a.k.a. Lodoss Tou Senki: Eiyuu Kishi Den
Lodoss is erupting with the flames of war. The free knight Parn and high elf Deedlit attempt to help wherever they can; that is until they are thrust into a much bigger problem, one that breathes fire. Spike and his band of men are also traveling Lodoss with a different mission in mind, namely to prevent an unholy resurrection that would lead to the destruction of all Lodoss. It doesn’t end there, because even if they somehow survive and prevent utter destruction the black knight Ashram is searching for an artifact of unlimited power… and one last duel with Parn.
summary by Mugs
Highs: Three-dimensional characters; nice environment
Lows: Rewrites the OVA; reused cels; not the most original plot
The granddaddy of fantasy anime’s sequel is finally here, and it manages to retain all the elements that made the original a classic while still bringing something new to the table.
The greatest thing about this series is that it beats the original… hands down… in character development. No one in this story is a mindless servant of darkness. The characters are presented with motives that allow us to see them as people instead of caricatures. The story benefits from its hefty length in that it allows the large cast of characters to mesh well. Almost everybody is allowed to develop into someone that you can care about.
Playing devil’s advocate, there are some things about this series that grate on my nerves. For those who are accustomed to the OVA, you will need some time to make the adjustment. Characters in the original cease to exist here, and the entire ending of the original just didn’t happen. Other than that, there are only two minor complaints: large battles sometime reduce to still frames, and those five-minute mini-toons at the end of every episode with super-deformed characters parodying the actual storyline. I found this annoying after a while, but some of you might like it.
Overall a great series that does its namesake proud. I’d recommend this to anyone out there who has a soft spot for the fantasy genre or a good game of Dungeons and Dragons.
Highs: Rock-solid characters; strong second arc; Kanno Yoko’s music
Lows: First arc is standard D&D fanfare; massive cast of characters; second part of each episode
The producers of the original Record of Lodoss War were faced with the problem of trying to compact an entire novel into thirteen episodes. Drastic rewriting of the novel’s events and characters created something similar yet different. The creation of Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight went about telling the novel how it was originally written.
Each character receives ample time to round themselves out and show exactly what makes them tick. Granted, some have similar motivations, but no one is left behind in the background department. While this is mostly personal nomenclature, I refer to the second arc as everything past the eighth episode when Spark becomes the main figure in the series. Anyway, this is when the series really shines and takes a step beyond being merely an animated Dungeons and Dragons game with far more complexity. Also, Kanno Yoko whipped up a good soundtrack; each song enhances the atmosphere with only orchestral instruments, and the opening and ending themes are quite beautiful.
While the second arc is strong, the first arc acts like an extended prologue and is merely there to introduce characters and the overall situation. At its heart, the first arc is standard D&D fare, minus the dice. Also, while there are some solid characters, there are simply too many of them, and keeping track of everyone’s development and motivations becomes a mental strain. The number of characters may be mentally taxing, but the end of each episode brings something that I found to be particularly exasperating, featuring chibi versions of each character. This part of each episode is there to create comic relief and provide some background, but it only ends up being the antithesis of the series itself; the mood, direction and intention seem contradictory and ended each episode on the wrong foot.
If you are a Lodoss fan, it is best to enjoy both the OVA and television series at face value and ignore the differences. As for Chronicles of the Heroic Knight, it may not be incredibly original, but the combination of fantasy and medieval atmosphere creates something that is unforgettable. Just skip those endings…
Chronicles of the Heroic Knight can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.