Anime Meta-Review


Legend of Crystania: The Movie


By Date



This Page


Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: watchable
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title has been commercially released in Australia.
  • form: sub
  • dur: 80
  • source: ADVision
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Fri Feb 23 21:49:46 EST 2001
  • mod: none

Let me freely admit that I was a roleplayer (before everyone else turned mature and sensible) and still a sucker for the whole `brave adventurers and fantastic worlds' spiel. But even I must admit that this anime was too geeky for me. This is because it opens with a scene of people roleplaying, which can't really be dramatised. This cuts to actors playing, you can tell cause there's too many females, and then into the anime. I guess it's a fair warning of the territory you're entering...but it perhaps was not a wise idea. But then it is indicative of the show, as i'll explain later.

In any case, an RPG (roleplaying game) epic needs a big plot. And the movie starts building this immediately. It seems that a king called ashram, and his loyal dark-elf companion pirotess are in deep trouble. They and their people becalmed on ships outside the land of the gods. Ashram is offered a choice, in that a god will allow them to enter in exchange for owning the kings body. With no options, and thinking of his people, Ashram agree's.

Cut to another land and another place, once again outside the gods barrier on the holy land. This is a peaceful area, although the land, ruled by a child queen, is steadily falling under the cruel hand of a minister. And since the lord of this area is well respected he is a challenge to the ministers power even though he desires nothing but peace. This leads to the creation of a group of exiles, people of power, who are offered the chance to enter and seek power in the gods-land of crystania. However, once there, they find that the land is itself trapped in war, with the possessed body of Ashram waging unjust war on all other factions and forces in this land. And since he was the one who brought them here, and cut off their exit, our party is right in the middle.

The party, in best RPG tradition, is a fun mixed bad. We've got a huge mercenary and his `heart', a young spirit user. There's the young prince, his good friend and a young but skilled sorceror. There's also a priestess of the god of logic and invention who got trapped in the middle. While there's a bit too much story to give much character time one gets the feeling they're all interesting people. And the cast is much larger than this, with the group meeting, fighting and allying with a host of other characters...some of whom are even cooler than they are.

And, with a couple of proviso's, it's good stuff. The interesting land and people give the sense of a well developed world. Powers, gods, magical and cultural practices are all used with an assurance that speaks of careful design. The quest itself is sufficiently absorbing, albeit a bit rushed, and the various events along the way make sense and flow together nicely. It acheives the epic scope and depth that a show of this type thrives on.

However, as i've hinted, a lot of people are going to violently disagree. For a start this thing reeks of RPG style, and people allergic to this are going to have a hard time. Even worse the pace, and the way things are represented, are presented as if visualising a game. Thus we get group shots of people fighting, or scenes of encounters, more than thrilling close-ups and dynamic action. In other words, while it tells the story well it's visually dry and relatively undramatic.

And this is even before we get to the animation style, which is going to be a major sticking point for a lot of people. It's sort of weird and it's not actually very attractive. Efficient, and with a certain charm, but a lot of people are going to hate it. It's got very misty, watercolor type backgrounds that are occassionally quite detailed. However characters and magic are done with very clean minimal linework and really flat coloring. They look pretty flat and don't really meld with the background. Likewise magic or big effects causes detail and coloring to get even more simple. Motion is often pretty jerky, although it does give a sense of what is happening and has some nice scenes. While I liked the style it's nowhere near as approachable as the decorative, even when aging, Lodoss War style. A lot of people are going to find it too minimal, and I can't blame them for that. Voices are okay, the young girl is a bit too loud and the lead dramatises at the drop of a hat but they're all right. The music is nice symphonic and instrumental stuff which set's the scene well.

Other Reviews

  • Anime Review review The review makes it clear that while this is not a sequel to Lodoss the style and spirit are the same. While he recognizes that the style is going to be an issue for many, he found it worth the effort of sticking with (4/5).
  • Anime Critic review The Anime Critic is considerable less generous. While he mentions the visuals as being pretty awful he find more than enough problems in script, character and event to make that only a minor factor. Sadly most of his points are fairly valid (1.5/5).
  • Lord Carnage review A dual review from Lord Carnage and Herself the Elf but neither are particularly impressed.The variability in art, weaknesses in plot and character, were bad enough but the suggestion that this was the sequel to Lodoss War obviously got their hackles up (2/5).


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:20 WST 2009