Home > Episode Reviews, First Impressions > Legend of the Legendary Heroes Episode 1 – Slayers Reborn?

Legend of the Legendary Heroes Episode 1 – Slayers Reborn?

Legend of the Legendary Heroes is not the best named show for this season—and it sounds even more repetitive in the original Japanese (Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu, or “Legend of the Heroes of Legend”).  It’s billed as an “anti-heroic fantasy” by its own commercials, by which is meant not a fantasy with dark and brooding protagonists who tiptoe on the edge of morality, but a fantasy with protagonists who don’t have a heroic urge in their bodies.

Repetitive Title of Repetition (and yes, I am going to mock the title throughout this review) starts in media res, with the rather improbably named Ryner Lute and Ferris Eris, dealing with an irate border patrol from Nelpha, accusing them of being spies from the neighboring kingdom of Roland. After failing to convince the soldiers of their good intentions, the two mop up the patrol in short order—for while the two seem like they can’t stand each other, they are, respectively, a top-level mage and an extraordinarily skilled swordswoman.

Ferris has just said something unpleasant about Ryner. This accounts for half their dialogue

It is quickly revealed that the two are on a somewhat secret mission (“somewhat” because Ryner keeps telling people about it anyway) to search for the relics of the “legendary heroes” that defeated equally legendary monsters that once threatened the world with destruction. Whether any of the legends are true, the remaining items from those times are extraordinarily powerful, and the king of Roland, Sion Astal, wants to get his hands on as many of them as possible.

It’s a fairly straightforward premise for Legend of the Legends of Legend, with plenty of possibilities for questing ahead. It’s aided by the fact that Ryner and Ferris play off each other very well. Ryner is lethargic in the extreme and only wants to exert exactly as much effort as is necessary to accomplish the wild goose chase he’s been sent on. Ferris is more energetic, but is vain, moderately gluttonous, and inclined both toward making up stories of Ryner’s sexual predation and inflicting grievous bodily violence on him. Their banter is surprisingly effective.

I wanted a screen shot that illustrated both Ferris's food obsession and her inclination to abuse Ryner. It wasn't hard to find

The only thing they can seem to agree on is that King Sion is a jerk for making them undertake this mission. Whether it’s true or not, it seems the King took the secret part seriously, for no one told the Taboo-Breaker Pursuit Squadron, who has sent a small team under the command of Milk Calluad (I’m too busy insulting the show’s title to complain about every single botched English name, but trust me that there’s a lot of them). Apparently each country works very hard at protecting their magical secrets, and since Ryner left Roland without public authorization, he’s considered a rogue to be captured and forcibly returned.

Milk seems to have the hots for Ryner for some reason, but still goes about her job with a degree of earnestness that Ryner and Ferris completely lack. As earnestness and competence seem to be inversely related in this world, she horribly fails in her attempts to apprehend them, but by throwing a bunch of spells around she manages to wake up one of the relics within the temple. Specifically, a castle-sized battle automaton that starts blasting at everything in sight. Faced with an unstoppable war machine, our protagonists take a page from Monty Python: They run away, explicitly unconcerned about what havoc the freed monster could unleash.

Heroes laugh in the face of ancient arcane monstrosities. Sensible people do this instead

The amusing escapades of our legendarily unheroic heroes are somewhat reminiscent of the original anime fantasy farce, Slayers, which also had a group of powerful if atypical adventurers traveling about a fantasy world causing mayhem. Slayers featured mercenaries rather than crown agents, however, which meant they had a bit more freedom to be carefree. Here, however much Ryner and Ferris claim to be disinterested in things, they do have some care for their country and their king, whom Ryner calls, even in the midst of griping about him, his best friend.

The king himself, in what scenes we have of him, seems perfectly honorable, pleasant, and devoted to making his kingdom a better place. Since his ascension two years ago, he’s expended considerable effort to improve his country, in opposition to the noble families who have, we are told, exploited the people and driven Roland into the ground through a series of unnecessary wars. There’s a minor and easily resolved kidnapping plot, just to reveal that the aristocrats that Sion has to play nice with are cruel and selfish people.

Ah, politics. Also known as "the art of talking nice to people you'd rather see defenestrated"

There’s also some flashbacks to a devastated battlefield, where it is implied that Ryner unleashed no small amount of destruction; Ryner is in possession of an ability which allows him to understand any magic he comes across, making him perfect for both deflecting hostile spells and cooking up massive levels of carnage should he need to. Is his current laziness just an excuse to avoid wielding such power again?

The real question is, if this is meant to be a silly romp through a fantasy world, why are these issues even coming up? Crazy adventures by crazy adventurers are their own justification, I say. Providing dark secrets for a brooding hero is in line with the other meaning of “anti-hero,” not the one employed as this show’s tag line. But—and this is also in line with some other things I’ve seen from the promo material—it looks like the silly will turn deadly serious before all this is over.

This is not the sort of scene one expects from a comedy show

I can easily see Legendary Legend pulling off a fantasy farce that mocks standards of chivalric  heroism through and through. I might even be able to see it pull off a dark, dramatic fantasy, with a cabal of nobles working against the just and beloved king. I’m not quite certain that the show will be able to pull off both at once. Certainly, I’ve seen shows balance quirky characters and witty comedic dialogue with serious themes and conflicts; Durarara!! (which shares several voice actors with this series) is only the most recent example. But, as much as I enjoyed this episode, this show is no Durarara!!

You can watch the episode here. I am sorry to say that Funimation has still not put any of the most recent crop of licensed shows on Hulu.

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  1. January 23, 2011 at 10:52 pm
  2. January 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm

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