As the first part of Record of Ragnarok's Season 2 unfolds, the gods once more continue to deride mankind. These gods firmly hold the belief that they hold the advantage over humanity, leading them to boast about achieving numerous victories in their ongoing contest. While some have toned down their arrogance, such as Zeus acknowledging the power of humans like Kojiro Sasaki, their determination remains unyielding.
Zeus's battle against Adam plays a significant role in his change of attitude. Through this encounter, he discovers the spirit and resilience within humanity, along with their innate desire for triumph. Despite this newfound understanding, Zeus cannot relent in his pursuit. He is aware that his pantheon of gods must achieve seven victories first in the tournament, allowing them to cleanse the planet and punish Earth for evolving into a collection of self-centered societies. However, despite Zeus's intriguing character, Season 2 establishes that Lord Shiva should have been the figurehead of this group of resentful gods.
Record of Ragnarok's Shiva Has Leadership Presence
While Zeus may hold the top position, it is Shiva's presence that truly intimidates in the series. Initially a silent observer, Shiva gradually becomes more vocal, assuming the role of a commanding leader both within and outside the gladiator's arena. Zeus, on the other hand, is often viewed as a joke, particularly due to his perverted tendencies, evident in his leering at Aphrodite. Rather than focusing on strategizing against the fighters of the Record of Ragnarok, Zeus comes across as creepy and lacking in seriousness.
Shiva, in contrast, exudes a stoic and relentless determination to win. Though he occasionally displays a lighter side and appears to enjoy the proceedings, he primarily upholds his formidable title of the Destroyer, rooted in Hindu mythology. This legend makes him well-suited to lead the assembly of gods, as he is said to herald the end of the world. The prophecy depicts him dancing amidst the flames of a burning world, granting it permission to rise anew from the ashes. This aligns perfectly with the theme of Ragnarok, further emphasizing Shiva's terrifying nature.
While Zeus did reveal his wrathful side in his battle against Adam, Shiva's confrontation with the renowned sumo wrestler Raiden Tameemon provides a more comprehensive showcase of his formidable abilities. Shiva fully embraces his terrifying potential, with his words and actions casting a dark shadow. Ultimately, he emerges as the victor, incinerating Raiden and severing his head—an act that leaves a lasting impression, surpassing Zeus's defeat of Adam. Through Shiva's actions, it becomes clear that the destruction of the world is his resolute intent, regardless of the gods' opinions about Earth's champions.
Record of Ragnarok's Shiva Would Have Elevated the Diversity Angle
This battle royale anime follows the manga almost perfectly. However, this was a great chance to subvert the lore and add diversity. As it stands, there are flaws. For example, the women don't have much agency. Brunhilde's Valkyries are merely there to be turned into weapons to help Earth's warriors. As for Earth's chosen ones, while there are fighters from Asia, there aren't that many characters of color from, say, Africa.
Thus, by having Zeus lead the pack, it's truly a bland white pick—not to mention, the idea of a Greek god leading is overdone over so many stories over the years, from anime to TV shows to movies. Instead, Shiva leading would have been a natural move, not just for optics, but authenticity, as even Zeus fears him. In the process, by having a Hindu god running the show, it'd feel more inclusive, speaking to representation on a bigger level—something many shonen anime tournaments don't take into consideration.
In all seriousness, a white old guy eyeing women in the arena and making lewd comments is inappropriate, especially for a tournament this important. He's a total joker, whereas Shiva's cultured. A lot has to do with Shiva actually training with tons of humans and gods. He walked among both sides, so there'd be a proper reason why he tells everyone they need to respect the Earthlings. Hearing that from such a leader would change the complexity of the series, tease defections, or even hint at some forfeiting matches. It'd also suggest some might give up, in accordance with their leader. Either way, Shiva stands tall as a mixture of substance and style, as well as someone who bucks the trend of the typical-looking boss. It'd up the equality factor of the series, making it a lot more progressive amid a ton of testosterone, toxic masculinity, and pillars of the patriarchy—something Zeus is known for from Greek mythology.
Record of Ragnarok's Shiva Is More Relatable
Perhaps most importantly, Shiva is relatable because of how he gained his power. He fought over 1,000 gods in India to become the best, including his best friend, Rudra. And even then, he tried to renege on the brawl because he didn't want to hurt his companion. As such, he'd know the consequences of fighting, and how sometimes it's best to give up violence before one loses their very soul. As the boss, he'd be tested once more; while he harbors aggression within, he'd learn maybe he doesn't have to stick to his destiny and consign Earth to a macabre fate.
This way, from Shiva's journey, there'd be an air of unpredictability in the mix. It's way more nuanced, layered, and multidimensional than a games master like Zeus, who's there for entertainment purposes. Shiva, on the other hand, is the most human of gods. There's just a stronger emotional connection with him than a Zeus who's always gawking or ranting in a comedic manner. The show is meant to be taken seriously, so had Shiva led, it wouldn't break that immersive experience the way Zeus does.
Shiva at the head would avoid the tone-deaf energy of a Zeus who doesn't really know humanity. All he's about is secreting to Earth, changing form, and bedding women. Shiva, though, understands combat and has spent time unlocking the key to life before he makes his decision about the end of days. Ultimately, Shiva's simply the more mature god, with an aura that matches the show's endgame. And given his past and what he's meant to do, he's the MVP that ought to be dictating the pace of a crew who would look to his experience and wisdom, rather than a Zeus who's interested in picking up women at the tournament.
Record of Ragnarok Season 2 resumes July 12, 2023.