I often think that as long as I know what to expect from a show, it couldn’t disappoint me. First impressions from the title alone gave a sense it was trying too hard to be epic, but that didn’t matter since I expected “Legend of the Legendary Heroes” to be a fun, clichéd romp. But instead of creating a brainless fantasy flick for dumb people like myself, the show adopts a taste for complexities with writing that leaves a bad taste.
The story opens with two of the three main characters, the wizard Ryner and the knight Ferris, as they journey across the continent of Menoris in search of powerful Hero Relics to aid our third main character, the High King of Roland, Sion. The lazy Ryner and steadfast Ferris aren’t anything beyond that in the first episode, with the only noticeable interplay between them being a scene where Ferris calls Ryner a pervert. Unfortunately, this scene is a running gag throughout the show that turns the Ryner and Ferris duo from simple to cringeworthy.
Much of the show follows Ryner and Ferris’ adventures, meaning much of that time focuses on their relationship, which is Ferris calling Ryner a pervert for no reason; Ryner doesn’t so much as see a pantyshot from Ferris, so it’s not even clichéd in the way it should be, but outright unbelievable. Their relationship is 70% one running joke and 30% serious moments with no real progress between them, because they’re only sentimental when the show calls for it. Their relationship goes in a circle, or maybe it’s a see-saw; I don’t care, but neither do the writers.
In one of the show’s scenes, Ryner is going out of control for plot reasons while Ferris is trying to snap him out of it. After she manages to get through to him, Ryner breaks down and starts crying in her arms as the rain suddenly pours. This scene of clichés doesn’t work since there’s a lack of tells on their progress. Ferris blushes maybe once before this while Ryner shows no interest in her at all. And even if this scene did work, they go back into being a weightless comedy duo until the story demands their sentiments again. And this happens more than once.
But Ryner and Ferris’ relationship is harmless compared to the threads in the rest of the show. Ryner’s lack of personality outside his laziness can be made up for with his background, but the show’s storytelling often jumps back and forth from present day to flashback without any tell it’s done so, making it hard to follow. Even then, most of what little backstory he has is in the later parts of the show. It’s hard to take his tragic past seriously when the show often glosses over it for attempted comedy.
Ferris is an even bigger joke than Ryner. When she’s not wrongly calling him a pervert for whatever reason, she’s going on about dango flavors without much else to her character. Somehow, she has even less background than Ryner, and it doesn’t help that this background is little more than skin service that isn’t even charming, but a forced attempt at being dark and edgy. But, it wouldn’t be a forced attempt at being dark and edgy if Ferris was a character worth caring for, if she had real progress and most of her time didn’t focus on failed comedy.
The final main character, Sion, is also a big joke. His character arc is about learning to make tough choices that come with being High King, but his personality doesn’t show it at all. He’s equally serious and easygoing until the end of the show, which makes it easy to wonder whether story events are affecting him at all. Most of his background involves characters that have one or two lines of dialog, which isn’t enough for it to be taken seriously like it’s supposed to. He’s also incomprehensible, saying he doesn’t want to rule like a tyrant one moment, then leaves his assassin servant to take extreme measures so he can reach his goals the next moment.
Sorry, I tried jumping over one cliché and fell onto another. When the story isn’t being lazy with its characters’ progress or background, it tries TOO hard and ends up being a war and politics philosophy discussion without compelling characters to distract from the fact. These heavy themes require a delicate touch, but unfortunately most of the villains—villains, not antagonists—are wealthy, evil people that take away from any social depth the show tries to have.
Not that what depth the show does have is worth much anyway. There’s a lot more going on in the story, but most of it amounts to nothing or is rushed. One of the characters shows a thirst for vengeance without any build-up leading to that moment. The character he wants revenge on wants revenge on another character. And that final character is dealt with so quickly it disrespects the passion and empathy the first two characters (try to) invoke. If that sounds like a short plot description, then don’t worry, because the show doesn’t give these multiple story threads more than a few episodes.
But even with a lot of episodes, one of the characters still proves ineffectual.
When this character is introduced, she wants to reunite with Ryner because he was her friend during her rough childhood. It makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is how bubbly she is for most of the show, badly clashing with her background. What’s worse is that this isn’t the set-up to a gag character, because she’s supposed to be taken seriously. But her serious moments don’t work, because she lacks the roundedness needed to make her bubbly and serious side believable as the same character.
The only decent characters are more like two pairings that are unfortunately not around for long. One of the characters in the first pairing appears at the early and later parts of the show. She meets someone she doesn’t like at first, but in their next scene they’re enjoying a cup of tea, and in the scene following she’s a blushing maiden. The other pairing is a classic warrior and princess story that believably flows from adoration to sweetness; in the first scene they’re smitten at first rescue, in the next scene they’re trying to hide their feelings from their friends to no effect, and then they’re enjoying a moonlight walk.
Ignoring the small amount of screentime these four characters have, they’re believable because there’s real progress to their relationships. Sure, it’s cheesy, but it’s at least an attempt at a pairing compared to Ryner and Ferris’ see-saw relationship. It’s not as layered as the other parts of the story, but being more layered doesn’t mean better, but a greater chance to be worse. When there’s more plot to juggle, it only falls down much worse when the juggle isn’t kept up, and the juggle falls the moment it starts.
This is part of why Legend of the Legendary Heroes’ writing leaves a bad taste, and what I mean when I say the story adopts a taste for complexities. It tries to execute too many threads at the same time and doesn’t give enough time for each thread to be properly weaved. At the same time, the three main characters take up most of the story’s screentime but have almost nothing to show for it. It’s this odd combination of incoherent density and weightless quantity that makes this show such a failure from a storytelling standpoint.
This leaves only the presentation to save the show, but the visual part of that falls short. Save for Sion, his assassin servant, and the four pairing characters—the last four lack screentime—most of the character designs are multi-colored to the point where it’s hard to tell them apart. For a world with swords and magic, many of the fight scenes are underwhelming for being nothing but beam spam or poor choreography that makes one question if the combatants are only as strong as the plot demands.
The best part of the presentation is the music, but music isn’t the aesthetic focus of an action fantasy show. Still, it’s loud when it needs to be, and has a surprising amount of grace during quieter scenes when it uses the art of silence to put focus on the dialog. Unfortunately, the music is held back by its odd habit of using random rock music during some scenes. This modern flare clashes with the medieval, fantasy feel of the show. I suppose it’s trying to be cool, and in a better show it’d be shameless fun, but here it comes across as trying too hard.
Which is odd, because looking at how the show’s main characters are handled, it’s like they weren’t trying at all. No respect is given to most of the characters and their stories, it tries to tell too many stories, the stories often lack chronological coherence, the social themes lack any depth with its stereotypical villains, and the presentation is best where it doesn’t matter anyway. This show does a few things right and everything else very egregiously wrong.
But the best thing I can say about this show is what Ryner goes on about from episode 1; take a nap. Sage advice, because taking a tap is preferable to watching Legend of the Legendary Heroes. Sure, you won’t be doing anything, but at least it’s better than getting Alpha Stigma-level angry at the people who made this.
Legend of the Legendary Heroes… what a silly name. Like Greenery of the Green Vegetables or Bitterness of the Bitter Dark Chocolate. If names are supposed to attract people to an anime, then this sure does not help. I mean check out Slayers. Such a simple and direct name. There is even a band named after it. Yet in both cases the names are actually deceiving the viewers rather than preparing them for what they are about to watch. There is nothing epic in the first as there are no fountains of blood and gore in the second. What kind of a trolling technique is this anyway?
The similarities don’t end in the name-trolling alone of course, as Epic of the Epical Epicness is in fact 50% like Slayers. That is, a medieval comical adventure about imba wizards and warriors strolling the countryside trying to save the world one goof at a time. Well what about the other half then? Is at least that original? Nope, it is just a dried up version of Legend of Galactic Heroes (Sion is Reinhart, Ryner is Wenli) about several intrigues and power struggles amongst royalty for the domination of the world. And look at that, even that anime had “Legend” in its name. Do I see some accidental plagiarism here?
Anyways, Great of the Greater Greatness is for me a half-breed. Half Slayers and half LoGH that is. And on paper it sounds like the stuff of legends (oh, the irony). I mean, if you take the political intrigue of LoGH and combine it properly with the zany comedy of Slayers, you have an optical orgasm.
Well, the producers were unfortunately first timers and thus there was no orgasm in the final product. Just a half baked story about something that is left half-done. Yeah, we might as well cut all words in half, to fit with the rest of the show. Something like Leg-O-th-Legend-Her. Ah, that’s more like it!
So who made this crap? Oh my, the notorious studio Zexcs. Will you guys ever make a good show just for a change? Directing is done by Kawasaki Itsurou who also didn’t manage to produce something above average in his whole career. Yeah, you already know this is not going to turn out to be good.
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Premise 2/2, Pacing 0/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 1/2, Conclusion 0/2
The story is in a nutshell about some dudes looking for some super items in order to help their friend to be a peaceful yet powerful king. Do they succeed? I have no idea as the story will be continued in egend-f-e-ary-oes.
So the story is a half-breed and half-done. Any half other than that? Why yes, it is also half-interesting. You see, a lot of episodes will be wasted on totally minor events and the others will have a really weird way of jumping back and forth in time and space. And I’m not talking about time travel, the narration is simply done without proper transition from one time frame to another. So what you basically have is a series about unfitting segments. On scene one, Sion is talking seriously with some scheming aristocrats. Suddenly, the scene changes five days later to Ryner, who will bored and half-asleep on a tree. Then the scene changes to ten years in the past where Sion and Ryner fight assassins who are chopping of the heads of their friends. Then the scene changes to fifteen years in the future, where Ferris eats dango and verbally torments Ryner. And then… the anime ends in the middle of… um … nowhere I guess.
If you got half of what I just wrote so far (oh, the irony 2) then you can easily tell the story in fact LESS than half-good. Some blame the bad adaptation from the novels but that is still far from excusing the bad directing. And if you think the director had a bad day, just check out Kawasaki’s roster. Horrible!
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: Presence 2/2, Personality 1/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 1/2, Catharsis 0/2
But who cares about the story if the characters are great, right? I mean, who needs a story in K-On? If the cast are moe, comical, or bijin enough, most won’t even notice the objective of their adventure. So, are they legendary in anything like that? Nope, they are again half-interesting (damn that persistent irony!)
Let’s check the main characters. There is an aristocrat who is thrown in a middle of a power struggle amongst aristocrats. There is an imba friend of his who wants to help him. And there is a token bimbo.
… um, not much, is there?
What they are really good at is that they are a colorful bunch. Heck, half the duration is spent on getting to know them. In a slow and almost overkill way. What they eat, what they drink, what their favorite color is, how they fold a napkin and so on. Jeez, it really is like K-On in this regard!
But no, in reality it is also about an adventure where they are supposed to receive development and catharsis in the end of the road. Which of course they don’t because as I wrote (and hopefully it is amongst the half of which you still remember) the story is left incomplete. You will get to know a lot about their development up the present through numerous dialogues and flashbacks. But very little about their future because of the missing second half.
So all you are left with is:
-Sion, a dude with similar ambitions as Reinhart but hardly someone who achieves anything solid.
-Ferris playing it cooldere and eating a mountain of dangos (Togame, cough).
-Ryner, a dude with a laser beam eye (no kidding) who is too bored to care about anything, yet gets to stroll around the world looking for magic trinkets and battling random goons with his Geass eye (Lelouch, cough) and inner demon releasing (Hollow Ichigo, cough). The series of course calls it Alpha stigma instead of Plot Armour, so who am I to judge that?
Originality, wanted dead or alive for 100.000.000 Belly.
So as you can see, the cast is really a vivid bunch but not something you haven’t seen before and definitely not one fully looked into. There are others who exist as support of course (too many for its own good) but who cares if the main ones are not good enough. Most are too minor to even bother with.
ANIMATION SECTION: 7/10
Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 2/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 1/2
And now let’s talk a bit about this unimportant section most viewers pay too much attention to. It is good; the world building looks great with the medieval setting and all. Castles, uniforms, lightning look good. They are otherwise not exceptional in any way, not artistic, not unique, not too smart in cinematography. The battle choreography sucks big time with all the random spells and power imbalances, while body motions felt slow as if the characters were bored to move around. But I must admit that it’s currently studio Zexcs best work (meaning it is the only average show they ever made out of their 30-title roster).
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 2/4, Sound Effects 2/3
Another minor thing I rarely have much to talk about. The music score left me completely indifferent. Sound effects were ok I guess. Voice acting… Damn, so many dialogues about so many events I hardly cared about. They are also good too I guess. The only two voices that stand out are of course those of Ryner and Ferris. Ryner has the same voice actor and an imba power in the same spot as “another very famous character” (anyone got any cough drops?). He was a major bait for most fans of “that other anime” and I’m sure most were greatly disappointed with this far less interesting character. As for Ferris… shit man, she is the otaku bait. A cooldere eating dango and slap-torturing poor Ryner. Need I say more? She is quite typical as the tropes go but who ever said otakus look for originality, hm?
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10
Analysis: Art 1/1, Sound 0/2, Story 1/3, Characters 0/4
But enough with all those halves. What about the adventure itself, is it good or not? Well, on paper it could be good if it was handled more properly. Like, with less time jumps and more action. The story is otherwise quite average in concept (go find magic trinkets to save the kingdom from evil) and the action part makes little to no sense. Not only there is too little of it in a series that it’s supposed to be “legendary” but it also has too much randomness. Random spells, random results, random power levels. And for Pete’s sake, what is the age advisory on this anime? One moment they are doing slapstick, the exact next they are beheading and gutting people alive. Jeez, where is some consistency in all that? It’s like two people were writing the script, an 8 year old girl-scout and an 18 year old heavy metal dude.
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 1/4
What reason would anyone have to keep this anime in his collection? Apart from collective value or lack of elitism that is. None! Really, I mean it, none at all. It is messy and incomplete and slow and typical. All its good parts can be found in spades in Slayers and LoGH. Maybe if they ever make a sequel and create a Kai version of this, then we are going somewhere. Otherwise, it is a waste of time for veterans and just an average time killer for casuals.
Mediocrity of the Incomplete Typicals. Now that’s a more fitting name.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before I start, I want to point out that no matter how good an anime is, if it isn't finished, I won't give it it a high score. Depending on how "finished" it felt determines how many points I take off because I really do not like stories with no ending. In this case, I am taking away two points. The score will not be above 8.
While the story was sort of interesting, it was not well put together. To start with, the beginning confused me, probably because I wasn't really sure about the characters from the first episode so when they showed up differently in the second one, I had no idea where we were in the story. It does that more than once where things feel out of order and not in a clever stylistic way but more in a "I'm trying to be stylish but failing" way. Secondly, the title is the Legend of Legendary Heros, but I felt like that was only a small part of the story. By the end of the episodes, I did not feel like I really knew much about who they were or if they were even real. The anime felt like it was trying to add too many elements to the story to fully explain what that was all about. The relics also played a small role and the mission to find them ends up abandoned like it wasn't even important. It is the alpha stigma that gets the most attention. It could be that I got distracted and just didn't catch some important information, but in that case, the story wasn't good enough to keep my attention. Either way it's a loss. Other than that, for 24 episodes, it didn't feel like a lot was done and the "ending" felt like it was leaving out some important information to explain how we got from episode 23 to the end of 24. Apparently this studio is infamous for not making sequels and leaving anime unfinished so I wouldn't bet on ever seeing another season or even a movie to finish it up. On the up side, there was a bit of closure at the end. It was more like the end of the first half of a story (which is fine if you plan on continuing but obviously this study knew they probably wouldn't so hello) and left the second half to speculation and imagination. There were still plenty of events that needed to occur and information that needed to be revealed, but it could have just randomly stopped without so much as an ounce of closure and no explanation for anything....and at least the last ten episodes were more interesting so I give the story a 6.5.
The animation was average. It wasn't experimental or funky and things didn't look weird. It looked like an ordinary anime. I give it a 7 for being good but average.
Sound was like animation. It didn't stand out as unique or even catch my attention. At least the opening song wasn't annoying like a lot of others. I give it a 6.5 for being average and not memorable in the least.
The characters were fine. Most of the characters were stereotypical. The main character is as lazy as they come (although I do sort of like his idea of a good kingdom) but he is a good fighter and has something unique to him. His female companion is the type to exagerate and make up stories about his pervertedness and tease him constantly but also protects him and is very strong. The king is the typical I want peace and don't want war but then something changes as he goes downhill from there because no one is truely that good hearted. It just wouldn't be a good story. So typical characters that can be funny at times and interesting at others but overall nothing special. However, they were developed at least a bit and the relationships did not remain stagnant. I give the characters a 7.
Overall I give it a 6.75. It isn't a bad anime (minus the fact it has no end) but it doesn't stand out. It did exceed my expectations since when I saw the name I wasn't really expecting much. Exceeding low expectations isn't exactly a big victory though. Still, it is decent enough to bother with if you like the medieval magic military themed animes.
(I have been writing papers all week so excuse any spelling and grammar mistakes. I just don't care enough to bother anymore.)
I'm not sure how this anime has such a high score, do other people just have a much higher tolerance for unlikable characters and a generic plot? This anime is so absolutely cookie cutter it's a joke that it has a rating of around 4 stars.
The opening scene of the first episode is intensely graphic, we see devilish creatures eating what we assume to be people. The bodies of hundreds casually discarded on the ground, most of them wearing horrific expressions. The scene following that? Two main characters doing slapstick comedy in the forest while trading magic with some random soldiers.
In another part of that first episode we see the characters being followed, accidentally tripping some deadly traps but more comedic than anything else. The scene immediately following? A boy in a city we’ve never seen before trying to attack some city official he believes has kidnapped his sister (I think, the show is really confusing) and attempting to hold him at knife point.
The only thing good that I can say about this anime is that it looks and sounds okay. Nothing special, just that its on par with most other animes out there.
It feels like this anime doesn’t know what it wants to do, it tries to be dark with all these graphic images and gritty undertones but attempts to liven it up with an unnecessary amount of slapstick comedy. The end result is an incoherent pile of garbage. If you have literally nothing else to watch, still I wouldn't recomend this.