animefringe november 2003 / reviews

Record of Lodoss War: Welcome to Lodoss Island Vol.2
Format: left-right manga
Production: Central Park Media / Ryo Mizuno / Rei Hyakuyashiki
Comments: Delightfully fractured.
Animefringe Reviews:
Record of Lodoss War: Welcome to Lodoss Island Vol.2

Fans of the Record of Lodoss War series are probably already familiar with the Welcome to Lodoss Island! series; the animated version was the chibi omake (extra) added to the end of episodes of the Lodoss TV series. The Welcome to Lodoss Island! manga takes the chibi characters for another spin, lampooning the dark events in the Lodoss War series with a smile and a wink (and more than a few bad puns).

Book two of the Welcome to Lodoss Island! series picks up after our heroes have defeated Karla the Witch. King Kashu's country Faim is at war with the Fire clan who has summoned the fire demon Ifrit for help. Parn and Deedlit, the former a formidable knight and the latter the magical elf who is in love with him, wander into the mess and decide to help Parn's friend Kashu. After stumbling across various friends and hangers-on, Deedlit decides to summon the wind Djinn to counterbalance the power of Ifrit.

Sound a little complex? It is! To really appreciate the Welcome to Lodoss Island! series, one has to have seen the (relatively short) Record of Lodoss War OAVs. Considering that the OAV is (still!) one of the better fantasy anime around, its not a bad thing, but it's necessary to be familiar with that plot line before jumping into Welcome to Lodoss Island!, which lampoons the whole OAV plotline. In a nutshell, that's probably Welcome to Lodoss Island!'s biggest shortcoming; to really appreciate it the Lodoss War OAV is a must.

Despite the poor art on the front and back covers of the book (especially the front -the characters are extremely poorly drawn), the actual manga is pretty cute. Obviously all the characters have been super deformed from their ultra realistic OAV incarnations (except for Kashu, who evidently doesn't translate to chibi very well).

As far as humor goes, I chuckled throughout the whole book. There are many funny (and just plain odd) puns and a couple of humorous extended jokes, including a love hate relationship between the scatterbrained Kashu and Naldia the leader of the Fire clan and the way Azmo of the Fire clan summons Ifrit (why would the powerful Djinn help Azmo? Azmo has his secret diary, of course). Of course a major point of lampoon from the series is the relationship between Parn and Deedlit. The serious wood elf has become a stereotypically possessive anime heroine and master swordsman Parn is the hopelessly wishy-washy object of her affection. Whether the book will make one laugh out loud or not is another question, though. There are a few good lines in the book but overall it's largely forgettable.

Central Park's release of the manga is definitely middle of the road. The manga has been flipped to right-to-left format and everything's been translated, even sound effects (which I like much better than having Japanese sound effects in an English translation). The book comes with a short warning on the front cover reminding readers that the manga has numerous spoilers for Record of Lodoss War. Other extras include a short plot summary, character intros, and artist omake, which explains a bit about the creation of the Lodoss series.

For fans of Record of Lodoss War Welcome to Lodoss Island! is a delightfully fractured look at Lodoss Island. Of Rei Hyakuyashiki's Lodoss work (this and Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight TV series) this Welcome to Lodoss Island! is a much better work and should be the next place people go to for a Lodoss fix after the OAVs.