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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Record of Lodoss War Has a Glossy Surface, But no Depth:

Rewatching Lodoss War in blu-ray has made me reevaluate the show as a whole.  Granted, the music and visuals are as beautiful as I remember them.  Even more so now that everything's in 1080p.  There's also some fine voice actors involved, like Norio Wakamoto and Kappei Yamaguchi.  But however good the presentation and production values are, without a decent plot it's all so much fluff.  The plot of Lodoss War is hopelessly simplistic and childish.

An evil warlord attempts to conquer Lodoss.  He's eventually defeated, only his subordinates (an evil mage and an evil swordsman) then try to replicate the same feat.  Eventually all the evildoers are defeated, as well as all their demonic and draconic minions, and the forces of light are triumphant.  It's just such a barren story, because it lacks any hook to get emotional about the situation one way or the other.  Everything is so one-dimensional, becoming interested in the characters' lives and world is impossible.  With such cardboard cutout characters, where each of them only has one motivation in life and only expresses one single emotion from the beginning of the story to the end, you just can't get very far.  The dialogue reflects this problem.  None of the characters have practically anything to say to each other, such that the language is at the 2nd grade level or so.  Aside from war cries and calling out each other's names, practically nothing is said the entire series long.

Lodoss War may be great for children who are still thinking on the same level as Lodoss War, but it has nothing to offer or interest adults who are looking for more than 'light versus darkness' and flashing swords.  I've watched this show many times, but this is the first time I was so struck by its complete lack of a point.  I don't think any character even made an argument for his way of life or way of seeing things throughout the series, much less the story having an overall theme of its own.  A show completely lacking in vision, specializing purely in special effects and cliched fantasy tropes.

A rank suited for a show that relies solely on art and music is #97, right next to #98 Macross which relies on the same tricks to get by, and is equally as old as Record of Lodoss War.  Those two shows suit each other, just like #99 Cowboy Bebop and #100 Samurai Champloo are practically identical shows.  The only 20th century shows still deserving of extraordinary respect left are Dragon Ball and Ranma 1/2.  However, the reason Dragon Ball is so good is due to Dragonball Kai, which is actually a brand new show, more or less.  So in fact, the only 20th century show that can keep up with the 21st century is Ranma 1/2.  While every other show seems to get worse and worse with each passing year, Ranma 1/2 still shines as a spectacular romantic comedy that simply never gets old.  While every other show is withering away into obscurity, Ranma 1/2 is still leading the way on the path to greatness.

Some other ranking changes are putting Battle Athletes at a lowly 150th, dropping Gokukoku no Brynhildr back down to 131st, promoting Ro-Kyu-Bu to 74th, Kin-iro Mosaic rising all the way up to 54th, Pretty Cure retaking its slot in 2nd due to its simply enormous size that even One Piece can't rival, Sword Art Online rising back to 5th due to how addictively rewatchable the show is even in its current form, and Dragonball overtaking Naruto at 8th place due to Naruto's endlessly annoying, seemingly endless filler.  Compared to Dragonball Kai, which has a good pace and no filler content at all, Naruto just looks like a torture device to be used on criminals.

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