An issue that I have repeatedly been finding with the anime list (and, to be fair, with parts of the TV list) is disappointments with how some of the older shows compare to present day. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, for example I am really enjoying the original Dragonball anime to the now, but Record of Lodoss War really takes the cake. This was a show that I was super jazzed about seeing after the first episode, only for it to never really hit those heights again.
When it started I thought that I would be getting this cool anime that watched like a well run game of Dungeons and Dragons with quests, boss battles and cool dungeons. Instead, this is the Japanese take on the 1980s trend of high fantasy that was released episodically on VHS rather than as a week on week series. I can see from watching this that this is one of those highly influential series within Japan that would have been able to count early Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy as contemporaries.
Problem is, aside from that first episode and some smattering so here and there, it always felt like a copy of something else that had been done better elsewhere. The protagonist really should have been a mute Link type for all the personality he has and the character that has left the biggest impact on pop culture (the female elf Deedlit) is the progenitor of much of what we would now recognise as a fan service character thanks to the animation framing her as being a buxom warrior who instantly falls in love with the dull protagonist.
The animation itself is pretty good for the early 1990s with the dragons having some pretty interesting forms to them. There is also a lot to be admired for the world building that they manage to do. However, it never reaches the heights that I know it could and that a downright shame.