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[ café reviews ]

Episode 12: Kesen! Ankoku No Marmo
(Final Battle! Marmo the Dark Island)

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: Watanabe Mami Director: Nagaoka Akinori Character design: Izubuchi Yutaka Music: Hagita Mitsuo English version producer: John O'Donnell Translator: Neil Nadelman

[ plot summary ]

volume 6

Wagnard, armed with the Sceptor of Domination, begins the ritual sacrifice of Deedlit's eternal High Elf's life to resurrect Kardis the Destroyer. The Altar of Falaris, deep within the bowels of Marmo, is also the lair of Narse, the Ancient Dragon, keeper of the resting place of Kardis. Parn, accompanied by Etoh, Slayn, Leylia and a small army have landed on Marmo to try to stop Wagnard. King Kashue, with the main forces of Valis make the perilous trek across the sea to the dark island of Marmo. A giant sea dragon threatens to end their journey of water, when Orson, Shiris and the air-borne armies of Prince Jester arrive in time to prevent a catastrophe.

But the mad sorcerer has already begun the ceremonies, and Parn and his party discover that the ancient resting grounds of Kardis are protected by powerful demons. Worse, Narse, the Ancient Dragon has arisen to defend the Altar of Falaris from the Valis armies. But all is not smooth for the sorcerer Wagnard: Ashram, armed with the sword Soul Crusher, interrupts the ceremonies. And Mycean, the Gold Dragon, has been summoned to fight Narse. Meanwhile, atop a nearby mountain amongst the ruins of the old Marmo city, Karla and Wort watch the events unfold. Why would Karla influence history to risk bringing forth such great powers of destruction, and how would this save Lodoss? Will Wagnard gain the powers of Kardis the Destroyer? Can Parn stop Wagnard in time to save Deedlit's life? Will Parn and Ashram cross swords once again?

[ capsule review ]

This is what the prior eleven episodes have been leading up to -- the final battle for control of all of Lodoss. All the plot elements, so painstakingly introduced earlier, finally meet. Parn's small party of Etoh, Slayn and Leylia are just what is needed to overcome the obstacles along the way to the Altar of Falaris. (Perhaps just a little too convenient? Well, it's required, so that in the end Parn alone will meet the evil below.) I also found the last-minute inclusion of Wort, the old sage, too hastilly pencilled into the script -- there should have been a better way for him to hook up with Karla. Yamaguchi Kappei isn't my favourite voice actor, and this episode succeeds in reminding me why. The story weaknesses aside, the meeting between Wagnard and Ashram is what I've been waiting for. Once again, Ashram uses his favourite axiom: "A man should know his limits." His character is probably my favourite of the series, shortly followed by Sakakibara's Karla. Grandiose music, fine acting by Kamiya Akira (Ashram) and a very possessed Aono Takeshi (Wagnard -- well, Kardis is the Goddess of Madness and Destruction) highlight the beginning of the end... - AN

Deedlit's life hangs in the balance as the ceremony to resurrect Kardis begins. The music in this episode is fantastic and helps build the tension as the various forces gather for the last battle. Kardis' resurrection nears while Lodoss' forces gather on the island of Marmo. However, to keep anything from interfering, Narse, the Ancient Dragon which dwells below Marmo has awakened. Mycen the Golden Dragon moves to counter Narse, and so the battle is joined. The story itself is well done, and the battle to save Lodoss is very gripping. Karla's character continues to watch and see how her gamble will pay off while Ashram moves to counter Wagnard. He is not going to give up his power so easily as to let Wagnard have both Lodoss and Marmo. In the balance however, still lies Deedlit's life as the various sides continue to battle things out. The one problem I had with this episode which we saw a bit of in the two or three previous episodes is the contrived appearance of visual agreements between the various characters. Parn can't seem to understand the concept that his fellow adventurers are perfectly capable of fighting off creatures while he runs off to save Deedlit and I found that an inordinate amount of time was spent on getting him to just *go*. Otherwise, I found Etoh's character a little annoying as well much as Parn's is when it's overacted. However, the story and the music are enough to make up for most of this. - 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 4 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/R 4 stars N/A

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