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Fans of classic fantasy anime Record of Lodoss War may notice that upcoming anime Record of Grancrest War has a name that’s more than a little similar—and for good reason: the two stories share an author.

Record of Grancrest War is the story of a land being invaded by demons from another dimension. Using magical, super power-granting crests, the nobles fight back against the invaders—or, at least, they’re supposed to. Instead, the nobles fight against each other, gathering ever more crests to increase their powers (along with their holdings).

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In the midst of this mess is a young knight named Theo. Oddly for a crest bearer, he longs only for the land to be at peace. After meeting young mage Siluca, the two team up to stop the feuding lords and push back the demons.

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Two young heroes, one wielding a sword and the other magic, traveling while gaining allies—yeah, this sounds a bit familiar. While seemingly not set in the world of Lodoss War, Grancrest War certainly feels like its sister series on the surface. But alike or completely different, doesn’t really factor in to why this anime is my most anticipated of the Winter season. Simply put, the very fact that it was penned by Lodoss War creator Ryo Mizuno is enough to give it that slot.

After all, Lodoss War is the first anime I ever saw. It quite literally changed the course of my life.

Back in the 80s and 90s, anime was nearly non-existent in America compared to today. Sure, I had watched a bit of Voltron as a kid but I had no idea it was any different than any other cartoon show.

The first I ever heard of “anime” was in a late night commercial seen while staying up late at a friend’s house in middle school and watching the (then new) Sci-fi channel. Frankly, it terrified me. I hated blood and graphic violence as a kid (and still avoid tourture porn films like the plague).

When two of my close friends began getting into anime, they, of course, tried to get me into it too. They first pitched watching Vampire Hunter D, but to me, anything with vampires was clearly going to involve blood, guts, and gore so I was even more turned off.

But then they changed tactics. They began to talk about this amazing fantasy anime they’d watched (and rewatched) many times. It was, of course, the Record of Lodoss War OVA.

Now, at the time, I was a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings books and was desperately looking for something similar. But only after they promised again and again that there was “no blood” did I agree to watch it. (Side note: They totally lied to me. A dragon takes a knife to the eye in the first scene.)

We went to the complete other side of the city I grew up in to a Hastings that, for some reason, had an insanely large anime collection for rent (my local Blockbuster, on the other hand, had a grand total of a single row of a single shelf devoted to anime). We picked up the entire OVA—including the final VHS which even my friends had never seen before.

We stayed up all night marathoning it and the rest, you could say, is history. I became a huge anime fan. I scoured TV for everything anime—namely USA’s airings of Sailor Moon, Sci-Fi Channel’s Saturday Anime, and, eventually, Cartoon Network’s Toonami. I then moved on to trading anime tapes with strangers across the country and by the time high school came around, I was watching a complete series or two a week. (And let’s not even get into all the anime conventions.)

Image Source: TVアニメ「グランクレスト戦記」公式‏ on Twitter

Anime, along with my love of Japanese games, convinced me to learn the language, study abroad, and finally move to Japan more than decade ago. Eventually, writing about games and anime became my job. It’s for certain that without Lodoss War, I would not be here now, doing what I love.

So when you say that there is an new anime by the author of the work that so captured my young imagination that it helped set the course of my entire life, it’s not surprising that, in my mind, it overshadows all other upcoming anime this winter season.

Image Source: TVアニメ「グランクレスト戦記」公式‏ on Twitter

Record of Grancrest War will be streamed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll and Hulu beginning on January 5, 2018.

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