Friday, May 24, 2024

Fantasy Anime You Should Watch

I've been watching some fantasy anime of late, revisiting the classic Record of Lodoss War I hadn't seen since the 00s, but also checking out some new stuff. Here are some recommendations:

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End (Crunchyroll)
Frieren starts with a basically D&Dish world, but tells the sort of story most epic fantasy media doesn't really deal with: what happens after? The title character is a nigh immortal elven mage who realizes that she didn't know as much about her party members (the leader, Himmel the Hero, in particular) as she would like only after one of them passes on. She agrees to take on a child adopted by another one of her aging comrades as an apprentice and together they set out on a journey to retrace the steps of her original party's journey into the demon-haunted North to find the place where the dead can speak to the living. Along the way she picks up a warrior who is the protege of her old dwarf comrade and they meet other allies and get in adventures big and small on their journey. 

It's a nice combination of slice of life travelogue, magical duels, and character drama, with both humor and poignancy.

Delicious in Dungeon (Netflix)
Everybody knows about this one, I think, but it deserves the hype. A group of adventurers has a deadly encounter with a red dragon, and a few of the survivors plan to go back and save their cleric before she is digested to have her raised. They have no time to buy supplies, so they resort to eating monsters in the dungeon with the help of dungeon-dwelling dwarven chef. 

It's pretty funny, but despite the setup, it has surprisingly deep setting "lore" that is slowly revealed and helps it from being a single joke show.

Ranking of Kings (Crunchyroll)
This is the least D&Dish of the three. I've seen it described as "fairy tale Game of Thrones" which is probably a pretty reasonable descriptor, so far as it goes. In a world where the gods were defeated, a committee of some sort ranks the power of the mortal world's monarchs. The king that is awarded the number one ranking is entitled to a boon from the Divine Treasure Vault, a fabled trove brimming with riches and magical artifacts. Bojji, the main character, is the first born of one of these kings, the giant, Bosse. But Bojji is diminutive, deaf, mute, and weak. When the throne is given to his younger brother due to duplicity and a lack of faith in Bojji, the boy sets out to find a way to become stronger.

The fairy-tale type beginning and the cartoon art style which recalls Shotaro Ishinomori and Osamu Tezuka belie the hidden agendas and moral shades of gray of the story, as well as the level of world-building. The 1st season doesn't end as well as it begins (with some dragging out of the final fight to multiple episodes as you sometimes see in anime, and some abrupt story developments) but I'm still interested in the world and characters and want to see more.

1 comment:

Jack Tremain said...

Thanks for the recomendations. Dungeon Meshi has very good aesthetics and it intrigues me but the Frieren one gives me good vibes.