Image source: ichijinshaPV on YouTube
And it’s a love letter to hardcore fans.
With 29 volumes currently in print, fantasy manga Landreaall is a sizable body of work. But while there have been more than a few drama CDs over the years, there had been no anime adaptations—until now that is. Celebrating the thirty-minute anime OVA that came bundled with the 29th volume of the manga, original creator Chika Ogaki, director Hiroaki Gouda, and voice actress Atsuko Enomoto (Ion in the Drama CDs/anime) hosted an event to watch the anime with diehard fans and talk about the long history of the manga.
Going into the event, I personally knew very little about Landreaall. From my research, it was about Marion, a woman who sealed a dragon inside her own body. Because of this, she is unable to get emotionally close to others, lest the dragon escape. Young noble DX falls in love with her and so the pair—along with DX’s sister, Ion, and their bodyguard, Rokkou—begin a quest to free Marion of her burdon.
As a person obsessed with dragons, that was all I needed to hear to want to watch it. Yet, the Landreaall OVA is far from the dragon-filled romp I had expected going in.
Instead of starting at the beginning of the manga, the OVA of Landreaall is set far into the story. DX, and Ion are students at a knight academy. One day, the group learns of an obstacle course race through the neighboring city. While initially uninterested, when DX learns of the prizes for winning, he decides to enter as part of a four-person team. With DX on one team and Ion on another, the pair race through the city in a light-hearted mini-adventure.
The plot (and the entire OVA, when you get down to it) is pure, unapologetic fan service—though not of the sexual kind. As DX and Ion encounter obstacle after obstacle and team after team, they encounter various characters from across the manga’s massive run. Each character gets a cool/funny moment or two as DX and Ion dash by. Some use their brains to beat an obstacle while some use their fists. Others simply fail hilariously. But what each little scene truly does is give fans a few moments to see all their favorites in animated form.
One surprising aspect of the anime is how grounded it is. While DX and Ion may both be able to run up a 50-foot vertical stone wall, it is clear that they are the exception, not the rule—that even in world of the Landreaall, they are seen as unbelievably talented. However, even they have no magic spells or beam-shooting swords.
Thus we are given several realistic—and excellently choreographed—fights with sword, staff, and fists that look far cooler than the repeated-frame punching and scream-filled attacks of many a fighting anime. Honestly, these scenes are worth the price of admission alone.
Image source: 一迅社の宣伝課です。 on Twitter
All in all, the Landreaall OVA really is a gift to fans—and is most certainly not aimed at newbies like me. But that said, as an intro to the series, it gives you a brief look at each character—giving you an intriguing taste of each. The plot of the OVA—and characters’ motivations—are easy to understand, so you won’t be lost following what is happening in the OVA itself. However, there is clearly a mass of unspoken history and interpersonal relationships that you can’t get a handle on—no matter how much you want to.
As for me, I left entertained with what I saw and interested in picking up the manga. But more than that, I (along with the creator and director) hope for a full anime adaptation sometime in the future.
The Landreaall OVA was released as part of Landreaall’s 29th manga volume on February 25, 2017. There is currently no word on a Western release.