5 Anime That Pay Homage To Mythology From Around The World
Mythology and folktales were the beginning of storytelling. Through song, dance and word of mouth, these tales floated through generations. Sometimes, small details would change with time, but the essence of the story would remain. Japan has a deep appreciation for the traditional and especially, the origins of their own mythology.
With the spread of information-these creators are able to reach beyond their scope and look into other myths and folktales to derive inspiration from. These amazing and introspective tales have been woven into anime seamlessly. Let’s take a look at 5 anime that embody mythology from around the world.
Rage of Bahamut
This anime has its origin story as a social card game steeped with fantasy and adventure themes. The show does not stray far from this concept as the title promises. Bahamut is part of Arabian mythology; this creature acts as the supporter of the world, lifting us with its mighty frame. The power of Bahamut translates to the anime by acting as the true antagonist with its seemingly inevitable release. This, well-received, 12 episode anime also had a 24 part second season, and a spin-off.
Kamigami No Asobi
Visual novel meets beautiful animation and a few action sequences, in this 12 episode anime. It begins with the same comedic energy of being forced to be around handsome men as Ouran High School Host Club gives off. Although, it calms down the reverse harem trope with mythological dialogue from Loki, Apollo, Hades, etc., injected into each episode. This one promises to teach you about gods from all different reaches of the world in a light hearted package of visuals, captivating scores and intriguing storyline.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
In the highly popular and supernatural packed show there is a season that boasts Egyptian gods as the antagonists and the Nile river as a locale. If you make your way to season 2 of Jojo and the fight against the universes forces of evil, you come across the High Priestess and the Nine Glory Gods. They are direct references to Anubis, Atum, Bastet, Geb, Horus, Khnum, Osiris, Sethan, and Thoth. They are loosely based on the Ennead (Greek term) which is the title for the true nine deities of Egyptian Mythology. Although, the Nine Glory Gods only reflect 4 of the Ennead, and even then, you only end up seeing 7 of the 9 gods.
You might be a little nervous of a show made by Crunchyroll, but this one promises representation and a true nod to the heart of storytelling. Onyx Equinox hands you Mesoamerican themes such as sacrifices, gods and champions, but turns these themes into more than the anime tropes they have been often showcased as. A sacrifice that actually rips open the definition and shows you what it looks like to give yourself selflessly to your people. A young boy that goes beyond the normal hero expectations and struggles with his identity as the champion. Finally, the gods of this world are nothing like mythology shown previously. They are a refreshing look into a cultural identity that has never been explored like this before.
Attack on Titan
If you are a super fan of AOT then you will probably know this fun fact, if not, well, this well-known series is steeped in Norse Mythology references. There is a minor debate on if the Titans themselves reference the giants in Norse or Greek mythology. This can be brought to one big point though: Ymir. The giant was the foundation, the beginning, of it all in Norse lore. Ymir (by the very same name) is also used as the blueprint for the Eldian Empire in AOT. We have sacrifices, one-eyed characters, giant walls, and defenders of realms…a lot of parallels here.
Mythology has been picked apart and used for centuries to help build plots or inspire character arcs. There are so many cultures out there and anime is finally starting to really explore these outer tales and incorporate them into their storylines. We finally have a Mesoamerican anime and references to Egyptian mythology coming in streams. Greek mythology has always been one of my favorites, but I am excited to see this shift into representing other origins. Lore comes from the very beginning of creativity and explanations for what is happening around us and I think it’s about time we start seeing this incorporated.
All images taken from their respective anime or manga