Anime Review: Legend of Legendary Heroes Episode 3

(Originally published on Livejournal on 8/30/10)

Anime Review:
Legend of Legendary Heroes Episode 3

Anime Review in a Minute: What this is all about – I watch the shows so you don’t HAVE to!

About the Series: Ryner Lute seems to be lazy, listless and unwilling to lift a finger, but he also hides a secret: He alone is a magical wielder of the Alpha Stigma, making him unique in the Roland Empire. His companion, Ferris Eris, is a brash, energetic, and an incredibly skilled swordswoman. When the young, charismatic King Sion Astal rose to the throne of the Roland Empire, he had his work cut out for him, trying to prevent war with the neighboring countries will dealing with corruption and cutthroat internal politics. To help him, the King sends a reluctant Ryner and Ferris on a secret mission to collect ancient magical relics left over from the age of ‘Legendary Heroes’.

ep.3 tl;dr review: Sion’s squadron is ambushed; Buckets and buckets of blood, everywhere!

In this episode: As Ferris’ torture revealed last episode, fifty magical knights from the opposing army of Estabul have been sent to ambush Sion and his troops, as a way to end his threat to the court nobles once and for all. As Sion’s squad settles in, Kiefer is uneasy and confesses to Ryner, who rejects her advances. She then runs off, sending off a signal…and the bloodbath begins. It’s no contest as the entire squad is wiped out in a matter of minutes, except for Ryner who is able to defend himself and Sion by using their own magic against the enemy with his mysterious Alpha Stigma. However, they are soon captured, with Sion and Kiefer (also captured) held under threat of torture unless Ryner can reveal his secrets. When Kiefer is threatened, something inside Ryner snaps and his ungodly power is fully unleashed, with the Estabul enemy reduced to blood and flesh within seconds. But Ryner’s not done, as his unreasoning fury then turns on Sion and Kiefer, until Sion manages to close Ryner’s eyes, thereby extinguishing the Alpha Stigma’s awesome wrath. Sion returns as a hero, while Kiefer is thrown into the dungeon as a spy, and Ryner is brutally tortured. In a swap, Kiefer is released while Ryner settles in for a long captivity, choosing to enjoy his long afternoon naps rather than accept Sion’s offer to escape.

My Thoughts: There will be blood. Oh yes, there will be blood…

First off, the brief appearance of Ferris and her “little helper” at the beginning of the episode, I guess just a quick reminder she exists, because she doesn’t appear for the rest of the episode. Her enigmatic bigger brother also appears out of the blue (and disappears equally as suspiciously), explaining their family’s role in this whole affair — their family almost serving as kingmakers.

As far as the ambush goes, there’s no contest at all. The Estabulian magic users slice through the Roland troops like soft butter. But the tables are turned when Ryner’s Alpha Stigma slices through the magic knights like wet tissue paper as well, showing the truly awesome (awful?) power that he contains within him. Plus, we truly understand *why* Ryner so obstinately refuses to use his magical abilities — it’s not easy to simply swat a fly with a tactical nuke. Furthermore, it’s not so much that Ryner controls the Alpha Stigma, rather that it controls him. He almost loses all sense of himself as the fury of his power consumes him, desiring nothing more than to reduce everything to nothing. It’s all a bit Lord-of-the-Rings-ish, but now Ryner’s wet noodle personality and antihero stance makes perfect sense.

It is also why Ryner turns down Sion’s offer to spring him from jail, as Ryner opts instead to essentially rot in prison. He views himself only as a monster, as a weapon that could cause terrible destruction upon the land. Instead of allowing himself to be used in such a way, he turns inward on himself, accepting abuse and confinement to freedom, lest the Alpha Stigma prolong the bloody war now at hand.

One reviewer said to give this show three episodes before making any decisions, and that’s a wise idea. The first episode was pretty awful (I cannot understand why they lead off with that), but the second and third “background” episodes more than make up for the discombobulated beginning. If they stick to the same serious tone and layered intrigue, I’m in for the season.

What’s with all the “soft lighting effects” causing everything to appear blurry in this show? It’s as if everything is being filmed through the infamous Barbara Walters’ vaseline-cam. Annoy, annoy…

For more information:

Review of Episode 1: http://matthigh.livejournal.com/521980.html
Review of Episode 2: http://matthigh.livejournal.com/526253.html

The Verdict:

Up Next (not necessarily in this order): Kaichou wa Maid-sama, Senkou no Night Raid, Ookami-san, Highschool of the Dead

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