WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 1 of Record of Ragnarok, now streaming on Netflix.
The anime adaptation of Record of Ragnarok was widely anticipated, with fans hoping it would do justice to the manga's over-the-top, grandiose battle sequences. The show finally released on Netflix last week, but the answer as to whether or not it succeeds in portraying its source material well has been a resounding 'no' for most.
Part of Record of Ragnarok's divisiveness is its cheap and watered-down animation, resulting in fight scenes that are not only boring but reduced to static images. This is the show's most egregious sin, but it all stems from the half-hearted effort surrounding the entire production.
Record of Ragnarok Suffers From Static Animation
The series has quickly gained notoriety for one fight scene in particular, though not for the right reasons. The battle between the Biblical Adam and the Greek god Zeus is one of the Record of Ragnarok manga's most epic fights, and the show hypes its equivalent to be the same way. Unfortunately, all of this pomp and circumstance is for naught as the battle is hilariously anti-climactic in the worst kind of way.
As pointed out in these Twitter threads, Adam and Zeus's fight is portrayed in a series of static images that have been compared to Powerpoint presentation slides. Needless to say, this hasn't endeared the sequence or the show as a whole, with most viewers' opinions of the story being sullied by this fight in particular. Even though static images like these aren't wholly common throughout, the animation seen here is so egregious that it's pretty much all the series is currently known for. As bad as it is in Record of Ragnarok, it's still only a symptom of the show's greater production sins.
Record of Ragnarok: A Low-Effort Adaptation
Many could tell the show might not quite be up to snuff from its early images and trailers, and this reaction stemmed from how epic and ornate the manga is by comparison. The character designs in Record of Ragnarok were as elaborate as the series' divine subject matter required, but they were already made flatter and more watered down from the initial key visuals. This was the first sign that things were going wrong, especially as far as animation goes. As mentioned, full-on static "scenes" like the Adam vs. Zeus fight are not common, but fights where special effects and auras are the only elements that feel fluid are.
This makes all of the fight scenes extremely boring, especially compared to how dynamic they were in the manga. Likewise, too much of Record of Ragnarok is spent on the spectators hyping up the fighters involved in each bout, only for the actual fights to be much rarer and incredibly underwhelming. Said fights also finish quickly, making them arguably not worth the wait. Even some of the manga's signature exaggerated facial expressions are toned down, removing some of the characters' charm.
It gives the impression that the series was either sloppily done by an inattentive studio, or was handled by one that lacked the experience to handle such a property. Given the rather lackluster resume of studio Graphinica, the latter seems to be the case. Thus, Record of Ragnarok's biggest problem is the cheap, amateurish nature of its production, though the boring and stilted fight scenes are an issue as well.