Jan 12, 2009
Ys (Anime) add (All reviews)
Skadi (All reviews)
Let’s face it, when watching a series from the era this show was produced you have to usually endure crude (by today’s standards) animation, poufy hairdos, and campy storylines. That’s not the case here, except for maybe the poufy hairdos. I never played the games that Ancient Books of Ys is apparently based on (nor have I even heard of them) but regardless this series stands on its own as one of the truly exceptional fantasy/adventure stories of its genre.

The story premise isn’t anything that’s going to win award for originality. It’s your standard adventurer from another land who comes and is destined to save the world. We quickly get laid out the details and our hero, in this case Adol Christian is given a quest and each episode that follows is a fairly formulaic pattern. New allies are made along his quest which help Adol achieve his goals and make it the final battle with the villain. While the story is simplistic it does still manage to be interesting and it does give a lot of back story on the people and the land being saved. Despite being a short series I did find myself caring what happened to it and its people. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger as it clearly sets up the scenario for part 2.

In any fantasy adventure like this one the action is very important, and there is a lot of it in Ys. The battles play out a lot like a fantasy RPG game would be expected to. In order to get a treasure, a boss monster must be defeated and that is pretty much how things play out. As Adol completes his quests his weapons and armor get better, again much like a game. The battles though are a bit disappointing though as they become a bit repetitive and basically are Adol getting beat up for a couple minutes until he figures out some new skill or power that allows him to be victorious.

Characters in Ys are a win. Adol gets pretty well developed and we get a few pieces of his past but not a lot. He manages to grow over the course of the story and is a likable character that you want to cheer for. The supporting characters are fairly good; some are more interesting than others while some are pretty much just cardboard cutouts to fill the screen. Dogi is the best and he brings a lot of the comedy moments, makes a good sidekick like you would see in a 80s action movie.

Animation and sound are difficult to rate. I have to remember that this show is almost 20 years old. I am sure at its time this was considered really good. It does hold up fairly well, I have seen far worse, later on in the decade but the characters are pretty simple looking and are colored with a dreary and dull pallet. However some of the backgrounds and terrain are very exceptional. Your either going to be ok with it or you’re going to think it’s incredibly crude. The music is very 80s, from the background music and sound effects to the ending song. The song isn’t that bad and I kinda liked it though.

Overall this series is very good. I think it would have made a great longer series that would have allowed for much more story and character depth. Fantasy lovers should check this out without fail. Anyone else who is feeling nostalgic for older anime or likes an enjoyable and short show to watch should also give this a try.