Thursday, April 16, 2020

Going off the Rails on a Crazy Train: A Look at the Expanded World of Bastard!!

You'd think that, after reviewing 27 volumes (+1 self-published book of unreleased content) of Kazushi Hagiwara's Bastard!!, there'd be nothing else left to write about... But that's certainly not the case. While it's nowhere near the amount of stuff that's been made for Shonen Jump's more iconic titles (Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto, Saint Seiya, etc.), Bastard!! has had its own fair share of non-manga material produced, some of which actually post-dates Volume 27's release! Now by "non-manga" material, I mean stuff that either expand on the mythos & characters of Bastard!!, explain the world itself, involved Kazushi Hagiwara in some way, or feature some sort of actual interaction; in other words, no "swag" (posters, figures, etc.) will be included here, & no art books. Anyway, while chronological order will still be the general focus here, I'll be separating everything across eight categories: Drama CDs, Anime, Novels, Data Books, Video Games, Re-releases, Other Games &, yes... Hentai Doujin!

(Don't worry, this entire article is "safe for work")

So there's really only one thing left to say, at this point: ALL ABOARD! Hahahahaha.........

It all starts in December 1991, with the first drama CD, Bastard!! Gaiden: Encounter with the Four Divine Kings Vol. 1. Information about this CD, as well as successive ones, is pretty scarce, but from what I can tell this first CD told two stories: Lord of the Fiery Explosion & Wandering Boy. The first takes places 115 years before the Wizard!! one-shot & tells in more detail the story of how Dark Schneider first met Arshes Nei, the dark-elf/human child who he'd take in as his surrogate daughter (& later lover), while also tying things into a story involving a Goblin Princess that explains how D.S. got the "Lord of the Fiery Explosion" moniker that he became synonymous with. Similarly, the second goes into more detail about how D.S. & Nei come across a young Kall-Su, after he had escaped his imprisonment & became a sullen wanderer; also making an appearance in this story is Samurai Master Mifune, who was seen in the manga during Hell's Requiem. Three months later, in March 1992, came Bastard!! Gaiden: Encounter with the Four Divine Kings Vol. 2, which told two more stories: The Prophet of Hell & Battle in Tombstone Valley. From the little I can find about this, these are more like side stories taking place during The Dark Rebel Armies, if not simply direct adaptations of the manga, detailing D.S.'s encounters with his Four Divine Kings after he was revived by Yoko; Bon Jovina & Geo Noto Soto of Meta-Rikana even make appearances.

The following July saw the release of Bastard!! Gaiden Vol. 3: The Sealed Magic King, which told the fifth & sixth "chapters" of the drama CD storyline: Premonition of the Dragon Warrior & And Towards the Legend.... This CD as a whole is actually a detailed telling of how Geo, Mifune, & Prince Lars Uhl Meta-Rikana managed to put an end to the Golem War that D.S. started, & how Lars summoned the power of the Dragon Warrior to defeat D.S., followed by Geo sealing him away into baby Lucien Renlen. Also included are the two female members of the "Five Heroes", Shirin Tempest & Dana Manniketti, who are actually never mentioned by name in the main manga at all (the most is a super vague reference to them, & only once), even though they were seemingly essential in defeating D.S. during the Golem War. Interestingly enough, Hagiwara actually drew a two-page spread showing all five, dressed in modern clothing at a train stop, as a title splash for Volume 13... Even though Mifune, Shirin, & Dana aren't shown or even vaguely referenced at all during that volume; I always wondered why that was, & now I know it was likely because of the drama CD. These drama CDs are interesting, though, because they actually mark the first time Kazuki Yao, Tessho Genda, & Ryuzaburo Otomo would voice Dark Schneider, Ninja Master Gara, & Abigail, respectively, predating their performances in the later anime adaptation by half a year or so! They also feature Mami Koyama as Nei, Ryo Horikawa as Kall-Su, Takaya Hashi as Mifune (the character's only time being voiced), Masaaki Okabe as Geo, Takeshi Kusao as Lars, Shigezou Sasaoka as Bon Jovina, Chisa Yokoyama as Shirin, & Kotono Mitsuishi as Dana. Meanwhile, the script was written by Hiroshi Yamaguchi, who'd return to write the anime adaptation, while the music was composed by Kazuhiko "Kazz" Toyama (Cyber City Oedo 808, A Wind Named Amnesia).

After that, there wouldn't be another drama CD for two years, and what came was Bastard!!: Wonderful Megadeath in July 1994. The name is actually a reference to the doujinshi collections Hagiwara & his staff would regularly make & sell at Comiket at the time, all named Wonderful Megadeath (technically "Wonderfurya Megadeath", but the reference is obvious), and instead of telling multiple stories, this CD instead tells one long story. Sadly, though, I can't seem to find any info as to what the story is specifically about, but from the track list & cast I can tell that it takes place during Hell's Requiem, since it includes Samurai Joshua Berahia & Sorcerer Shogun Bol Gil Bol, as well as Kall-Su interacting with Anthrasax at one point; there's also a new character named Uli Roth. As for the cast, it switches over mainly to the seiyuu used for the anime, though Shinichiro Miki now voices Kall-Su, while Yuri Shiratori now voices Yoko, & as for Joshua's only voiced appearance, Takehito Koyasu handles that role, with Uli being voiced by Fumihiko Tachiki. Similarly, Kohei Tanaka returns from the anime for the music, though for all I know they might have simply re-used the score from that production. As for the writing, Hagiwara himself worked with Hiroshi Yamaguchi for this story.

Viz may have been hesitant to advertise the manga,
but Pioneer was more than happy to say its name out loud.

Now, to jump backwards a little bit, it's time to cover Bastard!!'s second form of non-manga production, the six-episode OVA adaptation. Released from August 25, 1992 to June 25, 1993, this OVA was animated by the venerable AIC (Megazone 23, El-Hazard), directed by Katsuhito Akiyama (Gall Force, Inazuma Eleven), & adapts the first five volumes of the manga, plus some early bits of Volume 6. However, it's not a 100% adaptation of that content, as there are some slight changes & omissions. For example, the Wizard!! one shot is fused with the first few chapters of the main series, so while we still see Yoko awaken D.S. for the first time, it's Kebidubu attacking Castle Meta-Rikana, instead of Osbourne. Also, the OVA skips over D.S.'s encounters with Sean Ari & Kai Harn completely, going straight from the fight with Gara to an altered encounter with Dai Amon, though Nei's two female Sorcerer Generals do still make minor appearances in the anime. Overall, this is a great adaptation of Hagiwara's manga, all lead by Kazuki Yao's iconic performance as D.S., which we now know was a reprisal from the drama CDs. Unfortunately, word is that it was planned to be eight episodes long, possibly adapting all of The Dark Rebel Armies, but wound up getting cut short at six; there's rumor that someone from the production side of things might have gotten arrested, or maybe it just didn't maintain sales.

The main thing with the Bastard!! OVA, though, is that Shueisha directly produced it, during a time in the 90s when the publisher was releasing anime on home video under the Jump Video label; this is also how Combustible Campus Guardress, which Hagiwara co-created, was released. Because of this, it was originally considered unlicenseable, due to Shueisha's "intolerance for American companies", but Pioneer Entertainment, later to be known as Geneon Entertainment, broke the so-called "Shueisha barrier" & managed to licensed the OVA for English release. While it's hard to really pinpoint when exactly it started, Pioneer originally released all six episodes across three dubbed VHS tapes around 1998/1999, along with a "Best of Bastard!!" soundtrack CD release, and in 2001 re-released the entire thing on a single, dual-audio DVD; the soundtrack would see re-release in 2005, as well. As for the pseudonym-laden English dub, directed by the late Kevin Seymour at Animaze, it's honestly a great one, especially for the era it was produced (late 90s/early 00s dubs were very hit or miss), & filled with many notable voice actors. Namely, the likes of Wendee Lee (Yoko), Steven Blum (Gara), Bridget Hoffman (Princess Sheila), Brianne Siddall (Lucien), Richard Epcar (Abigail), & Richard Cansino (Kall-Su), with the highlight easily being Daran Norris leading everyone as D.S.

Yes, Cosmo from The Fairly Odd-Parents voiced Dark Schneider, and it's awesome. Anyway, the Bastard!! OVA is how people outside of Japan tend to know of this series, and while the manga does grow into much more than what the anime covers, it's still worth a watch on its own; the now-defunct Wizard Magazine even included it in its "Top 50 Anime" released in North America in 2001. If you want some more detail, I reviewed the OVA back in 2012, so you can read that.

During the release of the OVA in Japan, Bastard!! saw another form of publication with the release of prose novels, i.e. traditional written word. The first was Bastard!!: Requiem of Spirits, which saw release on March 26, 1993. Written by anime screenwriting veteran Nobuaki Kishima (Nippon Animation's Hunter x Hunter OVAs, Reborn!), the novel is another prequel to the manga, taking place 50 years prior, back when D.S. had actually claimed absolute authority over 25 countries & was just starting his fight with the remaining four kingdoms. Requiem of Spirits, in particular, focuses on D.S. heading to the "Forest of Thirst", after hearing about a magical spring in the middle of a desert from a beautiful woman who is being chased by King Ludwig, the head of a rival kingdom. The Four Divine Kings accompany D.S. on this adventure, which is interesting, since that means Gara & Kall, in particular, are much, much older than they look; I understand Kall, since he's a half-blood like Nei, but how old is Gara?! Anyway, this novel would be followed up by a sequel also written by Kishima, Bastard!!: Lying of the Devil's Bed, on August 4, 1993, where after conquering Ludwig's land D.S. encounters a beautiful mage who can seemingly raise the dead & challenges our "hero" for control over the world. While neither novel has seen any sort of English translation, Volume 10 of the manga does includes Hagiwara's original drawings for Requiem of Spirits, while Volume 16 does the same for Lying on the Devil's Bed.

After those two books, there'd be nothing new on the novel front until the next decade. Following reprints of the two novels in mid-2001, this time under Shueisha's Jump J Books imprint, a new novel story would finally come out on September 9, 2001, under the Super Dash Bunko imprint. This was Bastard!!: Black Rainbow, with writing by Benny Matsuyama, an author who had written numerous novel adaptations of iconic RPG franchises, including Wizardry, SaGa, & Final Fantasy, & even helped write the scenarios for Wizardry Gaiden II & Imperial SaGa (as well as a game we'll get to later on); the manga & anime Pro Golfer Saru even named the character Benibachi after Matsuyama. This was yet another prequel, but this time taking place 100 years before the manga, & detailing D.S.'s life with the original Four Divine Kings: "Silent General" Cici Lizzy, a monk & sole member of the group with "Good" alignment; Earson Gillan, an effeminate assassin who lead his own group of fellow assassins; Gain Esparanza, a ferocious & heavily tattooed "Evil" swordsman who wields the soul-devouring Soul Eater & is always looking for a chance to usurp D.S.; & Ichael Monroe, a sadistic lesbian sorcerer whose magical prowess actually rivals that of D.S.. Black Rainbow, in particular, focuses on the five's attempt to conquer the continent of Marne Chihead, which is East of Metallion & actually has the mysterious ability to stop all magic from being used, which royally screws over D.S; Nei & Kall also apparently make some small appearances as early adoptions by D.S.. Now, I said that it "finally" came out in 2001, because Black Rainbow is a story that Hagiwara originally had planned back in the 90s; the afterword in Volume 15 has a basic synopsis included for it! A second volume of Black Rainbow would come out three years later, in August 2004, and it's tough to tell if this finishes the story or not; considering the history of this series, I wouldn't be surprised if this actually isn't finished.

Finally, one last novel would out nearly a decade later, and it's technically the most recent "canon" Bastard!! publication that ever came out. Released the very same day as Volume 27 in Japan, Bastard!!: Ninja Master Gara Gaiden is a midquel story, telling what Gara did after being teleported far away by D.S. at the climax of The Dark Rebel Armies, for his own safety. Specifically, this novel written by Hideyuki Furuhashi (My Hero Academia: Vigilantes) details how Gara helps out a desert town by clearing out a local labyrinth of the monsters housed within, all at the request of a "Snake Woman" who hires him. Not much else to say with this one, but it's cool to see Gara be given a "Big Adventure" of his own, and the fact that it remains the newest (100% canon) story to be told in Bastard!! is amusing.

Novels weren't the only other type of book Bastard!! saw, though. Being a giant fantasy world, it's not without surprise that Kazushi Hagiwara had to conceive a ton of lore, logic, & explanation as to how exactly his world operated, and there needed to be a place to collect all this information. So in January 1994, a few months following Volume 14's release, Data House released The Secrets of Bastard!!, a 217-page collection of explanations to various lore, mysteries, & simple questions that came about throughout the storyline at the moment. Going off of descriptions for the book, it explains things like the origins of Efreet the Fire Elemental (who D.S. tames & wields as a sword), goes over the film inspirations for the vampires, undead, & golems, the heavy metal references utilized, the "Top 10 Ecchi Scenes", & why exactly D.S. asked to borrow 500 yen from Yoko during The Dark Rebel Armies. As you can tell, it's likely a mix of serious explanation & just having fun with itself, much like Bastard!! itself. Data House would re-release it in December 2006, a few months after Volume 24's release, but if you really want a "true" tell-all book about Hagiwara's series, then there's the other release.

Released on April 30, 2004 by Shueisha, the same exact day as Volume 23 of the manga, the Bastard!! Data Book is the "official & authorized" book to The Secrets of Bastard!!'s "unofficial & unauthorized" feel (even though I'm sure Data House's book was officially licensed). The main reason I say that is because Kazushi Hagiwara is the credited writer of the Data Book, giving it a definitive & absolute feel to it that no other publisher could really deliver. The 270-page book is split up across 10 categories, starting with Story, which recaps the events of Bastard!! in pure chronological order, starting with Victim of Changes from Volume 19 before covering all four story arcs in the manga, including what had been told of The Immoral Laws up to that point; between each of these arcs, there are three "Missing Link" sections, going over certain plot gaps. After that are categories for Main Characters & Sub Characters, which are pretty self-explanatory. After a small 8-page World category, we get the 43-page category of Arcana & Magic, which goes over every single "Attack Spel", "Diffence Spel", "Recover Cancel Spel", "Suport Spel", "Sense Spel", "Other Spel" (all [sic], of course), & Skill used across all 23 volumes; while the references themselves aren't explained, this gives the "official" katakana spelling for everything. After that are the Creatures and Equipment & Items categories, which are also self-explanatory, followed by the 50-page Works 1987-2003 category, which goes over every single physical book release of Bastard!!, from its original tankouban releases (including the alternate cover reprints for Volumes 9 & 18), the Shueisha Jump Remix re-release, the various international releases (America was the last to publish, while Spain was the first at 1995), the first two Complete Edition re-releases (which we'll get to in a bit), various artbooks, the novels, drama CDs, OVA, soundtracks, figures, & video games (see next section), as well as even Combustible Campus Guardress, Binetsu Rogue & Virgin Tyrant (plus questioning whether they fit into the Bastard!! timeline or not), all of Hagiwara's self-published doujinshi, & finally the various illustrations Hagiwara drew for other manga, anime releases, video games, & magazines. Finally, the Data Book ends with Creator's Comments & 4-Panel & You Gotta Hagiwara!!!, which literally collect all of the dust jacket comments, 4-panel gags, & afterword comics ever published across all of the volumes of Bastard!! up to that point.

Without a doubt, the Bastard!! Data Book is a must-have for fans of the series, & it's been a godsend for my reviews, as it's how I've been able to describe the exact issues the various story arcs began & end, as the Works section explains all of that in explicit detail.

How about video games? Bastard!! got a pair of those during the 90s, though neither is exactly what one would call "stellar", sadly. The first came sometime in 1994 (no exact date can be found), with the simply titled Bastard!! for Super Famicom, developed & published by Cobra Team. While you've likely never heard of Cobra Team, the truth of the matter is that it's actually kind of notable, as it was founded by Shinji Hashimoto, a former Bandai employee who would later join Square-Enix & become a prolific producer, as well as the co-creator of Kingdom Hearts. Still, it was an extremely short-lived studio that only put out three games, all for the Super Famicom, with the other two being a shoot-em-up based on Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds & an respectably-received adventure game/RPG based on JoJo's Bizarre Advernture: Stardust Crusaders. As for Bastard!!, it got a rather simplistic 1-on-1 isometric fighting game, where characters just launch projectiles at each other from afar, with the occasional close-range combat, with the major gimmick being that you can either attack from the ground or the air. Overall, while it's not a horrible game, it reveals itself to be a pretty shallow experience once you understand how to actually play it. Also, it simply adapts The Dark Rebel Armies story arc in an even simpler fashion than the OVA, so don't go looking for much, in terms of story. Honestly, the most interesting thing about this game is that someone going by the name Kaneda once tried porting Bastard!! to the Sega Genesis, releasing a proof of concept demo at some point in the 00s, but you can't actually enter combat with it.

No, the more interesting of the two video games would see release on December 26, 1996, during the hiatus between the "end" of Crime & Punishment & the start of The Immoral Laws: Bastard!!: Vessel of the Empty Gods for PlayStation; I'll also accept "Hollow Gods". Developed by Opus (which would later make Fighters Destiny, Garouden: Breakblow, & Half-Minute Hero) & published by the now-defunct Seta, this is a full-blown RPG that actually tells a completely original story written by Benny Matsuyama. In fact, this game would actually mark the first appearances of Gain Esparanza & Ichael Monroe, since Black Rainbow took so long to finally see release; Hagiwara also creates another new character, Jin Simmon, who's an old friend of Gara's. The plot starts with Yoko coming across D.S., only to realize that it's actually a demonic fake that wants her for its own reasons. Kall-Su comes to save her but is defeated, resulting in Yoko creating a holy barrier to protect her from the "Empty/Hollow God", as she waits for the real D.S. to rescue her. As for the real deal, he's washed up on a shore with no memory of who he is, other than a feeling that he must rescue Yoko; a light orb containing Yoko's essence helps direct him where to go. In terms of the story, Vessel of the Empty Gods is very blatantly non-canon, as all of the Divine Kings, Samurai, Sorcerer Shogun, & even Lars in human form (as an endgame unlockable character) are alive, well, & ready to help D.S. save Yoko, which goes against everything that happened in Crime & Punishment; also, there's the whole "Gain & Ichael are alive" concept. However, this is what allows Matsuyama to give the entire game this somber & melancholic mood, making it feel completely unique when compared to anything else Bastard!!. In fact, the game even has a "bad" ending, where D.S. decides to merge with his fake, creating a demonic god that everyone else has to fight as the final boss, resulting in D.S. being killed for good & sent to Heaven; yes, the game lets you not only have D.S. join the villain, but you actually kill him for doing so! The only other game I can think of that does this is Breath of Fire IV, and that's actually an unwinnable fight, hence why it's the bad ending.

Not just that, but the RPG also features a couple anime cutscenes produced by A.P.P.P., directed by Mamoru Hamatsu (B't X, To-Y) & featuring character designs by Junichi Hayama, giving a hint as to what a theoretical Bastard!! anime done by the same studio & designer as the excellent JoJo Part 3 second half OVAs would have looked like; seriously, they're outstanding. Combined with cool music by Yoichiro Yoshikawa (Baby Steps, Iria - Zeiram the Animation), plus some vocal tracks sung by Yoko Ueno, this sounds like an amazing game... Right? Unfortunately, actually playing the game is far from ideal, as the first-person traversal not only looks rather terrible, even for an early PS1 game, but also runs horribly slow; I can't give any real numbers, but I doubt it even hits 15-20 fps on a regular basis. The combat looks to be better, allowing you to place up to four characters on a grid for strategic combat situations during the otherwise turn-based battles. Finally, aside from Yoko screaming in shock during the intro cutscene & Ueno's singing here & there, there's no voice work to be found, whatsoever. Overall, Vessel of the Empty Gods looks to be only for the most hardcore of Bastard!! aficionados, and while I do own the game & have wanted to give it an honest try for myself, the lack of any English translation makes it hard for me to play more than just an hour, at most.

"But wait! Weren't there other Bastard!! games?" We'll get to those later, since they aren't exactly like these two.

"Hey, why is Volume 2 missing?" Because Hagiwara is a dirty old man.
Even Shueisha's own website only shows that cover as a thumbnail.

As I mentioned in the review for The Immoral Laws, the year 2000 saw only a single new chapter of Bastard!! from Hagiwara, followed by him going irregular again shortly after his move to Ultra Jump in 2001, but it's not like it was simply because Hagiwara wasn't doing anything. Au contraire, it was actually because Hagiwara was simply drawing way too much! Starting in 2000, Shueisha started releasing Bastard!! Kanzenban/Complete Edition, which re-released the manga across nine volumes, with each being around ~300-350 pages... Eventually. The first Complete Edition book came out on December 22, 2000, and the second book wouldn't see release until May 20, 2003, nearly 2.5 years later, so what happened? Well, as I indicated just earlier, Hagiwara decided that the Complete Edition would the perfect way for him to go back & fix up his earliest days with the manga, i.e. his weekly serialized days. As I mentioned in the review for The Dark Rebel Armies, Hagiwara ran himself ragged trying to maintain a weekly schedule, resulting in numerous moments where he drew something either hastily, while poking fun at it, or just not drawing anything at all & instead writing out what's meant to happen; need I remind you of the "extra panel"? Therefore, it made sense for Hagiwara to want to fix up that stuff & make the first story arc look improved.

However, as I've mentioned many times in the reviews, Kazushi Hagiwara is a self-destroying perfectionist, so it wasn't just enough to fix some details & call it a day. While he did just for that the first Complete Edition book, he decided that for the second he would almost effectively redraw his entire manga from the start all over again; naturally, he also upped the sexuality in some scenes. That's why the second book took forever to come out, and it resulted in Shueisha pretty much putting a stop to Hagiwara's madness, with the third book coming out in 2005 without any changes, followed by all the others following suit twice a year between 2007 & 2009, with the ninth & final book coming out half a year after Volume 26. However, since each book has less than two volumes of content, it's not truly "complete"; the second book only covers up through just shy of finishing Volume 3, for example. In fact, Hagiwara's third art book, Nude III, actually features what would have been the cover art for a 10th Complete Edition book that never saw release! The reverse "3D art" covers for each book also featured various guest artists, including Yasushi Nirasawa, Junichi Tanuguchi, & "Doodle King" Katsuya Terada, among others.

Following the release of Volume 27 in 2012, it was decided to re-release the re-release, so across all of 2014 saw the bunkoban release of Bastard!!. This splits up the books into two larger, more generalized arcs, with the first four books being labeled "Evil God Chapter", likely covering The Dark Rebel Armies, & the latter five being labeled "Angel Chapter", likely covering Hell's Requiem and Crime & Punishment. While it retains the same amount of total books as the Complete Edition, though, each bunkoban book has more content, as they range from ~350-400 pages each, or roughly two volumes per book, give or take a chapter here & there. Unfortunately, just like the Complete Edition, the bunkoban isn't truly "complete" either, as the description for the ninth book describes D.S. meeting Satan in Hell, so I'd imagine this release only covers up through the "end" of Crime & Punishment, which is still an improvement over the last re-release; all of The Immoral Laws & Volume 27 remain only available via tankouban, though. As you can tell, these books also saw brand new cover art made for them,  all done by Hagiwara himself in his current, ultra-detailed style. Also, a month after the ninth book's release, Ninja Master Gara Gaiden even got re-released as an "EX" volume on October 17, 2014, complete with new cover art to match the style of the bunkoban release, which is cool. It is sad to see that Bastard!! had two notable re-releases, yet neither of them actually cover everything that's been previously published.

Now while Bastard!! did see two video game adaptations during the 90s, they weren't the only time the manga was adapted to "game" form, so I might as well bring up those, as well. Honestly, the only one of major note would be Bastard!! Online, an MMORPG for PCs that was announced back in mid-2005. Developed by Tecmo & using the company's GameCity online service, the game would have had players create their own human, elf, or hobbit characters & explore the world of Bastard!!, and the game's website did see continual updates, showing off some of how the game was going to look & even revealing an all-CG teaser trailer showing D.S. & Lars fight each other at the end of the Golem War. Unfortunately, little else was ever really revealed, the website's "Game System" section never really updated, & in 2009 Tecmo just cancelled the entire game, citing "current market trends and future prospects". Personally, I think the idea of an MMO based on Bastard!! certainly had potential, but it definitely would have faced extreme competition, whether from World of Warcraft, EverQuest, or even the Japan-exclusive Fist of the North Star Online. Regardless, though, I'm sure it would have remained Japan-exclusive, had it actually come out.

After that, the next "other game" would be in late 2012, when pachinko company Daxel produced a pachislot machine based on Bastard!!. Featuring "32 GB of Full Animation", its otherwise your standard pachislot machine, where players have the ability to stop each of the three slots in an attempt to continue getting three-in-a-row so as to keep playing & advance the scenario that's shown on the game screen. Admittedly, the new animation does look nice, though D.S. is now voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa, while using "Pride" & "Death Game" by Sex Machineguns as the theme songs is completely fitting for the heavy metal-influence (props to Baron of Wastes for saying which songs they were in his video from a few months back [major spoiler alerts for said video, though]), it is still nothing more than a pachislot machine, in the grand scheme of things. On June 25, 2014, mobile game company DeNA released Bastard!! for Japanese smartphones, which was a card battle-focused RPG where you take on a never-ending list of quests to gain experience & money, while you also made a deck to combat enemies during said quests. Not much else to be said about this game, other than it's no longer available to download & had some promotional crossovers. Finally, in 2016, Newgin released CR Bastard!!, a pachinko machine with brand new animation of its own that definitely focused more on the sexual side of the series, as the promotional video shows; also, D.S. is now voiced by Katsuyuki Konishi, which actually is a pretty good choice, to be honest. Once again, though, it's really nothing more than your standard modern day pachinko machine, which is even more random & luck based than pachislot is.

Beyond that are games that D.S. simply appears in, but those aren't Bastard!! games, so I'll leave them for you to find out about yourself.

This is the only cover I feel comfortable
showing... Because Hagiwara is a dirty old man.

Finally, we reach the category I'm sure some would think was the most obvious. After all, D.S. is such a horny, & sexually predatory, character that I'm sure anyone who's ever experienced Bastard!! in some form likely just wondered, "Man, if Hagiwara wants to make his main character want sex so badly, why doesn't he just draw porn?!" Well, he eventually did just that, which brings us to the hentai doujin for Bastard!!. Now while Hagiwara & his assistants had produced their own doujin for over a decade by this point, I don't believe anything featured in any of the Wonderful Megadeath collections were outright porn, because that would look bad on Shueisha. After all, Bastard!! was running in Shonen Jump, either the weekly magazine itself or its Seasonal Specials, from 1989 to 2000, so there's no possible way the manga's publisher would allow its author to self-publish hentai; it's like how Shun Saeki stopped drawing hentai once he started doing the artwork for Food Wars. Once Bastard!! moved over to Ultra Jump in 2001, however, Hagiwara was essentially given more free rein, since he was now technically making manga aimed specifically at literal adults. Therefore, Hagiwara took advantage of this, doing with Dark Schneider what he could only allude to or poke fun at in a "You didn't think he actually did what you think he did... Did you?" way in the main series.

Yes, specific moments from the manga were now given the sex scenes that Hagiwara (understandably) couldn't do back in the day. Therefore, while I have no interest in reading these, I can at least tell you the general gist of each.

The first to come out was Bastard!! Expansion Set 1: Kai Harn's Great Detox on May 24, 2002, which re-imagined a moment from early in Volume 3 where D.S. wanted to remove poison from Kai Harn's body, after she got attacked by a Cockatrice that she lost control of during her fight with D.S.. The original manga already pushed things hard by having D.S. suck the poison from what looked like her vagina, but this time D.S. does more than simply suck tainted blood from there. The next one was Bastard!! Expansion Set 2: Princess Sheila's Pacifier Treatment, which came out on February 20, 2005 & was a re-imagination of a scene from Volume 4 where Shiela tries to warn D.S. about a premonition of him dying soon, only for her to wind up getting taken by D.S.'s innate charms... Right as Arshes Nei starts attacking Castle Meta-Rikana. Finally, after a twelve year break, Hagiwara & crew returned on December 16, 2017 with Bastard!! Expansion Set 3: Mulberry - Triple Pacifier Treatment (Temporary). Yes, you read that date correct, because this is the newest piece of Bastard!! that Kazushi Hagiwara has ever released, coming out well over five years since the release of Volume 27, & 7.5 years since the last chapter saw serialization in Ultra Jump back in the June 2010 issue. As for what this doujin is about, this seems to be a completely original one, as it's simply about D.S. having a 3-on-1 orgy with Kai Harn, Princess Sheila, & Sean Ari, a situation that never comes about (even vaguely) in the entire manga. Really, there's nothing much else to say about these manga, because they are what they are: D.S. having blatantly visible sex with various women. Really, the only truly notable thing is that the most recent of them features artwork that isn't quite as detailed as what the main series was looking like a few years prior, as you can see in its Amazon Japan listing (look it up yourself); it's still solid Hagiwara artwork, but not much else.
And, now, we have finally come to the end of this giant, multi-part look at Bastard!! by Kazushi Hagiwara, which remains one of the wildest fantasy manga ever made. Though The Dark Rebel Armies does start off with some standard D&D-style fantasy fare, it does so with a main character that was unlike most others of its time, especially those found in Shonen Jump. As the series continued on with Hell's Requiem, though, Hagiwara would strike out on his own, establishing a backstory, lore, & theology that you couldn't have possibly imagined from the very beginning. Then came Crime & Punishment, which threw away all expectations & delved into a darker side not generally seen in the pages of Jump, & ideas so ambitious that it was sadly left unfinished. Hell (pun obviously intended), even when Hagiwara returned to that part of the story with The Seal of Magical Power, he stopped once again after a single volume. Finally, The Immoral Laws saw Dark Schneider return to not just full power, but a level so absurdly high that he not only puts the casts of Dragon Ball & Saint Seiya to shame, but laps them so many times that by the time they finally finish the race, D.S. will have already gone to bed for the night. And throughout all of that, Hagiwara made sure to give Bastard!! an expanded world beyond the manga, detailing the lives & stories of characters that never appear in the manga, making the world feel larger than you could ever imagine.

If you ever get the chance, definitely give Bastard!! a full read (or as "full" as an incomplete manga can be), because there's way more to it than its profane title indicates.

Bastard!! (Manga) © Kazushi Hagiwara
Bastard!! Drama CDs © 1991-1992, 1994 Kazushi Hagiwara/Shueisha
Bastard!! (OVA) © 1992 Kazushi Hagiwara/Shueisha
Bastard!!: Requiem of Spirits & Lying on the Devil's Bed © 1993 K. Hagiwara, N. Kishima
Bastard!!: Black Rainbow © 2001 & 2004 K. Hagiwara, B. Matsuyama
Bastard!!: Ninja Master Gara Gaiden © 2012 K. Hagiwara, H. Furuhashi
The Secrets of Bastard!! © Data House
Bastard!! Data Book © Kazushi Hagiwara 2004
Bastard!! (Super Famicom) © Kazushi Hagiwara/Shueisha © Cobra Team 1994
Bastard!!: Vessel of the Empty Gods © Kazushi Hagiawara 1996 © Shueisha 1996 © 1996 Seta Corporation
Bastard!! Online © Kazushi Hagiwara/Sheisha © Tecmo, Ltd. Shaft
Bastard!! (Mobage) Kazushi Hagiwara/Sheisha © DeNA/Developed by Marvelous AQL
Bastard!! (Pachislot) © Kazushi Hagiwara/Shueisha © Daxel
CR Bastard!! © Kazushi Hagiwara/Shueisha © Newgin


  1. It's funny Hagiwara draw porn doujin where DS banging every single women expect Arshes Nei & Yoko. And they're Dark Schneider's main love interests!

  2. Is there any english versions of the novels or data book? I would absolutely love to read them!

    1. Unfortunately, no. If there was some sort of English translation, I would have mentioned it.

  3. Are there any Bunkobon release of the verse that is available online? It's fine if they are in Japanese

    1. Shueisha does offer the 27-volume tankouban release digitally in Japan, but not the bunkoban, which isn't even complete anyway.

  4. Glad I was able to discover these write ups here because they reminded me why I feel in love with the series in the first place alongside finally getting a proper anime adaptation. I'd admit that the end of the road is bittersweet because through its 35 year history Bastard is still far from complete and what little scraps we get from time to time is all we can get but there's a light at the end because as recent as last week at the Bastard Exhibition Hagi gave us an author's message that confirmed his return to the series some day and that he's hard at work to make it happen now years back he did lament that he couldn't continue living the mangaka lifestyle and wanted to continue the series at some form via light novels or something less time consuming but hearing anything from these artists nowadays especially with the recent passing Miura and Takahashi is blessing. Anyways great work George on these write ups and hopefully with this recent interest in the series thanks to the new anime the franchise will be getting the love it so desperately deserved.