"Alpha Stigma" are known to be eyes that can analyze all types of magic. However, they are more infamously known as cursed eyes that can only bring destruction and death to others.
Ryner Lute, a talented mage and also an Alpha Stigma bearer, was once a student of the Roland Empire's Magician Academy, an elite school dedicated to training magicians for military purposes. However, after many of his classmates died in a war, he makes an oath to make the nation a more orderly and peaceful place, with fellow survivor and best friend, Sion Astal.
Now that Sion is the the king of Roland, he orders Ryner to search for useful relics that will aid the nation. Together with Ferris Eris, a beautiful and highly skilled swordswoman, Ryner goes on a journey to search for relics of legendary heroes from the past, and also uncover the secrets behind his cursed eyes.
These days we often misuse words in ways that sometimes don't make sense. Take "epic" for example, and think about all of the occasions where the term has been applied as a colloquialism that simply means "I enjoyed it" , "it was very good", or some other sentiment along those lines. It's actually surprising how many people don't know the meaning or usage of the word, but rather than comment on the failure of education systems, let's have a look at how "epic" applies to an anime like Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu (or The Legend of the Legendary Heroes, whatever floats your boat).
eleven volume light novel series by Kagami Takaya was published in Dragon Magazine from February 2002 until October 2006 and has spawned a sequel (The Legend of the Great Heroes of Legend), and two spin offs (The Legend of the Legendary Heroes Anyway, and The Legend of the Black Fallen Hero), as well as being adapted as a drama CD, a PSP game, a manga, and the recent anime rendition.
Now aside from mild curiosity at the obvious addiction to using the words "legend" and "hero" in some manner, one has to wonder if the anime adaptation can really live up to the popularity of the franchise.
The story begins with an attack by the Nelphan army on the person of Ryner Lute, a layabout who is on a mission for his trusted friend, boss, and cause of all of his problems, King Sion Astal of Roland. Accompanying him on his journey is the warrior and perpetual dango addict Ferris Eris, a woman who may be a genius with a sword, but is pretty clueless with almost everything else (except dango). The pair have been tasked with finding and acquiring the legendary artifacts known as the Relics of Heroes, which lie hidden in various places across the continent of Menoris.
As with any fantasy tale there's an element of derivation inherent in the plot which results in several very familiar scenarios being played out over the course of the series. This in itself isn't a bad thing though, as these staples are often used to drive home a particular point, or as support for the main storyline.
And this anime really does need the support.
The main issues with Denstsu no Yuusha no Densetsu (DenYuuDen), are the lack of coherency with the story and the constantly changing pace of the plot. Viewers may often find themselves wondering how a particular situation came about, and while there are efforts to tie up certain loose ends, these are nothing more than papering over the cracks. The narrative suffers from a distinct lack of timely explanations, and events can lead the audience on a merry dance as they struggle to keep up with the storyline. This is exacerbated by the constant mood swings that occur from one episode to the next, and the addition of seemingly random comedy scenes give the viewer the sense that even the show itself has no idea what's going to happen next.
The heart of the problem is simply that ZEXCS, like many other studios, have made a screenplay that is nothing more than a "cut and paste" rendition of the original source material. While there are some anime that get away with summarily stringing together disparate events, it would have been better for everyone if they at least made the effort to stick to the story. Better yet, ZEXCS could have followed the example set by Satelight when they made Guin Saga, and only adapted a portion of the story to ensure there would be a continuous flow to the plot.
One has to wonder what moment of "genius" would persuade director Kawasaki Itsuro and series composer Yoshimura Kiyoko to make such a disjointed narrative.
On the plus side the lack of care with the storyline isn't really reflected in the look of the show, and DenYuuDen has some nice, imaginative scenes that really show what ZEXCS are capable of if they put their backs into it. The series features some decent animation, but the design principle impinges on this to a degree, partly because of the bishounen aspect of the show, but mainly because of the costumes. While the various outfits and garments are creative in their own way, there are several scenes where things like cloaks would clearly be a hindrance to any actual combat. In addition to this the characters tend to be on the impassive side when it comes to facial expressions, although this becomes less of an issue as the series progresses.
DenYuuDen also features some very nice lighting and visual effects that add an extra layer of atmosphere to particular events, giving them an elegant, decadent, or dramatic feel that requires little in the way of added audio. Unfortunately this is offset by a lack of attention with small, specific details which seem like they were pencilled in as afterthoughts (Ryner's two year old beard is one example of this). While it's sometimes easy to overlook these relatively minor flaws, every now and then they become impossible to ignore, and viewers may be left wondering why the studio didn't notice these discrepancies before releasing certain episodes.
The series features two opening themes, LAMENT Yagate Yorokobi Wo by Yuuki Aira (episodes 1 to 12), and Last Inferno by Ceui (episodes 13 to 24). The first OP is a rather bland affair that is generally well timed and edited, but ultimately fails to inspire. The second track is an altogether different beast that has far better choreography, and possesses a more serious and dramatic air than before. As for the ending themes, Truth Of My Destiny by Ceui and Hikari no Filament by Takagaki Ayahi, neither is anything other than a reasonable pop ballad coupled with pointless visuals that have no bearing on the story proper.
What is interesting is the manner in which the background music is utilised. The tracks are often subtle additions that never really come to the fore unless the situation warrants more drama or tension, and because of this there are very few clashes with the dialogue. In addition to this the effects are given precedence over the music during a number of action sequences, and given that this series is a relatively disjointed affair, the quality of the audio choreography is more than a little surprising.
One of the problem areas for DenYuuDen is the dialogue, in particular the tendency towards oratory and the sudden changes between banter and seriousness that are extensions of the inherent issues with the storyline, so it's to the credit of the actors and actresses that they deliver some decent performances. Fukuyama Jun (Ryner Lute), Ono Daisuke (Sion Astal), Takagaki Ayahi (Ferris Eris), and the rest of the cast are able to inject a degree of personality into their characters, but this is limited by some truly cumbersome scripting.
Unfortunately this, together with the compression of the story, has a knock on effect where the characters are concerned.
Like so many other fantasy anime out there, DenYuuDen follows the tried and tested method of event driven development, but like many other shows it also falls into the trap of poor characterisation. From the beginning of the first episode the viewer is expected to not only identify with Ryner, Ferris and Sion without knowing anything about them, they are also supposed to wait for any explanations because of the disjointed nature of the story. Add to that the fact that much of the growth is dependent on specific events that are scattered throughout the narrative, and the lack of personality comes to the fore.
That said, while there is little to maintain the viewer's interest in the characters at the start of the show, things do take a turn for the better at the midway stage so that by the end of the series they are no longer cardboard cutouts. The events that drive the development also become a little more complex as the story develops, which is nice to see as the tendency in fantasy anime is to add more detail to the story while keeping these "signposts" simple.
Now it may seem like I'm being unfair to DenYuuDen by picking up on so many of its flaws, but there is a reason for this. While there is a lot that could have been done to improve the series as a whole, it's actually a rather enjoyable romp too. The byplay between Ryner, Eris and Sion can be odd because of the poor scripting, but there is humour in there, enough to make the viewer smile at least. In addition to that, there is a concerted effort to improve the story in the second half of the show, with darker themes emerging and more focus on consequences. The action sequences are decent enough, but every so often there is a flash of brilliance, and the characters can sometimes show a surprising depth that really should have been there for most of the series.
And that's the rub. It really, really could have been so much better than it is. There is so much that ZEXCS could have easily done to improve DenYuuDen, and even something as relatively simple as deciding to adapt only a portion of the light novel series would have made a profound difference.
One thing that should be touched on is the mistaken assumption that Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu is somehow an homage to Legend Of The Galactic Heroes due to the similarity in the naming conventions. The problem is that far too many people who have heard of, or watched, the latter anime have automatically decided that DenYuuDen should be just as good when, aside from the name and the fact that heroes, politics and war are involved, the two bear very few similarities. It's a bit like saying apples and apricots should taste the same just because they're both fruits that grow on trees and their names start with "ap".
Anyway, leaving that aside, the one thing that really stands out about this anime is that it's effectively an unfinished product, especially as the light novels are still publishing. The disjointed storyline and initially lacklustre characters make this a much more difficult show to invest in, and this is a shame as there are several key plot elements that are interesting enough to warrant much more attention.
That said, ZEXCS' attempt at adapting the novels has some good points, and while there is enjoyment to be had, it's a far cry from being an epic.
[Edit Part A: This original review was written on the basis of what I have seen up until episode 18 and around that episode the anime had two options 1. stick with the original novel, which has a sequel to it and continue with it or 2. going for an "anime-only" ending with 8 episodes to spare (26 episodes). I would recommend not to read Edit Part B at the end of the original review, unless you want to.]
Okay I admit, the title is a bit... I mean it's really something that can put you off. Add to that, a very very ordinary first
episode definitely led many to have a thought such as "Oh! Okay. Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu (Legend of the Legendary Heroes). I will watch it later." or most likely, 'Meh, it's definitely not my type." And yes, I can tell that with the number of people actually dropping it after first couple of episodes, let alone placed it in their 'on hold/plan to watch' list which is staggering.
Regardless, before you even read this review, I would suggest to watch the first three episodes (you can seriously do without the FUNistreams, since it is actually nicely animated) and drop the show if you like, well its more like I dare you would drop it once you've seen episode three.
So much for an introduction, here goes the real deal:
Legend of the Legendary Heroes is based on a novel of the same title which goes back some 8 years from now (first published in 2002). The anime is almost an exact adaptation of the novel. The novel and its anime adaptation are based on a feudal European setting, just that, blended with Magic and Monsters.
As for a brief introduction to where the story picks up, Ryner Lute (Fukuyama Jun), a magician of the Empire of Roland goes on a journey to find what they call the 'Hero Relics' scattered all over the continent. He is partnered with Ferris Eris (Takagaki Ayahi), a beautiful, arrogant and insanely skilled swords-woman. Both of them have been dispatched by Sion Astal (Ono Daisuke), the young Hero-King of the Roland Empire. If it wasn't for Sion's slave-running, as what both Ryner and Ferris see him to be, Ryner would have been enjoying countless number of days taking his afternoon naps while Ferris enjoying her share of dango, and only dango in all of her meals. Everyday!
To give an insight, Hero Relics are assumed to be sources of immense power that can overthrow an entire empire, something Sion desires to have available at his disposal so that he can make his empire a force to be recognized. You can easily understand Ryner and Ferris wouldn't be the only ones on the hunt. As Ryner and Ferris keep searching for the relics, putting his absolute faith on both of them, Sion follows his dream to make an empire where everyone would have a wonderful life. Something that comes with a price indeed; Coup d'état followed by numerous assassination attempts from time to time from power hungry nobles and their followers. I won't say anymore than this. Rest are for you to find out, because it goes far beyond anything as simple as it might seem as you've just read.
The story is surprisingly good. I always tend to enjoy anime with lots of flashbacks, past happenings which often help a story to grow. Denyuuden, as what it is called in short, really is impressive on that regard. While the first episode is more like an introductory episode that goes to show the main characters involved in the anime, the following couple of episodes show flashbacks from where it all began, why Ryner set for the journey to find the relics, why Ferris has been appointed as his companion, and how, young Sion came to throne. These two episodes (2 and 3) are basically the foundation of the story that will take so many turns here and there as more characters are blended in while making the anime all too enjoyable, that when you will look back, you will be thrilled to realize how simply it all started. The story has unimaginable twists and when you think a character was included just for the sake of it, they will surprise you with the role they are going to play in the development of the whole story. Story wise, this couldn't be any better. And I dare say, I have seen lots of anime already to make such a rather bold statement.
The anime can be seen as from both the characters' point of views, as well as from the political aspects involved, which makes it a very intelligent anime. For example, the decisions Sion makes as a King often conflict with his philosophy, but he shoulders everything as a King should, refusing to give in to his ideals. At the same time, the conflicting nature of the characters within themselves makes it a very heartfelt anime. Like Ryner, who has been through enough, shows lack of emotion, although he cares for every living thing around him, ironically though, he puts threat on those around him just through his very existence. Ferris, who is always mocking Ryner doesn't falter to hold him dearly when he really needs it the most. And the anime translates a society that is ruled by the so called nobles and their hunger for power, and a society where everyone brands certain people as 'monsters' for the inhuman power they possess, ironically again, something they wish they never have possessed, something they were born with in the first place.
The characters are nicely depicted. From the absolute loyalty of the subordinates of Sion, for instance General Claugh Klom, to the emotional involvements of the members of the Roland Taboo Hunter team, (yeah, you have to know Milk Callaud (Fujita Saki) and her reverse-harem :P) everything makes sense. Characters making their entrance halfway through the series, for instance, the Hero-King of Gastark, Riphal Edea (Nakai Kazuya), or even the late, very late introduction of Tiia Rumiblue (Sakurai Takahiro) has been intensifying. And there are mysterious characters like Ferris' older brother Lucile (Sugita Tomokazu), Sion's right hand Miran Froaude (Suwabe Junichi) and Milk Callaud's second in command Luke Stokkart (Hino Satoshi) will make you ponder to understand their every move and their motives. You must have been really annoyed by now to see all those seiyuus in the bracket. But the reason behind putting them there is to show the number of popular voice-casts have been working on this anime, justifying the weight of the characters being portrayed overall.
The animation quality is really of top notch. The backgrounds are nicely animated and gives you the feel of a feudal European setting coupled with magical terrains and mysterious plains. The actions are simply put, stunning. From the magical circles that Ryner draws before unleashing the commands, to Ferris' sword fights are animated smoothly without any glitch. Like I warned before, watching online streams, or stream-rips will kill half the real enjoyment. The fierce battles, magic circles, blood gores; you really cant enjoy them over low quality streams. This is not an anti-FUNi claim, just a fact which you can clearly confirm if you google the anime's screenshots/screencaptures. I would rather you buy the DVD/Blu-rays when they are out.
The sound, particularly the BGM of the anime is really good. They change and merge so nicely with the mood that it makes the anime vibrant. One of the major contributions of BGMs is to propagate the emotional state of mind of the characters involved and Denyuuden scores a perfect 10/10 in that aspect. I would also like to say that the OP/EDs are really good, and grow into you as you continue the anime.
The only downside of the anime is probably every time it wants to pull a comedy. I would say it failed miserably to make me laugh even once.
[Edit X: the following bits under [Ignore][/Ignore] was a conclusion I came up at episode 18. So they don't carry enough significance for my overall entertainment of the anime up till that point. Of course it changed after episode 24. Regardless, it was a nice watch and I found the anime quite good compared to many other shows that came out in Spring 2010 anime calender.]
[Ignore]I hope this review helps you to pick an anime that gives you a negative vibe when it actually is one of the real gems out there. I am enjoying this anime like nothing else from the Spring 2010 season and the reason behind writing this review is to make YOU find out what you've been missing out!
Again a reminder: Please do watch the first three episodes at least before coming to any conclusion. And if you still think its not your plate of dango, I would rather see you finding this review I took my time to write on 'Not Helpful'. [/Ignore]
[Edit Part B: The anime decided to stick with the original novel and follow it until the final episode. Which left the Anime highly open ended and a lot of things to be answered. According to forum reads, twitter feeds and blogs, I have reached to a conclusion that unless there is a significant improvement of the market of DVD/Bluray Disc, which is really poor at the moment, a sequel is highly unlikely. So if you don't intend to read the sequel novel, which is still ongoing, this anime is definitely not for you. Other than that, I would just say that there were bits in the original anime trailer which were never shown in the 24 episodes run of the entire show, leaving a bigger question, why those bits were there in the trailer when they were never in the anime series at all. Of course, I am referring to the bits that directly showed parts that collaborates with where the anime ended and giving a glimmer of hope to a sequel of the anime. You just never know.]
I often think that as long as I know what to expect from a show, it couldn’t disappoint me. First impressions from the title alone gave a sense it was trying too hard to be epic, but that didn’t matter since I expected “Legend of the Legendary Heroes” to be a fun, clichéd romp. But instead of creating a brainless fantasy flick for dumb people like myself, the show adopts a taste for complexities with writing that leaves a bad taste.
The story opens with two of the three main characters, the wizard Ryner and the knight Ferris, as they journey across the continent of Menoris
in search of powerful Hero Relics to aid our third main character, the High King of Roland, Sion. The lazy Ryner and steadfast Ferris aren’t anything beyond that in the first episode, with the only noticeable interplay between them being a scene where Ferris calls Ryner a pervert. Unfortunately, this scene is a running gag throughout the show that turns the Ryner and Ferris duo from simple to cringeworthy.
Much of the show follows Ryner and Ferris’ adventures, meaning much of that time focuses on their relationship, which is Ferris calling Ryner a pervert for no reason; Ryner doesn’t so much as see a pantyshot from Ferris, so it’s not even clichéd in the way it should be, but outright unbelievable. Their relationship is 70% one running joke and 30% serious moments with no real progress between them, because they’re only sentimental when the show calls for it. Their relationship goes in a circle, or maybe it’s a see-saw; I don’t care, but neither do the writers.
In one of the show’s scenes, Ryner is going out of control for plot reasons while Ferris is trying to snap him out of it. After she manages to get through to him, Ryner breaks down and starts crying in her arms as the rain suddenly pours. This scene of clichés doesn’t work since there’s a lack of tells on their progress. Ferris blushes maybe once before this while Ryner shows no interest in her at all. And even if this scene did work, they go back into being a weightless comedy duo until the story demands their sentiments again. And this happens more than once.
But Ryner and Ferris’ relationship is harmless compared to the threads in the rest of the show. Ryner’s lack of personality outside his laziness can be made up for with his background, but the show’s storytelling often jumps back and forth from present day to flashback without any tell it’s done so, making it hard to follow. Even then, most of what little backstory he has is in the later parts of the show. It’s hard to take his tragic past seriously when the show often glosses over it for attempted comedy.
Ferris is an even bigger joke than Ryner. When she’s not wrongly calling him a pervert for whatever reason, she’s going on about dango flavors without much else to her character. Somehow, she has even less background than Ryner, and it doesn’t help that this background is little more than skin service that isn’t even charming, but a forced attempt at being dark and edgy. But, it wouldn’t be a forced attempt at being dark and edgy if Ferris was a character worth caring for, if she had real progress and most of her time didn’t focus on failed comedy.
The final main character, Sion, is also a big joke. His character arc is about learning to make tough choices that come with being High King, but his personality doesn’t show it at all. He’s equally serious and easygoing until the end of the show, which makes it easy to wonder whether story events are affecting him at all. Most of his background involves characters that have one or two lines of dialog, which isn’t enough for it to be taken seriously like it’s supposed to. He’s also incomprehensible, saying he doesn’t want to rule like a tyrant one moment, then leaves his assassin servant to take extreme measures so he can reach his goals the next moment.
Sorry, I tried jumping over one cliché and fell onto another. When the story isn’t being lazy with its characters’ progress or background, it tries TOO hard and ends up being a war and politics philosophy discussion without compelling characters to distract from the fact. These heavy themes require a delicate touch, but unfortunately most of the villains—villains, not antagonists—are wealthy, evil people that take away from any social depth the show tries to have.
Not that what depth the show does have is worth much anyway. There’s a lot more going on in the story, but most of it amounts to nothing or is rushed. One of the characters shows a thirst for vengeance without any build-up leading to that moment. The character he wants revenge on wants revenge on another character. And that final character is dealt with so quickly it disrespects the passion and empathy the first two characters (try to) invoke. If that sounds like a short plot description, then don’t worry, because the show doesn’t give these multiple story threads more than a few episodes.
But even with a lot of episodes, one of the characters still proves ineffectual.
When this character is introduced, she wants to reunite with Ryner because he was her friend during her rough childhood. It makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is how bubbly she is for most of the show, badly clashing with her background. What’s worse is that this isn’t the set-up to a gag character, because she’s supposed to be taken seriously. But her serious moments don’t work, because she lacks the roundedness needed to make her bubbly and serious side believable as the same character.
The only decent characters are more like two pairings that are unfortunately not around for long. One of the characters in the first pairing appears at the early and later parts of the show. She meets someone she doesn’t like at first, but in their next scene they’re enjoying a cup of tea, and in the scene following she’s a blushing maiden. The other pairing is a classic warrior and princess story that believably flows from adoration to sweetness; in the first scene they’re smitten at first rescue, in the next scene they’re trying to hide their feelings from their friends to no effect, and then they’re enjoying a moonlight walk.
Ignoring the small amount of screentime these four characters have, they’re believable because there’s real progress to their relationships. Sure, it’s cheesy, but it’s at least an attempt at a pairing compared to Ryner and Ferris’ see-saw relationship. It’s not as layered as the other parts of the story, but being more layered doesn’t mean better, but a greater chance to be worse. When there’s more plot to juggle, it only falls down much worse when the juggle isn’t kept up, and the juggle falls the moment it starts.
This is part of why Legend of the Legendary Heroes’ writing leaves a bad taste, and what I mean when I say the story adopts a taste for complexities. It tries to execute too many threads at the same time and doesn’t give enough time for each thread to be properly weaved. At the same time, the three main characters take up most of the story’s screentime but have almost nothing to show for it. It’s this odd combination of incoherent density and weightless quantity that makes this show such a failure from a storytelling standpoint.
This leaves only the presentation to save the show, but the visual part of that falls short. Save for Sion, his assassin servant, and the four pairing characters—the last four lack screentime—most of the character designs are multi-colored to the point where it’s hard to tell them apart. For a world with swords and magic, many of the fight scenes are underwhelming for being nothing but beam spam or poor choreography that makes one question if the combatants are only as strong as the plot demands.
The best part of the presentation is the music, but music isn’t the aesthetic focus of an action fantasy show. Still, it’s loud when it needs to be, and has a surprising amount of grace during quieter scenes when it uses the art of silence to put focus on the dialog. Unfortunately, the music is held back by its odd habit of using random rock music during some scenes. This modern flare clashes with the medieval, fantasy feel of the show. I suppose it’s trying to be cool, and in a better show it’d be shameless fun, but here it comes across as trying too hard.
Which is odd, because looking at how the show’s main characters are handled, it’s like they weren’t trying at all. No respect is given to most of the characters and their stories, it tries to tell too many stories, the stories often lack chronological coherence, the social themes lack any depth with its stereotypical villains, and the presentation is best where it doesn’t matter anyway. This show does a few things right and everything else very egregiously wrong.
But the best thing I can say about this show is what Ryner goes on about from episode 1; take a nap. Sage advice, because taking a tap is preferable to watching Legend of the Legendary Heroes. Sure, you won’t be doing anything, but at least it’s better than getting Alpha Stigma-level angry at the people who made this.
Titles are essential in most forms of entertainment in order to draw attention. Titles, however, can also be misleading. Such was the case for me and the anime series entitled The Legend of the Legendary Heroes. It may be have been just me, but for some reason I did not find the title to be particularly appealing and it certainly did not paint an image that seemed interesting to me—it felt too simple, too exaggerated. Then again, titles can be misleading.
The Legend of the Legendary Heroes is a fantasy piece—a tale of magic and war in land inspired by Europe during the Middle Ages. It
deals with Feudal Warfare, more or less. Its focus lies in a number of characters, each taking up a particular role in shaping the world that they reside in. The Roland Empire is the country brought into our attention. At its throne lies the striving Sion Astal, a king of quite a young age, but one that has decided to do everything within his power to change his kingdom for the good. Things are looking better than they have been for a while in Roland, but the greatest battle has yet to take place, for behind the shadows lie assassination attempts to overthrow the king and various conflicts between the neighboring countries.
Sion Astal knows that in order to prevail and fulfill his dream of changing the world for good he must find alternative ways of going about the problem. Therefore, he sends his good friend Ryner Lute, whom he made a promise to make the world a better place, and Ferris Eris, a female swordsman stemming to a clan in charge of guarding the king, beyond the borders of Roland and upon a journey to search for ancient relics that are said to have once belonged to a great warrior. These relics may hold the power to single-handedly turn the tides of battle in the bearer’s favour.
Apart from the three aforementioned characters, which could be called the most important ones in the series, there are still lots of other ones that receive a notable amount of screen time and are quite vital to the progress of the story, such as Sion Astal’s right-hand man Miran Froaude (a highly interesting character that remains as puzzling in the end as he ever was) or Milk Callaud, the captain of Roland’s taboo-breaker squad who has her own personal reverse harem.
Too many anime series like to paint their characters in black or white, but The Legend of the Legendary Heroes always remains in the gray area with most of its characters. Sure, Ryner Lute is a typical protagonist, yet even he has some pretty dubious past experiences. What’s fascinating is the way we gain a different perspective on certain characters, since some tend to change their alignment (or so it appears, at least) or something about them is revealed that puts them in a completely different light. Flashbacks are no stranger in this anime and they are often used in clever ways, usually giving us more insight about the characters and their principles (or their lack of them), but they also tend to become dull or overused at times (so everyone had a bad childhood—how convenient).
Magic plays an important part in The Legend of the Legendary Heroes. The person most in contact with it is Ryner Lute, who is actually one of Roland’s greatest magicians (not many know this since he prefers afternoon naps over battles) and an Alpha Stigma bearer, meaning his eyes can detect forms of magic, but he is cursed as much as he is blessed, for those possessing the Alpha Stigma tend to go out of control and destroy everything in their path if things get too intense. There’s certainly some sword fighting to be had throughout the series (especially from Ferris’ part), but most battles are fought using magic. Thankfully, the fight scenes are very well-done and they’re always highly entertaining and easy to decipher (no weird camera angles or hurried editing here, don’t worry).
One of this anime’s most impressive aspects is the story. It may not be innovative or original, but it’s executed in a spectacular manner, often exploring different themes or following several plot paths all at once. The main storyline never feels neglected, but somehow the series always finds time to develop other things at the same time and offer each of its characters satisfactory screen time. The episodes work great because their filled with a lot of variety, often featuring fashbacks and focusing on several plot points. The Legend of the Legendary Heroes gets a lot done in twenty minutes’ time, always remaining entertaining yet never feeling rushed or overloaded.
The art and animation is truly excellent, often eye-popping, but it does exhibit some problems. For one, some of the characters’ facial expressions could have been drawn better, especially when it came to scenes depicting comedy. My other gripe is with an episode about halfway through the series which uses a different art style from the rest of the episodes. The reason why the anime changed styles was because the episode was more action-packed than the usual ones, but that still doesn’t excuse the fact that that certain episode felt too unfamiliar to work in balance with the rest of the series.
Perhaps the most important drawback of this anime is its conclusion, or rather the lack thereof. While the series does not end with a cliff-hanger, it does leave most things open for a supposed sequel. However, a sequel coming out or not completely depends on how well this anime does on a financial level (it hasn’t been doing very well up to this point from what I’ve heard). So before deciding whether to give The Legend of the Legendary Heroes a watch or not, you might want to take into consideration the fact that things may never be resolved if no sequel is produced (of course, we’ll always have the light novels to ease that pain).
Despite such flaws, The Legend of the Legendary Heroes remains an excellent fantasy anime series. The story is very well done, the characters are thoroughly interesting and adopt shades of gray instead of black and white and every episode is as enjoyable as the previous one. Don’t let its corny title be the deciding factor when it comes to considering whether The Legend of the Legendary Heroes is worth your time.