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The Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Part 1 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 5, 2012 by  



One of the more complex fantasy and action anime series to come out on Blu-ray in the U.S., “The Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Part 1” is definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Part 1

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2010

DURATION: 13 episodes (325 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: April 17, 2012

Originally created by Takaya Kagami

Original Character Designs by Saori Toyota

Directed by Itsuro Kawasaki

Series Composition by Kiyoko Yoshimura

Music by Miyu Nakamura

Character Design by Noriko Shimazawa

Produced by Hyun Ah Jeong, Tomoko Iwasaki, Yoshiyuki Ito

Anime Production: ZEXCS

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayahi Takagaki/Luci Christian as Feris Eris

Daisuke Ono/Eric Vale as Shion Astarl

Jun Fukuyama/Ian Synclair as Lyner (Ryner)Lute

Akiko Yajima/Leah Clark as Arua

Atsushi Imaruoka/Mike McFarland as Kurau (Claugh) Chrome

Ayana Taketatsu/Alexis Tipton as Ethrina (Eslina Folkel) Forkle

Fuyuka Oura/Brina Palencia as Kifa (Kiefer) Knowles

Junichi Suwabe/J. Michael Tatum as Milan (Miran) Froward

Mariya Ise/Cherami Leigh as Kuu Orla

Mikako Takahashi/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Noah En

Miyuki Sawashiro as Carne Kywell

Nobuhiko Okamoto as Lilay Wrinkle

Saki Fujita/Jami Marchi as Milk Colored

Satoshi Hino/Michael Turner II as Luke Stockart

Takuma Terashima/John Burgmeier as Sui Orla

Tomokazu Sugita as Lucille Eris

Tomosa Murata as Iris Eris

Yasunori Masutani/Christopher R. Sabat as Rahel Miller

A war between bordering lands Roland and Estabul has begun. At the King of Roland’s command, Ryner Lute, a bearer of a cursed, extremely lethal power called the Alpha Stigma, and his beautiful comrade Ferris set out on a search for the Heroic Relics – artifacts that contain enormous supernatural powers and can be devastating if placed in the wrong hands. War tactics, bloody magical battles, and political intrigue ensue!

Adventure, political intrigue, action…all this and more can be found in FUNimation’s Blu-ray release of “The Legend of the Legendary Heroes” (Densetsu no Yusha no Densetsu), an anime adaptation of Takaya Kagami’s popular Japanese light novel series.

Originally featured in Dragon Magazine and presented with illustrations by Saori Toyota from 2002-2005, “The Legend of the Legendary Heroes” has received a light novel sequel, plus two spin-off series (a collection of short stories) plus drama CD’s and a Sony PSP video game.

A 24-episode anime TV series was produced by ZEXCS and both parts will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment in April 2012.

The anime series was directed by Itsuro Kawasaki (“arc the Lad”, “Noir”, “Venus to Mamoru”), screenplay by Kiyoko Yoshimura (“Chocolate Underground”, “Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing”, “Gravion”), character designs by Noriko Shimazawa (“Final Approach”, “Otoboku”, “Bleach”) and music by Miyu Nakamura (“Utawarerumono”, “Manyu Hiken-cho”).

“The Legend of the Legendary Heroes” is a complex anime series as it is set during a time when countries are fearing of war, magical knights are killing anyone who possesses magical talents and political corruption broods within each country.

The series focuses on plots of several key individuals:

The Roland Empire Storyline

Sion Astal – The son of a previous king and a lowly commoner.  Hated by Nobles and bullied at a young age (by his noble relatives and half brothers), Sion desires for peace into the land and that the land is not all about the nobles but there is support for the commoners as well.  If anything, to stop the corruption in the Roland Empire.

As a member of the Roland Royal Special Military Academy, the intelligent Sion Astal met Ryner and Kiefer, two people who became part of his team.   One day, his team was massacred by Magical Knights and only he, Ryner and Kiefer survived.  While Ryner was responsible for defeating all the Magical Knights through his Alpha Stigma powers, as leader of the team, he was given credit as the Hero of Roland and through political ties, he would become the king of the Roland Empire.

Miran Froaude – The Lgt. General of the Roland Imperial Army and the adopted son of the Marquis Karlal Froaude.  He is dressed in all black, emotionless and will often carry out missions (which include many people getting murdered) without permission from Sion.  He has his own agenda and it is not known what he is up to.

Lucile Eris – The head son of the Eris Swords-Clan and he mysteriously hides behind the shadows after getting Sion to become the king of the Roland Empire.  What is his true motivation?

Claugh Klom – Sion’s right hand man.  He does not trust Miran Froaude who appears to be doing his own work without permission of the King.

The Ryner/Ferris Storyline

Ryner Lute – Lazy and always wanting to take a nap, Ryner is also talented in magic, combat and more.  He is also the bearer of the Alpha Stigma, an ability that grants him powerful demon magic that wants to cause only destruction and misery.   But Ryner’s Alpha Stigma is different from others and he is sent by Sion along with Ferris Eris to find magic relics.

Ferris Eris – A member of the famous Swords clan, she is given the mission to accompany Ryner Lute in finding magic relics.  She is a no-nonsense woman who is passionate about dango. Most of the time she is inflicting pain on Ryner.

Milk Callaud – Captain of the Roland taboo hunter team.  When she was younger and in an orphanage with Ryner, he promised he would marry her.  Ryner has no recollection of this.  She has been hired to lead a team in tracking down Ryner and Ferris, thinking that Ferris is forcing Ryner to break rules.

Branching  Storyline:

Kiefer Knolles – A good friend of Ryner and a woman who has always loved him despite how he may behave.  She is from Estabul and she witnessed the death of her elder sister and kidnapping of her younger sister by the Roland mage knights.  Using her young sister as a hostage, the Roland Empire has used Kiefer as a spy for Estabul and made her a double agent for her younger sister’s safety.

VIDEO

“The Legend of Legendary Heroes” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1).  The anime series does feature beautifully painted backgrounds (as one would expect from an adventure-based series) primarily trees, clouds, surroundings areas, while the series does focus a lot on closeups of the characters.  There is CG use when the characters display their magical powers but for the most part, the series looks good on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the lossless audio, you get a English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix. The English dub has a better dynamic range (considering it’s a 5.1 lossless track, while the Japanese version is a 2.0 lossless track) and due to the complexity and many characters featured in this anime series alone, FUNimation Entertainment brought out their top guns to provide the voices of the characters.

The Japanese soundtrack is also very well done especially when it comes to the more emotional moments, the voice acting is stellar. But the English dub has the advantage because of it’s 5.1 mix but if you prefer to watch it in Japanese or English, both soundtracks are excellent and should appeal to Sub/Dub anime fans.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Part 1” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 3 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Brina Palencia (voice of Kiefer) and J. Michael Tatum (voice of Miran).
  • Episode 9 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director/line producer Colleen Clinkenbeard (voice of Noa) and Monica Rial (voice of Iris).
  • Textless Opening Song – Featuring the opening theme “Lament (Yagate Yorokobi Wo)” by Aira Yuuki.
  • Textless Ending Theme Song – Featuring the ending theme “Truth of My Destiny” by Ceui.
  • FUNimation Entertainment trailers

Back in the ’80s and ’90s, adventure-based anime series that typically captures kingdoms and political corruptness were storyline banalities.  But from 2000 and on, once in awhile you come across these complex anime series and can only hope that more of these will be made.

So, for fans wanting something deeper and a bit more complexity with their anime series may enjoy “Legend of the Legendary Heroes”, a storyline about warring kingdoms, political corruptness, action/fantasy/adventure, etc.

“Legend of the Legendary Heroes” incorporates lot of fantasy elements that people are used to seeing in an anime series, sword fighting, magic-use and in the case of this series, plenty of violence. While watching the series, while there are protagonists and people who seem they are evil, every characters has their flaws.   For example, Sion wants to fight for peace, but in order to achieve peace, one must do the unthinkable in showing people that you have great power.  Ryner is a person who hates war but when his Alpha Stigma is used, he becomes a killing machine.  Kiefer is a person similar to Sion who wants peace but because the Roland Empire was using her as a double spy, she was involved with the massacre of her teammates.

“The Legend of the Legendary Heroes” is a series that viewers will want to watch without any distractions because of the amount of characters featured in the series.  Granted, with each branching storyline, there is a good amount of character development that allows the viewers to understand motivations and why things are happening like they are.

Despite the complexities of this anime series, you get a bit of seriousness and humor.  For example, storylines that related to Sion are often serious and emotional, while storylines revolved around Ryner and Ferris  (non-battle sequences) are often comedic as the two are like a ranting couple and despite the pain that Ferris puts Ryner through, the relationship between these two characters are hilarious, until you get to the battles and things can get very serious.

So far, the first half of the series has been entertaining but it will be interesting to see how this series resolves itself by the second half.  It seems that the more Sion wants to attain peace, Miran does something unthinkable and Sion is powerless to do anything about it.  If anything, despite being a king, he is a puppet.  Also, things are heating up in the Ryner/Merris storyline as they are constantly being hunted by Gastark Empire’s Sui Oria and Kuu Oria.  So, this series is definitely has a lot of potential going into the second half.

While the series was given 24-episodes, having not read the light novels, I don’t know if everything made it into the series but I do know that the series was quite favorable by viewers in Japan.

As for the Blu-ray release, the series looks absolutely wonderful in HD but I wish the series was self contained as a complete collection instead of two separate parts.  As for special features, you do get a few audio commentary from the English dub voice actors.

Overall, “The Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Part 1” is a deep, complex anime series that will appeal to fans of the fantasy anime genre.   There is a lot of action but there are also branching storylines that deal with drama, action and political strategy, and because of that, I found the series to be entertaining and enjoyable.

If you are looking for a fantasy anime series on Blu-ray, definitely give “The Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Part 1” a try!

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