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[ café reviews ]

Episode 3: Kokui No Kishi
(The Black Knight)

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: Yamada Katsuhisa Character design: Izubuchi Yutaka English version producer: John O'Donnell Translator: Neil Nadelman

[ plot summary ]

volume 1

Recognising that Parn's skills need some sharpening, Ghim takes it upon himself to train Parn in swordsmanship. After a rather humiliating lesson, Parn wanders off into the forest to take his frustrations out on some defenseless (and unarmed!) trees. Before Parn is able to strike a blow at a tree and harm the fairies that live within, Deedlit, the beautiful High Elf appears to prevent the damage. A chance encounter with a Dark Elf and his party of Kobolds once again forces Parn to test his skill with the sword -- only to discover that Deedlit is as skilled with her sword as she is beautiful. Outnumbered by the Kobolds, the heroes seem to face insurmountable odds when the arrival of Alanian soldiers from the nearby castle of Myce frighten away the would-be attackers. Just when things start looking up for Parn's group, they find themselves in jail, accused as being spies.

The jail cell holds a surprise for the party in the form of Woodchuck, a cynical thief. Captain Jebra of the Mycean forces recognises that Parn's group were mistakenly detained, and releases them. After a hearty meal, Captain Jebra invites Parn to spar with him. Finding Parn to be inexperienced, but having some promise, the Captain invites Parn to join and train with his army.

We also get to see the forces that our heroes are up against -- King Beld and the huge Marmo forces he has assembled. Karla informs Ashram, the Dark Knight, that strangers have been seen near Myce, and orders him to level the fortress. With assistance from the Sorceror Wagnard, they attack and burn Myce to the ground.

[ capsule review ]

The story really gets moving in this episode. We finally get to meet the true enemies -- Beld, Ashram, Wagnard, and the huge Marmo armies. The character design for Ashram is simply excellent - a very cold, calculating, and utterly unreadable character. Once again, we get quite a bit of over-acting from Parn, but the addition of Ashram (skillfully played by Kamiya Akira) more than makes up for it. We get a hint of the abilities of Ashram, with the ease in which he dispatches the soldiers of Myce, and their Captain. The final scenes at the battle for Myce are very dramatic, with excellent use of perspective, and a rich, powerful score. But, as with most shows, it's the story that keeps your interest. Why is Karla pulling strings behind the scenes? Will there be a showdown between Ashram and Parn? Once you care enough about a show and its characters to start asking these types of questions, you know you're hooked. - AN

In this episode we are introduced to the evil forces which are moving in Lodoss. Beld, Emperor of Marmo and Ashram, Captain of Marmo's Royal Guard. Karla whom we met earlier, has allied herself with Beld and promised him her aid. The story in this episode is very good with a great deal of information as well as action happening. Ashram's character is suitably cold and dark while Captain Jebra is a strong, capable leader of Myce's forces. Parn has started to learn how to handle a sword although, as Ghim says, he couldn't kill time if he tried. Parn's character is still quite annoying and more than a touch over acted but Ashram's character is more than enough to offset this. Karla's character is truly well portrayed and is nicely cold and manipulative. The music in this episode is well done with some quaint melodies carried over from the second episode. Interestingly, we seem to have the twin of the goblin leader in episode two leading the battle on Myce's fortress. - JYN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/R 4 stars N/A
Direction: N/R 4 stars N/A
Acting: N/R 3 stars N/A
Animation: N/R 4 stars N/A
Music: N/R 4 stars N/A
Translation: N/R 5 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/R 4 stars N/A

[ café trivia ]

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