Rune Soldier is the English dubbed version of the 24 episode Japanese Anime series Mahou Senshi Louie (魔法戦士リウイ) that originally aired from Apr 3, 2001 to Sep 18, 2001. Going into the series, one could easily make the mistake of thinking that it was going to be exclusive ecchi fantasy. However, that is far from the truth. Sure, there are some cheeky moments, but these complement the drama, action and intrigue faced by the five main characters.
Rune Soldier begins with Melissa (Priestess of Mylee, God of Battle), Genie (Powerfully built Warrior) and Merrill (the resident rogue) looking for a female magician to open a lock that will take Merrill around a week to pick. Why are they looking for a female to accompany them? Because they’ve had issues with male adventurers in the past.
When they arrive in the royal city that evening, Merrill and Genie each encounter Louie, a rather handsome (and possibly retarded) drunk being chased by some chicks that he managed to piss off due to his night time shenanigans. Merrill thinks he’s a “dirty pervert”. Genie believes him to be a “nutcase” and “street brawler” after he interferes with a fight several adventurers are picking with her in an alleyway.
The next day the trio hit up a local pub where some of the members of the magician’s guild hang out and meet Ila, the best friend of Louie. She declares her inability to adventure with them due to her lack of skill. However, she ends up recommending her friend (she has a thing for him) Louie. He soon enters the pub, picks a fight with Genie. Being the grand slacker that he is, it turns out that what he believes to be a paralysis bead he threatens her with is in actuality an explosion bead and subsequently blows up most of the pub.
Melissa goes through a ritual of revealing at the local temple the following day, and through fate (Louie gets chased around the church by staff wielding priestess bent on beating up a pervert) gets the revelation that Louie is her champion. “Champion?” you say. Well, yeah. In basic terms, such an individual is the one that the priestess must follow into battle and help steer in the direction of greatness. Yep, she is stuck with the job of turning old Louie into a hero, even though she keeps saying “It is against my will.”
Viewers could be mistaken into believing that the story has no ongoing plot. However, even though the earlier episodes deal with what might appear to be random adventures, they act as training for Louie and allow the viewers to gain an understanding of the rest of the party. About a third of the way through, we are introduced to a group of other characters whose fates are also linked to a greater conspiracy brewing in the kingdom.
There is also an obvious affection between Ila and Louie throughout the series. She cares about him unconditionally, which in my humble opinion makes her the best female character. And though this isn’t heavily explored in the series, they will do just about anything for each other. She doesn’t try to compete with his love of adventure, allowing Louie to do his own thing.
Rune Soldier was a surprising title in that it pretty much covered all the bases. Throughout the series, I saw some significant character development on the part of all the cast. Louie was also a worthy main character. Sure, he acts like a buffoon at times, but then cracks out some awesomeness. The plot was expertly delivered, and I found myself wondering what the characters would face next. The party do not win all of the time, but they do learn from the experience.
I have several favorite scenes of the series:
- Louie and Genie punching the crap out of each other after she gets depressed. It shows his willingness to snap his friends out of a slump. Great biffo!
- Louie and Genie competing against each other in a leg race… during which he pokes fun at her for having big breasts when she has difficulty walking along a tight ledge, they fight each other with sticks and end up getting drunk. Yep, healthy competition between comrades.
- Louie wielding a dead boar to vanquish demons. That sequence always cracks me up. I mean, really? FFS, its a boar and he’s twirling that thing around like its nothing at all. Hysterical!
My rating: 10/10