Posted by psgels on 21 June 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Fantasy Game adaptations have always been a rather notorious genre, due to the huge amount of lazy productions. These series seem to think that “fantasy” means “lack of realism”, and where the end result is almost always an uninspired story about a young swordsman travelling from A to B, saving the world and getting the girl. There are two animation-companies who have managed to break this tradition: Bee-train and Gonzo. Even though .Hack//Roots and .Hack//Dusk were rather questionable, Bee-train did produce .Hack//Sign, which looked more at the philosophy-part of gaming, and the charming adventure story Popolocrois. Then Gonzo came and delivered the hilarious MMORPG-parody Master of Epic, and with Druaga no Tou (or the Tower of Druaga) they did it again.

Druaga no Tou is based on an arcade-game from the eighties. It follows a band of questionable heroes as they try to climb a tower to save the world, but that’s where the generic stuff ends. Finally there’s another series that’s put a bit of thought into its setting, and a lot of ideas went into it to keep things interesting. I especially liked the magician who fights with golf-clubs.

The real charm of this series, however, is that it knows exactly how much it should take itself seriously. It’s not entirely silly, because you can never get a good story out of it, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously at times, which helps swallow the fact that this remains a story about a young inexperienced male on his first adventure. There are a few hilarious episode that successfully parody and homage a number of classic games, but there are enough episodes that focus on the more realistic side of the setting, and Jil (the male lead) is constantly reminded that he’s just an inexperienced attention-seeker, both by the other characters and by the story itself.

When compared to other similar series, Druaga no Tou did a pretty good job, but the fact remains that it’s a miracle that the main party survived, considering that they all were just inexperienced, especially considering the huge amount of people who failed to do the things that they did.

Gonzo had been quite pathetic ever since Bokura no ended, with their only contributions to the past Autumn and Winter season being the crappy Dragonaut and Rosario to Vampire. Special A also went nowhere, and Blassreiter still misses something because it keeps focusing too much on emo, but Druaga no Tou really delivered once it caught steam. I’m glad to see that 2009 will see a second season, because there’s enough left for this series to play with, and with a bit of luck the characters will really warm up and develop significantly there.

5 Responses

  1. BlueYoshi says:

    I’m really really REALLY hoping that the second season develops the characters some more and answers the questions that these 12 episodes have still left. I really enjoyed this anime, but it did have its share of flaws for me.

  2. Wyrdwad says:

    Honestly, I actually think fantasy game adaption anime tend to turn out pretty well. In addition to Druaga, PopoloCrois, .hack // SIGN, and Master of Epic, some other shows of note include:

    – Mahoujin Guruguru (which did actually start out as an RPG from Enix, and I have yet to meet anyone who’s seen it and HASN’T loved it!)

    – Ys (a lot of people dislike it, and it admittedly has pretty low production values, but it’s really written quite well, and has very good character development, especially in the Ys II arc!)

    – Wild ARMs (another one people tend to dislike, but I’ll stand in defense of it anytime, as it was extremely charming and fun!)

    – Tales of Eternia (haven’t seen it personally, but everyone I know who has says it’s extremely good!)

    – Final Fantasy (not Unlimited, but the original… oft maligned, and rather ugly, but when it comes down to it, it’s highly amusing, and lots of fun to watch!)

    And shows that go against the mold, and turn out pretty crappy? Shining Tears Xwind is the only one I can really think of off-hand that’s generally maligned.

    It’s a good genre overall. Many more successes than failures IMHO.

    -Tom

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Wyrdwad: just be glad that you didn’t watch Star Ocean Ex, Ragnarok the Animation, Blue Dragon, Maple Story, Night Wizard, Wizardry or Utawarerumono, and thank you for reminding me that there are still enough good series in the genre that I’ve yet to check out. :)

  4. Autonomous Monster says:

    One thing that really impressed me about this series was Neeba’s characterisation. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a series where a character was simulataneously so developed whilst being so unlikeable (well, okay, there was Akio in Utena). Hell, he got less likeable over time, which is impressive.

    And it wasn’t your standard brimstone and baby-eating villain characterisation, either. There’s no attempt to foist it off on some childhood trauma. It’s just… very well done.

  5. He says:

    Actually i thought that Utawarerumono was a great series but all others probably apply

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  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jun 30. 2016 04:01 PM)
    @Bam, It's Sharin no Kuni, quite literally one of my favourite visual novels of all time and it ain’t no fantasy harem.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jun 30. 2016 03:35 PM)
    @Aidan: That’s a sizeable donation, how are you still not in the top tier also have you played a fanverion sub here? Cuz a fantasy harems can go horribly wrong.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jun 30. 2016 01:25 PM)
    I put down 80 but it more 99 because of the shipping.
    Bit worried they are being a bit too greedy. That 140K goal seems a little high.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jun 30. 2016 01:22 PM)
    @Aidan: how much you’re putting down, if you don’t mind me askin?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jun 30. 2016 01:13 PM)
    The Last Fiction looks great, and that’s not me being biased for the subject matter. Defiantly the most expensive, polished and mature animation we’ve ever had. It’s based on a great arc from the Epic of Kings, which is the Persian equivalent of the Oddysee, and it’ll be amazing if done right.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jun 30. 2016 01:08 PM)
    A great French pc game just got released. It’s called 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, and it’s a Telltale style pick-you-story adventure game. It has a lower budget, so the graphics and gameplay are a bit unpolished, but it’s a historically and cultural accurate portrayal of the Iranian revolution, and it’s authentic and entertaining. Y’all should give it a chance when u can.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jun 30. 2016 01:02 PM)
    There are actually Iranian movies I fully enjoy, is just the dark settings hit us harder than people that are further removed from the situation.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jun 30. 2016 01:00 PM)
    @Kaiser: then given my testimonial your school policy made sense lol
    We were banned from bringing toys, especially the illegal stuf; we did it anyways. Lots of kids’ tis went off “missing” tho.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jun 30. 2016 12:50 PM)
    So the Sharin no Kuni kickstarter is up. Seeing as they are putting out the 18 version and from there work on leasure of grisaia it looks like translation quality will be good. Bit of a dick move not including the digital version with the physical and instead making it it’s own more expensive tier but not a deal breaker. I put in my contribution, a bit more than what I usually put in.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @Bam: They’d never allow bringing in toys/games/comics back when I was in school, they thought bringing in such things would make the kids of lower income families feel bad for not being able to afford things.

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