Created from the aftermath of the last great battle of the gods, Lodoss and its kingdoms have been plagued by war for thousands of years. As a quiet peace and unity finally become foreseeable over the land, an unknown evil begins to stir. An ancient witch has awakened, bent on preserving the island of Lodoss by creating political unbalance throughout the many kingdoms and keeping any one from maintaining central control. Only a mixed-race party of six young champions, led by the young warrior Parn, stand between this new threat and Lodoss' descent back into the darkness of war and destruction.
Of all the Anime series that I have viewed, Record of Lodoss War holds a special place in my heart. If you happen to be fond of fantasy adventure videogames as I am (or great literature such as J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings), then this 13-episode video series is a very clever hybrid of these two great works of art. It's got everything fans could ask for--dragons, elves, dark gods, unlikely yet compelling heroes, villains you'll either hate (or love, depending on who you side with), action, suspense, romance, a small dose of humor, and an engaging feel to keep on watching
by the time each episode ends.
This is a direct-to-video animation series produced back in 1990, which unfolds over thirteen half-hour episodes. Adapted from the fantasy novels of the same name by Japanese author Ryo Mizuno, Lodoss is a classic good-vs-evil story, exploring the chronicles of six adventurers: these include Parn, a young, inexperienced warrior eager to (literally) jump at any chance to clear his father's tarnished name; Deedlit, a spunky, mystical high elf who tries (with varying degrees of success) to prove her love to Parn; Etoh, a loyal, good-natured cleric; Slayn, a gentle wise mage; Ghim, a gruff and tough dwarf; and Woodchuck, a wanted criminal who nonetheless provides loyalty (and occasional chagrin) to his pals.
The story is hardly original, and the plot tends to "jumps around" from one event to the next (for instance, the first episode starts off in the "middle" of the heroes' quest; chronologically, it'd be best to see eps 2-5, 1, and then 6-13)--yet the overall show is so engrossing that this fault (in addition to a few others I'll come to in a moment) becomes irrelevant.
It's the characters which make Record Of Lodoss War so much fun, and much of the best scenes belong to Parn and Deedlit; especially in a royal banquet episode where she forces Parn to dance with her (one of my favorite sequences from the show). As is typical of a elf-dwarf rivalry, Ghim and Deed bicker about each other's differences yet maintain a somewhat begrudging level of self-respect. It's Parn, however, whose plight stays with you long after the show approaches its climax. Eager to discover whether his father died in disgrace or not, he finds a father figure in Kashue. (This gets on Deedlit's nerves; she continually competes with the king for Parn's attention--a running gag that plays out unfortunately for only a couple of episodes.) In the latter episodes, we meet two new characters who don't get much screen time but are no less fully realized. Shiris, the hotheaded young mercenary who vies with Deedlit for Parn's affections is strongly depicted, as is her partner (and secret love), Orson, the moody Berserker, who becomes an angry, uncontrollable monster at the sight of Shiris in trouble.
Even the bad guys are richly developed. Ashram, as mentioned, isn't driven so much by malice as he is by what he believes is right; in fact, he becomes the most three-dimensional of the villains for that reason alone. For support, he has a Dark Elf accomplice named Pirotess (the opposite of Deedlit) who'll do anything to prove her loyalty to him... including sacrificing herself. Karla, incidentally, is no ordinary villainess. Her primary goal is to bring to Lodoss the balance she feels has been so greatly disturbed... yet her psychologically unbalanced persona leads her to cause far worse chaos with deadly consequences. She is shifty, cunning, manipulative -- an almost deadly combination. Wagnard, on the other hand, is just plain evil -- every bit the equivalent of Kefka from Final Fantasy III who cackles fiendishly as he puts his dark plans into action. When we first meet him, he appears to be a nondescript character, but when he becomes possessed by Kardis, he becomes frighteningly villainous. (Every scene he's in sends shivers down my spines.)
Its the strength of the characters and their chemistry as well as the compelling (if jumpy) plot that make Lodoss as a whole that one can overlook its occasional shortcomings, notably the animation, which, although gorgeously drawn, uses a low cel count resulting with some stiff movements. Taking into account that this is an older show, however, this doesn't really detract all that much (although there are some later episodes where some of the same footage is reused, for cost cutting purposes).
No fantasy adventure would be complete without a stirring soundtrack, and Record of Lodoss War delivers this in style. The musical score by Mitsuo Hagita is mostly symphonic, although it is (obviously) generated by electronics. Yet the compositions were so rich and lovely that they eventually grew on me over the course of the show. Equally lovely are the opening and ending theme songs, "Adesso e Fortuna -Now & Fortune-" and "Fantasia of the Wind", both of which are excellently sung in Japanese by Sherry. As a nice bonus, these songs were even translated for the English version; the woman who sings the dubbed songs, Lisa DeSimone, sings with an equally splendid voice.
One aspect of Lodoss often criticized is the English dub, produced by New York-based Central Park Media in 1996, a time when most dubs had a low reputation. I've read all kinds of mixed opinions about this English track; some say its fake and/or mediocre while other claims its unbearable, but here's a better review from one of its several (albeit outspoken on the net at least) enthusiastic fans (that's me). No, it's not perfect, and some lines do come off as a bit awkward, but a lot of the voice-overs are really good. In particular, Billy Regan (Parn), Lisa Ortiz (Deedlit), Al Muscari (Slayn), Jacques Le Can (Woodchuck), Simone Grant (Karla & Leylia), John Knox (Ashram), Jayce Reeves (Wagnard), and Alexander J. Rose (Wort and the Narrator), are among my favorites. Plus, the dialog is close to the subtitled script and packed with some memorable one-liners (Parn: "Quick, Deed, what's this dragon's weak spot?" Deedlit: "I'm not a dragon expert! How should I know?!") and great chemistry between the actors. I especially loved the interactions between Parn and Deedlit, the banter between Ghim and Deed, and a lot of other things. Which is why it saddens me that some would find all of this "inferior" to the Japanese language track. I listened to parts of the Japanese language track, too, and while I did find it to be of top-quality, I find that the dub still holds its own position decently. Of course, it may be in danger of being overshadowed by some of the better dub productions of today, but for a dub made in 1996, its a rather decent, if unspectacular listen. I'm still fond of it, as a matter of fact, even after hearing some better ones.
Record of Lodoss War has received its share of detractors over recent years, probably due to its cheap production values and/or inconsistent plotting. However, it is important to remember that these "shortcomings" is mainly because it's an older Anime series. While Lodoss may show its age in places, its infectious appeal and complexity rings true even after other shows of its ilk, and like most classics, it can stand against the test of time.
Going into this anime, I didn't have very high expectations, but it was part of one of my favorite genres. Also, this is one of the anime where I had some of the hardest time actually deciding on how to rate it. Then, I realized that it is probably going to be just above average. And it did just that.
It revolves around the wannabe swordsman named Parn and his fellow adventurers who are trying to avert further warfare and save Lodoss from the oncoming evil. This is a setup for a good anime, and I liked it. However, there were many plotholes that could
be dug into this anime, and for good reasons, and not necessarily bad ones. This story was meant to be more of a story about a hero who triumphed against all odds, and trust me, the odds were stacking against him WAY more than I anticipated, but he prevailed in the end, and got the girl. Also, it felt like it was VERY rushed too, so there is that. So basically, it wasn't horrible, but it definitely was what I expected, and did have some twists and turns I did not expect, but overall, it did its job. (5/10)
Oh, I dreaded actually getting to this part, because it is a 90's anime, and I know I shouldn't bash a 90's anime for not looking very good, but sadly, the animation was bad, and that is even when you consider the times it was in. There was a whole lot of reused shots and reused still images. Also, some of the flames didn't look like flames, some of the blood didn't look like blood, and even some of the lip movements didn't even happen when a character was speaking, despite them not being too far away. It just looked like a big mess. Sure, I did enjoy seeing how some of the characters looked and how they moved, but oh my word, I sometimes had to pause the anime, when a particularly badly animated scene or movement occurred. (3/10)
Now, the anime surprised me a little by adding in music that wasn't exactly fitting the tone all the time, nor was it varied, but it was consistent and knew what it was trying to say, even if it didn't always say it. It had a couple of REALLY good songs, or selections of songs, and some of the sound effects weren't that bad either. However, there were a couple songs that were mediocre at best. The voice acting was pretty good, but it just wasn't as great as it could have been, both dubbed and subbed included. It was just above average, but it didn't pull through all the time. (6/10)
Well, what can I say, there were some I really liked and some I really disliked. Parn, for example, has some of the best luck I have seen of a fantasy anime protagonist, like seriously. He didn't even know how to fight with a sword until almost halfway through the third episode, and by the time the anime ended, he apparently was good enough to handle one of the main villains, who could easily kill him in the first few episodes. and even though this is the character section, another problem I had was the lack of time notifications about whats going on. I really didn't like that part, especially when it came to the development of characters. Also, the love story between Deedlit and Parn felt SO forced that I could become one of the most confused people on the planet after seeing it, and yet it was still so interesting, because you know it is part of the story. Also, everyone else just felt more like someone who was just there to fulfill a necessary spot, of both the different classes and races like humans, elves and dwarves. I don't know. They were all very likeable, but at the same time, there was not much time to explore into many of their stories. (5/10)
However, this was the highest rated part of the series, and it is the shortest. I REALLY enjoyed watching this anime, despite all of these mediocre findings of mine. What can I say? I love fantasy, and this anime fulfills the role nicely, even though it has a lot of flaws in it. To me, its like seeing Lord of the Rings. Sure, there are a number of plotholes in it that I can think off the top of my head, but it definitely was very enjoyable to watch, and after watching this anime, I want to explore more of the lore in this universe, because it is so fascinating, and yet there was so little that was put forth out there.
Overall, I really enjoyed this anime, despite its flaws. It may need a lot of work in different areas, but I do recommend you watch it, even if it might not be that great.
Overall though this was a good OVA. However, the Story is very scattered and doesn't have proper closure. The completest in me tells me I have to at least see the TV series that follows. I haven't had any luck finding it, however. This anime has a special place in my heart due to the nostalgia factor. I only hope that the TV series that follows this up somehow gives better closure. And one minor gripe, I think all of us understood the backstory of Lodoss by the 3rd episode so it really wasn't nessesary to retell it prior to every episode.
It's very good looking
for an older piece, however it's not so old as to forgive some of the shortcuts and mistakes that are noticable.
I love good sound. This doesn't really diliver however. IMHO there's no excuse for 2.0 now that dvd has been on the market so long. other wise it's got repetative music that you'll never forget. But that doens't make it good. Sigh...
All of the characters have some sort of charisma to them. Parn and Deedlit are still one of the most recognized anime couples of all time. I just wish there was more down to earth characters like Woodchuck.
I really do like this anime alot. It's more nostalgia than anything but I do like it. I recommend this Anime to fans of Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons or other swords and sorcery stories.
Fanboy opinions and nostalgia aside you should...
See reviews and more at my site BRANS!: http://bumrapanimeneverseen.blogspot.com/
This is one of anime's most beloved titles, even though I never learned about it until this year on TVTropes. Plus I felt bored of watching nothing but Pokemon and Sword Art Online all throughout the semester, so I figured I might as well try something I've never seen before. This has gotten a lot of praise from fans, and I thought I'd like it. To an extent, I did, but...honestly, I can't really see why people like this. Now don't get me wrong, it's not a BAD anime. Heck, I'd watch this over every ecchi anime in the world! However, there's just too much
wrong with it to really be conceived as anything other than decent. But the show's main problem is that it's just way too short and way too convoluted for its own good. By convoluted I mean like Digimon Adventure 02 convoluted. What do I mean? Let's explain, shall we? (Note: this review is only about the OVA, not the TV series. I haven't seen the latter, and don't know if I'm going to or not)
There's definitely a story to this anime. But the problem is, I can barely comprehend it, as there's just WAAAY too much being shoved down my throat. All I managed to comprehend was that a group of people meet and join forces, an evil empire called Marmo is trying to take control of Lodoss, there's some evil spirit trying to manipulate everything, and at the end, some wizard tries to resurrect one of the goddesses that split Lodoss. That's about it, really. Remember when I said Escaflowne isn't giving people time to absorb its story? Well, I take it back. Lodoss does it too, but far worse. There's so much going on within that timespan that it tries to bite off more than it can chew. It doesn't help that everything jumps around like a kangaroo high on sugar, so you can barely tell exactly what the heck is going on! Part of it could be the fact that its thirteen episodes long, and had it been extended to 26 or even 52 episodes, the story would be more comprehensible, and everything would feel more connected and flow better. If you want to tell a good story, don't just throw in a bunch of events and shove them down our throats without giving us time to chew it! Popolocrois had 25 episodes, yet it had a perfect balance between the story and the characters, the episodes felt more connected, and they kept a consistent yet restrained output. It gave time to develop its story and explain what was going on, and it didn't need to rely on adding in as much stuff as possible. It knew how much it could chew at a time and managed to come out fine in the end. Lodoss really needs to work on that.
The animation...I'll be honest here, it really hasn't aged well, and there's lots of errors. Heck, one part of the opening sequence looks like two of the characters were cut from paper and pasted on a background! There's too many still frames, and I think the animators wasted too much budget on making everybody's costumes as elaborate and fantasy-like as possible. But I do like the character designs, though! Plus nobody looks the same. In a time where modern anime characters look too much the same except with different eye and hair colors and different hair lengths, the character designs in this are very refreshing. I'll at least give the show credit for that. The music...while the opening and ending are nice, they're still a little bit generic, and the background music isn't really all that memorable. Some pieces sound like they came from popular video games, like Zelda or Final Fantasy.
The characters...eh. They're all kinda bland to me. Nobody was even remotely interesting to me. We have the hero, the chick, the mage, the skeevy guy, the evil villains, etc. Because the story is so freakishly convoluted to the point of looking like an overflowing trash bag, it really suffered in characterization. They could have made these characters into real characters, but here they're just a bunch of bland archetypes. The only characters I thought were even remotely interesting were Orson and Shiris, and they don't appear until episode eight! I really want to like these characters, but even after 13 whole episodes, I still feel like I've only JUST started getting to know them. They could have been more fleshed out, which is a shame. Had the creators gotten more episodes and didn't try so hard, they could have been able to do great things with them.
There's a difference between balancing things out and biting off more than you can chew, and unfortunately, Lodoss is the latter. While I appreciate its efforts, it was just trying too hard, and because it tried too hard, it suffered greatly as a result. Escaflowne had somewhat the same problem, but it had 26 episodes (it was going to be longer but their budget was cut so they had to make do with 26), and it at least tried everything it could to get its story out, and it wasn't freakishly convoluted either. It also did its best to fit in a lot of character progression, even though it was also extremely focused on its story. Plus, their characters were more interesting! Escaflowne, while it didn't entirely succeed in its effort, at least tried to balance out its story and characters, and for what its worth, it did a good job. Popolocrois has 25 episodes, yet it knew what its story wanted to be, didn't try to go for anything big, and balanced out its story and characters in whatever time it had, and it really worked in its favor. Lodoss...it just wound up biting off way more than it could chew, and wound up suffocating in the process. All it really needed was more episodes and more time to flesh out both its story and characters so we'd be able to comprehend everything better. Maybe they had budget issues and couldn't do it? Were they not able to get it to air on TV? I dunno. Also, we also get reminded that there was a great war resulting in the creation of Lodoss. It'd be one thing if this was said once, but he explains it in EVERY SINGLE EPISODE!! We freaking get it! The story's hard enough to comprehend as it is! That pointless opening scene was really not necessary, and Lodoss has suffered enough as it is.
All in all, Lodoss isn't a bad anime. It was just too short and took on more than it could handle. All it really needed was more episodes and a lot of polishing. But I can at least appreciate its good points, and if you're looking for an escapist fantasy anime, check it out.
The knight is your traditional hero, fighting against monsters and wicked men to save kingdoms from evil. Legends of these heroes have persisted over the centuries and we continue to make new ones today.
Do you have an older game console sitting in the cupboard, basement or attic? Perhaps it's time to dust it off, plug it in and start enjoying it once again. We're about to discover some fascinating retro games based on anime franchises we've grown to love over the years.