -Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy- Anime Official Website

And Yōko Hikasa (Kyōko Kirigiri, Danganronpa series) as Arshes Nei, the adopted daughter and former lover of Dark Schneider:

Source: BASTARD!! -Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy- Anime Official Website

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Debuting amongst the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump in 1988, Bastard!! sees Dark Schendier reawakened after years of imprisonment, summoned into the body of a 14-year old by the priests of the Kingdom of Metallicana in the hopes of having him fight back against an impending invasion from the conquerors known as the Four Lords of Havoc.

In a bizarre twist, though the series begins as a dark fantasy story akin to Berserk, it has slowly evolved over time into something more theosophical and philosophical in its themes, with later chapters focusing on Dark Schneider’s grappling with the revelation that he is the literal Anti-Christ prophesied by the Bible and his decision to align himself in with God in the End Times.

Source: Bastard!! Chapter 66 “The Host of Shadows” (1990), Shueisha. Words and art by Kazushi Hagiwara.

To date, over 30 million copies of the manga have been published – despite the series having been on hiatus since 2010.

While Netflix’s endeavor will be the first serial anime adaptation of Bastard!!, the series was previously adapted into a 6-episode OVA in 1993.

Source: Bastard!! (1992), Shueisha

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