Record of Lodoss War (ロードス島戦記 – Rōdosu-tō Senki)

It has been a while since I’ve sat down with a good anime series. Last year I burned myself out on the stuff pretty bad with 4 months of Gundam; A series made up of a combination of fighting robots, over-dramatic plot lines, and nonsensical (eleven-teen year old!) hero archetypes, which is oddly addicting nonetheless. In a vain attempt to rekindle my appreciation for anime, I’ve chosen to watch some of my old favorites this year.

The first of which, Record of Lodoss War, is an old OVA which originally came out in Japan around 1990. I haven’t watched Record of Lodoss War since I was 12, leading me to be very excited and worried at the same time. I’ve found that there are quite a few things I liked when I was young, that I find absolutely stupid today.  Also, Japanese content, licensed or not, was really poorly localized in the 90’s, save for Ted Woolsey’s work. As with other forms of Japanese media from that time, I’ll have to go into this with a very open mind. This will be the first time I will have seen this series fully subbed, which is a huge preference of mine when watching anime. I find English dialogue just can’t seem to nail the nuances, or the intended acting that these cartoons require. A prime example of this would be some chick with an obvious French-Canadian accent screaming, “Oh, I love you Kitechi-Sama”.

I can see why Record of Lodoss War was something I latched onto back in the 90’s. CD RPG’s had all but sparked an obsession with Japanese anime (thank you Lunar), and anything swords and sorcery related. Record of Lodoss War, an obvious Japanese byproduct of Dungeons and Dragons, was more than enough to appeal to a 12 year old with his head stuck in the clouds. I mean, look at the animation quality:

….and then compare it to this crap, which was common, and popular at the time.

The general setting for Record of Lodoss War isn’t complex, or deeply rooted in preconceived plot twists. The main character, Parn, is a young guy with a passion for heroics. He gets kicked out of his village after saving some lady from a hoard of vagina hungry goblins, amasses a party of 6 (or was it 7?) various medieval archetypes, and ends up saving the world from some power hungry sorceror/god/dragon/Japanese-anime-cliche. There is also a slight romantic overtone to the show, which includes a highly alluded connection between Parn and another character, Deedit (Original… and stupid, I know). Even though she isn’t the main character, Deedit is a central figure to the story, which would imply why her face is plastered on every RoLW image in a google search.

If this all sounds familiar, remember that this is a Japanese produced cartoon. If you’ve played a Japanese RPG, then you already know the story to Record of Lodoss War. Remember, this is a culture that excels on “improving” or adding on to previous content (See: Japan’s answer to GM, well…not lately anyways). From what I remember, this series was unique because of its characters and pacing. They developed really well, and had fantastic personalities to match. Being an OVA (Original Video Animation), the series wasn’t bogged down with stretching 200 page plot outlines across 56 episodes. Instead, we got a quick moving story, which unfolded over 13 action packed episodes. I’m usually not a fan of anime with too much dialogue, and instead prefer watching eye candy action scenes, which I remember Record of Lodoss War doing pretty well. This is however how I remember it from back in 1996, compelling me to hope that the series has aged nicely.

I’m not really going to recommend it until I’ve watched it again, but for now I’ll throw up the opening, and ending scenes. I feel they do a pretty good job at conveying the mood, and style the series offers. I really hope the series is still as good as it is in my head. I’m hoping that the show comes off as a timeless classic, rather than a product of its time. Looking at things with rose tinted glasses has its advantages, but it isn’t really a quality good series’ should require for future viewings. I’m betting on the former here, so keep your fingers crossed.

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