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Deltora Quest: The Complete Series
Deltora Quest is an anime series created in 2007 by studio OLM, Inc. Based upon the popular children's book series written by British author Emily Rodda, this anime adaptation had one season which comprised the entirety of the author's storyline across 52 episodes. The series became a success in Japan and an additional batch of episodes was produced that was not directly related to the original author's work and which brought the series to 65 episodes.
When it came time to adapt the series into an English language version, the dub created for Deltora Quest removed the additional episodes produced and returned the series to concluding where the original material indicated. The dubbed version runs through to what constitutes the source material's proper ending at episode 52.
The basic story follows the lead character Lief as he journeys out into the unknown world that surrounds him to fight for his people and kingdom. He wishes to somehow find a way to stop evil lord Shadow and bring peace back to his land. In doing so, help arrives with the aid of a family friend named Bard (who at first appears as an elder who is unable to help with much before a reveal suggests he was a guard enlisted to protect Lief on his future journeys). The series also introduces Jasmine, a mysterious girl who they meet on their quest. An orphan, Jasmine quickly befriends them and helps with the mission at hand and grows much closer during the course of their adventures.
The essential element to the plot is that Lief discovers that his family has a special connection (which acts as a prophecy of sorts) to a magical belt which is supposed to help them save the kingdom. The belt has seven empty spots on it where magical gems used to be and which are strewn across the land. If Lief can find and bring together these enchanted gems, then things could be resolved for everyone as the completed belt holds the power to defeat the wicked Shadow. The series revolves with an episodic approach of Lief and the others facing off a multitude of foes as they look for and retrieve the missing gems.
The animation style employed is somewhat simplistic but it's a generally nicely done style. The character design are well done and seem to fit the types of characters the writing suggests. The series has a art appearance that suggests an entirely digital production of the show. While this series doesn't seem to advanced in this regard, it's a pleasing artistic approach for a children's series. Background art is sometimes interesting in detail if never as complex as better series typically provide.
The writing and directing of the show is fairly average. Nothing seems to stand out too much. The workmanlike approach to the filmmaking is a touch above average and shouldn't be too underwhelming to most viewers. However, Deltora Quest is only a few notches above total mediocrity. The series is worth a watch for fans of fantasy series but it's not the eloquently produced series that one might be hoping for and it could be a difficult show for any older audiences to become invested in.
Young children are probably going to enjoy Deltora Quest more than anyone else considering the series works as a successful genre production. The storytelling pacing is somewhat slow at times but with enough action moments to keep fans of the adventure tuned in. While the series isn't groundbreaking or one of the better fantasy series around in the last several years, there are enough elements to keep some anime fans entertained given acceptable quality action-adventure can be found within this series (along with decent animation).
New Video Group has released Deltora Quest: The Complete Series across 8 DVDs. The English dub rendition is included. The original Japanese language version is not included on this release (and ran for a different episode count). Colors are often dark and a bit muted but it's part of the intended aesthetic. The encoding is pretty well done and there were few issues. I thought the transfers were pleasant and acceptable for this release. The series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full-frame.
The English 2.0 stereo track doesn't have stellar dynamics but the sound quality is still relatively crisp and clean. The dialogue was easy to understand and follow and the music blended well. The presentation is generally standard for your typical English dub of the time period, so its pleasantly clean throughout but without sounding too robust. Ultimately, series fans will not encounter disappointment as long as expectations are tempered.
A photo gallery of character sketches is included.
Deltora Quest is an average series but it is one that has its established fans. New Video Group has done a commendable job with this 8 DVD box-set release with the entire English dub run presented with good video and audio quality. For series fans, this should be an easy purchase. For those familiar with the books, Deltora Quest might be worth checking out still. Everyone else? The unfamiliar would be better off renting it first.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.