In Norse Mythology, Ragnarok is conceived as a set of events that follows a great battle. It led to the death of many prominent Norse Gods and humans. Ragnarok is the submersion of the world into the water, so to start anew with two humans to repopulate the fertile land. The anime series Record of Ragnarok envelopes similar destruction brought upon the universe. But there isn’t any disaster to follow. Rather, the Gods council to annihilate humanity.
‘Record of Ragnarok’ Season 1 Summary
After every 1000 years, at the council of Valhalla, the gods decide the fate of humanity whether they should be allowed to exist for the next 1000 years or not. Finally, after seven million years, looking at the state of mankind and their actions, the God almighty Zeus decides to end human existence.
However, before he can announce his decision to the council, a Valkyrie (half-bred God), Brunhild argues that mankind should be given a chance to prove their mettle. To save humanity, she proposes an ultimate battle between God and man, Ragnarok.
The constitution of Valhalla specified that Ragnarok is a “one-on-one” battle between humans and their creator, which will decide their fate. 13 gods will fight against 13 humans, and whichever side achieves seven victories first will win. If humans win, they’ll be granted another 1000 years of existence.
So let’s get this battle started.
First Battle ‘Thor vs Lu Bu’ Explained
After the MCU, Thor has become a pretty famous god who doesn’t need much introduction. Yet, for formalities, he is the God of thunder, son of Odin, and protector of Asgard. In addition, Thor wields an unrivaled hammer, Mjollnir, with the help of which safeguarded Asgard from the Jötunheimr (giants) attack. Since then, he is well-admired.
Lu Bu was a human warrior, the most powerful on earth. He was the ruler of the three kingdoms and belonged to Jiuyuan County, Wuyuan Commandery (modern-day Mongolia). He searched for an actual opponent who could beat him or satisfy his battle hunger during his lifetime, but he never found one.
In the first battle of Record of Ragnarok, Thor fought against Lu Bu, and it was speculated that he wouldn’t stand a chance against Mjollnir. But Brunhild knew that from the beginning. So, to empower human warriors, she yields a weapon for Lu Bu. Randgriz, the fourth of the 13 Valkyrie, transformed herself into Lu Bu’s halberd.
Yet, Lu Bu was no match for Thunder God. In the final moments, Thor used his ultimate technique, “Geirrod Thor’s hammer,” and Lu Bu applied his “Sky Eater.” But, Thor mercilessly demolished Lu Bu’s body, thereby crumbling his soul, not to be born again. In the end, Lu Bu got what he yearned for, a worthy opponent and peace. Valkyrie, Randgriz perished with him.
Second Battle “Zeus vs Adam” Explained
In the second battle of the Record of Ragnarok, the father of the gods, Zeus, fought against the father of all human beings, Adam. Zeus, often referred to as the Godfather of the Cosmos, is famous for Titanomachy. A fierce mythological battle in which Olypiam gods defeated the omnipotent Titans. After the war, Zeus killed his father, Cronus, to take over the throne of Mount Olympus.
The story of Adam and Eve is pretty standard. Yet, for a recap, Adam and Eve were banished from paradise for eating the forbidden fruit. Since then, Adam has resented God truthfully. However, he was a reflection of gods, and therefore he could mimic all the powers a god could exhibit. In simple words, a mimic or, as you may like to call it, A Divine Reflection. To amplify the fight, Reginleif, the daughter of the gods and the seventh of the 13 Valkyrie, transformed into iron knuckles to hit Zeus without sympathies.
But despite his utmost zeal and pursuit to save his children, Adam failed to knock down Zeus. His body got overheated by mimicking Zeus’ final transformation,i.e., Adamas. He faded away along with Reginleif, handing over another victory to Gods.
Third Battle “Poseidon vs Kojiro Sasaki” Explained
Now, this was my favourite battle of ‘Record of Ragnarok’ Season 1. And I will be really inclined towards Kojiro, because why not? He is the perfect specimen of “what an underdog loser can do.”
Beginning with Poseidon, he is the ruler of the seas and brother of Zeus. He is often lauded as the Zeus Enalios, “Zeus of the Ocean.” The water god has led a pretty shelved life and believes in individuality rather than companionship. He was born supreme and, thus, never had to really struggle for anything. But among gods, he is the most feared of all. Poseidon is a God-killer. He killed his own elder brother, Adamas, who tried to threaten Zeus’s throne. According to Brunhild, historically, there were 13 gods, but when Poseidon killed Adamas, history was re-written with only 12. Zeus didn’t want the mention of his rebellious elder brother.
His opponent, Kojiro Sasaki, was born a loser. He is considered the most significant loser in history. But that’s what makes Kojiro interesting. He always had room for evolution and transformation.
400 years after his death, Kojiro never stopped training. Through his zeal, he finally attained the title of “The Number One Under the Sun.“
Kojiro trained in swordsmanship during his earthly tenure, but his goal wasn’t to battle against his own kind. He wasn’t in competition with anyone, and thus, trained all alone merely to improve himself. Kojiro battled against masterful samurais and grasped their techniques. But, he would instead surrender than let them kill him. Later, he would play all the possible outcomes of the battle in his mind until he had triumphed. Kojiro spent his life learning from his favorite masters, but he never won a single action in his journey. Like the parched soil thirsty for water, Kojiro sought out foes he was no match for and continued to lose. Until his battle against the God, Poseidon.
Against Poseidon, Kojiro used all the techniques he learned throughout his existence. His masters fought alongside him. It was the ultimate homage one could pay. Besides his tribute, there was one other stance that I would love to mention.
At one point, Kojiro asks Poseidon, “Have you ever practised your swing all night until the break of dawn? Have you wept tears of gratitude to a foe who made you stronger?” Well, being a supreme god born in power, Poseidon would never have experienced the struggle and hardship of a mortal warrior. It was the singular most crucial layer in Record of Ragnarok that makes the series outstanding. As a god, you are a just horizontal line running without end, but a human experiences a steep set of failure or victory, which garnishes his character and makes him attractive.
With the combined passion of all his masters, Kojiro inflicted incurable wounds on Poseidon, slashing his head afterward. Thus, a god slayer was slain by a mortal.
What was the role of Valkyries?
Brunhild, the leader of the Valkyries, played a prominent part in stopping the destruction of mankind. She detested gods who misused their power and destroyed life at will. To prevent the ruination of humans, she suggested Ragnarok and played an active part in the battle.
In Norse mythology, Valkyries assisted the souls of the fallen humans to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla. In simple words, they were soul bearers. They would decide the fate of the souls, whether they would achieve heaven/paradise or hell.
In Record of Ragnarok, the thirteen Valkyries assisted humans in the arena battles. They transformed themselves into a weapon for humans, giving them a chance to fight against Gods. This ability was underlined as “Divine Treasure Forge or Volundr.”
‘Record of Ragnarok’ Season 1 Ending Credits
For the fourth battle of Ragnarok, Zeus appoints his unrivalled, valiant warrior, Hercules, against Earth’s Jack the Ripper. The fight would take place in a made-up arena designed to look like 19th Century London. It was Jack’s personal request. The battle would be covered further in ‘Record of Ragnarok’ Season 2.
Before the battle announcement, Goll, Brunhild’s youngest sister, saw her with Hermes, one of the 12 gods. The mysterious visual suggested that there could be another motive for Brunhild to despise the gods. Speculatively, it could also be a plan schemed by Hermes, who resented Zeus’s obsession with war and destruction. Season two will explore the cliffhanger further.
By the end of ‘Record of Ragnarok’ Season 1, the humans won 1 battle. God dominated the competition with two winning bouts. Mankind has to win 6 more fights to save themselves from annihilation. In season 2, every match will count.
Record of Ragnarok is a 2021 Anime Series based on the manga series of the same name. It is streaming on Netflix.