Title: Kiseki no Umi | Show: Record Of Lodoss War - Chronicles Of The Heroic Knight Artist: Maaya Sakamoto | Composer: Yoko Kanno
Record of Lodoss War is effectively the Japanese Lord of the Rings; an enduring high-fantasy world within which various adventures are set, with a core lore system and recurring set of characters to provide a grounding effect. Originating as a series of (first edition!) Dungeons and Dragons roleplay sessions, transcribed and published in Comptiq magazine, their popularity saw the Dungeon Master of the sessions (Ryo Mizuno) adapt them into Light Novels. The setting went on to become its own tabletop franchise after TSR declined to accept it as an official D&D supplement, going on to become the most popular tabletop RPG in Japan.
Given its origins, it’s no surprise that so many standard RPG tropes are in effect: character classes, party composition, races etc, but Lodoss War really does do them with a sense of gravitas and personality. With vast backstory and a very Grey division between Good and Evil leading to former allies clashing and the decisions of a few affecting the many, I feel confident in saying it lives up to the highest of standards for the genre and many of the characters have gone on to be iconic to those who know them, especially Parn and Deedlit.
The various tales also stretch across different media as well, which can be confusing for people trying to follow or merely figure out what the overall story is. The OVA of the original story is a beautiful adaptation which nonetheless does take some liberties with the plot in order to remain within it’s runtime, whereas the sequel series, the OP of which is my pick for today, follows the plot of the novels a little more closely but isn’t quite as... magical in its atmosphere. Neither follow the full story from beginning to end however, requiring several different manga to be read in order for full knowledge of what the hell is going/has gone on. A generally accepted course of action is to watch the OVA episodes for the experience, and read the manga of Parn’s story followed by the anime of Spark’s journey in order to actually understand anything.