Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu

Alt titles: The Legend of the Legendary Heroes, Legend of the Legendary Heroes

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Archaeon's avatar By Archaeon on Jan 19, 2011

These days we often misuse words in ways that sometimes don't make sense. Take "epic" for example, and think about all of the occasions where the term has been applied as a colloquialism that simply means "I enjoyed it" , "it was very good", or some other sentiment along those lines. It's actually surprising how many people don't know the meaning or usage of the word, but rather than comment on the failure of education systems, let's have a look at how "epic" applies to an anime like Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu (or The Legend of the Legendary Heroes, whatever floats your boat).

The original eleven volume light novel series by Kagami Takaya was published in Dragon Magazine from February 2002 until October 2006 and has spawned a sequel (The Legend of the Great Heroes of Legend), and two spin offs (The Legend of the Legendary Heroes Anyway, and The Legend of the Black Fallen Hero), as well as being adapted as a drama CD, a PSP game, a manga, and the recent anime rendition.

Now aside from mild curiosity at the obvious addiction to using the words "legend" and "hero" in some manner, one has to wonder if the anime adaptation can really live up to the popularity of the franchise.

The story begins with an attack by the Nelphan army on the person of Ryner Lute, a layabout who is on a mission for his trusted friend, boss, and cause of all of his problems, King Sion Astal of Roland. Accompanying him on his journey is the warrior and perpetual dango addict Ferris Eris, a woman who may be a genius with a sword, but is pretty clueless with almost everything else (except dango). The pair have been tasked with finding and acquiring the legendary artifacts known as the Relics of Heroes, which lie hidden in various places across the continent of Menoris.

As with any fantasy tale there's an element of derivation inherent in the plot which results in several very familiar scenarios being played out over the course of the series. This in itself isn't a bad thing though, as these staples are often used to drive home a particular point, or as support for the main storyline.

And this anime really does need the support.

The main issues with Denstsu no Yuusha no Densetsu (DenYuuDen), are the lack of coherency with the story and the constantly changing pace of the plot. Viewers may often find themselves wondering how a particular situation came about, and while there are efforts to tie up certain loose ends, these are nothing more than papering over the cracks. The narrative suffers from a distinct lack of timely explanations, and events can lead the audience on a merry dance as they struggle to keep up with the storyline. This is exacerbated by the constant mood swings that occur from one episode to the next, and the addition of seemingly random comedy scenes give the viewer the sense that even the show itself has no idea what's going to happen next.

The heart of the problem is simply that ZEXCS, like many other studios, have made a screenplay that is nothing more than a "cut and paste" rendition of the original source material. While there are some anime that get away with summarily stringing together disparate events, it would have been better for everyone if they at least made the effort to stick to the story. Better yet, ZEXCS could have followed the example set by Satelight when they made Guin Saga, and only adapted a portion of the story to ensure there would be a continuous flow to the plot.

One has to wonder what moment of "genius" would persuade director Kawasaki Itsuro and series composer Yoshimura Kiyoko to make such a disjointed narrative.

On the plus side the lack of care with the storyline isn't really reflected in the look of the show, and DenYuuDen has some nice, imaginative scenes that really show what ZEXCS are capable of if they put their backs into it. The series features some decent animation, but the design principle impinges on this to a degree, partly because of the bishounen aspect of the show, but mainly because of the costumes. While the various outfits and garments are creative in their own way, there are several scenes where things like cloaks would clearly be a hindrance to any actual combat. In addition to this the characters tend to be on the impassive side when it comes to facial expressions, although this becomes less of an issue as the series progresses.

DenYuuDen also features some very nice lighting and visual effects that add an extra layer of atmosphere to particular events, giving them an elegant, decadent, or dramatic feel that requires little in the way of added audio. Unfortunately this is offset by a lack of attention with small, specific details which seem like they were pencilled in as afterthoughts (Ryner's two year old beard is one example of this). While it's sometimes easy to overlook these relatively minor flaws, every now and then they become impossible to ignore, and viewers may be left wondering why the studio didn't notice these discrepancies before releasing certain episodes.

The series features two opening themes, LAMENT Yagate Yorokobi Wo by Yuuki Aira (episodes 1 to 12), and Last Inferno by Ceui (episodes 13 to 24). The first OP is a rather bland affair that is generally well timed and edited, but ultimately fails to inspire. The second track is an altogether different beast that has far better choreography, and possesses a more serious and dramatic air than before. As for the ending themes, Truth Of My Destiny by Ceui and Hikari no Filament by Takagaki Ayahi, neither is anything other than a reasonable pop ballad coupled with pointless visuals that have no bearing on the story proper.

What is interesting is the manner in which the background music is utilised. The tracks are often subtle additions that never really come to the fore unless the situation warrants more drama or tension, and because of this there are very few clashes with the dialogue. In addition to this the effects are given precedence over the music during a number of action sequences, and given that this series is a relatively disjointed affair, the quality of the audio choreography is more than a little surprising.

One of the problem areas for DenYuuDen is the dialogue, in particular the tendency towards oratory and the sudden changes between banter and seriousness that are extensions of the inherent issues with the storyline, so it's to the credit of the actors and actresses that they deliver some decent performances. Fukuyama Jun (Ryner Lute), Ono Daisuke (Sion Astal), Takagaki Ayahi (Ferris Eris), and the rest of the cast are able to inject a degree of personality into their characters, but this is limited by some truly cumbersome scripting.

Unfortunately this, together with the compression of the story, has a knock on effect where the characters are concerned.

Like so many other fantasy anime out there, DenYuuDen follows the tried and tested method of event driven development, but like many other shows it also falls into the trap of poor characterisation. From the beginning of the first episode the viewer is expected to not only identify with Ryner, Ferris and Sion without knowing anything about them, they are also supposed to wait for any explanations because of the disjointed nature of the story. Add to that the fact that much of the growth is dependent on specific events that are scattered throughout the narrative, and the lack of personality comes to the fore.

That said, while there is little to maintain the viewer's interest in the characters at the start of the show, things do take a turn for the better at the midway stage so that by the end of the series they are no longer cardboard cutouts. The events that drive the development also become a little more complex as the story develops, which is nice to see as the tendency in fantasy anime is to add more detail to the story while keeping these "signposts" simple.

Now it may seem like I'm being unfair to DenYuuDen by picking up on so many of its flaws, but there is a reason for this. While there is a lot that could have been done to improve the series as a whole, it's actually a rather enjoyable romp too. The byplay between Ryner, Eris and Sion can be odd because of the poor scripting, but there is humour in there, enough to make the viewer smile at least. In addition to that, there is a concerted effort to improve the story in the second half of the show, with darker themes emerging and more focus on consequences. The action sequences are decent enough, but every so often there is a flash of brilliance, and the characters can sometimes show a surprising depth that really should have been there for most of the series.

And that's the rub. It really, really could have been so much better than it is. There is so much that ZEXCS could have easily done to improve DenYuuDen, and even something as relatively simple as deciding to adapt only a portion of the light novel series would have made a profound difference.

One thing that should be touched on is the mistaken assumption that Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu is somehow an homage to Legend Of The Galactic Heroes due to the similarity in the naming conventions. The problem is that far too many people who have heard of, or watched, the latter anime have automatically decided that DenYuuDen should be just as good when, aside from the name and the fact that heroes, politics and war are involved, the two bear very few similarities. It's a bit like saying apples and apricots should taste the same just because they're both fruits that grow on trees and their names start with "ap".

Anyway, leaving that aside, the one thing that really stands out about this anime is that it's effectively an unfinished product, especially as the light novels are still publishing. The disjointed storyline and initially lacklustre characters make this a much more difficult show to invest in, and this is a shame as there are several key plot elements that are interesting enough to warrant much more attention.

That said, ZEXCS' attempt at adapting the novels has some good points, and while there is enjoyment to be had, it's a far cry from being an epic.

6/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
7/10 overall
xxjacobxx3's avatar By xxjacobxx3 on Dec 22, 2010

This anime is... kind of confusing. There are some aspects of it that do not make sense. Either they will be explained in a sequel (if they make one, which i think they will) or they "left it up to your imagination". For example, the king (silver hair) is in some sort of emotional agony because of the unforseen responsibilities of his position. In order to acheive the world that he wants he has to do things he doesnt want to or is very hard to achieve (and also is he doing it for himself, the public, or ryner?). That is reality in a sense. People tell you that you can do anything you want if you just never quit and always put in much effort, but thats bull shit. If i want to fly two minutes from now from the power of my mind alone, I cant do it. A dream most often, not only entails the end result, but what it takes to achieve it along the way; therefore, dreams are most often... only dreams.

anyways... you cant really understand exactly what the king is going through. or anyone else for that matter...

The brown head main character is hard to figure out too. Besides that though... he has god like powers at certain times.

I think my favorite character is the blonde hair sword wielding girl. She is silly, yet realistic when it counts. If she was anymore agrivating though she would be a failure. I think they hit the annoyance level with her good. too much here lately... ive had to listen to little girl bitchy whiney voices or jelous girls inturupt the guy's life they like/love.

This anime is ok in my book... but things that i dont like are much more memorable. Im thinking one thing while looking back... and it may not be true but: contradiction/inconsistancy... this story seems to either apear to contradict itself or really contradict itself. I cant really tell you why i think that... but some of the characters are portrayed as being smart, yet at other times stupid. Sometimes ryner takes the world seriously and sometimes he doesnt. not consistent.

this is probably the hardest review ive ever done. Its hard to review this anime to me. If someone else had one up, i wouldnt be putting one.

SO, ill leave it at this: if there is a sequel, then its up to the sequel to wether this anime turns out to be good, but if there is no sequel, then this anime has too many things left unexplained. Even if there is a sequel though that clears things up, to me this anime isnt "great!" its only ok. I can only recommend it if you've run out of other anime to watch.

 

7/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
7/10 overall
Thrawn's avatar By Thrawn on Feb 18, 2011

The Legend of the Legendary Heroes. Doesn't really grab you, does it? That's the last time I judge an anime by the title, until the next time I do and I forget to not judge it. But when I looked past it, I saw a Comedy/Semi-political/Fantasy-Action series multi-hybrid. Kinda reminds me of Code Geass, but without the cheese and mechs. With it's fingers in a multitude of genre jars, it makes itself a fine sandwich, if you don't look too closely at what the sandwich's made of. I sure didn't, and I had a blast.

It bounces from light-hearted comedy to a darker violent action series and it continues on like that through it's run. It's violent, plenty of blood when it gets going and the body count rises but tasteful enough to not show brains splattered all over and heavy, insane gore shots. I liked how it wasn't firmly on one side of the fence, instead occupying both sides. And for a lot of the events that happen, the political jar comes to play. It's not incredibly deep, but just enough to not be completely shallow. It's a nice mix between the other two genres and can be fun sometimes, even though it's mostly serious.

Also, since it's a mix, it's not into the deep end of any spectrum. It's not the best at any of the genres at what it does, but it does it well enough. And the comedy does repeat itself, but since I'm a fan of it and would laugh at just about anything, I got quite a bit of enjoyment out of it. Others may find it tedious and repetitive though.

The characters I enjoyed quite a bit, especially how the main trio bounce off each other and provide most of the comedy. They all have something that defines them; a key characteristic per-say: Afternoon Naps Man, Lady of the Dango, Workaholic, Fiery Red etc. It may seem generic and one-dimensional when I put it like that, but it gets better. We get to know a lot of them and the backstories of the ones we do get to know play a role in the overall picture.

The outfits and clothing for the characters grabbed my attention, as a lot of the time it seemed to emphasize style over functionality. But style is what's important. And capes. Otherwise, really enjoyed the look of it; had a higher-end appearance (Or something that I'm not used to in my series-based anime) that really appealed to me overall.

The second OP I remember; felt more grand and larger-than-life than the first. But the others and the EP are still good, just not as. The VO's as usual I enjoyed and in particular Ryner's. Not enough cheese in this role than in a prior one.

One last time, I didn't look too deep into it. I didn't pry open past the first few layers of the onion of LoLHeroes (Thanks to a certain someone, I'll always remember it like that :P) so I didn't really have a problem with the bouncing back and forth between all the genres. And can't wait for the second season; an ending like this reminds me of an already mentioned anime's ending, of it's first season no less. Still good on that part though.

8.5/10 story
9/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
8.5/10 characters
8.6/10 overall
KittyEmperor's avatar By KittyEmperor on Feb 19, 2011

Okay I will admit that when I first started watching The Legend of the Legendary Heroes I laughed at the title.  It clearly wasn't the most imaginative title out there and then I chuckled for the first couple of minutes of the show and by the end of the first episode I didn't think this was going to be anywhere near decent.  To which for the first couple of episodes I was clearly right and wasn't enjoying the series in the slighest bit.  But then it happened the most unbelievable thing ever the series started to get good.  So what brought about this change you might be wondering well I'll just say this.  That things quite unexpectedly got fairly violent.  From that turn onward the series takes on a much more of a action political feel to it.  With the main character of Ryner and Ferris as well as quite a few supporting characters providing all the action and Sion taking care of all the politics of the anime as he tries to change the world.  By the time the series ends you will definitely be left with more questions than answers and will probably want to know what happens next.  I will admit that by the time I had finished the series I realized that my intial opinions of the show was quite wrong and I began to wonder when the sequel would come out so that some those questions would be answered.  This is a fairly good series to check out if, but just be warned that the ending will leave things unfinished so if that is something that bothers you then I would suggest waiting until hopefully the second season comes before picking this up.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
7/10 overall
Otaku108's avatar By Otaku108 on Jan 24, 2011

I wasn't sure how I would feel about a show titled Legend of the Legendary Heroes when I first saw the translated name. I mean how unimaginative can you get? Still what you get is far more than what the title gives you...

Story:

Firstly, I would like to state that this is a bit more than I would normally give a show that's "incomplete" since it's still got a second season yet to be produced. The story through this 24 episode show isn't done and so on the basis that there is a second season on the way I rated it as high as I would having seen the second half already. Now, onto the actual story's review.

When I first started the show it made me laugh within the first few seconds, it wasn't until a little later that I realized that the beginning was actually the middle of the story. Still, to start off with a good laugh is never wrong though it did lead me to not take it as seriously as it eventually got. Whether or not I'll ultimately love or hate this show as a whole is yet to be determined however, so far this show has tons of potential. Great plot, wonderful progression, and a "no such thing as pure evil" mode of conflict. This is something I hold in high regard since to my eyes, there is no such thing as truly evil people. Only those that see what they think is right and wrong and their attempts at justice as they see it. For an anime to mirror this is actually quite rare, you're usually going to find an evil villain at the end and some huge fight where the good guys win and the bad guys lose. Somehow I doubt that this is going to be the case here, at least that is my hope.

Animation:

At first I figured this was just going to be another cartoony, slapstick, ecchi, action flick with various characters thrown in to make it all worth watching. What I was shown proved me drastically wrong. While there are a couple very impossible hair colors, cartoonish faces, and androgynous character designs, I cannot bring myself to dislike any of it. The scenes, countryside, towns, and characters all have a unique feel and are wonderfully designed and drawn. Pleasing to the eyes, there was only 1 episode that fell on it's face and made you think that the usual workers were taking a break that week. Seriously, ep 18 was a decade behind in quality and completely different from what the rest of the show looks like, it's a total mystery and reminds me of Utawarerumono's ep 14 which did the exact same thing. Due to that; the various cookie cutter character designs/faces, cartoon slapstick faces, and one or two rainbow hair colors, it's score fell short of perfection.

Sound:

I have no real complaints here, the sounds, music, and voices all did their jobs, it also didn't wow me or move me in any real way beyond what it was designed to do. Very few shows ever do have such moving music that even I'm enraptured by it and this one was no different. It was still good enough to get the job done and didn't break the shows flow at all and thusly gets it's slightly above average score.

Characters:

Each character has different qualities, varying degree's of extremism in their viewpoint, and sometimes unfathomable motivations. I liked each and every one of them. It's rare that you get the shades of grey mentality from an anime, meaning that no one is the "good guy" and no one is the "bad guy" here. Even those you'd deem evil and as such should be the "bad guy" have seriously compelling motivations behind their actions. Anything, or anyone, pushed into a corner and forced to look at the face of their own death will bare fangs and attack, even a mouse vs a cat. Seeing as this story is yet to be completed and the characters still have a long way to go before they've achieved their "maturity" I kept this score rather high and really, even without a second season I think in this category the score stands well.

Overall:

Here is where I give no graces, pull no punches, and give nor scoring unbefitting irregardless of future installments or points of view. Since this is a show without an actual ending it's score is drastically reduced from what it could and should be at. I hate that I have to score this so much lower than it really deserves but I cannot and will not overlook my own standards for the sake of a single show or even a handful of shows. My one hope is that when and if the second season of this anime is made, the ending is as wonderfully handled and beautiful as the rest of the anime itself.

9/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
9/10 characters
7/10 overall