With the recent release of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon in English, this OVA is perhaps more relevant than it has been in over a decade. Some quick backstory: in 1990, the first Fire Emblem game was released for the Famicom (and was remade for the Super Famicom in 1994). Since games back then had simpler stories and characters, extra care was taken by Fire Emblem’s creators to make supplemental media to flesh out the game. This OVA wasn’t meant to stand alone or take the place of the game, but to help players understand a little more about what was going on. I’m sure it
helped them at least somewhat in the 90s, and hopefully it can help new players of the DS remake as well.
Still, it would be a lie to say that this OVA has many memorable qualities. While the plot is more detailed than that of the game, especially when delving into character motivations and reactions, in the end it’s still quite a simplistic story of a prince versus his kingdom’s enemies. Character development is even more minimal, but that’s not surprising considering how many characters are introduced in a short time. In a lot of respects, the OVA actually seems to fail at its purpose; you’re likely to walk away from this knowing very little more about the game than you already did. Still, this little bit of knowledge is an improvement over the no knowledge that comes from playing the game by itself, so players of both the original and the remake are advised to give this a watch.
Fire Emblem was a game franchise virtually unknown outside of Japan until Super Smash Brothers Melee came out. That game featured two Fire Emblem characters, Marth and Roy, as playable fighters. Creating an interest in the franchise that was great enough to get the seventh title, Blazing Sword, and most subsequent titles released internationally.
So, why was the franchise only released outside of Japan at that point? My theory is that the games were simply considered too difficult. Yes, Nintendo had a lot of really hard games, some unfairly so. But Fire Emblem is the most difficult franchise developed by Nintendo itself. The games feature
permanent death for party members. That's right, no phoenix downs, revives, Yggdrasil leaves or anything like that. Except for one single use item that you get later in the game. No or few opportunities to grind and battles that are difficult enough that a single tactical error can easily get one of your team members killed. Maybe I'm wrong about that and there's another reason. If someone knows for certain I'm sure that person will politely correct me.
Oddly enough, the first Fire Emblem related thing to be released outside of Japan was an OVA. It's a simple, two episode work developed by KSS Inc and Studio Fantasia in 1996. The OVA is based on the first/third title in the series. (the third was a remake of the first.) So, how does the anime hold up?
Our tale covers the first couple missions of the game. Marth, is forced to escape from his homeland, Altea. It moves to Marth and his men at Talys with princess Sheeda. They're planning a counter-attack against the army that forced them into exile when they're forced into battle with pirates for Talys' sake. Knowing that the encounter will make their presence known to their enemy, they make their way back to their continent, planning to join the princess of Aurelis in her opposition to the hostile Doluna kingdom. Upon arrival at the mainland they encounter and defeat yet another group of pirates. The group hears about a nun named Rena who was abducted by thieves and they go out to save her.
I will give the OVA credit on several counts. For one thing, it does do a good job of covering those early missions. It also expands a bit on Marth's back story, providing information about his childhood that you really don't get in the game. I also like that the second episode spends a lot of time giving you Nabarl, Rena and Julian's perspectives which helps build them up as characters who you have some investment in and also sets up what happens with them later.
That being said, there are some issues with the two episodes. While it is nice to see the character interactions, they do move into padding at times. For example, the first episode has a montage of Marth and Sheeda just playing around in Talys. The second opens with Nabarl killing a group of people who are attacking him for no apparent reason. There weren't more important things to cover? They glance over the prologue scene pretty fast. Wouldn't the time have been better spent expanding on that? Even if they were set on adding in some extra details, they could have put something more substantial in.
The game has a lot of characters, even in the early missions covered by this. As such, some of them get better developed than others. Marth and Sheeda are well developed and fleshed out. Nabarl, Rena and Julian are as well. Then you've got characters like Cord, Bord and Barst who have one line of dialogue among them and characters like Cain, Abel, Oguma, Gordin, Doga and Jeigan who appear and speak on occasion but don't get fleshed out by any means. Although Oguma comes pretty close. In all fairness, developing five characters pretty well is about the best you can expect from an OVA that, taken in total, is less than an hour long. There are some very strong interactions too. The way Sheeda recruits Nabarl in particular is just great. Slightly different from the game, but in a way that actually works a bit better.
The art is probably the biggest weak point. It's pretty standard art for anime in the mid-90s. There are some nice little details like the pegasus animation and the way they differentiate the killing edge from other swords but it's largely pretty generic.
They did get some great voice actors for this. Marth is voiced by Midorikawa Hikaru, who also voiced Zelgadis and Heero Yuy. He also reprised his Marth role in the Smash Brothers games. Sheeda is voiced by Tange Sakura who was also Cardcaptor Sakura. Koyasu Takehito, who has appeared in a hugwe amount of anime, voices Nabarl. Oddly enough, both he and Midorikawa Hikaru played Dio Brando in different Jojo adaptations. With Koyasu being the actor in the main series and Midorikawa voicing him in one of the films. All of the actors do their work very well. The music is less well done. A lot of it is pretty generic and lacks impact, leaving little impression.
While there is arguably some ho-yay in the games this was based on, there isn't any in this. Of course, a lot of that comes from Rickard's character who doesn't appear in the OVA. So, the ho-yay factor is a 1/10.
This is one that's firmly for fans of the series. It expands on some details, fleshes out some characters really well and gives you a nice look at the first three chapters of the game. That being said, there's really no reason to watch it unless you're a fan of the game. It simply doesn't stand alone very well. So, if you're a fan of Fire Emblem check it out. If you don't care about the franchise, it's not going to be worth your time. For myself, I give it a 7/10. Next week, let's take a look at one more Nintendo based OVA. To be specific, Super Mario Brothers.
I'm a big fan of the Fire Emblem games, so when I heard that there was an anime about Marth, I dropped everything and went to watch it.
I then noticed it was a two episode OVA and I was pretty disappointed, but I'd still watch it for my love of the series.
The anime even tells things that Shadow Dragon, (The DS remake of FE1,) didn't. Like the possibly non-canon fact that Marth's hairband is his sister's crown.
The OVA follows Marth, the prince of Altea, as he tries to retake his home from the forces of Dolhr.
Just like in
the games, he meets warriors on his travels and recruits them on his adventure.
The thing about this anime-- While you may read that it's a completed OVA, it doesn't finish the Story. Not even close. I don't know if it was canceled, or they made a two episode, cliffhanging OVA to convince you to buy the game and finish the story, or what, but it ends as if there were more episodes to come.
I rated the story to be good because it has a good, simple premise. It's like a classic war story, I dig it.
The art is good for the 90s, the sound is not. Sounds really bad.
I swear that I heard a sound clip of Link's falling scream in episode 2. Re-used Nintendo assets?
While I liked it, I feel I only did because I already liked the games.
If I didn't know about Fire Emblem and just sat down to watch this, I can confidently say that I would think it sucked.
This OVA tells the story of the very first Fire Emblem game, and features Marth (Mars in the OVA) as the main character. From Super Smash Bros. fame, Marth's game was not released outside of Japan, that was until 2008/9, where a remake was made for DS, which saw international release. This OVA, strangely, was dubbed into English before Math made his maiden appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Ironically, his name was translated as "Mars" in this release. The final thing to note, before I start fully reviewing the OVA, is that it only lasts 2 episodes. It was cancelled before any additional episodes
were made, as such the story only just reaches the introductory stages before the series ends.
The actual OVA is quite old, and the animation style is very indicative of the era. This aside, it is quite well done. The sound also leaves a lot to be desired, old compression technology means most copies of this OVA still in existence are distorted with VHS-encoded sound. Expect a few drops in pitch and tone while watching this OVA. Encoding aside, the sound is very noticeable, with the Fire Emblem Main Theme having an excellent rendition in the OVA.
As mentioned before, being only 2 episodes long, the story is nothing more than introduction. There is no "middle" or "end" to the OVA, only a "beginning". But the bits that are there are well done, they give a good impression of the setting, and many of the characters are given more story than they are in the game, which is a nice feature. The characters are likeable, and each have their own traits. They differ from the game slightly, as some are stronger than their in-game appearances would imply.
Overall, it's a must-see for Marth fans, since it gives a few glimpses to his role in the Fire Emblem franchise. This OVA does more in 2 episodes than most of the dialogue in his game, thanks to his game being a NES-era game (with only bare-minimum amounts of text). But aside from fans of the series(or people who just want to know a bit about fire emblem), the OVA is too short to be considered a full plot.
Not bad at all. Go watch it together with your friends that also happen to be fans of the Fire Emblem video game series!
Great '90s style artwork and very nice orchestrated music based on the music from the game. The animation itself looked fairly smooth at times as well. I personally really enjoyed the voice acting, but I can see where people may think otherwise. It is delightfully cheesy.
While the story sets up a solid premise that follows the video game, it doesn't get to go very far due to this series never surpassing two episodes of length. The same issue can be said
for the characters. The voice of characters were often out of sync with their mouth animations, which becomes slightly annoying. However, the fact that this is only two episodes long, could be a pro to those who didn't find this OVA to be particularly enjoyable. If you really did not like it, at least you didn't waste much time.
Don't watch if you don't care about Fire Emblem and Marth or you are expecting something to be of quality of a Ghibli film.
It is a shame that this show didn't continue to be longer. I could really see the potential in this show. It had a lot of room to develop and grow. The style and story of the Fire Emblem series is just the right recipe for an anime adaptation. Cheers to Nintendo and Intelligent Systems if they ever let an anime studio try again to make another OVA out of one of the newer games (or older ones) in the franchise.
For what this OVA is, it is a must see if you are a fan of the Fire Emblem video game series and/or you main Marth in Super Smash Bros. Get together with some friends and embrace the cheesiness. You are bound to have some good laughs. Gordon the archer especially has some real laugh out loud moments. It has some rather epic moments too. You don't have much to lose.
I low-key loved this OVA, but realistically it is probably a 5 out of 10, because of its incompleteness. Had the show continued, it could've been an 8 or 9 out of 10, because it was on a solid path to be something bigger and better. Nonetheless, it was quite enjoyable and I would totally watch it again for fun. So for me, it is a 7/10.
Now, since this is my first review, it will be rather brief and of poor quality, so I apologize in advance. I will do my best to be as unbiased as possible because I am a big fan of the Fire Emblem series.
At the moment I am writing this, I have not played the original game of Fire Emblem or it's remakes, so I'm going to assume that the plot of the OVA closely follows the plot of the actual games, or at least the beginning of them. I personally find the deep lore surrounding the world quite intriguing. It's just a shame
that they kept it extremely vague and barely explained any of it. I also find the use of the names of real locations in the world throughout history (Examples being the lands of Orleans and Macedonia) adds a bit of familiarity to a rather new world to the viewer, assuming they have never played the game before, like me.
JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING IS OLD DOESN'T MEAN ONE BIT THAT THE ART IS BAD. Sure it can be kind of off-putting at first but I got used to it about halfway through the first episode. Keep in mind that the main animation studio who worked on this OVA, from what I could find at least, mainly was a studio who assisted other studios with work, an example being Studio Ghibli. Even then, the art is still quite appealing to the eye in my opinion and deserves no lower than a 7.
Now this might just be the recording I was watching, but the sound can be AWFUL at times. The sound can sometimes be weirdly loud or quiet at the most random of times. There is not much else for me to say in this category other than that I will never forget the moment when Marth (NOT MARS. But we will get to that later.) peaked the microphone in the first five minutes of the first episode.
The character are nothing more than stereotypes of tropes in anime. Marth seemed to be the generic male protagonist of every modern light-novel adaptation ever (shots fired) and Caeda seems to be a generic tsundere. But, those are really the only two I can really pull off the top of my head. This aspect was slightly passable, so it gets a 5/10
I actually REALLY enjoyed this one. The action scenes were surprisingly violent, considering that this is an OVA based off of a Nintendo game. Nevertheless, the action scenes were fluent and well-animated, and there was a strong feeling of impact whenever a character landed a hit on one of the bad guys. My main gripe is that there was a little bit of a translation issue. Marth was called Mars, Altea was called Aritia, and Caeda was called Sheeda. This really threw me off when trying to identify characters when I already have the original names of things implanted in my memory from playing games like Fire Emblem Heroes for and hour at a time. With that and the sound quality, those were the only two things that really effected my enjoyment of this relatively good OVA.
Before I go there is probably a big question, "If there is a dub, should I watch it?"
ABSOLUTELY NOT. The dub is appallingly bad so if you are ever to take my advice than you should definitely watch it subbed.
With all that being said, I give Fire Emblem an overall score of about 8/10. Thank you for reading my first ever review on this site. I hop to bring more content in the future.
As an avid player of Fire Emblem Heroes and that mobile game being the gateway for LA into the Fire Emblem franchise, LA was curious if there was any Fire Emblem animes out there to satiate LA's curiosity of the Fire Emblem franchise and this anime.....isn't the best foray into the games out there.
Fire Emblem's OVA tells the prologue and one isolated event of the Mystery of the Emblem game for what this adaptation is trying to do and by all intents this OVA is nothing but exposition and setting the game proper with a bit of characterization towards one or two characters but
the problem and defense in all this is that the OVA are too short going at 40 minutes trying cram as much as it can.
The animation done by Studio Fantasia is pretty decent for it's time (of 1996) and it's really obvious when this kind of animation was released by the character designs and background work and to it's credit, Fire Emblem's animation is one of it's better elements of the anime if you like old school style.
Now, LA watched the DUBBED vers. done by ADV Films and BOY does it have ADV all over it, from Spike Spencer, Kurt Stoll, Kim Sevier and hi Brett Weaver!. The dubbing is oddly out of place and inconsistent what with the many minor characters accents going all over the place with the main cast and LA knows accents for pirates, royalty and stereotypical anime voices etc. are typical of the dubs in the 90's but it's extremely jarring nonetheless having a Scottish accent mixed in with pirate accenting with normal talking characters all in one. For what it's worth it was ADV Films in the 90's but still if your gonna watch the dub then watch it for a good laugh...especially for the line read of the OVA.
Fire Emblem's OVA major and biggest problem was that it was too short and quite obvious this OVA was a vehicle to promote the game in the SNES, aside from the dubbing by ADV, this OVA was giving us a snippet of what the game entails in such a rushed way was it's downfall. But for what's it worth, it "tried" to adapt the Fire Emblem Mystery of the Emblem the best it could in under 40 minutes.
LA wouldn't mind another Fire Emblem anime adaptation coming soon in the near future as it is possible with it's other games but for Fire Emblem's first try into anime was more a stumbling block than anything else, but it tried with what it could at the time.
Alas but another failed video game to anime adaptation in the end...
I admit it, I was pleasantly surprised at how much better the Fire Emblem anime was than what I was expecting. Short OVA adaptations of existing franchises usually tend to be heavily abridged and amount to little more than a special trailer for the source material. And when the source material comes from Fire Emblem, specifically one of the earliest, simplest games in a series where the storylines are just amusing at best, you would naturally expect no different.
But in a twist, that's not the case. This OVA's creators actually did honor to their source material, adhering to the original storyline while using the new
format to flesh out the game's scenarios and characters more than the game itself did. Player characters are given more personality and dialogue than they did in the game and are seen interacting with each other and contributing to the anime's adaptations of some of the game's earlier chapters.
There are even parts of this OVA that seem as if they were somehow made for future fans of the series. All characters featured in the OVA are at the very least given brief moments for their own cool stunts and maybe a tough line or two, and we even get to see a fight between Ogma and Nabarl, the first instance of the series's natural rivalry between the Mercenary and Myrmidon classes.
In addition, most of the score contains new orchestral renditions of music from the game, and it sounds just as good as it did on the consoles, if not better. I know for a fact I've never been as much of a fan of the Fire Emblem theme as I was while watching this OVA. The original scores are quite nice as well, and I especially like the tune that plays during each episode's introduction to Akaneia before the Fire Emblem logo appears.
Now, before Fire Emblem fans get too excited, let me clarify that I'm only saying this OVA is good for what it is. It goes above the call of duty for a videogame adaptation, but it's still an adaptation of a fairly generic plot and character archetypes. This isn't a particularly good anime in any general sense, and if it satisfied at all that's entirely due to the fact that it's just mildly appeasing fanservice at its best moments. The OVA also ends far before the game's storyline does, although this does mean we avoid the awkward breakneck pace a lot of videogame adaptations have. The animation and art are completely average for its time, though the framerate is quite nice and Shiida is classic anime cute.
With all that said, the Fire Emblem OVA does an admirable enough job for a videogame adaptation, and it deserves proper credit for doing the fans a service by expanding upon a storyline and its characters when the game itself didn't give much attention to them.
This is an interesting set of OVAs, though I can only recommend them if you're a fan of the game series, and if you know about the first, third, and/or eleventh games. Even then, I get this vibe that it's one of those animes where you will either like it or hate it, mainly due to translations, contradictions with Shadow Dragon, and what it added to the plot.
The story remains the same medieval conflict as the games, though with some more filler in between the battles. I personally liked that, because it gave the characters more personality (although not a lot), which I though was
better than just medieval military drama and fighting. Even for the one-dimensional characters (spoiler alert, there are one-dimensional characters) it was entertaining, since their interactions were somewhat amusing. Granted, none of the characters were PERFECTLY written, but they were good enough so that I didn't get bored with any of them. I could actually identify them with a personality better than I could while playing the games, which I think is a plus. At the end of the day, the plot isn't fantastic, but it's good enough so that you probably won't hate it.
If there's anything I loved most about these OVAs, it was the artstyle. In addition to the same vivid colors from the games, the actual drawings were very nice. They had a sort of pre-millennial anime look (e.g. Lupin III, Evangelion, Akira, etc.), which I think suits the setting, tone, and action. It makes it feel very gritty and hardboiled. The characters were usually drawn in accordance with their original art, although Sheeda's hair sometimes shifts between a bright cyan and a dark indigo. Not much else to say here other than the art is very well done.
The sound is okay. Most of the soundtrack consists of remixes from the games (particularly the third), and I'll be honest, they were good, but not really upgrades. They sound like they were done using Casio keyboards, which made the songs sound more full and defined, but not necessarily much better. I think the only REAL problem I had was that the music was usually drowned out by either dialogue or the loud sound of battle.
I watched the English dub, and the voice actors were generally average. Nothing bad, nothing great. There were probably better choices, but I'm not knowledgeable enough about voice acting to say much.
The translations are where there will probably a load of conflict. I personally prefer most of the translations from Shadow Dragon (with some exceptions) over the ones in the OVAs. Altea is referred to as Aritia (Uh-REE-sha), Doluna is referred to as Dorua, Aurelis is referred to as Orleans (Ore-lay-AHNS), Marth is referred to as Mars, Ogma is referred to as Oguma (Oh-GOO-muh), and Navarre is referred to as Naball. Everything else is either the same as any other translation, or not in there because they only cover up until Navarre (Nabarl, Naball, etc.) joins. This is a very subjective area, so all I'll say is I didn't like them very much.
Overall, like I said in the beginning, this is really only enjoyable if you played or at least know about the first, third, and/or eleventh games. Anyone who's unfamiliar with the games will be confused and be turned off. Even if you ARE familiar with the games, I would say give this a watch, but don't expect to love it. It's a very average experience the whole way through. That said, I REALLY wish they covered the whole of Book 1 (heck, I'd love it even more to see Book 2), because I want to see more of how the characters behaved in chapters where they didn't have any dialogue or significance. I would've also liked to see what they would've done with the plot of each chapter, because if you compare the OVAs to the original games, you'll see there was more added to the plots of the first two chapters in the OVAs. But, that's very unlikely to happen.
If you're a fan of the games, give it a watch, but don't expect anything fantastic. If you are NOT a fan, this isn't worth your time. You'll most likely be confused, even if you quickly read up on the games.
im a big fan of the SRPG Nintendo series;Honestly though it was quite enjoyable in my opinion; sure the story is about as generic as you can get, but that's fire emblem in a nutshell a story of a Medieval Young Lord-ling that must take back the land the was either conquered from his father,and goes around the country building up his army while having skirmishes with the opposing army. I am not very fond of Marth as it is; hence he really is the most bland of The Lords in the fire emblem series;coupled with the fact this series has fodder villains in
it's two episodes, and really the only thing memorable is the fire surrounding the buildings, and nameless Warriors going at each other with Swords. i did enjoy this two part episode,but it left me wanting for more as this series came into an abrupt end; which is really quite a shame considering the tyrannical Ruler Harden becomes could have went into the philosophy's, and the strategy's on how to run a successful military campaign, and how not everything is black, and white just like the fire Emblem series itself. This anime had a lot of potential it could have Morphed into a primitive version of the likes of Gundam Wing with all the political intrigue, and assassinations that take place in this series this was wasted potential; even then i will say the author did a good job with the setting as I can still picture the Fire surrounding the buildings its just the knights that were fighting didn't have a background, and didn't feel fleshed out this story gets a 5, but it had a potential to be at least a 9.