Anime Review: Legend of Legendary Heroes Episodes 10, 11, and 12

(Originally published on Livejournal on 10/31/10)

Anime Review:
Legend of Legendary Heroes Episodes 10, 11, and 12

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.10 tl;dr review: Ferris puts the Ryner Armageddon-genie back in the bottle; External forces on Roland reported by Miran Froaude convince Sion it’s time to act.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size:

Episode 10 Synopsis: Rage-Lad Ryner is completely out of control, ready to reduce the entire world to ashes, with only Ferris to stand in his way. Even though Ryner is unable to control his body, Ferris attempts to reason with him, saying he is not a monster, adn manages to talk him down. Back in Roland, Sion Astal is settled in to his usual pile of paperwork and ribbing with friends, when Froaude (always the bearer of bad news) reports that a great unknown power is growing in the north and could pressure Roland. Princess Noa Ehn is assaulted, and Klom runs to the rescue. While travelling, Ryner and Ferris save a little girl, who explains her friend with special magical powers and ‘glowing eyes’ has been captured and asks them to save him.

ep.11 tl;dr review: Sion Astal tweaks the noses of the noble class; Ferris and Ryner rescue a young boy who bears the Alpha Stigma.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size:

Episode 11 Synopsis: Sion Astal shakes things up, promoting several of his friends and nobles that are allied to him, and offering unprecedented opportunities to the working class. When everyone complains about the consequences, Sion angrily explains that they are out of time — a powerful kingdom in the north is putting pressure on Roland, and he is being forced to bring the conflict between the corrupt noble class and the commoners to a head now, so that he can unify the country lest it be overwhelmed. Understanding the risks, he is prepared from a certain amount of bloodshed now during the inevitable purge, rather than widespread conflict later. But as the venomous Froaude points out, the path he has taken may result in the exact opposite. Meanwhile, in the Runa Kingdom, Ferris and Ryner encounter soldiers and mages trying to coax the Alpha Stigma power out of a young boy, Arua, by killing and torturing his parents. Ryner is beside himself as he sees a repeat of his younger self, and charges in. As the battle progresses, Ryner is confident he can succeed, but in the end Arua’s father is killed which sets off the unholy powers within the traumatized boy. They save the young boy, but Ryner feels defeated at being unable to prevent the tragedy.

ep.12 tl;dr review: Miran Froaude proactive decides it’s time to start the Great Purging; There will be blood, oh yes, there will be blood.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size:

Episode 12 Synopsis: Sion Astal receives word that the uprising has begun…in Miran Froaude’s home town, to no surprise. Miran has called a gathering of all the area’s nobles, including his father, for a special meeting. When they start chomping at the bit that it’s time to kill King Sion, Miran explains the true reason for gathering them all together was so they could all be killed. Using his powers of darkness he slaughters them all, except one mysterious foreigner who counters with his equal powers of light. Neither has the upper hand, so the stranger escapes by throwing a magical crystal that devours everything Greek-fire-style. Just as Miran is resigned to his demise, he is unexpectedly rescued by Klom, who was sent to rescue him under protest. Elsewhere, the brother-sister due of Kuu and Sui (last seeing fleeing from Ryner’s hellfire) are trying to persuade (through deadly force) the leader of a nearby kingdom to ally with their brethren to the north. Ryner and Ferris, with the sleeping boy in tow, charge onward to the town of Regit with soldiers on their tails.

My Thoughts: For a show that is supposedly about Ryner and Ferris travelling the world in search of ancient, powerful relics, there has been very little of that in the past twelve episodes. Originally when ‘DenYuuDen’ started, I assumed it was going go somewhere along the lines of a quest for a different relic each episode, with a few laughs along the way (sort of like how the first episode played out). Instead, the show has been more about the more complicated power struggles within the kingdom as Sion Astal walks the knife’s edge to maintain power without the country falling into chaos. I will admit from a personal standpoint I am more apt to enjoy the latter over the former. However, trying to express courtly intrigue through an animated series is not exactly the easiest task, and as a result the show is very uneven. Juggling between occasional bursts of magic-filled fighting action and long minutes of conversation as Astal contemplates Miran’s advice at his desk make fore a less-than-smooth presentation. And, frankly, frequently boring as well. I suspect that much of that has to do with the type of story being forced into the 22-minute episodic format, and it’s a less than perfect fit. This story might have been better left to its original novel format, and something other than a straightforward adaptation may have been a better choice. But I digress, because that’s really neither here nor there.

A few quick thoughts:

– One thing I really do like about this show is that the main characters are all muddled shades of grey, meaning they are not simplistic black-and-white good guys/evil guys, as you get in almost every other show. There aren’t so much villains, as there are people who are working to their own advantage. One thing I really hate about so many shows is that it seems the bad guys are just being bad for bad-guy’s-sake, and it always makes their motivation suspect.
– An excellent example is Miran Froaude, who’s received so much screen time he’s practically the fourth main character. He’s not bad — really! He’s just *drawn* that way (to borrow a phrase). Even though everyone in Sion’s entourage has a hate-on for him, Sion groks his true nature and motivation, less a vassal or ally and more of a tool he can use to his advantage, in a controlled chaos sort of way.
– Following the climax of the ninth episode with the out-of-control Ryner ready to destroy the world (literally!), we are reminded of the internal conflict within Ryner himself as the emotional side of himself loathes his monster side, overpowering his rational side that tries to keep it under control. Ultimately, it’s that Ryner vs. Self battle that I feel is the main, important theme of the entire show.
– Rather convenient how they drop in the plot device of the little boy Arua, who is a mirror image of Ryner as a little boy. The whole point is to agitate that internal conflict within Ryner even more, of course.
– A brief moment of the useless Milk Callaud, as she tries to explain why she’s such a failure. Why she gets such special treatment is beyond me. Equally befuddling is her role in this series.
– Kuu and Sui are revealed as agents of the Gastark Empire to the north, which is on the warpath. Right now their role is mostly to set up the chess pieces on the board, I’m sure we’ll have more of their smiling faces in the future.
– And at the very end…Kiefer Knolles returns. Hm.

P.S. I’m still twiddling around with the format, wondering how many pictures and what sizes should be used, and in what order. I have not settled on a format that I like, so opinions are always welcome.

The Verdict: – Uneven but still watchable.

Up Next for Spring and Summer 2010 shows: Shukufuku no Campanella (3), Kuttsukiboshi (1), MonHun Diary: Felyne Village in Danger (1-3), Armored Trooper Votoms: Phantom Arc (1), Hen Zemi (1), ToHeart2: adNext (1), Kaichou wa Maid-sama (25-26), Occult Academy (13), Legend of Legendary Heroes (13-15)

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