Monday, May 21, 2012

Rune Soldier Anime Review

Rune Soldier
ADV Films
Complete Collection - 6 discs
600 mins. - 24 episodes
$39.98 (2005)
$39.98 (2008)
ISBN 702727127922
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Yoshitaka Koyama
Studio - J.C. Staff

Synopsis: In the land of Ohfun there exists a band of female adventurers: Melissa is a priestess of Mylee, the god of war, and awaits the time when her chosen hero will be revealed so she can devote her life to him; Genie is a former soldier and powerful warrior; Merrill is a thief, obsessed with money, and works twelve part-time jobs to make ends meet while not adventuring. 
Genie, Melissa, and Merrill interview Ila (sitting) to be their fourth
member, but she's not interested
Due to a rise in the number of hostile magical creatures they encounter, the group searches for a magician to become their fourth member.  What better place to find a magician than Ohfun, the location of the Magician's Guild and training academy for all the magicians in the land?  Well, apparently not such a great place after all.  It appears all the magicians in Ohfun are academics and none want to risk their lives adventuring!
Instead they get this genius - Louie!
Only one student magician named Louie is interested.  He's loudmouthed, a brawler, and as far from a regular magician as you could possibly imagine.  Plus his magic stinks because he spends more time working out than studying.  His adopted father runs the Magician's Guild and he got a free pass to attend the academy.
Louie breaks his magical wand on their first adventure
by smashing it on a monster's face
With no other options the group tries him out and are sorely disappointed by his performance.  He rushes into every fight, can't cast a spell to save his life, and falls for every pretty girl he meets.  Ila is his friend, a decent magician, and tries to help them out, but she faints at the sight of danger!  It's a tough job for these adventurers and their incompetent magician.
Louie trains with Genie to sword fight
What's worse - Melissa receives a sign pointing to her valiant champion - Louie!?  Eventually Louie learns rudimentary magic which helps the group on their adventures, but he's still more likely to use his "Louie punch" on a magical creature than a cast a spell.  He slowly wins over the girls through his stubborn tenacity and unwavering loyalty, but will it be enough to save the kingdom from an onslaught of magical beasts?
Can Louie and the group save the kingdom from fiery destruction?
Pros: Some genuinely funny moments, decent animation/character designs, lighthearted and enjoyable, just a tiny bit of fan-service, ending theme song was great (not typical to anime)
Louie fantasizes about getting all the treasure and the
beautiful ladies as an adventurer
Cons: No bonus features, could have used some more fan-service, episodic, no real plot, silly, lukewarm ending
Louie gets on Merrill's bad side
Mike Tells It Straight: I was pleasantly surprised with Rune Soldier - it was lighthearted and dumb, but somehow very charming.  Each character was endearing and their personalities were perfect - the tough warrior-woman, conniving thief with a heart of gold, straight-laced priestess, hot nerd classmate, and then there's Louie - completely clueless and well-meaning.
Louie creates a malfunctioning golem to help Merrill
This show doesn't take itself too seriously and dishes out consistent, mindless comedy.  The plot is mostly nonexistent and only hints at a greater underlying mystery (like who is Louie's real father?).  Set in the same universe as Record of Lodoss War (shares the same writer), but nothing like it.  Writer Ryo Mizuno must have wanted a lighter story after the serious plots in Lodoss War.
Merrill gets her wish - bathing in sparkling gold coins
Almost suitable for the kids, but has some very mild fan-service gags (Melissa loses a swimsuit top while Louie is fishing, Merrill loses her clothes while suffering the worst unlucky streak of her life).  No major nudity or jiggly breasts (which could have kicked this show up to the 'naughty fun' category) and the jokes are not too vulgar (although Louie does ruin a magical potion by peeing in it).
Another typical adventure with Louie
If you're looking for something fun and simple with decent animation and good characters - then check this out.  It's a solid show and doesn't make the mistake of getting serious at the end (like E's Otherwise).  Just good consistent comedy.

TO BUY and Recommendations: