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[ café reviews ]

Episode 1: Densetsu He No Prologue
(Prologue to the Legend)

Copyright: © 1990 Kadokawa Video (Japan), 1995 US Manga Corp / Software Sculptors (North America)
Length: 40 minutes
Rating: NR, parental guidance suggested
Format: Subtitled (VHS/Hybrid Quicktime CD-ROM)

Based on the novels by: Yasuda Hitoshi and Mizuno Ryo Executive Producer: Kadokawa Tsuguhiko Producers: Tamiya Takeshi, Ikeda Kensho, Maruyama Masao Screenplay: Mami Watanabe Director: Nagaoka Akinori Character design: Izubuchi Yutaka English version producer: John O'Donnell Translator: Neil Nadelman

[ plot summary ]

volume 1

On a rain-soaked day, a group of six travellers march purposefully towards the Great Tunnel, unaware that they are being watched by an ancient and powerful sorceress. The tunnel is filled with great dangers: among them, a fire-breathing dragon who does not take kindly to having his sleep disturbed. The six are an odd lot: Woodchuck, a thief; Etoh, the Cleric; Ghim, a grizzled dwarf with a secret; Slayn, a sorceror and friend of Ghim's; Deedlit, a beautiful High Elf; and finally Parn -- a young would-be fighter, haunted by his father's tarnished name. But time is short, and the travellers have no choice but to brave the passage. Their goal: find the legendary seer, Wort, and see if he knows why the land known as Lodoss is trembling in fear...

[ capsule review ]

Sometimes, the best way to introduce characters is to throw them into the middle of a conflict, and let their actions do the introductions for you. We certainly meet our party of heroes very quickly - the writers grab our attention from the very beginning, making sure we don't lose interest early. Lodoss To Senki is a D & D RPG (Role-playing game) put onto celluoid. The team of Parn, Deedlit, Slayn, Ghim, Etoh and Woodchuck immediately strikes a chord with anyone who has played fantasy RPG's before. (Yes, dwarves and elves don't like each other in this universe, either.) Very effective use of all elements of anime, from writing through to the voice actors.

The animation is better than average, with a lot of detail placed on still shots. It's nowhere near the upper echelon of animators though, and there is a tendancy to re-use several scenes... Perhaps a little tight on the budget? The music is simply marvellous. Broad, expansive, sweeping in breadth and scope. The vocalist for the opening and closing credits (Sherry, RCA Victor) tends to sing a bit flat, but I think the producers selected her specifically for this reason. (I'll explain this in my review of episode 13.) Voice acting is very good, though I find that Kusao Takeshi (Parn) tends to overact -- very common in animé. Toma Yumi (Urd in A!MG!) once again does a wonderful job as Deedlit, and the venerable voice actress Sakakibara Yoshiko provides a wonderfully mysterious and sinister edge to Karla.

What sets this apart from a lot of shows is the storyline. The writers open the series with a bang, teasing us with a litte morsel of what is to come. There's nothing I like better than a tightly-written, well realized plot, and Record of the Lodoss War certainly delivers. - AN

Note: The CD-ROM is 8-bit mono sound only.

This first episode introduces us to the charactes in the midst of their travels in seeking out the evil which now plagues Lodoss. We get a good feel for the different characters' personalities and how they relate to each other. This series has a very stereotypical D&D feel to it with elves and dwarves constantly fighting with each other. While the animation isn't the best around, there are some very nice mural scenes. The music is also excellent.

The story itself is well written and thought out, and the voice acting is quite good. Parn's character is rather... annoying to say the least, but then would-be heroes often have more than a few screws loose. Sakakibara makes an incredibly ominous Grey Witch Karla which adds more interest and dimension to the show. -JYN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/R 4 stars N/A
Direction: N/R 4 stars N/A
Acting: N/R 4 stars N/A
Animation: N/R 4 stars N/A
Music: N/R 5 stars N/A
Translation: N/R 5 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/R 5 stars N/A

[ café trivia ]

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