Warning Might contain spoilers.

Reminds me of Dota: Dragon’s Blood , though even that series is less preoccupied with being dark and dour. The badly-timed, would-be realistic animation robs it of personality and lends it an absurd character (notwithstanding the very rare appearance of better visuals, like in the battle between the gods and the giants in the first episode). Apart from the somewhat-adequate lead, the vocal performances are surprisingly bad. The endless violence and gore is gratuitous and unpleasant.

It has a few good moments scattered here and there, such as the misdirection when Ares surprises Zeus in the first episode, or the repeated tug of an older and simpler way of life in the polis. Scale is depicted well: the humans are dwarfed by the gods, but the same gods look like insects next to the giants. Hermes and Apollo are awe-inspiring in spite of the performances. (Hermes removing the cloud cover in the third episode is a tantalizing glimpse of a better show.) The plot is revealed in a tolerably gradual fashion, giving it more depth with time; the villain being the hero’s brother is in keeping with the finest traditions of Greek mythology. The bident is interesting—I had to turn on the subtitles to make sure I had heard the word correctly. Seraphim’s distorted musical motif stands head and shoulders above the rest of the score.

It’s hard to get past the terrible animation, however. Even Heron lifting a heavy rock tests your suspension of disbelief (and your belief that the laws of physics are in effect at all). When he’s mining ore in the second episode, it reminds me of nothing so much as the villagers in Age of Empires II: there’s a visible separation between the pickaxe’s movements in the foreground and the completely untouched ore behind it. The movements are sometimes inexpressibly bad, such as when Alexia is meant to be swimming or floating but instead glides through the water. There are even noticeable, straightforward continuity errors, like when Heron is speaking to someone but the medium shot of the two of them doesn’t reflect the reply we saw in the closeup.

After watching Alexia retrieve a lemon from a tree in the second episode, I amused myself by imagining the equivalent in a work like Better Call Saul . In that show, a character might contemplate the lemon for a few seconds, walk over to a set of swords, consider their options, pick one up and perhaps swing it experimentally to test its weight, return to the tree, gauge the distance, then, with economical movements, throw the sword precisely to severe the fruit before picking it up from the ground with an air of satisfaction. Sadly, the extant action consists only of Alexia awkwardly and angrily assaulting the tree.

The emotional moments are ridiculous thanks to the combination of the risible animation with the abysmal direction, mediocre writing, overwrought music, and pitiful performances. Seraphim, the apparent villain of the first few episodes, has one of the most ill-suited voices of the cast, devoid of charisma, confidence, or authority, and completely at odds with his appearance and demeanour.

The show tries to do much without the capacity to do even a little. I have no idea who most of the people we see are, or who the giants are, because mythology is really only incidental to its interests. (A poor contrast, as you’d expect, with Rick Riordan’s work.) I don’t understand why Cerberus sides with the giants, or why it cannibalizes itself in the most disgusting scene of the series. Or why the gods don’t bleed golden ichor. Or why they have such peculiar voices and accents. Or why Hera is the villain. Or whether Heron and Alexia are romantically linked or not, since parts of the story imply they are while others contradict those. I’ve also never seen an Apollo constantly try to save a philandering Zeus from Hera, though that may simply be ignorance on my part.

The ending is just as bad as the rest of it. Naturally, the entire chain of horrific events is set in motion by the actions of one foolish stripper goddess refusing to believe in the nobility and faithfulness of her philandering husband, and is only resolved when he nobly sacrifices his noble self. The only saving grace is that Seraphim finds no last-minute redemption. I don’t know whether it’s meant to suggest a sequel, and I couldn’t care less.

I regret the time wasted watching this. I thought Dota was badly written, directed, and edited, but this makes it look like a work of art, especially considering the difference in the quality of the animation. Of course, Blood of Zeus’s animation compares unfavourably even to that of 2003’s Justice League Unlimited, so that’s not saying much.

Letting the credits provide a peek behind the scenes is a curious choice considering the self-serious tone of the show. That said, the concept art is rather attractive.