[Manga Monday] The Final Battle (Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch Saga #3) ★★★☆☆

finalbattle (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Final Battle
Series: Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch Saga #3
Author: Ryo Mizuno
Artist: Yoshihiko Ochi
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 200
Words: 7K

 

Synopsis:

Chapter 16: Starts out with naming our characters and a one sentence lead about why they are in the story. Everyone returns to Roid, the capital of the kingdom of Valis. King Fahn welcomes back his daughter but makes sure to drive home the lesson that her running away, even for a good cause, cost the lives of several knights. Emperor Beld and Karla discuss the new alliance by the kingdoms on the island of Lodoss and Beld gives Karla permission to do as she sees fit. The chapter ends with Parn and Co coming to meet the king.

Chapter 17: Soldiers from the desert kingdom of Flaim are present at the court and King Kashu is seated next to King Fahn when Parn and Co approach. Everyone ends up discussing Karla and an Ancient Kingdom that was destroyed 500 years ago. Said Kingdom was inhabited by many powerful sorcerers and one sorceress was named Karla. With no real answers available, it is determined to go ask the Sage Wort (one of the 6 Heroes of King Fahn’s generation) and see what he knows. Parn and Co volunteer and even when told that their path will go through an abandoned Dwarven Hold now controlled by a dragon and goblins, they aren’t persuaded to abandon the quest.

Chapter 18: Wort the Sage is spying on Parn and Co through a crystal ball and we see him talking to Karla. He tells her to what she pleases with the company and she says she still wants them to join her. Wort remembers his adventures with Fahn, Beld and the others and we see the reason Beld is trying to take over Lodoss, to unite it under one king and to bring peace to the whole land. Wort realizes that Beld is imply a pawn in whatever scheme Karla has going. Parn and Co meet Wort and Karla and Karla reveals that both Beld and Fahn have the same dream of bringing peace to Lodoss, one through the power of darkness and the other through the power of light. Karla reveals how the Ancient Kingdom fell and that its destruction was completed by savage barbarians. Her goal appears to be to stop such a thing from happening again.

Chapter 19: Karla claims that neither light nor darkness can bring true peace, but that only a balance between them is the the surest way to lessen warfare. Karla has been interfering in events for 500 years, stirring up small wars so neither light nor darkness can get enough power to overwhelm the other. Small continual warfare is her answer to preventing another huge conflagration that will destroy civilization. Parn summarily rejects her reasoning and Karla leaves, vowing she is still their enemy. King Fahn and King Kashu are discussing how Beld seems to be sowing discord amongst the Alliance and they realize one all out battle is what is necessary. Parn and Co return from Wort’s tower. Everyone get’s upgrade, Parn is a full knight of Valis, Etoh is now a high priest and Slayn is now full sorcerer. Ghim and Deedlit give their rewards to Woodchuck. Ghim is making a magical comb for Leylia, Karla’s host body and Deedlit realizes everyone is going to have to go war.

Chapter 20: We switch back in time to Parn and Co talking with Wort. Ghim reveals that Karla takes over bodies now to survive and that Leylia is her latest victim. His goal is get Leylia back. Wort reveals that Karla won’t help Beld anymore if he, Wort, won’t help Fahn. He then tells Parn how to destroy Karla and save Leylia. Karla takes over the person who kills her current host body, so they have to take her alive and remove the circlet that is her center of power. Wort gives them a magic wand that will temporarily dispel all magic in its vicinity. Parn relays this all to Fahn and Kashu back in the present and everyone prepares for a final confrontation with Beld. Ghim goes with Slayn, as only they can entrap Karla while Deedlit accompanies Parn and uses her magic to protect him.

Chapter 21: The fighting commences and Slayn tries to put all of Beld’s army to sleep to prevent bloodshed. Beld releases fire salamanders, regardless of the carnage it causes among his own soldiers. Wagnard uses a dark elf to kill the Sage of Valis and Fahn and Beld meet for a final showdown. Beld prevails and Parn is prevented from avenging Fahn by a knight of Marmo named Ashuram. Kashu then challenges Beld to another duel. Karla shoots Beld in the chest with an arrow, thus allowing Kashu to kill Beld. Ashurum takes up Beld’s sword of darkness and retreats with the remaining forces of Marmo. Parn and Co realize this is the exact outcome that Karla wanted. Parn vows to hunt Karla down and put an end to her meddling that costs so many lives.

Chapter 22: Parn and Co attack Karla at her tower. We flashback to see Woodchuck being commissioned to steal the circlet of Karla’s power off of Leylia’s body. Parn and Co are just a distraction to gain Karla’s attention. Ghim confronts Karla and appeals to the suppressed Leylia. Karla kills Ghim and that sets Leylia off, giving Woodchuck an opportunity to steal the circlet. Unfortunately, Woodchuck’s bitterness about his life leads him to put the circlet on, thinking he can control its powers. This allows Karla to keep on surviving, even if in a body without the capability of using magic. Etoh returns to Valis and Princess Fianna, while Slayn returns Leylia and Ghim’s body back to Neece. Parn and Deedlit begin a new quest of hunting down Karla and trying to rescue Woodchuck.

 

My Thoughts:

When I was done reading, I wasn’t really sure what to think. Except that I had just read a D&D campaign where the campaign was over, the villain gets away and this leads to yet another campaign to be played at a later date. It didn’t help that the OVA anime jams in another storyline and adds some real pathos and relational drama between Parn and Deedlit.

Speaking of relationships. I’m usually not a fan of that kind of thing playing a big part in the stories I read. However, everything between everyone was so understated that I found myself actually wanting something from them. Deedlit and Parn are a couple but you’d never know it besides the fact that she keeps hanging around Parn and protecting him. Etoh and Princess Fianna do nothing but blush at each other and Slay and Leylia haven’t even started their relationship yet. I wanted the romance from the anime.

And I guess that sums up the issues with this. This is a fine manga on its own. But for me, Lodoss started with the OVA and that is the metric that I measure everything related to Lodoss by. It’s not fair, but that is just how it is. I mentioned in the review for book 2 that I have some more Lodoss manga and that I was wavering about reading it. I have decided that I won’t be. The Chronicles of the Heroic Knight deal with a new cast of characters taking over from Parn, Deedlit, etc and Deedlit’s Tale is a shojo manga that involves a high dark elf trying to take Deedlit’s affections from Parn. I don’t want THAT much relational drama.

Glad I read these but I feel no need to hold onto them or the other Lodoss manga I own. Not sure if I’ll try to sell them online or do a book giveaway. The last 2 book giveaways fizzled and I’m not sure that old manga series is going to do better than some Michael Crichton techno-thrillers 😀

Once again, the individual covers were fantastic. This one really showcases the snub-nose art that predominates the mana. The anime was much more classical anime with small, curvy, pointy noises, but the manga-ka here wasn’t afraid to show those schnozzes!

The Grey Witch 16 - Cover

 

★★★☆☆

 

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[Manga Monday] Birth of a New Knight (Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch Saga #2) ★★★☆☆

birthofanewknight (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Birth of a New Knight
Series: Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch Saga #2
Author: Ryo Mizuno
Artist: Yoshihiko Ochi
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 214
Words: 7K

 

Synopsis:

Chapter 9: The Gang meets a group of Holy Knights who are chasing the carriage with Karla and the princess. Parn chases after them to “help” and of course everyone else is dragged along. Before they can catch up a fireball explodes and Deedlit has to summon a spirit of wind to see what has happened. Slayn intervenes and uses magic eyes to see what has happened. He sees Karla and her guards as the sole survivors and recognizes her as the woman in the painting in the manor from before.

Chapter 10: Parn is all set to go charging in to avenge the dead Holy Knights but everyone reins him in. Then Ghim reveals that Leylia is the spitting image of Karla and HE goes charging in. Only it is too late and Karla has left. Etoh revives the one surviving Holy Knight and tells them Karla had kidnapped the Princess. Everyone decides to go after Karla and rescue the princess. They catch up to Karla that night and surprise her. Ghim confirms Karla IS Leylia while she attacks him with magic.

Chapter 11: Karla releases a slumber spell and puts everyone to sleep. She has the remaining guards lock them up as she hopes to recruit Parn and Gang. Karla leaves to go get more guards and leaves a skeleton warrior to guard the gang. Our gang defeat the skeleton warrior and prepare to take on the remaining human guards. They then rescue the Princes and head back to the capital of Vallis.

Chapter 12: They then rescue the Princes and head back to the capital of Vallis.

Chapter 13: Karla catches up to them, offers to let them join her and tells them what she is doing is best for Lodoss overall. The Gang refuses and Karla prepares to incinerate them all.

Chapter 14: Everyone attacks Karla but she doesn’t destroy them all for some reason. She just holds them off with a shield spell. Then a bunch of Holy Knights show up with the Head Sorcerer of Valis. Karla makes her escape using a spell that only a High Priestess of Marfa could use, confirming that she is indeed Leylia. Parn reveals his father’s name to the Holy Knights and they all react negatively to the news.

Chapter 15: The Sorcerer reveals to Parn how his father died and that he did not die in disgrace as Parn has always been afraid he did. As a reward for saving the Princess the Sorcerer promises Parn that the truth of his father shall be known to all.

 

My Thoughts:

I did not enjoy this volume quite as much as the previous. Mainly because I could almost hear the dice rolling as the story moved along.

While I know that Karla IS Leylia, and I even know why because of the anime, the continued “mystery” and her evil villain monologue of all 2 sentences about doing everything for the good of Lodoss just had me rolling my eyes.

I have the sequel series in manga as well (in regular tankubon size. This Grey Witch Saga has been in the trade paperback size and I really appreciate that) and I was considering reading them next, but I am seriously reconsidering that now.

Thank goodness for the chapter covers. Those at least are still fantastic.

The Grey Witch 09 - Cover

 

★★★☆☆

 

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[Manga Monday] A Gathering of Heroes (Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch Saga #1) ★★★☆½

agatheringofheroes (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: A Gathering of Heroes
Series: Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch Saga #1
Author: Ryo Mizuno
Artist: Yoshihiko Ochi
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 214
Words: 7K

 

Synopsis:

Chapter 1 introduces to the world of Lodoss and how a generation ago 7 heroes fought against the dark god and re-chained him. That story is told by a blind bard to an elf named Deedlit. They are then attacked in daylight by goblins, something unheard of. We then switch to the dwarf Ghim, who is taking leave of Neese, a high priestess. Neese’s daughter Leylia was kidnapped 6 years ago and Ghim means to find her and rescue her. We are also introduced to Parn and Etoh, a young knight and priest respectively. Parn has seen goblin attacks in his recent journey and is trying to rouse the villagers in defense. They ignore him so he and Etoh go after the goblin band themselves.

Chapter 2: Parn and Etoh fight the goblins but only succeed because Ghim hears the sound of fighting and helps them. Parn is wounded with a poison knife and Ghim takes him to the sorcerer Slayn for healing. Slayn apparently knew Parn’s father in the past. They all decide to go on a quest to find out why the goblins are active in the day. We switch to the city of Kanon, where a castle lies. Guards see a fleet of battleships approaching from the dark island of Marmo. The sorceress Karla appears and destroys the fortress, allowing the fleet to unload all of its warriors. Last off the ship is Emperor Beld, one of the 7 heroes, who has become an evil villain.

Chapter 3: Beld reveals to Karla that he intends to rule the entire island of Lodoss. Parn and Co are now in Allan, capital city of Allania, one of the kingdoms of Lodoss. The kingdom is celebrating the birth of the new heir. Parn sees a woman being attacked and comes to her rescue, only it turns out to be the elf Deedlit, who takes care of business all by herself. Parn is instantly smitten. Slayn meanwhile visits his old university only to find it abandoned and neglected. Deedlit takes Parn out to dinner as thanks for stepping in. We see Woodchuck, a thief just released from prison, picking a pocket and running away.

Chapter 4: We see Woodchuck making some sort of deal with the Thieves Guild. Deedlit brings a drunk Parn back to his inn and she meets Slayn. The next morning Slayn relates his discoveries of his old school and how it was destroyed by a former student, one Wagnard, who turned to black magic and was expelled. Wagnard learned some powerful magic, returned, killed all the wizards and plundered and destroyed the school. Parn gets angry that the wizards didn’t fight back and Woodchuck, who is having breakfast at the inn, mocks Parn for his naivete.

Chapter 5: Woodchuck tells a tale of how it wasn’t Wagnard that plundered the school but some unlicensed thieves and how the guild wants them punished. Woodchuck claims to know where the plunder is but that it is now guarded by minions of Emperor Beld. The group goes off to investigate. Slayn and Deedlit confront a dark elf while the other explore the inside of the manor.

Chapter 6: Deedlit, Slayn and Woodchuck defeat the dark elf. Inside, Parn and Ghim kill 3 soldiers of Marmo and find a plan that looks like an attempt at assassinating the King of Allania. They find a magically sealed door. The room doesn’t hold any of the schools books but there is a note signed by Karla and a picture of her upon the wall. Ghim seems to recognize it. The group brings the plan to the King and the assassination is thwarted. Woodchuck asks to join the group. The chapter ends with Allania finding out about Beld’s invasion and due to an alliance made in the previous war, they must come to Kanon’s assistance.

Chapter 7: Allania has decided to barricade themselves in against Beld instead of fighting against him. Parn gets angry and tells everyone he’s going to Vallis to see if that kingdom will mobilize against Beld. His only way to Vallas, though, is through the Forest of No Return. Deedlit guides them through the Forest and reveals to Slayn that she is one of the last existing High Elves.

Chapter 8: Karla is reciting how the gods themselves warred and brought destruction to the land and how even now humans fight amongst themselves for more and more power. Her goal is to put a stop to the fighting and destruction, everywhere. Beld reveals to Wagnard that his fight is personal against King Fahn of Vallis. Parn and Gang are on their way to Vallis when they meet Karla,who has kidnapped Fianna, daugher of Fahn.

 

My Thoughts:

My memories of the Record of Lodoss War start with the anime and the original 13 episode OVA. The manga came much later. In all honesty, it is probably a good thing.

This is basically a Dungeons & Dragons campaign scenario. You have The Group with your various “character types” and an overarching campaign goal of stopping Beld’s invasion, while each individual character has their own little sub-goal.

The style itself is different enough from the anime that it was a bit jarring at first. The noses are much snubbier and everyone isn’t as streamlined as in the anime. Rougher is probably the best word. It’s not bad by any means just different.

I read these 8 chapters in one collected volume, but the original manga was released in 8 comics and THOSE covers were gorgeous! I’ve included one as a sample.

The Grey Witch 03 - Cover

 

★★★☆½

 

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