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Anime Review: The Legend of the Legendary Heroes February 11, 2011

Posted by navycherub in Anime, Review.
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The Legend of the Legendary Heroes is a surprising show in that it has quite a bit to offer that one most likely wouldn’t have expected on a quick glance. On the surface it is a typical shounen action anime involving magical attacks and a search for mystical objects, and to some extent that is true. However, once the story begins unraveling, and it happens pretty quickly, Legendary Heroes shows that it has much more to offer than fighting and quirky antics.

The show starts off in the middle of the protagonist’s, Ryner Lute, journey for the “Relics of Heroes,” a mysterious collection of artifacts that he and his reluctant partner Ferris Eris have been tasked to find and collect. While these artifacts are supposedly powerful and destructive, Ryner wants to use them to create a world full of “afternoon naps,” and to achieve this goal he is supporting his old friend and the current king of Roland Sion Astal. Sion, the “Hero King of Roland,” has a similarly lofty and idealistic, though simple, objective – peace.

These naive ambitions would probably go unhitched in most shows where they are present, but the Legend of the Legendary Heroes turns the reality of these dreams into the main theme of the whole story; the sacrifices that the characters have to make and the way those losses affect and eventually make impossible the causes they strive for is the driving force that keeps the plot interesting. Each faction has their own needs, and when these needs clash the plot thickens, keeping the anime interesting all throughout. These sort of moments allow for plenty of character and plot progression which always comes at just the right time.

The characters themselves are a mixed bag. The ones that aren’t expanded upon much in the show’s run come off as shameless archetypes which, though appropriate for their individual role in the story, weakens the believability a bit and makes character interaction much less provocative. The most unfortunate part of this negative aspect is that each episode seemed to have some focus on the side characters that never end up fully developing, leaving the viewer wanting more but knowing they won’t get much. On the other hand, the characters that do have significant progression are endlessly interesting and show where the plot really shines. Luckily Legendary Heroes seems to know that is where most of its strengths lie and the first arc of sorts is a long flashback explaining Ryner and company’s current situation, and it is definitely intriguing enough to catch the attention of anyone who might otherwise have been bored with the seemingly typical plotline that is laid out in the first episode.

One would expect a good amount of action, and Legendary Heroes certainly delivers. There are plenty of fights to satisfy those looking for flashy magic moves and even some large-scale battles involving plenty of throwaway soldiers and explosions. Unfortunately there isn’t much variation in the attacks themselves; for example, Ryner doesn’t even use more than one kind of spell for the whole show despite being heralded as “the Greatest Mage in Roland” and being a wielder of the powerful Alpha Stigma. Most of the interesting action surprisingly comes from the otherwise mostly uninteresting side characters, who obviously don’t have as many fights but when they are the center of attention they show off as much as possible, making their fights the most entertaining.

The animation and art are mot much to speak of, outside of one particularly stylistic episode. Normally this wouldn’t be a huge problem but the grand feeling the show should have is brought down at times by the lackluster visuals when they should ideally be on an equally outstanding level. The music is on a similar level of alright but not noticeable or memorable, again unfortunate given the creative things they could have done with the medieval-inspired setting.

Legendary Heroes is an interesting and engaging plot filled with a mixed bag of generic and genuinely entertaining characters, topped off with a fleshed out fantasy world of politics and bloodshed. The things it is brought down by are significant enough to warrant some hesitation, but its assets are truly strong and warrant a chance from anyone who enjoys a well thought out and engaging plot and are willing to look past some of its clear faults and enjoy the whole.

Rating: 7/10

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