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Moving on through another entry in my junk bin…

Ever wish you could take a movie or movie series you like, such as “The Matrix” or “Being John Malkovich”, take the first part of it, which was perfectly fine, and just scrap the end and completely rewrite it?

Well, apparently so did the makers of “Record of Lodoss War”.

“Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight”

I was a bit puzzled when I saw this series, to be honest. I suppose, technically, they could have done the same thing for it that they did for, say, “Full Metal Alchemist” or other animes. Namely they produced episodes too quickly and outstripped the manga, so they had to write one ending, and then they later gave it the “real” ending when the manga was done. But seeing as this wasn’t one of those long stories like “Soul Eater” and “Full Metal Alchemist”, I have a hard time believing that’s true.

Essentially, they basically take everything from the original series up to the death of the dwarf Ghim and then redo everything else. In the course of it, they make the story take place over many years instead of a couple at most like they did in the original, and eventually shift the focus to a new “heroic knight” and the daughter of a priestess and wizard from the original who is supposed to be the key to the rebirth of a dark goddess in Lodoss.

In terms of pacing and interest, it’s pretty much the same as the first go round. Nothing too outstanding or remarkable. Nothing that really keeps you “on the edge of your seat”. Again, it has the feeling of being too long, especially since parts of the anime are literally nothing more than slight reworkings of the original “Record of Lodoss War” and ultimately it ends under similar circumstances.

The characters are kind of improved and downgraded at the same time. The original jerk of the first series, Ashram, gets a bit of a morality makeover to make him look better, and he gets to live “happily ever after” (sort of) with his dark elf lover, Ptioress. On the other hand, the original duo, Parn and Deedlit, might as well be cardboard cutouts. Especially Deedlit, who went from being somewhat scatterbrained and childish to “acting her age” of over 130 years old and now just kind of quietly looks at stuff. Their more “interesting” character traits were shoved onto the new protagonists.

That said, the plot is a bit more satisfying. The Gray Witch is stopped at the end, unlike the original series, and, ironically, this is probably the only anime I’ve ever seen where the “nice” goddess really is “nice”. Most animes and manga I’ve seen pretty much treat any gods or goddesses they have as generally bad things that mankind would be better without, possibly reflecting a general cultural viewpoint on organized religion. This one isn’t so bad, basically ending the series saying: “So, want me to be reincarnated through this girl and bring a golden age, or would you rather I didn’t so I don’t kill her? You want her to live? Ok, that’s cool. Later.” Heck, the series even features a non-corrupt and benevolent theocracy if you can believe it.

In addition, the plot ends more “brightly”. I get the impression the original series had the moral: “There can be no good without evil.”, but this series had the moral: “Um…on second thought, there can be just good.”

Finally, of course, the series is kept lighthearted by ending every episode with chibi versions of the characters doing something goofy, which adds some appeal.

Did I like this better than the original “Record of Lodoss War”? Without a doubt. Does that mean it’s something worth spending money on? Eh…probably not unless you’ve got money to burn.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The newer model has better features at the expense of getting rid of others, but overall makes for a slightly better ride.

What you should do with this DVD set: Watch all of it once, then let its attractive cover art become one your wall of anime DVDs that you use to make the jaws of lesser otaku drop in pictures of your house.

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