Let Me Put My Suggestions In You: Record Of Lodoss War
In my teenage years I embraced the anime boom that was sweeping the United States. I then spent most of my 20’s repressing those urges and purging my life of the genre. Thanks to Arthur Harkness contributions of the subject matter (and an impending trip to Tokyo) I thought I’d re-open the floodgates and one of the first things I revisited was a series I never had a chance to finish initially, The Record Of Lodoss War.
I feel like most people’s shaping of the Fantasy genre as kids come from Tolkien and Middle Earth. That never really interested me (I still have a hard time with some of it) for me, it came from Dungeon & Dragons and video games, specifically NES and SNES RPGS. Games like the early entries of the Final Fantasy series and the Dragon Warrior franchise. Record Of Lodoss War unfolds like the best RPG game you’ve never played.
The series included a party of diverse characters and classes. There’s Parn, the young naïve teenager who wants nothing more than to follow in his deceased dads’ footsteps and become a Knight. He’s joined by Slayn the sagely Wizard, Ghim the gruff Dwarf, Etoh the young Priest with healing powers (I’ll get this out of the way now, he’s a pointless character. Everybody knows in an RPG game you never pick the White Mage especially if a Red Mage is available. Healing powers though they may be, they’re useless in a fight, whereas a Red Mage can learn those healing spells AND the spells of a Black Mage. It’s a no brainer. End rant.) Also, a high Elf named Deedlit who is a shaman of sorts and can control portions of the elements. The party is rounded out early on by Woodchuck the Thief.
The first of the 13 episodes is one of those “what the hell is going on” deals where they toss you right into the fray. Episode 1 actually fits between episodes 5 and 6 can be a little confusing. Watching it again, I realized it really fits its intended purpose. The episode helps to introduce you to the characters and highlight their individual personalities so that when the chronology of the story starts out proper and your slowly introduced to each character you already have a handle on them. Half of the fun of the first few episodes is watching them come together.
3,000 years prior to the series the continent of Lodoss was split off from the mainland following a massive battle between the Gods. Let’s just say, it hasn’t gotten much better since then. Ancient evil has resurfaced in the form of Karla The Grey Witch who is manipulating the kingdoms of Lodoss against each other, plunging the Island deep into a political war that spills over with blood and threatens to consume the Island. It’s up to our group of heroes to figure out Karla’s chess game and stop her influence while fighting to save they very continent they live on. The story can almost be divded into two halves. The first being a little more straight forward and the second taking a pretty dark and dire turn. Oh…and there’s Dragons, lots of Dragons.
It’s high fantasy drama that is derivative of everything that came before, but it works wonderfully. The English dub can be a little painful at times, with Parn especially. The Japanese verison dates back to 1990 and the American one being released in the early to mid 90’s when the anime explosions started taking over the U.S. So while it may not be up to current standards it certainly gets the job done, same goes for the animation. If you’re a fan of the fantasy genre and haven’t checked this out yet, you need to. Seek this out, you’ll be happy you did.
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