Every once in a while, I decide to download a random anime I’ve never heard of and watch it. This OVA was based on the computer RPG “Wizardry I – Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord” (1981) but credits the 1987 NES version of the game (weird); the OVA was made in 1991. The first in a series of dungeon crawler games, the goal was to make your way through the ten levels beneath the king’s castle in order to face the evil arch-wizard Werdna on the final floor. (Wikipedia) The OVA pretty much tells the story of the game but adds its own characters.
A three member party goes on a dungeon raid. The party members are Shin, the fighter/swordsman; Alex, the blond mage; and Hawkwind, the thief/ninja. They first get attacked by zombies and handle them well…except that Alex’s leg gets bitten by a chopped-off zombie head. Suddenly to the rescue comes the great wizard Joeza, a bearded elf cleric, and his apprentice Albert. He explains that Werdna is planning to use the amulet to send the world into darkness when he finally gets the thousand-year curse off it.
OK, backstory time. Werdna and Joeza were war buddies under King Trebor until Werdna betrayed them and stole the amulet for him. He then took the amulet with him to the 10th floor of the underground dungeon. This amulet has mad powers so I suppose it could eliminate the entire castle and the dungeon below.
After getting a history lesson, the party decides to add Joeza and Albert and they take an elevator to the ninth floor. There they meet an cute elfgirl named Sheer who is looking for her boyfriend, Randy. There’s also a monster called Flack who can turn people into stone. He kind of looks like the Hobgoblin from Spiderman, except he doesn’t have a glider. Sheer gets angry when Shin kills Flack (but not before it stonified Hawkwind’s arms); she was hoping he knew where Randy was. After Joeza heals Hawkwind, Sheer joins their party and they walk to a teleportation room, from which they reach the 10th floor.
They get attacked by vampires and, when they finish with them, they find Randy holding the Muramasa Blade. Sheer tries to talk to him but it’s useless since he’s now under Wendra’s control. Shin fights him and his left arm gets cut off but he injures Randy enough for Sheer to finish him with “Tiltowait”, a spell akin to detonating a nuclear weapon. Shin takes the Blade with him and Joeza fixes his arm. At this point, Joeza is showing signs of fatigue. No wonder, he’s had to heal almost the entire party!
Finally, they reach Wendra and the amulet. Wendra announces the seal has almost been removed and sends his henchman, Vampire Lord, to stall them. He doesn’t last too long but Albert gets seriously injured in the process. Joeza uses his last bit of power to revive him then collapses. Wendra scorches his body but before he dies, he tells Shin that he must destroy Wendra. He finally removes the seal and Sheer musters one last attack before she reaches her limit. Shin then activates the Blade, rushes toward Wendra and slices Wendra in half as he was trying to cover the amulet. The blade hits it anyway, causing a huge explosion and leaving the amulet powerless. The last scene is at a hilltop graveyard and then the credits roll with the heroes riding on horses. Be sure to watch the credits because you get to see Hawkwind’s whole face (SPOILERS)!
The action was good and the story was good too, but it really felt like I was watching a game with dialogue like “Just in case, I should increase my defensive powers”. There was even an elevator! Like an RPG, people can be revived or have their limbs reconnected with spells; they can even be reincarnated at the Temple of Cant. However, after the battle, the party took Joeza to that temple and the “amateur wizards” couldn’t do it because he was already very old and died from “lack of psychological strength”. o_o Anyway, I don’t think that anyone actually can be reincarnated there. I mean, the temple’s name is CANT; all you need is an apostrophe and…you see where I’m going with this.
Of course, every dungeon crawler has to have monsters in it. The zombies looked good and the vampires not as good, but my favorite was the goat-lion chimera that shot fire out of both its mouths. The characters didn’t call out the names of their spells, which gave it a bit more realism, but thank goodness for Ureshii’s subs telling me what each spell did. Lastly, one thing I look for a good action anime/movie/anything are explosions and this had some good ones. I tend to prefer oldschool explosions over CG ones because the animators had to draw and they look better. (Might have to do an post on explosions.)
Overall, it was entertaining so I would recommend this for fans of old-school anime and action/fantasy. 7 1/2 out of 10.