Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk is the 12 episode sequel to a fantasy action anime set in an RPG-like medieval world, of course retaining the comedy. Unlike season 1, there’s no misleading 1st episode and the plot is more fast-paced and to the point, but the intro does remain unrelated to the anime itself. Season 1 left some large loose ends which are picked up here. I recommend having watched the first season and maybe having read my review of it, before even reading this review, since there will be spoilers for things that happened back then. Months have passed since the events of the first season and the world has changed. I’ll also declare my dislike for ecchi, harem, love-triangles and pointless pervy BS, I try my best to not let it get to me, but be aware of it when you read my reviews.
Writer's note: This seems to be the only review of this anime? What happened to all of the other reviews, I don't believe for a second that nobody else has written a review for this anime, here on AP. Did folks just combine their reviews into one for just the first season?
Having been made a year later in 2009, this sequel looks almost exactly the same as the original. I could still only find it in 480p, but this didn’t matter too much as the increased resolution from the 720p version didn’t add much. I’ll quote my review of the first season:
“The animation quality is average ... While fairly detailed, it didn’t look as clear as anime does nowadays. The quality wasn’t terrible, there were no major flaws… in 720p… initially looked much better defined, with the quality a 2008 anime should have. But not that much better, even at mid distance, the detail and quality start to reduce … The 720p version didn’t improve significantly over the 480p version in the end.
The style seems somewhat unoriginal, but a closer inspection of the characters reveals that some effort was put in to make them look distinctive. Of course with a few exceptions like Jil who look typical as all hell. The designs of the setting and weapons all seem nice and fantastical, some of these were ideas I’d never even thought of before. Yet some of these things feel very familiar, like the shield with the blade it ejects and the spear with a tip that can spin like a drill. These sound like weapons from Monster Hunter to me… there’s the parody aspect of this anime. There’s a lot of old-school 2D-pixel JRPG animation...”
Of course, like the original it remains a bit fan-servicey. Heck the first scene of the entire series is Kaaya taking a bath and the nudity is only ‘mannequin’-ed from a distance. There is nipple in that scene, though arguably within reason. The rest of the anime remains slightly pervy, but nothing too much, sure there’s a fat woman taking a bath, sure, Kai sticks a spoon up Fatina’s arse, sure Jil has tentacle-porn fantasies, but it’s mostly not too pervy and all in good laugh. Which is what ecchi tries to do, it tries to make pervy shit funny when it isn’t (dick jokes are funnier). This is similar to the first season, it gets close to breaking the boundaries.
Same as the first season, thus I’ll quote the other review:
“The intro and outro songs are decent. Not amazing enough to make me want the soundtrack, but good enough to make me consider it. The music is typical fare for a fantasy setting. A lot of big epic tracks and a significant amount of silence too. Which is used well, having music playing all the time doesn’t improve sound design and it isn’t always appropriate. I got vibes of a Hollywood fantasy movie from this...
This anime is available in both English and Japanese as previously mentioned. Some well-known voice actors for the English side… the Japanese version … isn’t too bad either. The one thing keeping the Japanese version from being definitive is the Western sounding names of some characters and things, which are obviously pronounced badly…”
Jil is voiced by Tod Haberkorn, having played voices as Firo Prochainezo in Baccano, Yutaka Kouno in Darker than Black, Apos in Mnemosyne, Death the Kid in Soul Eater and Kimihiro Watanuki in Tsubasa Chronicle/XXXHOLiC.
Melt is voiced by Chuck Huber, who has also voiced Pilaf in Dragonball, Shou Tucker in FMA and Franken Stein in Soul Eater. Fatina is voiced by Jamie Marchi, she has voiced Shouko Kirishima in Baka to Test, Helen in Claymore, Mimi in Mnemosyne, Ophelia in Romeo X Juliet, Elizabeth Thompson in Soul Eater and Masane Amaha in Witchblade. Utu is voiced by Kent Williams, who was Nishimura sensei in Baka to Test, Mao in Darker than Black, Dr Gero in the Dragon Ball series, Kozo Fuyutsuki in the Evangelion remake and Sid Barett in Soul Eater. Henaro is voiced by Brittney Karbowski, who was Yuri in Angel Beats, Yukari Sakuragi in Another, Ryou Fujibayashi in Clannad, Kiko Kayanuma in Darker than Black, Kei Shindou in Ef: a Tale of…., Ayu Tsukimiya from Kanon (2006), Black Star in Soul Eater and Isana Tachibana in Yumekui (Dream Eater) Merry. Kai is voiced by Leah Clark, who also was Minami Shimada in Baka to Test, Hikari Horaki in the Evangelion remake, Blair in Soul Eater and Kotoko/Erii in Tsubasa Chronicle. Trina Nishimura voices Kaaya, who’s voiced Mikasa in Attack on Titan, Rachel in Baccano, Mari in the Evangelion remake and Chii/Karen in Tsubasa Chronicle. Ahmey is voiced by Brina Palencia, the voice of Ennis in Baccano, the Kinoshita twins in Baka to Test, Priscilla in Claymore, Yin in Darker than Black, Rei in the Evangelion remake, Nina Tucker in FMA, Teruki Maeno in Mnemosyne, Juliet in Romeo X Juliet and Holo in Spice and Wolf.
Neeba is voiced by Travis Willingham the voice behind Iggy in Ergo Proxy, Roy Mustang in FMA and Free in Soul Eater. J. Michael Tatum features as the voice of Kelb, he was also Isaac Dian in Baccano (hey they look alike!), Scar in FMA: Brotherhood, William de Farnese in Romeo X Juliet, Kraft Lawrence in Spice and Wolf and Shizuka Doumeki in XXXHOLiC. Collen Clinkenbeard voices Ethana, known for roles including Nice Holystone in Baccano, Youko Takahashi in Baka to Test, Hilda/Galatea in Darker than Black, Ritsuko Akagi in the Evangelion Remake, Rose Thomas/Riza Hawkeye in FMA, Mitsuki Hayase in Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, Rin Asogi in Mnemosyne, Yuuko Ichihara in Tsubasa Chronicle/XXXHOLiC and Reina Sohou in Witchblade. Carrie Savage voices the succubus, she’s also been Lua Klein in Baccano, Monad Proxy in Ergo Proxy, Haruka Suzumiya in Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, Nancy Makuhari in Read or Die TV, Hermione de Borromeo in Romeo X Juliet, Mokona Modoki in Tsubasa Chronicle/XXXHOLiC, Artemis in Tsukuyomi Moonphase and Rihoko Amaha in Witchblade. A very star-studded cast for this anime, doesn’t always help, but goes to show perhaps how overused these voice actors are.
A few new characters, but I will try and not get into much detail with the existing characters. A new group is formed. This time Jil leads himself, Fatina, Utu, Kenaro and Kai to the top of the tower in search of answers.
Jil is the same as ever, except now he’s a bit depressed about being betrayed by Neeba, but especially Kaaya who he had developed feelings for. At the start he is found lazing around, being depressed and Fatina tries to cheer him up. He finds reason to feel enthused again as he is thrust once more into adventure by the request of a child Kai, with the potential hope of being able to see Kaaya once more. Unfortunately, the corrupt royal guard and king are also in search of the child and are merciless in their search. Thus Jil and co become enemies of the now corrupt king.
Fatina now works as a tour guide, the job is crappy and the pay is bad, but at least it’s something. While she does feel bad about her love for Neeba being ground into the dirt by his betrayal, she seems to be her normal perky self on the outside. It almost seems like she’s given up and moved on… to Jil. All I can say is: slutty move and she has a bad taste in men. She doesn’t want to join the guys on their adventure though.
The final member of the original crew is Utu. He’s found at the start making a living by taking advantage of his strength. Since he’s not wearing his armour, few people recognise him. Jil is taken aback by how good-looking he is under his mask. A shame he wears the mask for most of this anime. He’s spent his money from defeating Druaga on some fancy new weapons.
Kenaro is a young girl of unknown origin, probably a teenager who specialises in magic as a druid. She has a magic crossbow that shoots magic arrows which put enemies (or anything it hits…) to sleep. At first this character was androgynous and I wasn’t sure of their gender, while they do have a female voice actor, anime has been known to have male characters voiced by female VAs before. A shiny ass and notcing her armour design resulted in the realisation that this person is indeed a girl. They were original just a customer at Kelb’s inn, but they got locked in due to the curfew and Utu took her with them, while on the run. After that, she just decides to join the gang as she becomes one of the wanted by the crown too. But then again, if she really didn’t want to join these guys, wouldn’t she just say no…?
Finally, we have Kai a little child who claims to be the first priestess of Ishtar, AKA the Queen who had two children with the King and mysteriously ran off after the funeral of her son. This child looks a lot like Kaaya and even seems to be able to use healing magic at the most important moments. At these times she ‘transforms’ into an older girl who looks a lot like Kaaya. A very mysterious individual indeed.
Neeba and Kaaya are of course the traItors working together to reach the top of the Tower of Fantasy, the motives driving them and even allowing them to betray their loved ones and allies remains unknown (obviously revealed in this season). Kaaya, real name Ishara, is a direct descendent of Gilgamesh himself and was once a priestess of Ishtar, she remains devout to her religion, meanwhile Neeba seems to be atheist. Kaaya seems to have some sort of unique power within her, a power only passed down the royal bloodline. Whereas Neeba is still in league with the succubus, the devil whispering ideas into his tired ears. She seems to love him, or maybe she is just using him?
General Kelb retired after seeing the corruption of the King and his council. He now runs an inn, where he has a few loyal hired waitresses working for him. One of these waitresses is a bit aggressive and love to fight while the other is shy. He’s kept in contact with Ethana and it seems the two are still in love perhaps. Ethana remains loyal to the crown, but is observing the King’s corrupt deeds by each day.
Melt… oh Melt. This mage who was once one of Jil climbing buddies and helped defeat Druaga is now the prideful owner of Meltland, a resort built up from an initial dirty pyramid scheme business where he abused bribery and his fame as one of the heroes who defeated Druaga, to lure dumb folks in. He cares all about money and he’s even imported Ropers (monsters) from outside of the tower to be servants and slaves. Of course, the Ropers only get angry when one of their children is abused or hurt by a human. Coopa is still as strict and critical of him as she always was, but now she is his secretary and second-in-command of his vast empire. The only company he attracts are those superficial people who only care about money, even his ‘bitches’ he takes a bath with.
The mysterious mage woman Gremica and her loyal follower Acra are also on the trail of our heroes. They have a large armed force with them and have their own motives for wanting to reach the top of the Tower of Fantasy. Heck, Gremica is Neeba’s sensei, the woman who trained him to be the fighter he is now. She is from a foreign nation, so what business would she have in the Tower? And what does Neeba have to do with her now?
The King is a crucial part of the plot, he is immortal and cannot die by any worldly means. He is also becoming more corrupt and evil, he says do what must be done for the sake of the kingdom and his council take this as an excuse to do what they want. Again, the plot will explain all.
The nobles seem to rule. One of these nobles is described by ex-General Kelb as a fat pig (no offense to any actual overweight people), this is the woman Amina who came up with the idea to cover up the truth and claim King Gilgamesh defeated Druaga. She’s also the woman taking a bath in episode 2, thankfully we don’t see much otherwise (argh, my eyes! They burn!)
Under Amina’s command is the cowardly, but loyal to the king, cruel knight of the royal guard, Uragon. His devotion to Amina is made fun of by Kelb, who claims he must have the hots for her (shudder). These folk want to get rid of the common folk and will stop at nothing to capture Kai, for who knows what reason. Probably something nefarious.
Surprisingly, Jil and his team, working together with Neeba’s team and the Royal guard managed to defeat Druaga at the end of the first season. But all was not as it seemed, the chalice said to grant a wish was nowhere to be found and instead, the protagonists were betrayed by Neeba and Kaaya. These two knew the truth behind the tower and ascended to a second tower, the tower of fantasy, the gateway to which opened briefly after Druaga’s defeat. The others were washed away and landed safely in the now changing tower below. The journey to the top which had cost the lives of their friends Ahmey, Kally, and many others, was all for nought.
The summit of the tower has since been inaccessible, sealed by a mysterious magic. It has been 6 months since Druaga’s defeat and the world has changed. Gilgamesh, the King, himself has become weak-willed, corrupt and his council act as they please. By their decree, the climbers who defeated Druaga received little reward and no compensation for their losses. Additionally, the tower was renamed to the Tower of Gilgamesh and the truth was cast aside for the false story that Gilgamesh himself was the one who single-handedly defeated Druaga once more. The demons and monsters were no more and the tower seemed to find a sort of peace. With no monsters or common foe of humanity to defeat, the kingdom inevitably feel prey to the darkness in the hearts of men. The king’s guard no longer protecting the people from the demons were now under the order of the nobleman Lord Uragon, who used his new found power to terrorise the common folk and seek his own gains. Disliking the falsehood within the Kingdom, the General Kelb resigned and decided to live a quiet peaceful life at a restaurant, where he has let Jill and Fatina stay. It is there our story starts.
Once up to the Tower of Fantasy, the hero’s again journey like they did before, but this time with a lot of wild cards. There are two additional groups ‘climbing’ and also the contents of the coffins Pazuzu took on his original climb. The monsters and terrors in the Tower of Fantasy make the enemies in the Tower of Druaga seem like cellar rats in comparison. The mysteries left over from season 1, slowly get explained one by one. The one thing that remains vague is the origin of Kai. While there are a good many twists and unexpected surprises, unfortunately some of the most essential aspects of the plot remain as predictable as ever. There are also too many conveniences, sure it would be tedios to watch the boring jounrey up the tower again, but it feels like it favours the protagonists too much. It’s obvious as the sky is blue, as to what will happen to certain characters. This is a big let-down. Still, the plot manages to twist things enough to save itself from being pointlessly predictable. The pacing also really helps, about halfway through, the narrative lurches forward and gets serious, it doesn’t leave things until the very end this time. Of course it concludes better than season 1, it wraps things up. And there’s no BS reliance on sequels.
While there are many interesting themes, one of the more interesting recurring themes is that of religion and the goddess Ishtar. In one episode Neeba and Kaaya discuss this. Neeba begs the good question, that there is a lot of evil and misfortune in the world and that evil often prevails, how can gods exist and/or care? He believes that the only thing that matters is fate and the actions of man. Strangely, despite her [riestess background, Kaaya cannot return with any response. This is similar to arguments against theistic belief in real life, to which the usual answer is that this is a test, or the devil is to blame or something similar. It’s more complicated here, but in this fictitious world, Neeba has a point, the goddess does exist as we have seen in season 1 and there are monsters/evil and crazy magical things, yet the god do not act. It is clear to say that he hates the gods, this is something important to consider for this character and the plot of this anime. Fate is another big theme, people seem to accept and become slaves to their ‘fate’ all too easily. The belief in inevitability is strong in most of these characters. Another important theme is immortality. King Gilgamesh is immortal, all by himself. His sons, wife, grandkids, all those he held dear passed away while he still lives on. What does it mean to truly be immortal in the way he is?
So this sequel ties up the plot of the original Aegis of Uruk, while incorporating some comedy and pointless fan-service. And most importantly the story goes much deeper than the simple Tower of Druaga, though it is held back by some predictable aspects and a few flaws. But boy is it a good plotline. Once again, I recommend this to all those who liked the first, this is an improvement. And I also recommend this for any fans of RPG-like fantasy stories. As for the others, I have to advise giving the first few episodes of season 1 a try, watching the OVA instead of episode 1, since it is the true episode 1. Sure it improved a lot over the original and I did quite enjoy it, but I couldn’t help cringe at some cheesy and predictable bits. That partially predictable story is the biggest and probably only real flaw with the plot, which is otherwise the very reason to watch this anime.
Family-friendliness Rating: 3/5 Occasional inappropriate themes (lower is better)
Overall Rating: 8/10 (higher is better)