Recommendation: Rune Soldier

Rune Soldier is probably the closest thing we’re ever going to get to somebody else doing Realmgard.

Image via J.C. Staff and ADV Films.

Translation being what it is, the series is variably called Rune Soldier, Rune Soldier Louie, or Louie the Rune Soldier. The most direct translation of the original Japanese is “Magic Soldier Louie”.

Rune Soldier: J.C. Staff and ADV Films.

My last recommendation was one of the icons of Fantasy anime. My current recommendation could probably be described as one of the icons of Fantasy anime’s immature younger cousin.

The short version is that Rune Soldier is Lodoss War, but funny — and that’s no accident. Rune Soldier technically takes place in the same world as Lodoss War (not that it really affects the story in any meaningful way). Or, or relevantly to me: Lodoss War, but it’s Realmgard.

Seriously, Rune Soldier is probably the closest thing we’re ever going to get to somebody else doing Realmgard.

You can tell what you’re getting into just from the theme song, which features several background characters singing along in an inexplicably modern recording studio.

Yeah. Rune Soldier is that kind of a show.

Rune Soldier:J.C. Staff and ADV Films.

Where Lodoss War was the completely, stone-cold serious story of an epic adventure to save the world, Rune Soldier is the heartwarming story of a constantly-broke all-female group of adventurers attempting to recruit a competent spellcaster into their group.

Unfortunately, the best they can get is the title character, a hero chosen by the gods who literally comes crashing down upon them from the sky. Well, technically, he falls through a roof. Six of one, really.

What ensues is an hilarious sequence of misadventures — given that the characters primarily skew female, perhaps we could say “Ms. adventures”?

No? Well, I think it’s funny…

Jeanie (red hair), Melissa (blonde hair), and Merill (brown hair): our three dauntless heroines. Also, Louie.

Rune Soldier: J.C. Staff and ADV Films.

While Louie is technically a spellcaster, he’s also 1) approximately the size of a fridge and 2) kind of an idiot. This means that he prefers to solve his problems by punching them rather than with his magic. Basically, the plot and the humour, of Rune Soldier is driven by Louie gravitating towards the dumbest possible solution to whatever problem the group happens to be facing, whether this be ineptly magicing it, punching it out, or beating it up with the carcass of a giant wild boar (no, seriously).

Unlike Lodoss War, Rune Soldier doesn’t have a very high level of violence. On the other hand, there is a certain level of vulgarity and, shall we say, naughtiness, that certain viewers may find objectionable. It shouldn’t be a deal-breaker from most people, but if you’re particularly sensitive to that kind of thing, consider yourself warned.

As a final note: as far as I can tell the DVD release of Rune Soldier is out of print, and the company responsible for the release in North America no longer exists. The good news is that is seems pretty easily available on sites like Amazon and eBay.

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