The evil Shadow Lord has taken control of the kingdom of Deltora and has driven the land and its people into misfortune and suffering. Lief, the son of a blacksmith, has just turned sixteen and is entrusted, along with his two companions Barda and Jasmine, with an important mission: to retrieve the stolen seven magical stones that once reunited within the Belt of Deltora, will bring power to the true heir of Deltora and give him the power to free the kingdom from the tyranny of the Shadow Lord. There is just one problem; the seven stones have been scattered all across Deltora and currently reside in the hands of seven wicked men who are not easily willing to give them up.
"CLEAN NORADS HERE!!" Ehm, sorry. The adventure genre has gradually become a lost art the last couple of years in anime, but thankfully, titles like Deltora Quest can hopefully breathe life back into it. I've never read the books or even heard of them until I began to dig up information on this show, but this is pretty good and could encourage me to give the novels a gander.
While there is nothing particularly stunning about Deltora Quest plotwise early on (it goes through the motions ala Inuyasha), it's simple formula is pretty well executed and the pacing never seems to drag. Maybe it's because
I've been watching a lot of drawn-out shonen battles at the time I'm writing this, but seeing heroes solve puzzles and fight a variety of clever enemies with a bit of strategy and guile instead of powering up for 17 minutes and unleashing whatever beam they fire, but this was quite refreshing. Lief, Jasmine, and Barda venture through the very vast kingdom of Deltora, meeting interesting people and exploring dungeons that are straight out of PSX rpgs. The accompanying dialouge explains the nuances of the plot rather basically, but it's acceptable for introducing people who haven't read the books to the history of Deltora itself and the belt. I watched the English dub on The HUB channel, and at first it was corny when the cheesy narrator would chime in during character speech, but I didn't mind. Everything eventually reaches a climax that......well....anyone on MAL ever watch the Michael Jackson movie/video Moonwalker?
I really dig the visuals, and are debatably Deltora Quest's strongest point. Very vivid colors and beautiful hand-drawn character designs spliced with some of the better CGI I've seen utilized in anime in years for a television show makes this a very pretty title to look at. The various caverns, catacombs, forests, and towns offer little in redundancy. From the dreary, fog-laden Forest of Silence to the etherial and mysterious city of Tora, the back drop is very well done. The battles are pretty darn good, but the central trio of Lief, Barda, and Jasmine are just slightly varied melee fighters, so battles with Shadow guards can get a little repetitive. I would've liked more of a magic user or ranged fighter earlier in the show to break the monotony, but that's just a minor pet peeve of mine.
Not too much say about the English dub voice acting. I think for most people, it will be tolerated or hated. I found it acceptable, but I'd be lying if I didn't say some voices are grating. At times, Jasmine sounds like a valley girl and Lief's self-righteous heroistic nonsense comes off as whiny. Cole Howard is a good guy and I do support him as a young anime voice talent in a market where 40+ year olds like Vic Mignogna has to voice a junior high student, but outside of singing the Sorceress Theagaan song, he does little to impress. Not the worst effort in terms of dub work, but it is passable at times.
Now, while I do like the overall cast, I might go off on a rant here about the characters and I can only hope in the novels that these three display a greater degree of intelligence than their anime counterparts. I know it's standard protocol to add a bit of intrigue and a bump in the road every now and then, but at times these three can be so stupid and gullible, it borders on infuriating. Sometimes it plays into mildly crucial plot points, even adding humor at times, but some instances could've been avoided altogether. They get better over time and I became more forgiving, but the second time they got back around to Tom's Shop, I was livid with how much crying our "heroes" were mustering because they didn't get their way. That aside, most of the supporting characters that stick around a little longer, like Doom and Dain are pretty awesome, while representatives of the different tribes are not really around early on. I could do without Nerida, thankfully her presence seemed kept to a minimum. Even the villian, the evil Shadow Lord (as opposed to the jovial and happy Shadow Lord) is shrouded in mystery most of the time and maintains some menace, so I could roll with it, but man, what a reveal. Overall, I thought most of the supporting characters just weren't there enough to develop into anything outside of fighters.
IN CLOSING: With a few caveats that nagged me a bit, Deltora Quest is a pretty solid show that kept me entertained, and I wished more TV shows followed a similar pacing. A linear plot that's spliced with very solid adventure is what I look for to get my anime-viewing juices flowing. Since this recently aired here in the U.S., I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a DVD release. I would love to put this on my shelf.
OVERALL SCORE: 7 out of 10
PROS: Really cool adventure tale, detailed world, great visual effects, I want a plush Filli toy, a neat freak cult: BEST.... CULT..... EVER
CONS: Bland English dub alters the opening themes, occasionally dimwitted heroes, impressively bad final battle
Deltora Quest is one of the few anime that despite having so many problems, so many pitfalls, and one of the most predictable stories I've seen in quite so time, that I can say I enjoyed watching every single episode of.
The 2007 adaptation of Emily Rodda's Deltora Quest series is so remarkably unremarkable, so vanilla, that its pure simplicity stood out when watching it. Now, I may be a bit biased due to having read this book series as a child, but I could not remember the slightest bit about it for the life of me when I came around to watching this.
A brief synopsis
is that The Generic Dark King (Literally the Shadow Lord) took over the kingdom, and only The Chosen One (Lief) can rebuild the legendary artifact that is the Dark Lord's one and only weakness using the Seven Gems of Deltora. The entire quest is to reobtain these seven gems, and each 'arc' of the story is based on the events surrounding each one of them.
While the story's outline is the most cliched premise in fantasy anime history, the actual writing is very well done. There is a large amount of Chekhov's Gun in play ALL throughout the series, almost every element they introduce is followed up upon or plays a great importance later on in the story. Never does it feel like the story is simply wasting time for time's sake, it always has a purpose in the grand scheme of the adventure, even the so-called "filler" episodes serve a purpose in the end. The plot twists feel real, and often times unexpected yet very clever, and looking back at it give the last third of the show a lot of legitimate tension and suspense. The pacing is very well done, as each Gem arc never feels like it drags on once, even in 64 whole episodes.
The visuals are very standard, and in some ways reminiscent of the original FMA series in terms of style. The most striking choice however, is the CGI models for the 7 Gem Guardians, which on one hand look pretty pathetic, but on the other hand give a real sense of 'impact' on screen, like they're much more than just another goon.
The voice acting is actually pretty alright, atleast in the English Dub, although Jasmine's voice can be fairly irritating to listen to. The standout in the sound department is easily Thaegan's Riddle song, which they play several times throughout the series and is easily the most catchy song I've heard in an anime.
The Characters of the show are easily Deltora Quest's greatest downside, although in some cases, I actually enjoyed just how terrible they were.
Leif is the generic "Justice triumphs all!" hero type you see in every fantasy story, who has a soft spot for damsels in need and doing the right thing even if it causes trouble for everyone; ala Morty from Rick & Morty.
Barda is the 'strong bodyguard' type who serves two purposes, 1. Story exposition, since he is the most wise and can tell the heroes what's going on or what they should do. 2. To lose every single fight he starts in order to make whatever enemy they're fighting appear so much more powerful. No seriously, I don't think Barda wins a single fight in the whole show on-screen.
Jasmine is Rodda's own pet character, as she's a clear Mary-sue whos purpose is to leave the party every few episodes like the lone-wolf she is, and then swoop back in to save Leif and Barda from whatever threat avails them. Not only is she Jesus reincarnated into a little girl, but she has two animal mascot characters, Fili and Kree, who she can speak to and also act as a deus ex machina half the time to solve whatever problem the protagonists run into. It doesn't take a genius to notice how biased the story is to Jasmine, and honestly she can come off as rather irritating most of the time.
Deltora Quest is a rare occurrence where a show so average and generic actually transcends the boundary of 'so boring it's bad' to 'so bad it's actually really good'. The characters chemistry just works, and even the most mundane of scenes is made entertaining by using overused dialogue and story cliches. Despite the odds being against the show, Deltora Quest proved that despite how boring a show may seem on paper, can actually turn out to be one hell of a memorable and enjoyable ride.
I LITERALLY AND IM NOT JOKING
PREDICTED THE WHOLE ANIME UP UNTIL THE LAST 2 EPISODES(most predicatable anime I have seen)
The reason I didn't give it a lower score is because there are animes that are for noobies to anime meaning people who have watched allot of other anime shouldnt be mad that they could predict it and yes I was one of those people this anime gave me a headache because its predicatable and not in a good way you can always tell when someones going to do something wrong instead of right. The art was fair because it was around the
same time as beserk although the CGI just didnt cut it, the fights were boring af, the sounds never caught my attention as you know from my rant above I didn't enjoy it
5 maybe 6/10 at most
AND IM PRETTY MAD MY SHIP DIDNT SAIL GAH!!!
Let's take a quick jog around memory lane and remember those anime you used to watch and enjoy as kids. Feel the nostalgia and see if your favorites made the list and discover more that other children enjoyed.