Rune Soldier

TV - 24 Episodes

Tired of the old serious fantasy clichťs but find Slayers too out and out silly? This might be the kind of thing youíre looking for then.

Melissa, Merrill and Genie are a well rounded trio of adventuring women. As a priestess, thief and warrior; they only lack a magician to help them with the magic seals they have to overcome when hunting treasure. The only problem is that all the female magicians in Ohfun are the bookish type who donít like adventuring. So the take Louie instead, a magician who slacks in his magical studies and tends to just jump in with his fists. Heís, to put it bluntly, an idiot, and the girls know it! Unfortunately for them Melissa asks for a revelation from her goddess as to who the hero she should serve is, and who should drop in and fulfil that prophesy but Louie himself! So, against her will as she keeps saying, Louie is a part of the group and brings them all sorts of trouble.

This is fantasy comedy, and as such does what a fantasy comedy generally does; send up the genre while telling a story that works pretty well as a part of that genre. This series however isnít as manic as some, and when it does get very silly it does so only for brief moments and is always in character when it does. It feels well structured as a whole with a good cast who play off each other nicely (maily the girls playing off Louie actually since heís the Ďheroí of the piece). Louie is also not the inept lump you might expect him to be. He does have his own way of thinking that just doesnít coincide with everyone elseís and he does grow, both in magical talent and common sense as the show goes on. By comparison the girls donít seem to develop as much because they are already who the need to be. Itís a shame in some ways because when we are given episodes exploring them more it often doesnít come to much that we hadnít already guessed. Merrill in particular has several episodes in the spotlight but in the end we donít get much real insight into her beyond what there already was. They make up for it by being a very entertaining cast, but itís an unfortunate missed opportunity. Thereís a lot of filler in this show, but had they tried to stretch the plot out it would have ended up thin so it does work better this way.

Thereís a decent amount of acceptable violence here and some mild to moderate fan service. Basically what youíd expect from the genre when not aimed specifically for young kids. Teens and up here.

Visually this is a very nice looking show. Itís often pleasantly fluid and the character designs grew on me very quickly. After seeing many effeminate characters who turn out to be male I did wonder from watching the advert for this whether Genie and Melissa were pretty boy males, but it becomes obvious very quickly that isnít the case with Melissaís very female voice (Kikuko Inoue no less!) and Genieís minimalist outfit! Surprising designs but very welcome after all the super cute teen heroines that have come before. There is some CG in here but it doesnít intrude much and isnít overdone they way some shows use it. Very nice to look at overall.

The dub here is actually pretty good as dubs go. All the main characters fit their rolls very well although I did feel Ila was a little staged and never had the sound of curiosity and impishness I had expected. And as usual some of the incidental and supporting rolls grated a little, especially Melissaís three younger priestess colleagues who go on my nerves very quickly. That said however this is above average and is for the most part well acted with Louie and Melissa coming out with some great deliveries, which is nice. The script takes a few liberties in translation but doesnít do badly when it does, and corny lines are thankfully rare.

Fantasy fans should look this up and Iíd probably give out a general recommendation as well. It certainly doesnít break any ground but it has a good pace for a show with so many one off episodes and is enjoyable throughout, even if all you end up remembering afterwards is the cast.

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