If you're looking for an anime that is slightly complex, but also has a rich story, then Legend of the Legendary Heroes might be for you! The show features strong characters that are able to pull you in, kingdoms at war with one another, a dose of corrupt politics, brutal murder and fantasy/magic, so it honestly has a bit of everything for everyone.
The Legend of the Legendary Heroes story takes place inside the Roland Empire. We follow the journey of two "heroes" who are out to save their nation on somewhat separate paths. Ryner Lute (voice of Ian Sinclair), a lazy guy who is keen on taking naps, possesses what is known as the Alpha Stigma, a powerful demon magic that causes nothing but destruction. Ryner's best friend, Sion Astal (voice of Eric Vale), is a lowly commoner who is the son of a previous King. He wishes to be King so he can finally bring peace to the people of Roland.
It's not much of a spoiler to say Sion does become King fairly early on in the series... once he does he sends out Ryner and Ferris (voice of Luci Christian), a member of the swords clan (guards to the king) on a quest to find Hero relics, powerful magic relics that may help Sion attain peace. On Ryner and Ferris' travel, they come across numerous threats, including a fellow Alpha Stigma bearer who consumes flesh, and a brother and sister pair who track down and kill Alpha Stigma bearers.
While Ryner's storyline contains the majority of the action, Sion's I found to be the most interesting. The conflicted King is constantly battling an internal struggle. Sion, a noble man who fights for peace, knows in order to achieve it, he will have to kill his best friend for the greater good. While battling with his own demons, he also has to worry about a budding war with a rival empire, and on top of that the corruptness that fills his own kingdom, mainly coming in the form of his right hand man Miran (voice of J. Michael Tatum.) Miran seems to have his own agenda pertaining to both the Roland Empire and Ryner.
Legendary Heroes seems to balance on one thing, the relationship between Ryner and Sion, which is clearly the back bone of the show. With Ryner and his Alpha Stigma being a constant ticking time bomb that can level anything in his path, Sion has to eventually decide if Ryner is too much of a threat to keep alive. The entire series builds up to it and the eventual culmination to this storyline has a great payoff.
- Dub: Honestly one of the best I've heard, Ian Sinclair gives one of the best performances in any dub I've watched to date, which is much more impressive when you find out this is his first major role. Eric Vale plays the always troubled Sion, and he's able to nail both sides of his emotions perfectly. Lastly, J. Michael Tatum whom plays Miran, Sion's venomous right hand man. Tatum does his usual fantastic job, When you're looking for a suave, sophisticated villain, he will never let you down when delivering a performance.
- Animation: Absolutely stunning.
- Character development: One thing I appreciated about this series was that it really took the time to focus on just about all of the major/supporting characters and flesh them out. With about a dozen lead characters, that's definitely no easy task.
- Some might be put off by the show's pacing and the constant shift in tone. Both are a bit all over and erratic. At times LotLH seems like a slapstick adventure comedy and then the very next episode people will be having their heads literally caved in. The series is at times light hearted, and then at the opposite end, very brutal.
- Some unresolved storylines, the big one for me was finding out more about Ferris' overly protective older brother and Sion's primary bodyguard, Lucille (voice of Jerry Jewell.) Sadly, we are left with only a glimpse into his character.
Video and Audio:
The visuals of Legend of the Legendary Heroes are simply stunning, everything about the animation shines in this series. When they're at the best usually comes when Ryner activates his Alpha Stigma, it kicks it up a notch and really pops on screen. Honestly this series looks absolutely beautiful. beautiful. At some points the faraway shots aren't as detailed as others, but overall it doesn't change the rating.
For Audio we have 2 options, the 1st is a True HD 5.1 English track, and the 2nd is Japanese 2.0 Stereo track. I watched the series in English, as well as sampling the Japanese Track, both are well done but I recommend English for this title. The voice work is absolutely stellar.
The extras here are the exact same as the other release, minus the "collectible" character cards.
- Episode 3 commentary with Brina Palencia (Kiefer) and J. Michael Tatum (Miran/Adaptive writer.)
- Episode 9 commentary with Monica Rial (Iris) and Colleen Clinkenbeard (Noa/Director for episodes 1-12.)
- Episode 21 commentary with Eric Vale (Sion) and Joel McDonald (Director for episodes 13-24.) Eric is always awesome to listen to, he's got a natural charisma, he tells a recent convention story of an confrontation with an unruly businessman. They touch on Sion and his dilemma's a little bit, but they mainly just banter back and forth with one another about random things.
- Episode 24 commentary with the 2 leads, Ian Sinclair (Ryner Lute), and Luci Christian (Ferris.) They don't talk much about the episode itself, but I didn't really expect them too since it was the last episode. They mainly just stick to gushing over how much fun the experience was, you can tell they both loved working on it (Ian especially, he definitely fanboys over it!)
With such an array of characters, I think it would of been nice to get a couple more commentaries, I personally would have loved to hear from actors like Mike McFarland (Claugh), Jerry Jewell (Lucille) or John Burgmeier (Sui.)
Besides the commentaries, we just get our standard FUNimation trailers and textless opening/closing themes.
Legend of the Legendary Heroes has something for everyone, a fantastic storyline, well developed characters and some of the best animation I've personally seen, all of that makes this one of the better series I've watched recently.Highly Recommended.