Anime News Network: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=394
If you’re at all into anime, you’ve probably heard of Record of Lodoss War. Even if you’re not, you may still have heard of Record of Lodoss War. It’s one of the most recognisable animes of the 90s, to the point where it really needs no introduction.
But if you do happen to need an introduction, here it is briefly: Lodoss War is basically the most Fantasy-y Fantasy anime ever produced. There’s everything you’d expect from a sprawling, High Fantasy adventure: a party of heroic adventurers, a good king, an evil king, his less-evil but significantly more effective and impressive second-in-command, Dragons, Elves, Dark Elves, Dwarves, Goblins, magic swords, evil gods, epic battle scenes, all the good stuff that makes the Fantasy genre the only genre worth caring about.
Now, if that sounds generic and familiar, that’s largely because it is.
Lodoss War doesn’t really do anything you haven’t seen before or anything you haven’t seen many times since. Though it is worth noting that the whole was a lot more novel and impressive when Lodoss War was originally airing 30 years ago. Fantasy, and all its inevitable tropes and cliches, has really exploded in popularity and exposure in the intervening 30 years. Thank – or blame, as the mood suits you – Peter Jackson and HBO in particular.
Now, even though it’s 2020 and Lodoss War doesn’t tread much unfamiliar ground and tells a very familiar story, it at least manages to tell that story well. And that’s a lot more than a lot of generic Fantasy is able to boast of. If nothing else, that‘s what sets Record of Lodoss War apart from most of the genre — it’s not new, but it’s good. Great, even.
As a final note: I was initially actually a little hesitant to recommend Lodoss War, though it has nothing to do with quality. I try to keep Realmgard, and subsequently everything I’m recommending to my audience, family-friendly and no worse than PG-level. Lodoss War surpasses that pretty easily. There’s a lot of fairly graphic violence (nothing ludicrous and probably on the same level as the Lord of the Rings movies) and dark, potentially upsetting, subject matter. Unless you’re particularly sensitive to that sort of thing, you’re probably not going to be terribly scandalised, but it’s enough of a concern for me that I feel it’s only right I give fair warning.