Wizardry

OVA (1 ep x 50 min)
1991
2.568 out of 5 from 265 votes
Rank #7,989

In a mystical land filled with magic and monsters, eager adventurers scour a ten-floor dungeon in search of fame and fortune – if they are able to escape with their lives! But none dare set foot in the tenth floor, as a powerful foe will make sure that they never return to the light of day: the evil Werdna, a wizard who stole an amulet of immense power. Now, to aid a beautiful woman, a group of skilled warriors must descend to the tenth floor to find the woman’s lost love, and to take back the amulet from the hands of evil!

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sothis
7

StoryIf there’s one thing I know, it’s that old school Atari/Amiga/Commodore games kick serious ass. I never played Wizardry (I grew up playing Ultimas non stop), but when I discovered that an anime had been made out of tribute to this old classic, I couldn’t help but be excited. Luckily for me, my excitement was for a good reason! The plot of Wizardry is fairly standard for a dungeon crawler game: a bad guy is at the bottom of a dungeon and the heroes must defeat him. In this case, the evil wizard of choice has stolen an amulet that protected the king from harm, but no one dares venture to the final tenth floor lest they meet a gruesome death. Sounds like a recipe for generic, right? To be honest, I was not looking forward to watching this OVA for that very reason; I’ve seen so many fantasy and/or game-to-anime transitions that I figured this would be like all the others. But I was wrong. It’s hard to explain why it ends up working so well, but Wizardry definitely oozes with RPG-style, from the wacky monsters to the treasure piles (which reminded me of the beginning scene in .hack//SIGN), to the flashy spells and an evil boss. Unlike other game-to-anime transitions, I found myself very interested in the plot almost the entire time, as it was pretty much like watching a RPG. Admittedly, the plot did start to drag a little near the end, but overall the story was just good for whatever reason. People who aren’t into RPGs might not find this as interesting, and could even find it boring. Personally, for me, I love RPGs and could appreciate this highly. There are two specific elements of Wizardry’s plot that I was especially impressed with. First, (and this might sound odd) the way pain was portrayed. In most anime, if a person is severely wounded they immediately yell a halfhearted "GWAAAH" (you know what I’m talking about!!). In Wizardry, a character has his arm chopped off. Now, I haven’t had my arm chopped off before but I’m guessing the reaction is a little closer to what this character did: paused for a moment, and then realized what had happened and let out a bloodcurdling scream. Though a morbid thing to appreciate, this was much different than the usual series and I appreciated it. The second plot element I appreciated was the lack of a picture perfect ending. People die and aren’t revived, and the end is good, but melancholy, like most (good) RPGs. AnimationFor something made in the early 90s, the animation is decent, but not anything spectacular. The monsters are definitely the best part; they are angry-looking and cheesy at the same time (just like any good RPG) and attack out of nowhere. The character designs are pulled straight out of any other fantasy series before it. There is an unusual amount of gore, with fairly graphic scenes in certain parts. Colors are fairly dark and muddled, which fit well for this type of series. SoundWizardry is devoid of the sound for a good 2/3rds of the time, with standard game-music fare for the remainder of the tracks, usually occurring during action scenes. Though nothing exceptional, I think the balance of music and silence was fairly appropriate for a game-based anime. All of the voice actors did a fine job. CharactersArguably the weakest part of the OVA, the characters could have used some work. Though each of the band of adventurers has his own skill (a ninja, a swordsman, a healer), none of them were developed in any way. The only characters who aren’t completely undeveloped are the female warrior, the main bad guy and the healer. In the case of the latter two, we only are told a brief history of how the two know each other. The female warrior is on a mission to find her lost love, and honestly the only emotion I felt was towards her plight. Then again, for a 45 minute OVA, what can you expect? OverallEven though all of the sections besides the story are rated fairly low, I still think, overall, that Wizardry is a great watch for anyone who likes RPGs. There are plenty of anime-to-game transitions, but Wizardry has now joined a small list of ones that are actually decent and fun to watch. You don’t have to have played the game in order to appreciate the anime, but having some sort of experience with RPGs will probably make the viewing a lot more nostalgic and interesting.

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