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Manga / Record of Ragnarok

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Cover for the first volume. Lu Bu (left) and Thor (right).

The end is nigh for humanity. The gods have called together their convention, and at last, decided that humanity must be eradicated. Yet, there is one last hope: the ultimate battle between mankind and the gods themselves, Ragnarök. Set forth by the Valkyrie Brunhilde, the tournament for the fate of all of humanity begins.

Written by authors Fukui Takumi and Shinya Umemura, and with the art done by the team Azychika, the manga began publication on November 25, 2017, under the title of Shūmatsu no Walküre in Monthly Comic Zenon.

In September 2019, a spin-off centered on Lü Bu's past life was released, with the name of Shūmatsu no Valkyrie - The Legend of Lu Bu "The Flying General", written by the same authors but with a different artist (Takeo Ono). It published its first volume on the 20th of April 2020. An anime, produced by Graphinica, was announced with the release of the 9th volume. The anime adaptation was released on Netflix, on the 17th of June of 2021. A second season was announced on the 18th of August of 2021, slated to air in 2023, with Graphinica's sister studio Yumeta Company assisting with animation duties. In October 2022, a spin-off centered on Jack the Ripper's past life was released, called Shūmatsu no Valkyrie - Jack the Ripper Case Files, written by the same authors but with a different artist (Keita Iizuka).

Compare to Kengan Ashura in the tournament-style and long, drawn-out battles. Also, compare to Baki the Grappler in the brutality of its combat.

Record of Ragnarök provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects:
    • The many faceless soldiers in Lü Bu's army cheering from the stands are animated in 3D.
    • The fight between Heracles and Jack the Ripper in the anime alternates between both 2D and 3D mediums, which is made obvious when Heracles' hair remains as stiff as a brick when he turns 3D.
    • Bishamonten is the only major character to be animated through CGI, with the other Lucky Gods animated normally in 2D.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: 13 Champions, 13 Gods, and 13 Valkyries. Anyone dying in Ragnarök will cease to exist.
  • Actor Allusion: Both involves the Japanese and Latin American Spanish dubs and both also involves the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: In Season 2 of the anime, the confrontation between Buddha and Loki is moved from the early part of Round 5 to the interim between Rounds 4 and 5, meaning that Buddha and the Seven Lucky Gods are introduced slightly earlier than they are in the manga.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the Biblical myths, Eve was convinced by the Serpent to eat a fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and did so of her own volition. Here, she was actually framed by the Serpent in an act of spite after he tried and failed to force himself onto her. Similarly, Adam was convinced to eat the fruit by Eve in the Bible, but here, he does it voluntarily as an act of bold defiance to the gods.
  • Adaptational Villainy: It goes largely without saying, but pretty much every God. Some less so than others but in almost any mythology you’d care to name humanity survives solely by the patronage and protection of at least a few gods. Here, the whole lot of them are trying to end it.
  • Adaptation Expansion: A minor example, but in the manga the confrontation between Buddha's group and Loki's group is stopped by Zeus before any actual fighting can come of it. By contrast, the anime features a brief skirmish between Loki and Souji Okita, with the two expressing an equal animosity towards each other.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: The anime shows Poseidon's trident disappearing along with his corpse to Niflhel after he gets killed by Kojiro Sasaki. However, this contradicts a later event from the manga in which Poseidon's servant Proteus gives the remains of the trident (that in the manga don't disappear) to Hades before his fight in Ragnarök begins so he can avenge Poseidon using something that belonged to him, with Hades fusing it with his bident to make his revenge more meaningful.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Heracles, the demigod, was actually born as a fragile human boy in this version of his story and only ascended to demi-godhood by drinking the blood of Zeus.
  • Adapted Out: The Three Great Sages (Confucius, Socrates, and Jesus of Nazareth) that appeared during Buddha's fight in the manga are removed from the anime.
  • Age Lift: Several of the Einherjar, but also a number of spectators, all of whom were presumably quite old when they died. One that stands out is Miyamoto Iori, who is portrayed as a young boy when he was actually in his sixties at the time of his death. The fighters at least have the excuse of being returned to their physical prime, but the spectators have no such excuse.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Kojiro manages to accumulate the experience of his fights while he was still living and hone them in the afterlife. As such, he's managed to incorporate all the techniques of the swordsmen he's faced into his own unique style.
  • Anachronism Stew: The fashion senses of the supernatural entities and mortal figures are all over the place. On one hand, most of them are wearing clothes appropriate of their times, such as Zeus's white garments, the Valkyrie sister's dresses, or Jack the Ripper's British gentleman outfit. On the other hand, some of the gods like Buddha and Hades have outfits that look completely out of place (and doesn't fit the god's image), and Göll wears modern clothes in heavy contrast to her sister's elegant dresses. Furthermore, despite the architecture of the god's realm is Greco-Roman, they have access to tablets, advanced healing machines and sickbeds, none of them which should be present in ancient Greece.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Human history is stated to lasted 7 million years in the work by present day. The start of the "Old Stone Age" was dated to be around 2.5 million years agonote  at most while the Bronze Age was around 5000 years ago, in which the latter is defined as "early human history". The closest to the figure stated would be the formation of the homo sapien genus itself, which took place around 6-7 million years ago. Either this, or the story takes place in an unspecified far future.
  • Anti-Hero: Jack the Ripper. The number of people who appreciates having him as one of humanity's champions can be counted on a blind carpenter's hand.
  • Anti-Villain: Heracles, oh so much. He may be fighting for the gods, but he thinks incredibly highly of humanity. He also outright tells Loki that he is firmly against exterminating humanity and will keep the rest of the gods from destroying them even if he wins his round.
  • Anyone Can Die: No matter how powerful or how sympathetic the fighters are, all bets are off for the combatants.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The manga loves to use this trope, to the point that, except for the second fight, all the battles featured so far have presented damage made to the arms of one of the combatants.
    • For the first round, Lu Bu loses both of his arms after being hit by Thor's last attack, removing the right one with his teeth, even.
    • For the third round, Kojiro manages to cut both of Poseidon's arms (one first, then the other) after analyzing his pattern of attack, forcing Poseidon to hold his trident with his teeth in a last, desperate attack.
    • For the fourth round, Heracles gets his left arm sliced by the clock of the Big Ben tower when he tries to block it after Jack throws it at him, not knowing the clock had divine properties thanks to the ability of Jack's Volund.
    • For the fifth round, Shiva gets one of his (four) arms maimed by Raiden after he grabs it and crushes it. He then loses two more to Raiden's Yatagarasu. Raiden also loses one of his arms to Shiva's Devaloka.
    • For the sixth round, after having his left forearm cut by Buddha's Salakayas, Hajun brutally rips off his own wounded arm to form a hand-shaped sword with it. Unlike other cases, despite the handicap of having only one arm, Hajun manages to remain a threat and even gets to destroy Buddha's Six Realms staff.
    • For the seventh round, Qin Shi Huang has his left arm sheared off after a failed attempt at stopping Hades' Ichor: Eos attack.
    • For the eighth round, Nikola Tesla's final gambit is to use the Tesla Warp on his right arm to teleport it behind Beelzebub in a Rocket Punch while he attacks from the front in order to catch him in a pincer attack.
    • For the ninth round, there is a downplayed example. Apollo's right arm ends up badly damaged when Leonidas deflects one of his arrows of light back at him and then that arm is further mangled when Apollo opts to use it in his final attack.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Poseidon, who in contrast to his ever-evolving opponent (Kojiro) or Zeus and Thor before him, never bothers to adjust or improve his fighting style (that is, thrust his trident at a problem multiple times with overwhelming strength) because he believes he is an utterly perfect being.
  • Avenging the Villain:
    • Following Poseidon's death, Zeus and the other Greek Gods decide to send Heracles in the next round as the representative of the gods, hoping for him to avenge the humiliation that the defeat of the God of the Seas brought to their Pantheon. This fails miserably, and Heracles is killed at the end.
    • Hades enters the seventh round, seeking to avenge his brother. His servant Proteus is also on board with the revenge, supplying Hades with what's left of his master's weapon so he can indirectly help him. He too ends up falling, much to his regret and the sorrow of Zeus and Adamas, among others.
    • Following Hades' defeat, Beelzebub volunteers for the eighth round. While originally planning to fight and hopefully die when his time came, his anger towards Hades' death compels him to fight harder to annihilate the humans he sees as responsible. He succeeds where previous attempts have failed.
  • Back Story: Because of the limited amount of chapters for each round, this is a must for all the fighters to flesh them out.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Round 6 pulls this no less than four times. Originally, is expected for Buddha to be the representant of the gods for the 6th fight, but he unexpectedly deflects to the human side and goes to fight against the side he was supposed to represent. After that, the Seven Lucky Gods arrive to the battlefied, with Bishamonten apparently going to become the champion of the gods. However, he instead fuses with the rest of the Lucky Gods and reveal they were in truth a singly divinity named Zerofuku that ends being the true fighter from the god side for Round 6. And then, after some chapters of fight, when Buddha manages to defeat Zerofuku, the misery god is possessed by the horns of his head (who become two dragons) and swallowed into an egg-shaped cocoon, summoning the demon Hajun, who then proceeds to take Zerofuku's place and confront Buddha.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Adam's specialty, on account of his Eyes of God, is to instantly copy the moves of his opponent (Zeus in this case) and turn it back on them.
  • Big Bad: Being the leader of the gods, Zeus is the main antagonist of the series. Unusually for this trope, he is, however, the second of the gods to fight, as opposed to being the last one like Brunhilde and Göll thought. Since he wins his fight with Adam, he still keeps being the main villain, although now in a supporting role, as his fight is over.
  • Big Entrance: Ragnarök is treated as both a brutal and heart wrenching tournament to spare humanity from extinction and a spectacle showcasing some of the most notable gods and men to ever exist. As such, most of the fighters from both sides have made it a point to enter the arena in spectacular fashion, accompanied by Heimdall's announcements and often some extra effects from their lives and/or cultures.
  • Big Good: The Valkyrie Brunhilde fulfills this role in the manga. She advocates for the salvation of the humans, giving them a chance to avoid extinction by taking advantage of the pride of the gods to start Ragnarok, and is the one who selects the human warriors that will participate in the tournament to surpass the gods. Also a case when she's both the leader of the good guys and the main protagonist. Despite this, she can be surprisingly ruthless and devious to assure that humanity wins Ragnarok, resorting to any kind of methods to ensure their victory.
  • Blood Knight: From the very first match, where Lu Bu let himself get hanged so that he could escape the boredom of having not a single worthy foe before returning for the tournament, and Thor came to respect his adversary for giving him the first true battle of his life, it was made clear that this whole series was going to be a series of battles between people whose greatest passion is combat. It's almost easier to count the combatants in the series who don't either live for the joy of fighting or use battle as a means of expressing themselves or coming to an understanding. (For the record, Poseidon, who's such a miserable prick he doesn't like anything, the Buddha and Zerofuku, whose battle is more of a personal grudge match, and Adam, who's just defending his family without being too worked up about it.)
  • Bloody Murder: Jack's final blow against Heracles has him coat his Volund gloves with his own blood, turning it into a divine weapon that he uses to impale and kill the god.
  • Bookends: Before Sasaki passes to the afterlife, he is killed by a cross-slash from Musashi. Fittingly he ends the fight against Poseidon with a cross-slash of his own.
  • Break the Haughty: Sasaki Kojiro's defeat of Poseidon, the one recognized as the most prideful of gods. Also, Poseidon's killing of Adamas.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Inverted. Zeus is critically injured after "defeating" Adam to the point that his wounds keep exploding when he gets even a little bit stressed. Similarly, Shiva defeats Raiden but loses three of his four arms for it.
  • Broken Win/Loss Streak:
    • Not only does Sasaki Kojiro's victory over Poseidon end his own lifelong losing streak but it ends Humanity's losing streak in Ragnarok, and not a moment too soon in Round 3.
    • The Greek Pantheon suffers three losses in a row after Zeus' victory, and it ends with the win of final Greek god to fight in the tournament, Apollo.
  • Bully Turned Buddy: The two bullies that tormented Alcides and Castor in the past are shown in Ragnarok rooting for the former (now Heracles) during his fight against Jack the Ripper, implying that they came to respect him despite mocking and beating him before his ascension to godhood.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
    • As stated in Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass below, Sasaki Kojiro’s first appearance depicts him as a ditzy old man, and even in combat, he's full of laughter and relaxation. He's also the greatest swordsman of his era, beating out the majority of famous Japanese swordsman up to and including Miyamoto Musashi.
    • A lot of the gods also fall into this trope; Shiva, for example, is lazy and prefers to dance instead of fight; Buddha eats lollipops and wears bizarre T-shirts.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Shiva keeps trying to enter the early rounds of the competition, but is repeatedly vetoed by the Greek pantheon. He finally gets his chance to fight in the fifth round, and wins.
    • Ares is a much more prominent and truer example, being a Paper Tiger who almost always guesses the outcome of a fight or the workings of a technique incorrectly and needs Hermes or someone else to explain, as well as being absolutely terrified when he realizes just how powerful certain combatants are.
  • Cain and Abel: The eponymous brothers are spectators during their father's fight with Zeus. Amusingly, Cain continues to beat up an oblivious Abel even as both continue to cheer Adam on.
  • Canon Foreigner: While all the divinities presented on the manga are figures from the mythologies from all the world, there are two gods featured in the work that are created for the series and have no known counterpart in mythology:
    • The first one is Adamas, a fallen Olympian god who was killed by Poseidon before the start of the series and who was forgotten by everyone after Poseidon erased his name from history. His inclusion in the series was likely a way to show Poseidon's cruelty without wasting any of the "canon" Olympians for potential appearances in the current timeline.
    • The other one is Zerofuku, who is the original form of the Seven Lucky Gods and split himself into the seven due having a nasty breakdown after failing to deliver happiness to humans in the past. He reappears in the tournament after Bishamonten and the other six Lucky Gods fuse again into him to fight Buddha in the sixth round of Ragnarok, with the intention of taking revenge on Buddha, who succeeded in bringing happiness to his followers, unlike him.
  • Cast from Hit Points:
    • Heracles's Hercule Exodus is manifesting one of his Twelve Labors as an attack, but causes his tattoo to grow and consume him. If it completely consumes him, then Heracles's will be completely annihilated.
    • Both fighters in the fifth round have this going on. Raiden's muscles at full capacity are destroying his own body as he uses them, and Shiva's Tandava Karma literally burns him away to give him better attributes and a flaming body.
  • Cast Herd: Most broadly, the cast is divided in four ways, between gods and mortal humans, and then between fighters and non-fighters, with the fighters, both god and human, getting the lion's share of focus and development. Demigods generally default to the godly side. The Valkyries fall somewhere in the middle, being demigoddesses who do fight, but as weapons as opposed to active participants, and get less focus than the human combatants to whom they're bonded.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Sasaki Kojiro's ability to predict as well as his superhuman swordsmanship and physical prowess stem not from his natural body but from years of training and constant defeat.
  • Combat Commentator: As the tournament is set up half so that the gods can be entertained and demonstrate their might, Heimdall commentates on the tournament throughout its duration. Apart from him, there are other characters that appear commenting on the skills and feats of the fighters, the most remarkable ones being Brunhilde, Göll, Hermes and Ares.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • After his arm and trident are chopped off, Poseidon grabs them both with his other arm, but unlike the more "honorable" previous fights, Sasaki doesn't give him a chance to reorient himself and presses onward with his onslaught as the sea god had proved himself to be a loveless snob devoid of empathy.
    • Jack the Ripper serves as perhaps the ultimate example of this, as he requests a pre-designed arena that gives him an advantage, lies multiple times about what his powers do, sets up traps, and lures his opponent into them, and even attacks mid-sentence.
  • Conspicuous CG: The second season of the anime adaptation tries to bulwark against the infamous Limited Animation of its predecessor by using 3D models during motion-heavy scenes. The Hercules and Jack the Ripper fight where this technique first crops up tries to conceal these switches with the low light conditions of the arena it takes place in.
  • Cowardly Lion: During their fateful confrontation, Ares was ready to battle Heracles to the bitter end, but was relieved when Zeus intervened to stop them from fighting further as he was aware there was a real chance the demigod would slay them if the duel had continued.
    • He's also terrified when Hermes implies he'll be picked for the seventh round, and has to psyche himself up by reminding himself he's the god of war. And then it turns out Hermes was talking about Hades and hadn't even considered Ares for fighting.
  • Crossover Cosmology: All gods from different mythologies fight each other. While pretty much all of the historical characters from various religions and mythologies exist in the manga, there were plenty of instances where some of the finer details were misinterpreted, changed, or had been erased.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Sasaki Kojiro. The ditz as mentioned below and portrayed both in present and past as a warrior with a seemingly total lack of will for victory turns out to be the one considered humanity's greatest swordsman. Hell, he's even the one who pulls of mankind's first victory.
    • Zeus. He is initially shown as a frail, senile old man, but during his fight, he is revealed to be a shapeshifting flesh monster whose speed defies the concept of time and whose durability borders on complete invincibility.
  • Darkest Hour: In the third round of Ragnarök, Kojiro's divine weapon is shattered by Poseidon. Since he has no means of harming the god, and Hrist, the valkyrie taking the form of said weapon, is downed, everyone believes it's over for him. Humanity seems poised to lose 3 times in a row. Until Kojiro's resolve reforms the broken sword into twin swords.
  • De-aged in Death: Inverted for Sasaki Kojiro who, despite dying as a young adult, has the appearance of Cool Old Guy when fighting in Ragnarök. This is because the souls of the combatants take the form they had at their golden age, and since Kojiro is always improving himself, his peak should have happened years after his death.
  • Deader than Dead: The ultimate fate of any losing combatant in Ragnarök. For humans, this is due to already being dead to begin with, while the gods simply have no known afterlife. So far, Lu Bu, Adam, Poseidon, Heracles, Raiden Tameemon, Bishamonten/Zerofuku/Hajun, Hades, Nikola Tesla and Leonidas have suffered this fate.
  • Dead to Begin With: All of the human audience and champions have long passed into the afterlife.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Of Kill the God storylines. Two absolute powerhouses, Lu Bu and Adam, are the first representatives of humanity in Ragnarök and would easily fit into a standard Rage Against the Heavens series. However, even with the support of Valkyries bolstering their formidable natural powers, they end up losing regardless. The simple reason why is that the gods are just that, gods, and humans cannot match them in the long run; Ragnarök seems poised to end in Humanity's loss so most of the gods simply treat the whole thing as a harmless spectacle. However, Sasaki Kojiro is able to successfully defeat Poseidon in the third round, scoring a win for humanity by playing it cautiously, analyzing different scenarios of defeat until he found the ones that led him to victory. And afterwards, Jack the Ripper uses misdirection and trickery to win his own round, scoring another win for mankind. From there on out, there is emphasis placed on the skills, intelligence and techniques of the Human combatants, so it turns out the key to defeating the gods isn't to fight harder, it's to fight smarter.
  • Defeat as Backstory: Sasaki Kojiro's entire life when he was alive.
  • Defiant to the End: In a world where the fate of Humanity will be decided in a fighting tournament between Man and God, you can expect moments like these to show up.
    • First round: With his body completely broken by Geirröd Thor's Hammer, Lu Bu simply muses he gave it his all before having Red Hare charge him forward for one final blaze of glory. He gets a face full of Mjolnir for his trouble.
    • Second round: Adam dies in the midst of his punch-out with Zeus. But even in death his body relentlessly continues to punch back and only stops when Zeus is brought down to his knees.
    • Third round: While prior combatants showed respect to the humans they've defeated, Poseidon only contemptuously says that Kojiro is a piece of shit while he's dying.
    • Fourth found: Actually subverted as after Heracles is impaled by Jack's blood, he simply opts to hug him instead of attacking. However, in a way, it plays straight on the fact the Heracles didn't give into fear like Jack wanted.
    • Fifth round: Subverted once again. After Raiden's arm is blasted away, he simply stands and accepts defeat, waiting for Shiva to finish him off.
    • Sixth round: Hajun tries to sucker punch Buddha even as he's dying. However, he dies before he can hit him.
    • Seventh round: Hades tries to impale Qin Shi Huang even after his spear is broken and he has been pierced by the latter's sword. Qin immediately cut him open.
    • Eighth round: A variant. Rather than attacking Beelzebub after being impaled, Tesla addresses Humanity and encourages them to continue progressing, firmly believing that they can avert their extinction by doing so and explicitly defying the will of the gods despite his loss.
    • Ninth round: After having a hold blown through his midriff by Apollo, Leonidas throws one last punch at the Sun God's face. Though it is left ambiguous whether Leonidas managed to land the hit or whether he stopped just short because he had already proven his point.
  • Determinator:
    • Adam may just beat everyone out at this. Despite getting hit by a fist that was stated to have enough power to kill him in a single strike multiple times, Adam simply takes that opportunity to latch onto Zeus and start a pound-for-pound punch-out, taking tens if not hundreds of the aforementioned blows. He proceeds to win said punch-out despite literally dying in the middle of it.
    • Heracles is known as the God of Fortitude, a name he more than lives up to. His Herculean Exodus is explicitly stated to cause paralyzing pain that only gets worse the more labors that the user calls upon. By the end of his fight with Jack, Heracles is experiencing a magnitude of pain that makes the gods skin crawl, but never once shows it on his face or allows it to slow him down.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Out of Universe Example. In general, in contrast to western audiences, the eastern audiences generally believe that man can through great hardship reach and surpass the realm of gods. This is reason is partially why the gods have not been shown to use any techniques or abilities that are strictly magical in Nature.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Adam's response to the gods accusing his wife of eating the forbidden fruit? Bring two baskets of said fruit into the court of gods, chomp on each one before spitting it out, and complain about the sourness. Then he proclaims that he would go with Eve to Earth. Of course, not before he kills the Serpent.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Brunhilde gets hit with this in the first round when she assumes that destroying Thor's Jarngreipr will keep him from properly using Mjolnir, thus making him easier to beat. Unfortunately, Jarngrepier's true purpose was to hold back Thor's strength to keep him from accidentally destroying Mjolnir (which turns out to be a Living Weapon) before it could awaken. This mistake costs humanity the match and Lu Bu and Randgriz's lives.
    • Happens to Zeus the next round when he enters his fight with Adam without his divine weapon under the assumption that he didn't need it to beat the latter. This only makes him more susceptible to Adam's Eyes of the Lord, who then proceeds to beat the holy hell out of him with his own techniques.
    • Happens to the gods at the Third Round. Sasaki Kojiro, History's Greatest Loser who outright defeated Poseidon who was hyped to be the God Among Gods sent the spectators on the gods side into stunned silence.
    • Heracles, over and over again throughout his fight with Jack the Ripper fails to see Jack's dirty tricks coming.
  • The Ditz: Sasaki Kojiro is introduced like this, appearing as an old man who seemingly stumbled into the warrior selection for the third round.
  • Duel to the Death: Each round of Ragnarök is expected to be a one-on-one fight that only ends when one side is completely destroyed. Though it seems that there are some exceptions if the gods themselves allow it. Heracles claimed he would petition for Jack's survival if he surrendered at the start of their round and Buddha clearly intended to spare Zerofuku after helping him regain his true form, only continuing the fight after he was taken over and absorbed by Hajun.
  • Elemental Powers: Played with multiple ways for the gods.
    • Played straight with Thor's lightning and Shiva's fiery dance.
    • Subverted with Zeus (whose lightning abilities are depicted metaphorically).
    • Downplayed with Poseidon, who uses his signature element in his introduction, but never uses it in his fight because he sees his opponent as an insect unworthy of making him go all out.
  • Evolving Credits: The visuals of the opening of the anime change at some parts depending on the round they cover:
    • When the gods are presented, depending on the episode, the two first ones to appear change. For episodes from 1 to 4 we have Zeus and Thor, for episodes from 5 to 8 we have Ares and Zeus, and for episodes from 9 to 12 we have Loki and Poseidon.
    • During the middle part of the opening, the Einherjar who fights in the episode appears along with his valkyrie fighting against the god he must face. The sequence changes depending on the contestants of each round, featuring Lü Bu and Randgriz vs Thor (episodes 1-4), Adam and Reginleif vs Zeus (episodes 5-8), and Kojiro and Hrist vs Poseidon (episodes 9-12).
    • Lastly, the new characters who appear in each round are also added to the final shot at the end. Also, starting from the second round, here Zeus appears in his muscular form instead of his default emaciated one.
  • Exact Words: At Zeus' request, Buddha agrees to fight in the sixth round. He didn't say which side he'd be fighting for.
  • Eye Motifs: A semi-reoccurring type of ability for the Einherjar is their unique ocular-themed powers; Adam has the Eyes of the Lord to copy the Gods' techniques, Sasaki Kojiro can mentally visualize paths to defeat and victory, Jack the Ripper can see the colours of peoples' emotions, Buddha can see what a person can do before they do it thanks to seeing their very souls and Qin Chi Huang can see an opponent's Qi points and feels the pain of others he sees.
  • Finishing Move: As Ragnarök is a Duel to the Death between some of the mightiest warriors from both the Heavens and humanity, each fight has ended with the winner rendering the loser unable to fight on using some (usually named) technique.
    • Round One: Thor's Awakened Thunder Hammer that combines the momentum of his Thor's Hammer and the swing of his Geirrod and was powerful enough to overpower Lü Bu's Sky Eater and blow off his arms and legs.
    • Round Two: Zeus' True God's Left/Right. In his Adamas form, Zeus delivers "one-hit kill" punches of immense speed and power with Adam taking multiple of these punches. Though he manages to force Zeus to his knees despite dying in the process.
    • Round Three: Sasaki Kojiro's Sōen Zanko Banjin Ryōran. Using his two swords, he sliced Poseidon's right and left arms off before ending with a cross slash that cut him in four.
    • Round Four: Jack the Ripper's Dear God, accomplished by covering his gloves with his blood, turning them into divine weapons and then piercing through Heracles' chest with both hands.
    • Round Five: Shiva's Deva Loka. A flaming spinning heel kick while in his Tandava Karma form that overpowered Raiden's Yatagarasu and tore apart his right arm. He used the same move to decapitate him soon after.
    • Round Six: Buddha's Mahapari Nirvana. A simple, but powerful sword slash that cleaved Hajun's body into two.
    • Round Seven: Qin Shi Huang's Shi Huang Guard and Yan Cut. By applying the Heavenly Hand of Defense to his sword, he parried Hades' attack and stored its power before weakening the god's Living Weapon with his Tortoise Ripple. He then thrust his sword, destroying Hades' spear and piercing his heart.
    • Round Eight: Beelzebub's Sorath Resh where he used his right index and middle finger to pierce Tesla's chest plate before amplifying his vibrations to puncture through his heart.
    • Round Nine: Apollo's Argyrotoxos where he shot himself out of a massive bowstring constructed by the Moonlight of Artemis and, after encasing his right arm in an arrow-like gauntlet, threw an almighty punch enhanced by the force of the shot that broke through Leonidas' shield and punched a hole in his torso.
  • Frame-Up: The Serpent framed Eve for eating the forbidden fruit by simply biting it himself and showing it to the gods.
  • Graceful Loser: Usually when humanity lose, while some do cry and curse, they quickly recover and honor whoever has been defeated. Except the humans who were rooting for Heracles. They instead throw rocks at Jack in anger.
    • Heracles, Raiden, Hades, Nikola and Leonidas are the ones who are (visibly) shown to accept defeat but probably all the others who died are of the same caliber but only kept going because Defiant to the End. The few exceptions are Poseidon, who insults Kojiro as he dies, and Hajun, who tries to blindside Buddha with a sneak attack but dies before he can land it.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: In the red corner, we have Jack the Ripper, who murdered several women, mutilated their bodies, and taunted the authorities for not being able to catch him, fighting for humanity's continued survival. In the blue corner, we have Heracles, one of the most famous heroes in all of the mythology who's clearly quite conflicted over where his loyalties lie, fighting for humanity's immediate extinction. Even the human crowd doesn't know if they should be rooting for history's most infamous serial killer, even though literally all of their lives will come one step closer to extinction if he loses.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Varyingly with Historical Villain Upgrade. The setting really pushes for making all characters as badass as they can possibly be, with that historical and mythical figures, good and bad, have their commonly known backstories completely revised if they contained any shameful moment in them, such as loss, a moment of weakness, cowardice, etc. Case in point: a common record of Lu Bu’s final moments was him throwing a fit upon being captured by Cao Cao’s forces and being denied a chance to work with their army, as he was known as a serial betrayer; this series, however, changes that event into Lu Bu being completely calm in his final moment, going as far as to say the previous record is completely false, the “truth” is that Lu Bu actually allowed himself to be captured, the man was so bored of being unmatched in battle throughout his entire life that nothing mattered anymore, so he might as well free himself of such a meaningless life.
  • The Host: The Norse God Heimdall serves as the announcer of Ragnarok, fitting since his horn announces the mythic one.
  • Hot Goddess: Aphrodite, naturally, is quite beautiful with large breasts and little in the way of clothing.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Zeus and especially Adam. Both of them make tens, if not hundreds of blows that would turn people to paste, and Adam does this while possessing the body of a mortal.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: Pretty much almost every combatant's entrance, but the one who took the cake was Sasaki Kojiro who stilled the turbulent waves of the ocean with a single move of unsheathing his nodachi in front of the god of the sea, and completely cementing him as THE Master Swordsman.
  • It's Personal: As badly as Shiva wants to fight the fourth round, he's forced to hold off by the collective, quiet fury of Zeus, Hermes, and Ares wishing to avenge Poseidon's death in the name of the Greek pantheon.
  • Jerkass Gods: All of them at the start, as they vote to end humanity. As the plot develops, it slowly becomes apparent that there are varying degrees of this among the gods.
    • Arrogant, superior jerkasses who look down on humanity (Zeus, Poseidon, or Loki)
    • Affably Evil gods who are working against humanity (Shiva, Hades)
    • Actual nice guys trying to convince the other gods to spare humanity (Heracles)
    • Gods who might actually be working for humanity in the background (Buddha).
    • Gods who outright side with humanity (also Buddha.)
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Heavily downplayed, but no attempt is ever made to disprove the gods' claim about how rotten humanity has become, with Brunhilde's plan going directly to a single-combat tournament, and even afterward the focus is more on defeating the gods rather than proving humanity's worth. The fact that so far almost all the contestants have had their flaws erased and portrayed as been recorded wrong in history, and the one pointed to as "the worst humanity has to offer" being not that evil after all, only makes it worse, since it only gives more credit to the gods' claim that humanity is getting worse. The point is very minor, since wiping out humanity is still at the very least an overreaction and the gods are shown as not being much better themselves, but in a manga about how awesome humanity is it stands out.
  • Joker Jury: When Eve was put on trial for eating the forbidden fruit, she was given no defense attorney and the judge, prosecution, and jury were all gods, so she quickly lost.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • After Alcides' transformation into Heracles, Ares tried to stop his army from needlessly attacking someone with Zeus-tier strength, but was too late to stop what was essentially their suicidal assault.
    • After taking Shiva's Deva Loka, Raiden realizes he has lost and asks his valkyrie to cancel the Volund so she can survive. Unfortunately, she refuses, and they both die together.
  • Large Ham: Pick a character. Anyone, really. Particularly bombastic are the fighters' entrances, which go beyond absurd. Even Heimdall, who is a pretty large ham himself, is surprised by the humans' entrances.
    Heimdall: Seriously? Why does every human have to be a total ham about it? Challenge accepted!
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When the gods' second representative is revealed to be Zeus himself a confused Göll asks "Why is the last boss popping up in the prologue?".
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: Round 8 juxtaposes darkness and light via its two combatants — Beelzebub, the God of Darkness who fights for humanity's annihilation; Nikola Tesla, the Child of Light who fights for humanity's survival.
  • Lonely at the Top:
    • Thor and Lu Bu both share this problem, having no challenges outside of Ragnarok.
    • Raiden faces this so badly in his backstory that he intentionally loses sometimes so that he can still have friends and relationships.
  • Loved by All:
    • Adam, Adam, Adam. All humans fighters will obviously receive support from humanity, but Adam takes the cake. Just being the Father of all mankind already guarantees him to have filial love from his "children" regardless of races, ages, classes, good or evil; but he also backs it up by loving them in return which only makes humans adore him even more. It gets to the point that all humans would rather have him lose but survive than win but lose his life in the process. Unfortunately, Adam chooses the second option.
    • While the likes of Zeus and Poseidon are the most revered among the gods, Heracles is the most loved. Even the majority of humanity can't find any reason to dislike him despite the fact that he's their enemy. His death at Jack the Ripper's hands is seen as a tragedy by both the gods and humanity. Even Jack himself seems saddened by his death.
  • Made of Iron: Lu Bu, whose form was considered freakishly resilient even by the gods. Although it allows him to survive several of Thor's swings, he is in the end broken.
  • The Magic Touch: This is the trick to Jack the Ripper's real Volund, a High Class Glove where everything it touches becomes a divine weapon.
  • Manly Tears: All over the place in a series about the greatest warriors fighting to the death.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": All of the gods suffer this after Sasaki Kojiro kills Poseidon in the third fight, their hubris being shattered by the realization that they could possibly die.
    Loki: Seriously...? This... is no longer a joke.
  • Martial Pacifist: Sasaki Kojiro never officially defeated or killed a single opponent in his life. Rather, he'd duel them, observe their techniques, train himself to surpass the moves that overwhelmed him, and then move on to a stronger opponent whilst foregoing a rematch with those that had formerly trounced him. Since he was such an affable and harmless fellow, his opponents decided against killing him which allowed for a life full of adventure and self-improvement until he found his ultimate opponent in Miyamoto Musashi who impressed him so much that he had to see that match to the bitter end.
  • Nightmare Face: All over the place, especially from the side of the gods. Zeus, Zerofuku and, surprisingly, Brunhilde of all people are the worst offenders.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: As the fifth fight approaches its climax, Brunhilde notes that both Shiva and Raiden are men whose strength increases exponentially when they have others that they are fighting for, even destroying their own bodies so they don't let their loved ones down.
  • Not So Stoic: The manga loves to use this trope a lot. If a character at first appears to be serious, composed, cold, or emotionless, you can bet that at some point they will suddenly show emotions and break character. It is applied both for dramatic and comedic effects.
  • Old Master:
    • Sasaki Kojiro projects this image, but it's mostly because he likes the aesthetic as he actually died fairly young.
    • Zeus shows even more knowledge about other gods' moves and powers than Hermes. He also walks like the archetypical anime old master, with his arms held behind his back.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The other more notable species in the story after the gods and humans are the demons. They're unearthly, chaotic, evil beings who inhabit the third realm of the world of the manga, Helheim (that comprises the Underworld and Hell of every known mythology), and have also waged brutal wars with Valhalla (the god realm) in some instances. The first member of them to appear is a rather unimpressive lust demon known as Incubus, who is quickly killed by Thor when he was molesting Brunhilde after Ragnarök was decided, but their true power is truly shown when a more stronger and destructive demon called Hajun (who destroyed half of Helheim in the past) appears in the 6th Round of Ragnarök after being revived by Beelzebub using the body of Zerofuku as a vessel, unexpectedly taking Zero's position as fighter of the gods for the remaining of the round.
  • Papa Wolf: Adam's reason for fighting in Ragnarok? To protect his children (all of humanity), of course.
  • Pet the Dog: Hermes doesn't really have a high opinion of Ares. Nonetheless, when Ares resolves to move forward after Heracles' death, he not only doesn't mock Ares' resolve, he gives a little smile as well.
  • Power Copying: Adam's specialty, enabling him to beat his enemies with their own attacks.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs and Pummel Duel: What Adam vs Zeus eventually boils down to.
  • Rated M for Manly: The series features brutal, back-to-back fights to the death between the strongest both above and under the heavens. Intense action, compelling backstories and ripped men abound.
  • Rousseau Was Right: The series runs on the premise that humans are basically decent and would only become malicious under extreme circumstances. Most of the human characters have their more unsavory traits removed (such as Lu Bu's Chronic Backstabbing Disorder tendency and Adam and Eve's willful disobedience that led to their exile). Even Jack the Ripper—a man described in-universe as "the worst humanity has to offer"— is portrayed as a decent child who only wants to be loved, and eventually becomes a hedonistic Serial Killer after he realizes that his mother, the only person he thought had loved him, only wanted to use him to bait his wealthy father and save her from a life of poverty and attempted to murder him after she realized that her ambitions are for naught.
  • Running Gag: Despite claiming to have omniscience in all forms of violence and combat, Ares keeps missing finer details in the fights and has to be informed by Hermes, only to bluster that he already knew that.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Round 9 is a fight between Apollo (Sensitive Guy) and King Leonidas (Manly Man). Apollo is a radiant, flamboyant, beauty-obsessed Sun God; King Leonidas is a cigar-chomping, scar-riddled, foul-mouthed Spartan warrior.
  • Shrouded in Myth: One common theme of the manga is that history got only the Broad Strokes of what actually happened, mostly to make the fighters even more kick-ass than their original counterparts. For example, Lu Bu didn't beg to be spared before his execution; he actually told them to get on with it already because he was just that bored with everything on Earth being unable to provide him with a decent challenge.
  • Sistine Steal: Reginleif's Volund with Adam has them both pose like in "The Creation of Adam".
  • Soldier vs. Warrior:
    • The Einherjar representing Humanity are the Soldiers; they are fighting to protect humanity from extinction, and whilst some find enjoyment in the tournament, the stakes of what are behind them are not forgotten. They also rely on their honed skills and specialized weapons, just like conventionally trained soldiers, and as a bonus are essentially recruited by Brunhilde.
    • The Gods representing the Heavens are the Warriors; participating in Ragnarök to them is a source of fun and enjoyment, and later, as they start taking losses, a means to redeem their wounded pride.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Inverted. Heavy hitter head gods such as Zeus, Poseidon, and Thor are the first ones to challenge humanity. The first one to follow these three is Heracles, a mere (if famous) demigod.
  • Spared By Adaptation: Unlike in the manga, Zeus doesn't kill his pet dragon due to his excitement at starting Ragnarök in the anime, just limiting himself to excitedly approve the tournament.
  • Speed Blitz: Poseidon's 40-day Flood, which is so fast that his afterimages form a dome around his opponent.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening visuals depicting the second fight don't have a problem revealing Zeus' Adamas form (it's shadowed in the first appearance of Zeus in the opening, but clearly easy to see in the animation depicting him against Adam), despite being a big twist for the battle. Likewise, some of the skillsets of the gods who are going to fight in Ragnarok yet don't fight in the rounds the anime covers are shown, like Loki's chain-hooks or Shiva's dance (though this can be excused with being a mere reference to Shiva's dancing in mythology).
  • Strong and Skilled: The Gods. While all the combatant gods shown thus far have been supremely strong, demonstrating endurance and power dwarfing anything the humans can offer, they also demonstrate skills that are suited to millennia-old badasses embodying the best warriors the gods have to offer, routinely surprising the humans that expect them to be Unskilled, but Strong. Fitting the trope's application to villains, this puts every god at the apex of threat for the humans.
  • Super Mode:
    • Adamas (meaning diamond or indestructible in Greek) is Zeus's own, a state where all his muscles compress to their fullest extent. In this form, even normal punches become a One-Hit Kill, and normal movement is more akin to Super-Speed with the transformation's drawback being self-destructive in this state.
    • Shiva's Tandava Karma forcibly stimulates his soul, setting his body on fire and greatly improving all his stats. However, it burns his own body, so the longer he keeps this up the greater the chance of his death.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Sadly, blocking an attack does not mean the force of the blow is magically dissipated. Lu Bu's body crumbles under the stress of stopping Thor's strikes.
    • Zerofuku’s attempts at making humans happy basically amounts to taking away all the bad misfortunes happening to humans of the land and leaving only good fortune. Unsurprisingly, this wealth of good fortune turned the land into a den of depravity because everything came so easily; the humans living there over-indulged in worldly vices and in fact became even more miserable than before.
    • Tesla may have had a powerful suit and weapons only he could employ, but he was a scientist in life, not a warrior. Against the more experienced and battle-honed Beelzebub, he ends up losing.
  • Those Two Guys: Hermes and Ares are generally the only non-combatant gods who show up to watch the fights, and are almost always seen together commenting on what's happening in the matches.
  • Token Good Teammate: Heracles for the gods, but his nobility just results in the valkyries setting him up against the deplorable Jack the Ripper for what they hope will be an easy win.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sasaki Kojiro's whole schtick: he continually loses, and from those losses, grows until he realizes that he has surpassed his opponent.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Demigod heroes (including Buddha) like Susanoo and Heracles are fighting on behalf of the gods in spite of how they attained fame for protecting humanity in their original legends. However, Heracles aims to win but also to petition for humanity's survival, and Buddha is suspected to actually be helping out the humans behind-the-scenes and ends up fighting in the sixth round for humanity.
  • Unconscious Objector: Despite getting hit by Zeus' fist that was stated to have enough power to kill him in a single strike multiple times, Adam simply takes that opportunity to latch onto Zeus and start a pound-for-pound punch-out, taking tens if not hundreds of the aforementioned blows. He proceeds to win said punch-out despite literally dying in the middle of it. Even after he died from the punch-out, Adam's body stands smiling, refusing to bend a knee.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Humanity as a whole serves as this compared to the gods, even if some of the challengers are superstrong 'for humans.' Generally, humanity is presented as seeking depth in their technique and skill to overcome greater opponents, something the Strong and Skilled gods have no need for due to their unreal strength.
    • Sasaki Kojiro especially embodies this, having become skilled enough to beat out the other swordsman of his era including Miyamoto Musashi.
    • Jack the Ripper takes this one step further, as while Kojiro still trained hard enough to achieve the superhuman feat of the Tsubame Gaeshi, or Swallow Return, Jack had no such strength or training, yet demonstrated mastery of his weaponry enough to challenge the ultra-strong Heracles.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Round 5 starts off the same as the others, but it's soon revealed that Loki figured out who taught the Valkyries the Volund technique was Buddha, and he along with Bishamonten and the 7 Lucky Gods confront him about it. Both Sasaki and Souji come to back him up, although it doesn't seem like Buddha needed much assistance.
    • And that's child's play compared with the succession of twists that happen in the next round. For starters, when Buddha comes to the arena (after being told by Zeus to participate in the sixth match), he announces that he's fighting for humans and proceeds to become the next representative of mankind, showing his true allegiance. After this, the Seven Lucky Gods make a grand entrance and reveal they're in truth a single entity named Zerofuku, who ends becoming the true representative of the gods in Round 6 and has a deep hatred for Buddha that goes back to the distant past. If that isn't enough, later in the fight, just when it looks like Buddha managed to save Zerofuku from his darkness, the horns Zerofuku was wielding take life and turn into two dragons, engulfing Zerofuku and turning him into an egg, from which emerges Hajun, a demon from Buddhism that takes Zerofuku's place in the round and is prepared to fight Buddha.
  • Wham Line: Near the end of Chapter 43, Buddha drops a line that completely changes up how the structure of Ragnarok has worked up to this point, as well as confirming his allegiance after several chapters of ambiguity:
    Buddha: I'll be fighting for humanity, so, uh... thanks.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Jack is confused at the emotions he feels after killing Heracles. Hlokk tells him he's sad, and it only confuses him further.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: Poseidon's fighting style in a nutshell. An enemy stands before him? Thrust his trident at it. If that doesn't work? Thrust harder and faster. Rinse and repeat.
  • The Worf Effect: Poseidon is hyped up to be a dignified and almighty deity on par with Zeus, but he proves to be petulant at his core and falls to the Weak, but Skilled Sasaki Kojiro, rattling his fellow gods with the real prospect of defeat and death.
  • World of Buxom: Most women of the series are very buxom, especially if they’re a goddess.
  • World's Strongest Man: Thor and Lu Bu are viewed as the strongest god and strongest human respectively. However, this seems to only apply to absolute physical strength, as the later fighters, Adam and Zeus, are shown to be somewhat equal to them.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Lu Bu and Thor come to really enjoy their fight together, having lived their whole lives without a foe on their level.
    • Zeus has the time of his life getting into an all-out fistfight with Adam.
    • Everybody Kojiro has fought and lost to nonetheless respect him deeply as a master of his craft, including Miyamoto Musashi himself.
    • Raiden and Shiva both acknowledge each other as the person who gave them their greatest fight and even thank each other for it at the climax of their battle.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Implied. Despite acknowledging the Einerjhar's strength and bravery in every round, the gods still seem to despise and underestimate mankind as a whole.
  • Younger Than They Look: Zeus might look like a grotesque geezer compared to his brother Poseidon, but he's actually the youngest of Cronus' three sons.

Let Mortal Kombat begin!

Alternative Title(s): Record Of Ragnarok, Shuumatsu No Walkure Record Of Ragnarok


Adam's Motivation

Adam explains why he chose to fight the gods.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

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