In the Japanese manga series Record of Ragnarök, created by Shinya Umemura and Takumi Fukui with illustrations by Ajichika, the fate of humanity is at stake in a battle match between famous historical individuals and Gods from many myths. Every millennium, the Gods' Council meets to decide the fate of mankind. In their most recent meeting, they determined that the 7 million years of unsalvageable human history justified the extinction of all human beings.
However, the Valkyrie Brunhilde advocates giving mankind one more opportunity to show their worth. The Gods agree to hold the Ragnarök tournament, where humanity will be saved if they can defeat the Gods in seven out of thirteen bouts. The Einherjar are historical figures that embody humanity. Each is given a valkyrie who, at the risk of losing her life (Niflhel) if the user is slain, turns into a strong weapon called "Volund" that is specifically suited to their fighting style.
Record of Ragnarök is more than just an anime to be seen visually, but to be understood deeply. While the show has been criticized for its animation, we believe that there are multiple perspectives from which you can enjoy the show. Understanding the severity of each situation in context allows you to engage with the show as if each bout, each swing of a weapon, every word uttered, is a carefully calculated and intentional action that has very serious consequences. The value of this anime’s writing supersedes the sometimes superficial high-budget animations which today's media is oversaturated with.
The chosen humans are desperately fighting for the sake of humanity, while the Gods who compete, are engaging in combat at the risk of their own existence; absolute death, Niflhel. If looked at more deeply, the cost of human survival means the erasure of these religious beings. Record of Ragnarök brings to our attention a very intriguing insight, in that while fighting for humanity, we lose connection with the very Gods we pray to for our survival. Which begs the question, who do we pray to when the adversity we face, is the Gods themselves.
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