Blood of Zeus – A Brilliant, Beautifully Modified, Re-telling of A Sacred Mythos

Gorgeously rendered and leaning heavily on ancient Greek mythology, this Netflix anime series has taken a defined story-telling approach. Brutal in the best of ways and endearing in others, it tells the stories of actual people, good and bad, and makes viewers feel for both.


You won’t find yesteryear heroes like Hercules or Perseus playing the protagonist but an ordinary human being called Heron, one of many sons of Zeus. The King of the Gods was, as myth-lovers know, ‘prolific’ when it came to his desires.


Pitted against Heron is a demonic race of beings who trace their status to a defeated Giant, one of the same Giants who rebelled against the gods and paid for it with his life. Keen readers will already be able to see the strong similarities and parallels to the original Greek mythos in the way Netflix decided to take this excellent series.


The show originally released on 27th October 2020 on Netflix, and has since garnered some illuminating reviews. “Blood of Zeus” is produced by Powerhouse Animation Studios.  



In The Land of Gods & Monsters


One bastard (in the strict sense of the word) son of Zeus and his half-brother, Seraphim, play core roles in this show. Spoiler alert, skim over this line if you haven’t yet seen the series… Seraphim playing the antagonistic role of demon king only proves how brilliant yet simple the writers of the show have played their hand.


Creators, writers, and brothers Charley Parlapanides and Vlas Parlapanides did not predict the show’s positive reception and success. Director Shaunt Nigoghossian has much to be proud of, especially how well he made an anime series feel like a full-fledged movie.


The voice cast includes highly talented names. Some of these characters are fictional and not connected to the core mythos that permeates the plotline of this exquisitely crafted series.


The voice talents are Derek Phillips as Heron, Elias Toufexis as Seraphim, Jason O’Mara as Zeus, Claudia Christian as Hera, Adetokumboh M’Cormack as Kofi, Matthew Mercer as Hermes, Chris Diamantopoulos as Evios, Adam Croasdell as Apollo, Jessica Henwick as Alexia, Melina Kanakaredes as Ariana, and Mamie Gummer (daughter of the legendary Meryl Streep) as Electra.


The Human Element


Charley and Vlas Parlapanides both started out with “Blood of Zeus” aiming to include a human-centric story instead of the deific representation most Hollywood films adopted when it came to bringing the Greek pantheon to film.


To borrow one of the brother’s (Vlas’s) quotes from Inverse (the website),

“Those original stories have stood the test of time, for thousands of years. And they get reinterpreted. What happens with popular culture is that it develops its own sense of what [the stories] are like.”


Vlas and Charley, while still cherishing what came before, tapped into their ongoing passion for anime and blended the ideas together. “Blood of Zeus” is the result. The show beautifully communicates the message that even the gods are not exempt from the consequences of their actions.


The Story



This Japanese-influenced anime is to the point, more so than its genre might otherwise imply. It has the Greek gods being true to their fickle and selective natures. It sees some people suffering while others revel in the fruits of corruption. It witnesses monsters living up to their natures. And the show has not shied away from gore either.


With one foot in the traditional and familiar and another in the modern and unknown, “Blood of Zeus” has surprised viewers with how deftly it balances all these worlds, meanings, and mythologies.


Charley Parlapanides is on record saying,

“We’ve pitched every iteration of Greek mythology possible. And when you pitch executives the traditional, tried and true story, their eyes glaze over. Oh, we’ve seen this a thousand times… What we had to do is frame it as this last story in Greek mythology. We get past the gatekeepers by saying, ‘This is a story you don’t know.’ ”


The brothers actually took a page out of history, even if that page happened to be missing. Vlas Parlapanides has said, “Many of them [the original mythos] were never transcribed. So we thought, maybe some were lost. The question we asked was, ‘What if this were one of those tales?’ That intrigued us. We could take artistic liberty and tell the story we wanted to tell.”


Approved By The Fates, Apparently


John Derderian, Netflix’s Director of Japan & Anime, initially generated the momentum needed for the brothers to take the show to the next level, all the way up to today when “Blood of Zeus” enjoys being on Netflix’s U.S. Top 10 most-viewed list.


The brothers adopted an ‘anthology show’ approach for the early version of “Blood of Zeus”. Just think ‘American Horror Story’ meets Greek myth. Derderian, however, was bent on finding a show for Netflix that could be adapted purely as an anime. Going through what the Parlapanides had plotted for “Blood of Zeus Season 4” in their initial submission of a pilot script and a 10-page outline whetted John Derdarian’s appetite.


Season 1 of “Blood of Zeus” is as gripping as it is foundation-laying, and it does so much in just eight episodes. The show succinctly lacks its Japanese counterpart’s pacing and framing but has instead implemented the ‘western film language’ approach that has come to define American anime.


There is every possibility for Netflix to say yes to a second season, but that is yet to be confirmed. The Parlapanides brothers have pitched every facet of this anime-styled series for a good five seasons worth. But most of it boils down to viewership, and that “Blood of Zeus” has most assuredly earned.


Netflix has become a giant in its own right, and we aren’t referring to some of the baddies in this series. What this means is that the streamer can choose which show to progress irrespective of that show’s initial success.


Another spoiler alert so feel free to skip this quote if you are finicky about such things… Charley Parlapanides is quoted on CinemaBlend sharing a little something about the shocking season-one cliffhanger finale of “Blood of Zeus”: “It’s a big set-up for Season 2. Fundamentally, Season 1 is about Heron and Seraphim, and their stories continue in Season 2. But we have a 20-page outline for Season 2, and it’s very much a story of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. The three brothers. We go back to the story of when the brothers divided the three realms of the world.”


The Goddess Hera may have played some fine cards in season one but the final-episode scene where Seraphim pledges fealty to Hades, the God of the Underworld, has everyone thirsting for the next anime-chapter in this already successful series.


We shall conclude with two interesting quotes from the Brothers Parlapanides (courtesy Inverse)…


Vlas: “Our generation grew up loving Japanese anime. Now is our chance to step into that arena and tell stories from our point of view. There are sensibility differences. One thing we’re doing is making Blood of Zeus as cinematic as possible. It’s like a movie within the anime space. I love in anime those static shots like it’s a beautiful drawing and you’re panning as someone speaks, but in our show, it’s more of a western cinematic language where you’re looking at reaction shots, not just static shots. In Japanese anime, you could pause and look at the frame and it’s beautiful. Our show is more about capturing moments, so you might not get those beautiful frames.”


Charley: “We just wanted to tell a story that we felt stayed true to what made Greek mythology so great. For me, what makes those stories great is the sword and sandal element. I don’t agree with the supposition that these stories have been told before and they’re done. The Greek gods have been around for three thousand years. People are still telling these stories. There’s something inherently true about them.”


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