With a silly name like “The Legend of the Legendary Heroes,” you’d expect an all-out comedy, but you get something more dramatic in this new series from Funimation.
Two dubbed sets are being released today, but the series has been available subtitled for streaming for a while now. This was my first chance to sit down with the series, though, so I’m looking at the dub.
I had a chance to watch the first six episodes of the first set over the weekend, and while I’m still not entirely sure what, exactly, the show is trying to say, I am enjoying the ride. And Ian Sinclair is just fantastic in his voice work as the series’ main protagonist, Ryner Lute.
Ryner is a powerful mage known as an Alpha Stigma, which gives him the power to visually analyze others’ magic and then use it himself. This is apparently a big deal, as different countries use different types and styles of magic. In the first episode, he and his female warrior guardian, Ferris, are searching a neighboring country for a powerful Hero Relic for some unknown purpose.
But then the next few episodes flashback to Ryner’s school days, where he first met and allied himself with Sion Astal, who has since taken over as king of Roland. Ryner is imprisoned before that, and Sion releases him upon ascending the throne and tasks him and Ferris with finding these Hero Relics Ryner wrote about to pass the time in prison.
After all this, it’s hard to tell where exactly the series is going as it moves back and forth between Ryner and Ferris’ quest and the political intrigue back in the Roland court as the nobles try to undermine Sion’s peacful rule. Just what are these Hero Relics supposed to do once they’re found? Prevent a war? Protect Roland if there is one?
The series definitely has its comic moments (though Ferris’ unfounded penchant for calling Ryner a pervert gets old and extremely annoying really fast), but it’s more dramatic. They don’t sugarcoat the violence of war or the nobles’ bloody efforts, showing plenty of severed heads and body parts. It’s gratuitously gruesome at times, but it’s still a highly intriguing fantasy.
Most interesting to me will be the further development of Ryner’s abilities. Can he only copycat magic as it occurs, or is it his to use any time once he learns it? And when he’s seen using his power in the flashback, he pretty much goes insane and on a killing spree before being snapped back to reality. But when he uses it later, he’s entirely in control. How did he manage that? They didn’t show any of that during his prison years.
I like that it doesn’t go the obvious route (at least not yet) and make it an obvious plot that opposites Ryner and Ferris will wind up together. I hope they don’t (especially since she’s so annoying). It changes up the typical dynamic.
Animation-wise, it’s pretty standard. There are some nice character designs, and I like the different ways they show the magic. The music’s OK, but sounds a bit too synthesized.
All in all, though, “The Legend of the Legendary Heroes” is an exciting new series in a genre that hasn’t seen too many releases lately. I definitely recommend it for fans of “Guin Saga.”
To preview the series, catch full episodes (dubbed or subbed) at Hulu.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this delightful series getting a re-release today from Sentai Filmworks.
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 10 years since this series about a young magic user first came out. I don’t even have a copy of my original review any more.
It’s the modern-day story of Yume, a young witch from the country who’s come to Tokyo to apprentice under an experienced magic user so she can get her license from the Bureau of Magic. There are some trials and tribulations, of course, but nothing over-the-top.
It’s a light, gentle series that’s a nice antidote to more hyped-up, angst-driving, demon-fighting shows that take place in modern times.
It also has an fantastic soundtrack that still gets regular rotation in my CD player.