September 29, 2020, 12:10:47 PM

Author Topic: Fantasy Anime  (Read 3453 times)

Offline Yora

Fantasy Anime
« on: March 11, 2015, 01:30:17 PM »
One of the main reason I enjoy Japanese TV shows and movies is that their writers tend to not follow the same standards and cliches as most American script writers. They probably still follow entrenched conventions and overused cliches, but I havn't seen them being used so terribly often yet, so they still often appear quite original and new.  :D

They produce so much that even with pretty high standards, there is still a lot of excelent stuff for audiences 16+ and a good number of them fantasy. I have a couple I like, but I am always interested in more.


Record of Lodoss War: Not my favorite but you could call it a classic. It's pretty straightforward D&D style fantasy with a not terribly great story and the production quality has visibly aged a lot and not held up very great. However, I read an interesting article a while ago that mentioned how the series takes the old fantasy cliches and then subtly subverts them in unexpected ways all the time. On my first viewing I considered it somewhat questionable and erratic writing, but now I think it's actually all very deliberate and clever. The heroes all act as if they are in a classic story where everything is going to work out as it is supposed to, but it never does. Things go completely wrong and against all conventions the entire time. I think watching it with that in mind it's probably a lot more interesting than just taking it as an old cliche story that doesn't even get that right.


Rune Soldier Louie: This is the first anime I ever watched ten years or so ago (that whole Pokemon and Naruto stuff went right past me a decade earlier) and it's absolutely hilarious. It's set in the same world as Record of Lodoss War, but looks and feels completely different. It's about three female adventurers who are looking for a sorceress to join them in the exploration of ruins and deal with magical traps and the like, but there isn't even one in the entire city who has any interest in adventuring. The only sorcerer they can get is Louie, a giant of a man who is both charming and incredibly dumb and gets absolutely obnoxious once he learns that the three adventurers are looking for a sorcerer. They are completely against it and do everything they can to get him to leave them alone, but of course things get a lot more complicated for them very quickly.
This show is pure comedy and I consider it absolute comedy gold. It's one of the funniest things I've ever watched aside from Azumanga Daioh and Nichijou. It's not very long and as usual the episodes are fairly short, so it doesn't take very long to watch through all of it. Even though it's a bit older by now, it got pretty decent English dubbing too.


Seirei no Moribito: This one is based on a novel and it really feels like that. In a good way. It doesn't try frantically to get a fight scene into every episode but follows the story as it makes narratively sense. Sometimes you get three big action episodes in a row and at other times there isn't any fighting for several episodes. The story is about a woman who is on a quest to save the lives of eight people to fullfil a vow she has made. She had been away for many years but now has returned back home with only one more life left to save. As she makes it back to the city, she wittnisses the royal prince to have an almost fatal accident and heroically saves him from certain death, even though it violates all the laws and taboos about the interaction between commoners and the royal family. The mother of the prince insists on rewarding her anyway and reveals in secret that it had not been an accident and there is a conspiracy in the palace against the princess life and pleads with the warrior to save her sons life. And then things escalate pretty dramatically very quickly and the entire situation is much more complicated and threatening than it first appeared. It seems straightforward enough at first but you quickly realize that this is no old generic standard plot and the story takes some very unexpected turns which are often quite subtle and elegant. It's a story about duty, sacrifice, guilt, and regret, but in this case it really works quite well because it doesn't rely on some exotic or conservative system of values, but just on a very simple and most basic desire to protect everyone from harm. As such, the drama never feels forced and nobody makes unreasonable descisions for the sake of plot. It's a single completely story with 26 episodes or so which work like individual chapters. It's made by Production I.G., who also made Ghost in the Shell, Attack on Titan, and End of Evangelion, so the production quality is basically at the very top there is. There are much fewer action scenes than I expected, but I think it works in the stories favor, and when there are fight scenes they are always amazing. It's just all around astonishing in visuals, music, and pacing. This is probably my favorite anime that is not Ghost in the Shell. Can not recommend this one enough.


Mushishi: Mushishi is a series of very losely connected stories of the spirit expert Ginko, the Mushishi. The musho are a type of very primitive and also primordial spirits than in many ways are the most simple and oldest form of life in the world. They are also completely alien to what people are used to from animals and plants. Normally humans can not even percieve them and when there is any unusual activity of mushi near human settlements the land appears to be cursed or haunted. But some few people have the ability to see them and have been educated about their nature, who are the Mushishi. Ginko is not an exorcist or a ghost hunter or anything like that. Instead he travels the country looking for people who need his help with their mushi problem, who usually don't have the slightest idea what is happening to them. The very unique style of the show comes from Ginko not destroying the mushi, but finding solutions so that the people are no longer bothered by their presence. He also has no actual magic powers and his ways to repair any damage caused by peoples interaction with the mushi are very limited. He can make the changes stop and help people deal with them, but he can not reverse most things that have been caused by mushi. It's very slow, very quiet, and very introperspective. And absolutely amazing. This is not something you can watch in a few days end to end. Usually one or two episodes at a time is enough and then you get to take a break for a few days before watching the next one. It's very heavy "artsy" stuff and often needs some time to digest before you can continue with the next bit.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Fantasy Anime
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2015, 02:10:46 PM »
Oh, anime shows have their own entrenched tropes and cliches ever bit as much as US script writers do.

Seirei no Moribito is superb in both visual and characterization levels and I couldn't recommend it enough.

Mushishi is a strange and wonderful beast, perfect atmosphere for introspection and exploration of both spirt and human themes.

As for others...

Slayers was one of the first animes I watched a lot of and I still remember it fondly. I wasn't a huge fan of the series but the OVAs with Naga the Serpent were, and still are, hilarious.

Berserk IS Grimdark. It just is. The manga is especially gritty and brutal.

Fullmetal Alchemist has a really interesting magic system, well worth a watch.

Hellsing is so bloody stylish I can't help liking it and Alucard the vampire is just insanely cool. One of my favourites.

Spice and Wolf is an odd thing, a fantasy anime about a wolf-god and economics. It's slower and more about the characters, but that's no bad thing.

The Traitor God & God of Broken Things

Offline Raptori

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Re: Fantasy Anime
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2015, 02:16:22 PM »
Literally the only Anime TV show I've ever watched is Fullmetal Alchemist. Loved it though, as @CameronJohnston says it has a really cool magic system. Would love to watch more, but never seem to have the time :(
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Offline Yora

Re: Fantasy Anime
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2015, 02:34:51 PM »
Oh yeah, I always get that one recommended by ny friends a lot. But I never get around to it because there's always something more interesting that isn't modern fantasy.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

Offline Henry Dale

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Re: Fantasy Anime
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2015, 02:40:11 PM »
Don't watch the original fullmetal alchemist, watch Brotherhood instead, that follows the original manga closer.
I loved Mushishi (that atmosphere!) and Spice and Wolf (cute ^^).
Atm watching Death Parade (recommend it, though not traditional fantasy, more supernatural) and Legend of the Galactic Heroes (an old space opera with over 100 characters).

Offline Raptori

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Re: Fantasy Anime
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2015, 02:45:52 PM »
Don't watch the original fullmetal alchemist, watch Brotherhood instead, that follows the original manga closer.
I loved Mushishi (that atmosphere!) and Spice and Wolf (cute ^^).
Atm watching Death Parade (recommend it, though not traditional fantasy, more supernatural) and Legend of the Galactic Heroes (an old space opera with over 100 characters).
Yeah Brotherhood is the one we've got. Maybe you should try out a couple of episodes @Yora, if it doesn't draw you in straight away then you can shelve it, if not then you've got something new to watch! :D
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline Ender

Re: Fantasy Anime
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2015, 03:33:53 AM »
I've been out of the anime loop for a bit, but way back when, Berserk was my favorite fantasy anime, it probably still is.  I remember liking Escaflowne, but it's been so long since I watched it, that I can't say for sure how good it is.  I enjoyed Fullmental Alchemist (even the first series).  Recently I would say Attack on Titan was really great.  Been meaning to watch Seirei no Moribito for the longest, maybe i'll get started on that this weekend.  Really need to get back on my anime watching.

Offline Justan Henner

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Re: Fantasy Anime
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2015, 04:15:27 PM »
Recently I would say Attack on Titan was really great. 

I really wanted to enjoy this show, but they broke a cardinal rule for me, which is they strung me along for an entire season...
Spoiler for Hiden:
and then answered nothing. I was so mad. I don't think I'll watch it again.

Offline Wizard Police

Re: Fantasy Anime
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2015, 07:33:09 PM »
Recently I would say Attack on Titan was really great. 

I really wanted to enjoy this show, but they broke a cardinal rule for me, which is they strung me along for an entire season...
Spoiler for Hiden:
and then answered nothing. I was so mad. I don't think I'll watch it again.

I'm caught up with the manga and they've addressed some of the long burning questions left behind by the anime. Like a melting candle the story unfolds slowly, but oh is it so satisfying.

My recommendations:

12 Kingdoms
Guin Saga
Berserk
Claymore
Vision of Escaflowne

These are the animes I feel resemble more of a western fantasy feel than the fanservice boob popping saturated fantasy animes I see so often. All of these are fantastic, though 12 Kingdoms is the one I'd recommend first and foremost. The world building and character development rivals that of some of the best western fantasy has to offer.

Offline Ender

Re: Fantasy Anime
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2015, 12:42:05 AM »
Wow.  I totally forgot about Claymore.  Maybe it's because I was enjoying it so much until they went completely off the rails by trying to provide some closure in 25 episodes because it got cancelled.  Still, I'd agree that it's worth watching.

I didn't mind the lack of answers in Attack on Titan, it's still on-going.  I didn't feel like they were trying to drag anything out, the show just develops slowly.  I liked the pacing.  I was never bored or feeling like I was watching filler.  The developments toward the end of the season were so interesting that it's hard to wait for answers though.  I just really connect with the weirdness and coolness of the whole thing.  And the mystery too.