Well there wasn’t much in it but Record of Lodoss War seemed to be the most popular choice for the first round. I may have to do a runoff vote later between Escaflowne, Bebop, and Key the Metal Idol (unless later votes in the original poll resolve that tie first). So the way I’m going to do this is alternate two episode based posts with a post on some other aspect of Lodoss Wars.

Do I really need to warn people about spoilers for a 20 year old series? OK, there’ll be spoilers in all of these posts.

I may not decide the additional topics until I get to them. Suggestions welcome, particularly general questions that would apply to other series.

Our story begins with Episode 6.5, Prologue to the Legend.

Did you say episode 6.5?

Yes. Or Episode 5.5, it’s been a while and I forget exactly where it fits.

The story that I always heard was that this episode was made as a pilot episode to pitch the concept of an anime based on what started as a series of game reports before mutating into novels, their own ruleset, and then the anime.

As such the episode chosen to be the pilot was one of the strongest episodes in the storyline. For a more modern example think of the reasoning behind the second episode of the new Doctor Who being “End of the World”: the makers were looking for a truly exciting episode with spectacular finish that would leave ’em wanting more. Only in this case it wasn’t targeted at the audience but at the producers who needed to be persuaded to finance the rest of the series.

Consequently the pilot had much better animation than the rest of the series. I’m exaggerating that somewhat as even the pilot does display in places the static shots carried by the fabulous music and dialogue that were the hallmark of the series. However the dragon in this episode is much better animated than the ones that appear later. The scenes with Deedlit’s spellcasting are also just beautiful (once you ignore the shoulder pads).

So what happens in this episode? In essence you have a party of adventurers travelling to find out information about the Grey Witch by visiting the sage Wort. 

Then bad stuff happens. Conveniently (also known on TV Tropes as an Eigen Plot), the bad stuff that happens introduces the characters and highlights what they’re good for. So you are shown that Slayn is a Wizard, Etoh is a Priest, Ghim is the Bad Ass Dwarf, Woodchuck is the skulking thief, Deedlit is the (mostly) graceful elven warrior/minor mage. 

Or, in Parn’s case, what he’d like to be good for (knight/paladin) but hasn’t quite managed yet.

Deedlit also gets to demonstrate why a mere ~100 years old or so elf is still regarded as an adolescent with an attention span of “Oooh! Shiny!”.

There’s also the inevitable info dumps (the prologue with classical music telling the legend of how gods smacked each other down), as well as the tantalising hints of other, deeper, stuff happening in the background. And what, exactly, is the Grey Witch doing talking to Wort?

Possibly the best moment in Episode 1 is an exchange between Woodchuck and Ghim about Deedlit. Ghim doesn’t like her much but does respect her abilities and gets downright snarky at Woodchuck when he points out the difference.

Day 1 – Prologue to the Legend
Day 2 – Blazing Departure
Day 3 –
Day 4 – The Black Knight
Day 5 – The Grey Witch
Day 6 –
Day 7 – The Desert King
Day 8 – The Sword of the Dark Emperor
Day 9 –
Day 10 – The War of Heroes
Day 11 – Requiem for Warriors
Day 12 –
Day 13 – The Scepter of Domination
Day 14 – The Demon Dragon of Fire Dragon Mountain
Day 15 –
Day 16 – The Wizard’s Ambition
Day 17 – Final Battle! Marmo, the Dark Island
Day 18 –
Day 19 – Lodoss, The Burning Continent
Day 20 –