While Rance might well be one of the best swordsmen in the world, he has the personality of a rancid turd. He is narcissistic, lecherous, abusive and almost without any redeeming social graces. And his underclad and overabused slavegirl Shira knows this, but she is still in love with him. One day Rance is hired to defend a dusty and forsaken desert village from the repeated attacks of scantly clad and oversexed sorceress intent on the resurrection of a long forgotten demon.
Ahh, the dreaded hentai anime. Once upon a time, I might have been ashamed to have the 'stain' of such a title in my list. But that was a long time ago, when I was but a fresh young lad with a bepimpled face who still cared what people thought about him. Now I've traded the acne for a neckbeard, which really can't be considered an upgrade in itself, but point being that times have changed. When every other comedy that comes out has ten instances of airbrushing or random rays of light obscuring the view of the picture per episode, you can hardly consider
them much different from an H-title save for the fact that they are trying to pretend they're above said H-title status with their fancy censorship.
All semantics aside, let's get on to the actual review before I write five paragraphs on something that has little to do with the actual anime. The points:
The story is rather bland. There's a little twist like there usually is in most of the older AliceSoft games (some of the newer ones are far beyond 'little twists', if you're interested in that sort of thing), but it's so predictable in this case that you almost have to pretend to be surprised in order to enjoy the story itself. In certain areas I couldn't help but shake my head at the seemingly random segues, but there's never a moment in the show where you're actually bored due to lack of progression.
This is one of those scores where you have to throw yourself back several years and go, "Well, back then, I guess you could consider this pretty high quality." The anime itself is literally as old as my little sister, which is rather old and wrinkly in art and special effects years, and it visually shows. However, the characters look like they're supposed to, at least for the most part. There are no large artistic deviations from the original source, which is good, and taking the silly animation style and comedic expressions on the faces of the characters during certain moments into account, I have to prod the score a bit higher than it might otherwise be due to how much it fits with the comedic tone that the anime is going for.
The other other gray area for the anime. The sound is as old as the art, or so I would hope, but in itself is fairly unassuming. In my opinion, that's a very good thing. There's nothing interesting in the sound, no fluctuating volume or ghostly whispers in the background, no sound effects that don't make any sense (i.e., when the picture shows people running and screaming it doesn't sound like they're moaning in orgasmic ecstacy like certain audio dubs which will remain unnamed). The music fits the scenes and generally fades into the background, which is what music in an anime really should do so it doesn't distract you from trivial things like plot development. Neither the OP or ED are spectacularly awesome, either. "Eh, it's decent." That's a really good way to sum up a sound score in this case.
Another thing I feel inclined to mention is the fact that, to my knowledge, only the first episode is subbed. Personally, I found that I didn't really need subs for the second episode. If you've been watching anime long enough, you should be able to use your wee-a-boo skills to understand what's going on, especially since you have a good story foundation laid down by the subbing in the first episode. If you don't feel like that comment belongs under 'sound'... Well, too bad. The audio is Japanese, and besides.. It's my review, damnit.
This is where this show really shines. The two main characters are fantastic, and I feel like the summary on the page of this anime really misses the point while describing their personalities. Sure, Rance is an egotistical, perverted, violent, abusive, and occasionally even borderline maniacal ass with an extremely questionable set of morals. But I dare you to try and keep a straight face and tell me that a character that screwed up doesn't make for an interesting 'hero' for a story. Sure, Sill (her name is pronounced 'Shiru', not 'Shira' as the synopsis would have you believe, but I'll go by the old fan-translated standard from the games and keep calling her Sill) is underclothed and overabused, but isn't that the very nature of a slave in the first place, even disregarding the fact that she has such a deprecative monster of a master (hah, I made it funny with word similarity. You know you laughed)?
Instead of judging the surface, one should note that the fact that Sill stays with Rance and endures his destructive tendencies should more than prove how much she's devoted to him. Even lovingly so, in fact, though you might not get that as much from the anime as you would from the games. His hard-headedness prevents him from realizing it at all in most cases, of course, but it's there. (I don't want to spoil anything, but he DOES realize and attempt to return Sill's love occasionally in the games, albeit in a rather questionable manner most of the time)
The characters stick with the behavior they had in the original source, always a plus. In fact, the comedic actions of (and interactions between) the two characters are really what keep the anime (and games, but that's not what this review is about) afloat. Without the constant humor, this title really would be just another of the worthless pronime that tend to clog the arteries of myanimelist's... Anime list. The only issue I have with the character score, the only reason I can't in good conscience give it a ten, is because the two main characters are really the only GOOD characters that the show has. Most every other character that appears in the anime is simply a physical or emotional outlet for Rance, in one way or another. But then again, the world revolves around him and he's the hero. So maybe that's the way it should be. From his perspective, at the very least.
If you haven't played the any of the games in the Rance series, you probably won't love this as much as someone who had, even if that someone played them in a language they couldn't read. There are various references that you just wouldn't understand, be they particular enemies or just skills that the characters tend to employ. I still think it would be an enjoyable watch for someone completely new to the Rance world, but it wouldn't have the impact it might otherwise have.
Believe it or not, the ero-content doesn't take away from the enjoyment as much as one might think. Most of the hentai is actually used as an excuse for more comedy instead of, "Hey look, here's some boobs, please don't change the channel!" That's right, Ero-comedy. Not to mention, personally, I've always preferred that a story remain realistic as far as the goals of it's characters go. How often are demons REALLY going to want to destroy the world? Demons would more be looking to corrupt the world, not destroy it, amirite? And what better way to do that than by sexually violating the globe? That's a good mental image for you, by the way. You can apply that to just about any kind of evil, though. It's hard to find a realistic form of corruption that doesn't involve something a lot of people would deem unfit for most audiences.
Overall: 8 (Or 7.8, if you want to be all mathematically technical about it)
Like I stated before, this anime isn't exactly meant for people who haven't played the series of games it's based off of. If you have played and enjoyed the games, I highly recommend it. If you haven't, it's still not a bad watch. A hentai title that somehow manages to be this pants-rendingly hilarious is, in the paraphrased words of Djibriel, about as rare as something you would consider quite exceedingly rare.
If you're squeamish when it comes to blood in your anime, there are a few places that might make you twitch, but it's not like this is Elfen Lied or something. If you're squeamish when it comes to a few seconds bare breasts (or a hairy man-ass) and are for some hypocritical reason on this page and reading a review for a hentai title, then please continue on your way and pretend it doesn't exist. I live my way, you live yours, and the kindest thing we can do is ignore each other when we know our paths will conflict. Otherwise, it's a fun little romp of an anime; a great 'filler piece' to watch between your larger serieseses or serii.