I’m rearranging the post order slightly before I write the next open post. I have an idea for what I’m going to write but I need episodes 7 and 8 out of the way first.

And, no, I’m not going to tell you now. You’ll just have to wait.

War of Heroes continues where the previous episode left off.

It also immediately reuses some of the same footage and dialogue in one of the more egregious examples of cheating on the animation in the entire series. I really wasn’t joking in my Thirty Days post when I talked about Lodoss War needing a real animation budget.

The limited animation is a real shame in what is one of the strongest episodes of the series.

This episode is an epic battle that ends in high tragedy and a real twist that can still surprise a new viewer.

There are some minor bits and pieces going on at the fringes such as Etoh  separating from Slayn and Ghim to go find Parn.

Also tangential to the main focus is the confrontation between Parn and Ashram which is interrupted by Fahn challenging Beld to single combat.

Speaking of which the framing of the single combat is highly suggestive. As with many formal duels there are seconds whose selection, and placement relative to the duel, indicates their positions within the relative hierarchies. Of note here is that whilst Deedlit and Pirotess are presented as equals, the other pairing is Ashram and Kashue. The implication being that whilst Parn is improving, he still isn’t up to Ashram’s level yet.

But the duel itself, despite initially appearing otherwise, is also not the main centrepiece of the episode.

As it turns out the key character in the War of Horrors Heroes isn’t even on the battlefield.

No, the centrepiece of this episode, the queen manipulating her pawns on the chessboard is Karla as her motives begin to be revealed.

In particular by the flashbacks to the meeting with Wort and Karla. A meeting during which Wort was forced to use some discretion in Karla’s presence. However during the battle Wort takes advantage of Karla’s distraction, or more accurately her focus on the combat between Fahn and Beld, to contact Parn and let him know what is really going on.

And then the twist ending that lifts Lodoss above its gaming clichés not once, not twice, but three times.

First the bad guy wins the epic single combat that will end the war. Fahn falls, and Beld rises victorious. The housemate I’m currently watching with expected both to fall, or for the good guy to win. I suspect that I expected the latter lo these many years ago when I first saw the series.

And then, suddenly, Beld is dead too. Karla doesn’t want anyone to win so she waited until there was a winner and then simply removed Beld (plus a good chunk of both armies).

Finally the message from the previous episode about the horrors of war is hammered home into Parn as he stands on the abandoned field of battle.

In conclusion this is a powerful episode, and one that much of the rest of the series hinges on. The writing is strong, the performances are good, and there is a level of subtlety not really seen previously, but War of Heroes is seriously let down by the cheating on the animation (especially during repeat viewings).

Day 1 – Prologue to the Legend
Day 2 – Blazing Departure
Day 3 – The Gender of Lodoss War
Day 4 – The Black Knight
Day 5 – The Grey Witch
Day 6 – Dub vs Sub?
Day 7 – The Desert King
Day 8 – The Sword of the Dark Emperor
Day 9 – The War of Heroes
Day 10 – Requiem for Warriors
Day 11 –
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 –