Sunday, April 12, 2009

Review: Guin Saga Episode 1

For those of you who prefer epic fantasy, you'll find something to like about the first episode of Guin Saga.

Based on one of the longest running novel series in Japan (over 124 volumes have been published), Guin Saga has the distinction of being one of the key influences of Berserk (a personal favorite of mine). The similarities are obvious, as the main character has amazing strength, isn't very sociable, and kicks people's asses in ways you never would imagine.

The tale is set in motion when an enemy force storms a castle (the enemies are referred to as Monghols--insert your own South Park reference here), kill the King and Queen, and force the twin siblings (one male, one female) into exile. Someone attempts to defend the children while they escape, claiming he will "finally have his revenge." Six seconds later he takes an arrow in the chest and falls off a balcony. I laughed.

This otherwise generic story is helped out by the princess, Linda (Rinda?), who has to drag her pansy-ass brother along with her in the wild. A role reversal like this is not often seen in anime, which would traditionally require the prince to be brave and the princess to be bratty and frail. (To be honest, I was rooting for the Mongohls to kill Prince Lemus).

When the twins find themselves in enemy territory, Lemus' whining attracts a Mongohl horde, who move in to capture or kill the children. Linda accidentally awakens a behemoth of a man who has a leopard-head mask. The chaos that follows is nothing short of spectacular.

Guin smashes a Mongohl into the ground with a single strike, like a fatal, real-life whack-a-mole. The next guy gets hit so hard that when he careens into a tree, the friction from his helmet causes the trunk to burst into flames. I won't spoil the rest of it, as the fight becomes even more frantic once night settles in.

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