Score: Very Good
Rating: 15 for violence
Ryner is a magician cadet in Roland’s army until a screwup get most of his group wiped out by Estabul knights. Locked up for two years, he emerges to find Roland much changed: his best friend Sion is now king, Estabul has been conquered, power struggles threaten Roland’s stability, and foreign powers are gearing up for another fight. He has a plan: each country locates ancient artefacts of great power and use the threat of mutually assured destruction to keep peace.
This series vacillates bafflingly between two extremes. On the one hand the main characters, Ryner and the swordswoman Ferris, act like they’re in Slayers. They travel around without much care, looking for artefacts they can retrieve, insulting each other, escaping by blind luck and leaving chaos behind them. Ryner is lazy and would rather just sleep – in fact he quite liked prison because they left him alone. Ferris is obsessed with food.
Contrasted that with a deadly serious story in the background. Sion is trying to change the country, replacing corruption with equality and freeing it from the burden of incessant war, but many of the nobles are opposed to such a dangerous idealist. Sion’s position on the throne was granted by a powerful man who can’t be trusted, and not everyone who supports Sion chooses to do so in the ethical way he’s wish. If he takes one step wrong, Roland and the world could be plunged into another war.
Either series could have been good. I’m usually in favour of such a combinations in anime, because seeing the characters in less serious moments gives them more depth in the dark sections. Sadly in this case the contrast felt slightly off, and just nudged what could have been an Excellent series down to merely a Very Good score. Even so, it is very good and I recommend watching to decide for yourself.