Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight, the TV series of 27 episodes, is now available in a special 4 DVD box set from Central Park Media. This series contains a few major and minor differences from the Record of Lodoss War OVAs; While the OVAs deviated from the novel, the TV series re-tells the original story in a much more complete and unabridged fashion. As such, they are best viewed separate and distinct from each other, though they are set in the same world and contain a lot of the same characters.
The series takes place on the isle of Lodoss, an island composed of many different kingdoms. Ashram, a servant of the Emperor Beld, dreams of one day uniting and controlling all the people of Lodoss. To fulfill this end, he must find the Scepter of Domination, one of the five Governor's treasures entrusted to five dragons by the King of Kastuul, 500 years prior to the start of the series. No one knows which of the five dragons holds the scepter, so Ashram is determined to kill them all until he discovers it. Neese, guardian of the Temple of Marfa, Goddess of Earth, learns of his plans, and sets in motion events to gather together a band of heroes to stop Ashram, in order to save Lodoss. These heroes include: Parn, a wandering swordsman and a free knight, sworn to protect all the people of Lodoss; Deedlit, an elfin sorceress and Parn's companion; Slayn, the master sorcerer of Zaxon; Leylia, Slayn's companion and a sorceress; Cecil, Slayn's apprentice; Orson & Shiris, both mercenaries; and Kashue, the mercenary king of the desert kingdom, Flaim. These heroes band together, determined to kill the dragons and gain the scepter before Ashram can. And without giving away too much, the series soon shifts ten years later and follows Spark & his band as they try to stop Wagnard, a dark wizard, from destroying Lodoss.
The episode titles are:
Episode l: The Free Knight…A New Legend Begins
Episode 2: Dragon…The Guardian Of The Lost History
Episode 3: King…The Long Sought Hero
Episode 4: Pirates…The Ship Of Dark Ambitions
Episode 5: Demon Sword…The Power To Crush Sols
Episode 6: Heart…Tears Reborn
Episode 7: Death…A Gentle Heart Bequeathed
Episode 8: The Scepter Of Domination…The Dream Of A United Lodoss
Episode 9: The Young Knight…Tested Strength
Episode 10: recovery…A Mission Assigned
Episode 11: Light…A Girl Guided By The Gods
Episode 12: Sallying Forth…Pursuing A Dark Shadow
Episode 13: Nightmare…The Creeping Dark Power
Episode 14: Doorway…The Truth Proclaimed
Episode 15: An Old Enemy…Reunion With The Black Knight
Episode 16: The Holy City…Pursuing A Clue
Episode 17: Decision…An Option Compelled
Episode 18: Mission…The Path One Follows
Episode 19: Reunion…In A Distant War-Torn Land
Episode 20: Cunterattack…The Stolen Last Hope
Episode 21: A Vow…A Step Towards The Future
Episode 22: Liberation…A Path Opened
Episode 23 Landing…The Terrifying Dark Island
Episode 24: The Witch…The One Who Maintains The Balance Of power
Episode 25: Decision… The Black Knight's Option
Episode 26: Destruction…The Evil God Released
Episode 27: Hero… The Birth of a New Knight
I'm a relative newcomer to the world of Lodoss; I had seen some of the original OVAs, but I never finished the series. However, I thought that Chronicles of the Heroic Knight was fantastic. Having all 27 episodes collected into one relatively inexpensive (compared to other anime series) box set was a great move on the part of Central Park Media. Each episode builds on the previous one, and the show stays interesting throughout the run. If I had one complaint, it would be with the "Welcome to Lodoss Island" shorts at the end of each episode, which feature deformed versions of the main characters. While I'm sure some found these funny, I just thought they were annoying. Still, that's a relatively minor complaint for a terrific series.
Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight is presented in 1.33:1 full frame, as it was originally presented on TV. There's some grain throughout the series and some artifacting problems, but neither is that distracting. Colors are vibrant and look terrific; blacks are also decent. There are a few instances of color bleeding, but these are relatively minor.
Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight is presented in both Dolby Stereo 2.0 in English and Japanese. Both tracks feature crisp and clean dialogue with no distortion that I detected. While neither track will blow anyone away, they do feature some directionality for the ambient effects. The music was quite good too. English subtitles are also available, and for those who shy away from Japanese language tracks, I thought the English dub was pretty decent, at least compared to other series.
Extras, which are all found on the first disc, include: five trailers for other films, including Slayers Next and Photon; a two page glimpse of the comic; ten character sketches; and cast information. DVD-Rom features, again on the first disc, include: more character sketches and profiles; reviews; the Japanese packaging; a complete guide to Lodoss; the script; artwork for the series; and more comics. Each DVD's insert is also reversible and contains a scene index and a cast list.
However, the best extra included in this deluxe box set is the relatively short booklet that contains numerous facts about Lodoss, and was designed to bring the newcomer up to speed. Included is: a blurb about continuity and how the two series fit together, a timeline, a breakdown of the various elf races, a list of the various magics in Lodoss, a list of the dragons, and more. There are a few spoilers contained therein, so read at your own risk.
I really enjoyed Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight; adventure/fantasy anime fans should definitely give it a look, as should fans of the Lodoss universe. Hats off to Central Park for releasing the series all at one time, especially in this terrific box set! Highly Recommended!