As I look over the other items of my collection, some of which have gathered dust, others gone due to damage, others I wish I could dispose of with a bit of cost reimbursement (…looking at “Lain”…), there are a couple I threw out. This is one of them.
Just to be clear, this is the first season, not the second one.
“Sorcerer Stabber Orphan” AKA “Orphan”
For the most part, this is your pretty standard “anime”. Has a lot of the archetypes. You got your hero who has to do everything…your comic relief…your guy who is both comic relief but occasionally does something…your blithering idiots who are even MORE comic relief…your big bad guys and lesser bad guys…a quest…goofy episodes…serious episodes…yadda, yadda, yadda. Stuff that’s par for the course for a very good reason…it works. And the same here. It provides good entertainment.
Unfortunately, this anime is a fantasy setting. I’ve yet to really find a “good” fantasy-setting anime, although I keep trying. Most of them always seem to be “missing something”…
Yet there’s another problem that just chaffs me personally in this particular series. Before I get into it, let’s go over the basic plot…
The main character is a former star magic student at this world’s guild who had a falling out after his childhood friend experimented with forbidden magic and turned herself into a raging, homicidal dragon, and they decided she needed to be killed. Now he’s more of a wandering pseudo-bum who hires himself out as a personal magic tutor/mage-for-hire while looking for a way to change his friend back while trying to keep her from being killed by his former guildmaster. On the way, he meets some blond ditz who really serves no useful purpose except to be a whining tagalong, and he brings his latest apprentice along for the ride too. He carries a big magic sword but never tries to stab or kill anything with it because it’s a magical relic and apparently those can only be used to do magic…not actually use them as-is for anything. Plus he’s got a couple of, um…well…er…trolls, is what they call them though I think halflings or hobbits is more appropriate…following him everywhere he goes and who constantly try to wage pathetic attempts at revenge upon him.
The story is actually a bit more engaging than I said, especially when it reveals a decent plot twist…that the main character’s childhood friend was actually corrupted by her own power once the guildmaster rejected her advances and became evil. The reason the dragon she turned into is homicidal is because she is homicidal, and the guildmaster has actually been trying continuously to find a way to stop her and save her life, including by switching bodies with her…which unfortunately only puts her in a position of power in the magic school and leaves him stuck in the dragon’s body. So the plot’s not bad.
Now we get into “the problem”. Anyone who watches enough anime knows that the Japanese and Americans kind of “differ” on what they consider “true evil” and about certain subject matters. In Western thought, a demon is a demon is a demon. In Japanese thought, a demon is more of just a title or something that doesn’t necessarily indicate good or evil. (Look no further than “Inuyasha”. Take one look at Shippo and see if you get an “Exorcist”-vibe from him in spite of the fact he’s a demon.) One of the reasons people who are more religious get upset by the idea of “magic” is because magic is supposed to come from demons and the devil whenever it’s real. They tolerate it in fiction because it’s more of just a “name” there. It could be innate power or come from other sources or whatever.
Not so in “Orphan”. The protagonist pretty much calls on Satan to use his power.
Er…not comfortable with that.
A couple other things that kind of bring a grimace to my face is things like a character who underwent a transgendered TF off screen and ended up marrying a guy of the (now) opposite sex without ever telling him. Can we say “Magical Crying Game”? Even more kind of eyebrow-raising is how the plot gets resolved. When the antagonist renounces her evil ways and she and the guildmaster realize their feelings for each other, but due to the situation end up with only her body left with her soul and the guildmaster’s soul…leading to a situation where we’ve got basically two cups of water but only one glass and both need to somehow fill it or they’ll spill…the protagonist’s solution is to put her back in her body…and put him into a fetus growing in her womb.
Somewhere Sigmund Freud is having a field day.
If that wasn’t ironic enough? The guy’s name is Childman. Now it’s not just a clever name…
These sorts of things kind of make my enjoyment of the series a little off, but even if they wouldn’t have been there…it wasn’t the most outstanding series in the world. It was nice to see the apprentice come through a couple times, and having a pet wolf cub…sigh…I mean “deep dragon” (this might be the first anime I’ve ever seen where dragons can take the form of big wolves…) is a cute addition. It just didn’t really have anything to write home about. I would personally rate it lower, but knowing that I may be biased, I can give it a bit more.
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Knows a few cantrips, but it’ll have to content itself with being a sorcerer’s apprentice.
What you should do with this DVD set: Leave it in a darker corner of your own mystical library, or lend it to trolls and don’t worry about getting it back.