BLU-RAY REVIEW: BAYONETTA: BLOODY FATE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: FUMINORI KIZAKI, SCREENPLAY: MITSUTAKA HIROTA / STARRING: ATSUKO TANAKA, DAISUKE NAMIKAWA, MIE SONOZAKI, MIYUKI SAWASHIRO, NORIO WAKAMOTO / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 24TH
Bayonetta is the impossibly-shaped protagonist from the popular video game of the same name. Joypad jockeys will be familiar with the character; Bayonetta is a witch who fights angels in the name of humanity. Clad only in her own (heavily enchanted) hair, the supernatural temptress gads about, blowing up monsters, and going from one ludicrous situation to the next. Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is a faithful adaptation of the game’s slim plot into an anime, featuring the same sort of titillation and violence that has made the game so popular.
Much of the movie’s set-up is established at the very beginning; a voice over tells us that angels and demons are at war over the earth, and that witches and sages fight amongst each other over control of everything; the conflict focusing on a mystical macguffin, because that’s how these things are done. Bayonetta herself is your typical amnesiac with mysterious powers and a hidden past, and the stakes are the world itself. Though clichéd, it’s not dull; the plot serves to take us to the next scene of either supernatural violence or gratuitous nudity and innuendo.
Bayonetta Bloody Fate is also terribly, terribly ‘90s. Those who remember the likes of Wicked City and Ninja Scroll will be on familiar territory here. The main character is hyper-sexualised to a cartoonish degree and barely a scene goes past without her purring like a cat in heat and making some sort of suggestive comment. In many ways this feels deliberately unsexy; Bayonetta is clearly established as a dangerously powerful being and the overt sexuality seems to be there to both please and also mock a certain sort of fan. Taken in good humour, it seems more like a running gag as well as a way of reminding the viewer that every single aspect of Bayonetta, right down to her personality, is a weapon of some sort. At the same time, it all seems a bit retro and absurd.
The animation style is very pretty in the right places, and the voice acting is appropriately over-the-top, from the gruff villains to the sultry heroes. Anime has almost certainly moved on it terms of storytelling and depth, but Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is an entertaining call back to a simpler time when overly complex plots and beautiful art were all you needed to make a fun feature for an evening’s drinking.
Special Features: None
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