Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis - The Temptation of Jeanne d'Arc

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The temptation of Jeanne d'Arc was strongly told through visual storytelling. The use of light, shadow and other compositional elements painted a picture of a character whose core beliefs are about to be shaken.

In Episode 9 Jeanne was accused of being a witch and imprisoned. In her prison cell she prays to a carving of an angel. The scene then cuts to a canted angle of the angel carving (image above). The canted angle was not only used to produce a sense of unease befitting the scene but also to visually portray Martinet’s attempt to shake her beliefs.

The shot above is the strongest compositional representation of Jeanne’s predicament. In a show about demons and gods, a ray of light can be strongly associated with heavenly beings and a way to portray one as holy and ethereal. Jeanne praying in the dark, separated from the ray of light, conveys the lost of her saintly image and a sense of abandonment by the gods. Of course this imagery reinforces the belief Martinet want to instill into Jeanne.

After Martinet tried to convince Jeanne that she has been betrayed by her fellow humans, the scene goes back to an insert of the angel carving. This was to reinforce her dedication to the gods as a holy knight. Later on this image is used for an opposite effect.

The first picture is another strong composition. Jeanne continues to only face the angel carving as a show of resolve against Martinet’s temptation. The ray of light is acting as a separation between her and Martinet’s darkness. However, the smoke from the transformation spell is distorting the light as if to suggest that her separation from temptation is fragile.  The second image is a low angle and shallow focus shot of the spell bottle. The increase in scale and focus stresses out its importance.

In another attempt to sway Jeanne (by suggesting the angels have abandoned her), the ray of light is further distorted with the use of some spooky shadow puppetry. In the second picture, the scene again goes back to an insert of the angel carving but this time to emphasize Martinet’s insistence that Jeanne has been forsaken by the angels.

This last shot greatly sums up Jeanne’s situation. She has remained resolute in her beliefs but she is shaken and the light separating her from the leering temptation (spell bottle) is faint.
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Episode 10 didn’t quite offer composition and imagery as strong as Episode 9 but continued to use light for visual storytelling

In the scene where Jeanne communicates with the angels (perhaps Martinet’s imitation of them), much of the frame was dominated by the angels in the shape of a fire. This dominance of warm color when removed, as shown in the third picture, creates a contrast that accentuates Jeanne’s feeling of abandonment and betrayal.

Abandoned and cornered, Jeanne finally gives in to Martinet’s temptation and accepts his offer.

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