As The Legend of the Legendary Heroes ends, I guess that I’m still waiting for this series to still show me why it should be called Legendary. Twenty-Four episodes in and I can see that all of the elements for a great sequel/conclusion to this series are in place. Yet, the evidence already presented suggests that even if there is a sequel, it would not be able to adequately combine those elements into a polished final product for a variety of reasons. That said, LOLH does offer a fairly interesting cast of characters and it occasionally delivers interesting action sequences, which makes it an above average show, if only barely.
First, the good. Some of the characters in this show are genuinely interesting, and furthermore, they actually develop over the course of the series. If you’ve been reading my posts on this series, than you probably know how much I love Ferris, and for good reason. Her development, while a little cliché, from a generally cold and sarcastic character who is scared sh*tless of her brother to a person who seemed to genuinely seemed to care for Ryner, as she continually sought to be by his side. Though the series failed to capture on some of the chemistry it generated between the two early on, the promise they made later on in the series shows how close they have become, and it also seemed like a pretty interesting plot point.
Unfortunately, every good interaction between these two seemed to be followed up by some side character of the week. In general, these weekly guests, if you will, seemed to take time away from the main story. If you’ve watched the show, do you remember who the hell Fiole, Toale, Salawell, or Arua are? While some of these characters, the ones still living at least, may play some sort of role in the future, do I care? No. Even some of the side characters I did care about and who received some development, like Tiir and Noa, seemed like they only showed up for one or two episodes and then disappeared for months at a time. This lack of continuity from week to week is never a good thing in my opinion.
Then there was Sion Astal. If you want to know how not to develop a character, I would suggest looking no further than this guy. Early on, the series made many interesting comparisons between him and Ryner or Riphal, by showing the differences in their moral character. Then, the series does a complete 180 by dropping what it spent 7 or 8 episodes building up to focus on Sion’s personality crisis. Though the show eventually combined the moral fiber thing with the explanation for his dual personality, this shift was far too sudden and poorly introduced for it to have any real basis in reason.
However, the sudden jumps from one topic to another were not limited to the characters. I never really got a good idea about what the focus of this series was, or that matter I never really understood the logic behind the magic and the relics the characters used. Episode one gave the impression that the series would focus on Ryner and Ferris collecting relics and fighting monsters. Then the series seemed to shift to Ryner’s Alpha Stigma and Roland’s politics. Then there was that five or six episode stretch in the middle of the series where the show didn’t really do much at all. I will say that the last eight episodes were pretty entertaining, but the transitions from one episode to another were never handled well, and we only really got one cliffhanger.
Plus, the show never really explained to us what exactly the legendary relics were, how many of them there were, or what kind of past they had. Sure, you could infer some things from events after the fact or from the occasional flashback, but the critical information always seemed to be lacking in the moment. Same thing applies to the magic used in this series, though to a lesser extent.
Perhaps the biggest issue I had with Legendary Heroes was with its pacing. From the material that was included in the series, did Legendary Heroes need to be 24 episodes long? The simple answer is no. Too much time was spent rehashing old points and flashbacks seemed like a common occurrence. During the second half of the series it seemed as though every week featured Sion trying to come to terms with his past decisions and Ferris somehow trying to reunite with Ryner. Since I assume this was a result of following the source material, I’m not really going to fault the show for including it, but did I need week after week of Ferris semi confessing to Ryner, or Sion moping for weeks on end? Again, no.
But on the flip side, this series could have easily been longer had they explained some of the unclear parts in more detail. I mean, how was Clough able to get his arm back after Tiir consumed it? How did Ryner and Ferris end back up in Roland at the beginning of episode 15? Who or what is controlling Sion? What exactly can a rule fragment do? To what lengths did Riphal go to when investigating Kiefer? Ok, that last one probably isn’t that important, but I still wanted to see it. The creators could have easily taken some of the time they devoted to the constant flashbacks and superfluous character development to flesh out these issues, but they didn’t. I’m not going to say they are lazy for doing this, but it does leave you wondering if they are crazy.
One thing the show did do a better job of over the course of the series was improving its animation. Early on it seemed like Legendary Heroes utilized a lot of blank spaces and had difficulty with lighting. Whether this was on purpose or not I don’t know, but I found it pretty annoying. Over time though, it seemed like there were fewer occurrences of this, and the animation as whole looked a lot sharper, especially in the last eight episodes.
There was also just enough comedy to keep me interested in Legendary Heroes when I might have otherwise dropped the show. Obviously Ryner and Ferris were the source of most of this comedic relief, but a few other characters, like Sion, Noa, and Clough occasionally got in on the act. It did seem that the show pushed the Ryner X Sion jokes a bit too far, especially considering that Legendary Heroes doesn’t seem to be on the viewing list of people who like that sort of stuff, but I’ll let it go.
As for the fighting scenes, they were a mixed bag in my opinion. Anything with Tiir was awesome, because let’s face it, he is awesome, but every other scene that featured a large number of combatants never really impressed me. It seemed like both Ryner and Ferris were powered down to meet level of their competition in these situations, and there were multiple occurrences in which the show had poor choreography for its fights, in that some characters disappeared for long stretches of time during fight scenes. That said, fights featuring few combatants were almost always interesting and well done. Episode four’s fight between Ryner and Ferris, Episode 17′s Clough/Tiir fight, and Episode 24′s fight between Ryner and Sion are prime examples of this. Of course, almost any scene in which someone used a legendary relic was an instant win as well.
So even considering the possibility of a second season and that the source material is supposed to be much better, this anime series on its own didn’t really stand out to me. Sure, it is a far better waste of your time than some generic moe show, but when compared to some of the more “involved” shows that are out there, this one just isn’t up to par. To sum it up, this show is just too inconsistent, but it does have a lot of good points. I’ll probably rate this as an 8 on my MAL list, but in reality this show belongs in 7.5/10 territory.