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[ café reviews ]

Episode 5: Sabaku No Ou
(The Desert King)

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: Kanemaki Kenichi Director: Mizuno Kaunori Character design: Izubuchi Yutaka English version producer: John O'Donnell Translator: Neil Nadelman

[ plot summary ]

volume 1

Parn and his party have rescued the Princess from the clutches of Karla, the Grey Witch. Her return and subsequent report has allowed the King of Valis, Fahn, to discover the extent of King Beld's movements. During the party celebrating the Princess' safe return, we meet King Kashue of Flaim, the young mercenary who united the lands of sand with only his cunning leadership and sword. Parn is immediately struck by a huge case of awe and hero-worship. But no one is immune to the influence of Karla, not even in Valis. Karla gets the attention of Kashue, and tries to entice him, but to no avail. Now that the extent of Karla's meddling is becoming apparent, her true intentions must be determined. Parn and his party are selected to journey to visit the great sage, Wort, to try to discover the Grey Witch's intentions.

[ capsule review ]

The extent of Karla's meddling become clear with this installment; her influence reaching throught the empire to the heart of Valis itself. But, we also get to see a bit of the lighter side of this series as well, with a not-so-memorable dance scene with Parn and Deedlit, and their subsequent unexpected introduction to King Kashue of Flaim. (Though I didn't think that the series needed to resort the "super-deformed" type characters in this scene, or any of the others, either. The story and chracterisations are strong enough to stand on their own, without resorting to cheap humour.) A little slower paced than previous episodes, though no less interesting. With this episode, we also come full circle -- Parn is about to begin his dangerous journey to seek the old wizard, Wort, which is where we started the series. Some great music accompanies the introduction of King Kashue, and the minstrel music which tells the Tale of Lodoss is very well done. The parallels between the old tale and our heroes' adventure are all too familiar... what can this mean? - AN

This episode has more background information as our six heroes return Fianna to Valis' Castle. Forces throughout Lodoss continue to mobilize to counter the Marmo invasion and Karla continues to meddle and manipulate people. While there is not much action in this episode compared to others, there is some historic information suggesting that there was once an alliance between Fahn and Beld, and some new characters are introduced. Kashue who united the desert lands of Flaim and Jester who rules in Moss. The music continues to be excellent with some nice fanfare music for Valis and a nice waltz for the dance. Karla's actions still seem to be without purpose and indeed makes little sense. What is she up to? In the meantime however, the Marmo forces continue their advance and have defeated one of the border outposts. Why does Beld's Demon Sword call to Fahn's Holy sword? What is the tie between the two leaders? - 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 3 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

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