RECORD OF LODOSS WAR (1990-91)

 

Format: 13 24-minute episodes OVA episodes, available in a two-DVD boxed set

Rating: PG-13 (BN, GV)

Type: Fantasy

American Production: U.S. Manga Corps

English Dub Production:

Japanese Production: Kadokawa Publishing Co, LTD

 

Grading

 

Premise:

B-

Story:

Writing:

B

Character Design:

C

Animation:

D+ 

Artistic Merits:

C

English Dub:

C+

Musical Score:

B

Songs:

Opener:

C+

Closer:

C+ 

 

 

Humor Content:

C

Action Content:

B

Drama Content:

B- 

 

 

DVD Presentation:

B

DVD Extras:

 

 

OVERALL:

 

Synopsis

      Lodoss, the accursed isle, was split off from the main continent thousands of years ago during a climatic battle between the gods. It is once again being primed for war as the ambitious Emperor Belt of Marmo sets forth on a plan of conquest, while behind the scene wizards and witches manipulate events to their own ends.

      Meanwhile the young man Parn, himself the son of a disgraced knight, embarks on a journey towards becoming a hero that will ultimately entangle himself fiercely in the upcoming war. Around him gather several capable individuals: the dwarven warrior Ghim, the elf warrior-wizard Deedlit, the sorcerer Slayn, the priestly Etoh, and the roguish Woodchuck. The fate of all Lodoss may ultimately be influenced by their actions.

 

Quotes

      “I will defend the peace of Lodoss with my life.” (Parn, in each Next Episode preview.) 

 

The Long View

Note: The story of Record of Lodoss War actually begins with the second episode. The first episode was intended as a dramatic preview for the series, and so will seem out of order; its events actually take place between episodes 5 and 6.

 

      It has been surpassed numerous times in quality over the years, but Record of Lodoss War still ranks as the defining fantasy anime series. All of the elements of classic Western high fantasy are present: it has fighters, thieves, wizards, clerics, elves (dark and high), dwarves, dragons (many different colors), goblins, kobolds, berserkers, spirits, mystical swords, kings, princesses, dark knights, flying lancers, old sages, ancient ruins, adventuring parties, and sleeping gods. The influence of fantasy RPGs on the series is so evident that anyone who has played them can almost hear the dice rolling off-screen as the story progresses; in fact, the series was deliberately intended to capture the spirit of fantasy RPGs. The plot elements, too, are the stuff of classic fantasy: a young man struggling on his path to becoming a hero, the old veteran going out one last time to save the daughter of a former adventuring companion, a war raging for control of a continent, a duplicitous wizard working to awaken an ancient force of destruction, former allies meeting across the field of battle as opposing kings, and an ages-old witch who manipulates events in such a way that no side achieves enough power to threaten the overall welfare of Lodoss (an extremely militant neutralist, if you will). And of course you have to throw in lots of melodrama and some romantic entanglements for good measure! To this is added some common anime sensibilities on the handling of action scenes, the way magic works, and the common “I’ll deal with this threat while you go on” plot device, but overall you won’t find any animated or live-action movie or series that more accurately captures the spirit and flavor of games like Dungeons and Dragons.

      As with any good series, the characters are one of the biggest draws. The story primarily centers on Parn, but the free-spirited high elf Deedlit is the character with the most charm and the one who really makes the series worth watching. Beyond her, the most intriguing characters are the witch Karla and the noble, practical dark knight Ashram. Of the various subplots surrounding the characters, the most interesting are the dwarf Ghim’s devotion to finding Leylia, long-missing daughter of an old friend, and two romances: that of the dark elf Pirotess and Ashram (who make a great couple, despite the fact that they’re both bad guys) and the wannabe love triangle between Shiris, Parn, and Deedlit.

      Record is a series well-known for subpar technical merits. Although the artistry isn’t actually that bad, it uses a minimalist approach to its animation and is not one of the better series for synching vocals with mouth flaps. The character design varies from good (Parn, Slayn, Ashram, the sexy dark elf Pirotess, and particularly the cheeky and entrancing Deedlit) to very bland (Kashue, both kings). While it’s tempting to say that the character designs are very generic for fantasy anime, one must keep in mind that the series likely had a lot of influence on the artistic styles of fantasy anime that have come out since, particularly with regard to elves. The music for the series is adequate, and the opening and closing songs are effectively adapted into English. The English vocal performances are good in key roles and more bland in supporting roles.

      The rating for Record is primarily due to occasionally bloody violence. Beyond that there is only one very brief scene of partial nudity and some racy dress by one of the female characters as aggravating factors.

      If you are a long-time role-player or fan of fantasy in general, you owe it to yourself to check out Record of Lodoss War. It may not be the best fantasy anime you’ll ever see, but it is a classic.

 

DVD Extras

      In the boxed set all of the extras are on the second DVD. They include:

·   Company previews

·   Cast A Spell – Clips from the series illustrating common spells used in the series

·   Record of Lodoss War Comics – a look at the manga adaptation of the series (which was originally based on a series of novels)

·   Art Gallery

·   Meet The Heroes – brief profiles of the main cast members, including the names of both the English and Japanese voice actor for the role

·   Japanese Promotional Tape – Despite what it’s called, this six-minute featurette looks like it was aimed specifically at American audiences. It is English-dubbed, by voices different from those used in the series, but be thankful these vocalists weren’t used for the series; the narration and dub here is horrifically bad.

·   Japanese Cast at a Fan Convention – A five-minute featurette detailing the world premiere of the first episode of the series at a convention in 1990. Vocal cast and creative forces behind the series are featured.

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Parn

Billy Regan

Deedlit

Lisa Ortiz

Slayn

Al Muscari

Etoh

Ted Lewis

Woodchuck/Karla (later eps)

Jacques LeCan

Ghim

Greg Wolfe

Leylia/Karla (earlier eps)

Simone Grant

King Kashue, Orson 

Chris Yates

Ashram

John Knox 

Wagnard

Jayce Reeves

Wort, Narrator

Alexander J. Rose

Shiris

Karen Smith

Emperor Beld

Bob Barry

King Fahn

J. W. Gunther

Pirotess (dark elf woman) 

Meg Frances

 

 

 

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