Record of Lodoss War - Chronicles of the Heroic Knight

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Name:Record of Lodoss War - Chronicles of the Heroic Knight
un-checked Comedyun-checked Mechschecked Drama
checked Violenceun-checked Shoujo 
un-checked Hentaiun-checked Explicit Sexun-checked Brief Nudity
Running Length:10 hr 20 min.
Description:Five years past, a band of six adventurers defeated the conquering armies of Marmo, the dark island, and saved the accused island, LODOSS. Since that day, the survivors have been honored as heroes, and their deeds have become legends. But the darkness never perished... Now, a mad wizard threatens to raise an ancient evil the goddess of destruction. Old heroes must heed the call to defend their homeland and new heroes are forged as the battle for LODOSS begins anew.

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Record of Lodoss War - Chronicles of the Heroic Knight
Record of Lodoss War - Chronicles of the Heroic Knight is probably the best fantasy-genre anime to date. The animation is decent for a TV series, if not quite up to cinema standards, but everything else is absolutely great.
The plot is pretty much what you'd expect from a fantasy epic: a mixed bag of heroes joins together to defeat the evil wizard before he can conquer the world. What really makes this show stand out, and makes an otherwise cliched plot come to life, are the characters. Even the secondary characters in this series have a level of depth and humanity to them that is hard to find in most stories, anime or not. The heroes are very easy to sympathise with because their motivations and feelings are so well developed and believable. You can almost feel the weight of responsibility that King Kashu bears, and see it seeping into Parn as he matures. Spark's drive to prove himself is very much like Parn in his younger days (the OVAs). Leaf acts like a goof-ball when everyone is hanging around the inn, but when it comes time to fight she is brutally efficient and capable. Even the villains are multi-dimensional; Ashram, the Black Knight, fights out of a genuine concern for the people of his country, and is protective of his henchmen rather than using them as tools to further his own ambitions; the henchmen in turn follow Ashram, not out of fear or greed, but rather out of true respect for him. It's hard sometimes to decide who to root for. This adds some neat twists to what might have been a boring, typical plot, since it's actually sad when one of the bad guys gets defeated, and sometimes they even "win" by doing good things, like when the heroes spent all night plotting to liberate an occupied village only to find out that Ashram had beaten them to the punch by relocating the villagers to a safer area, away from the battle lines, where they could live in peace!
The sound track is good enough I actually copied it onto a tape so I could listen to it in my car. The opening theme song, "Kiseki no Umi," is especially good.
The show is actually very serious, except for Leaf when she's teasing the other characters, but I gave it a 10 for humor just for the omake (extra bits at the end). The omake for this show are so funny they're worth watching even without the show. They were even parodied in Excel Saga (pa-panga Parn!), and spliced into an excellent anime music video set to the "Camelot" song from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Overall, this show should be on everyone's short-list of shows to watch, it's just too good to miss.

Overall Rating: 10
Animation:7 Plot:10 Humor:10 Sound Track:10
Weight: 6 (Veritable Vote)
By: LittleWolf
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