Anime Meta-Review


Record of the Lodoss War


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Lodoss-tou Senki
  • seen: 1-13 of 13
  • type: OAV
  • grade: exemplary
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

Young and inexperienced knights make for excellent stories, but female elves are far more photogenic. Words to live by, and nowhere better demonstrated than this, the grandfather of an awful lot of western inspired japanese `sword and sorcery' high fantasy. Indeed this series is proud of its origin being in western fantasy, through the medium of roleplaying games, meeting Japanese culture. Unfortunately this also means that a lot of the material here is awfully familiar, although possibly even moreso to a western fan. This is both because we've seen these archetypes many times before, and because they crop up in many anime after this time.

Tradition demands a number of core elements in the story, and sure enough they are all here. We have the party of adventurers, each with an archetypal set of powers and personality traits (strongly matching the D&D class system). This focuses on the brave but inexperienced knight (who grows over the course of the adventurer), compassionate priest, cryptic mage, and cynical thief. In addition we have two non-humans the gruff, stoic dwarf and the magical elf. Some of these have more presence than others, with the elf (Deedlit) being well done (and still having a lot of fans) while others get little to say or do. The background is an epic story of light against dark, with a fair number of character moments, plot twists and epic scenes. This is enhanced by a lot of other interesting characters, a lot of romantic sub-threads, a touch of mystery and a decent slab of action.

Indeed this anime attempts to do so much in 13 episodes it almost cripples itself under the weight. This can lead to the feeling that the story is just a `glue' for all the required scenes. This is probably because it originates from a (presumably popular) series of novels, and as a result has a lot of material to represent. This pressure also results in the knight's growth (Parn) being compressed, and partly eclipsed, by the larger (but less interesting) events in the story. On the whole it works however, and while the story is familiar this sort of tale will still pull you in. There are also some good character scenes that will stick in the memory. One interesting aspect of the story being that there are two `plots' with one plot reaching its climax about halfway through the series. While the anime may have some flaws, it has so many strengths, and such an important historical influence, that it is a very interesting anime to see. The conclusion is suitably epic, impressive and satisfying.

The rich elements of the story are well served by the character and world design. Although since it draws from a novel series this is no great suprise. All of the characters fit their role, almost too well, and the ability to express character is strong. It must be said that Deedlit's design and character (and her opposing number Pirotess) is very cool, and she gets a lot of screen and character time (although this is part of what makes her character stand out). On the downside the `mass' battles in the mid series climax, and some of the dragon battles, simply don't work. You can almost see the animators just surrender and drop down to using `scenes' and static drawings to get across the idea of what is happening. Likewise because these scenes have a lot of `miscellaneous' characters they are, while important to the story, less interesting. The general animation quality, while showing some signs of age, is solid and skillful and still good fun to watch. The voices (I saw sub) are excellent and the music (while a bit plastic in parts) is fitting. The closing song (and I think the opening) are excellent.

THEM give it four stars and state "if you like fantasy in any way, you'll like Lodoss" in this review which seems a good summary. The Anime Critic is an avowed fantasy fan, and his review makes it clear that this hits the spot, although he's less than impressed by some of the animation. Lord Carnage has only a short review but the words, "The definitive fantasy RPG-type epic" by themselves probably give all the information required.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:21 WST 2009