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Haou Taikei Ryuu Knight
I'm not sure exactly why I decided to watch this series in 2004. In part it was due to some seiyuu from TM!R being in this series. It was also in part the idea of these SD mecha units mixed into a fantasy environtment. I knew it wouldn't be like Escaflowne, but I think I was still in my mecha-watching phase. Regardless, it took three years to complete this title, mainly because I'm getting too old for these kind of shounen titles
The mix of technology and fantasy works pretty well. A Ryu unit is geared toward its rider. So because Adeu is a knight (howbeit and inexperienced one), he has Ryu Knight Zephyr as his unit. Paffy is a mage, so she has Ryu Mage Magidora. Etc. As such, each mecha unit has the skill set of its rider, whether it is casting spells or fighting. While there are eight featured Ryu units in the anime, the story lets us know there are more, though they don't have riders. So only a select few get Ryu's and other mecha units on Earth Tear are known as Solids. That makes the Ryu's special, which does help in my opinion.
For roughly the first half of the series, things are fairly episodic, though some stories go for more than one episode. Along the way, the core group of Adeu, Paffy, Izumi, and Sarutobi meet other Ryu units and their riders, some of whom are opponents, if only for a time. They face other opponents but there is one central villain -- Galden and his modified Ryu along with the old woman Idoro. In clichéd shounen fashion, whenever Galden is defeated, he'll be back and stronger than ever. That became rather tedious for me. However, by episode 24 (or so), a new villain was introduced -- the Jya-ryuzoku (Helldragon Race). From that point, the story shifted to a more serial nature whith the Jya-ryuzoku eventually completely taking over the villain role. However, about the time you get used to one boss Jya-ryuzoku, another one is forced to come in and replace the previous one and that added a mild bit of interest because you never knew how long a boss would be around.
Speaking of clichés, Adeu is a walking one. His running off at the mouth about what knights should and should not do along with his idiotic nature when it comes to battle (don't think, just rush in because enemies must be fought). He annoyed me greatly for a long time. He toned down for a while, but then toward the end of the series, he was annoying again. Other clichéd items were "gotta 'version up'" our mecha units, and then often having clichéd moments to trigger this (overcoming great odds, finding hidden inner stregth, whatever). There's just a lot of shounen cliché stuff in here and the further away from your teen years you are, the harder it is to tollerate these things.
I'm not sure what happened, but in the final stretch, there there two recap episodes within a few episodes of each other. The loss of these two episodes (there were three total recap episodes) meant that a lot of things were rushed story-wise to get everyone to the end. As such, when all of the Ryu's class-change, not all of them get a new class-change title (Ryu Knight becomes Ryu Paladin for example). Indeed, the storytelling seemed to just get sloppy, as if the writers were just trying to be done with it.Bottom line: A lot of clichéd shounen stuff here. There are some elements of interest but a lot of elements that aren't. As such, I'll give it a "watch."
Last updated Monday, December 10 2007. Created Saturday, June 05 2004.