Sorcerous Stabber Orphen (魔術士オーフェン) is 26 episode fantasy with some comedy elements anime. Based on a light novel series by Yoshinobu Akita. Directied by Hiroshi Watanabe. It was popular enough to get a second season which was not based on anything prior and is much more light hearted and worse. It was also the basis for a PS2 launch game, the game is not good. There is a remake coming out next year as well. Learning that is why I wanted to do this.
Bloody August is a dragon like beast that appears and destroy everything around it. No one knows why it shows up and where it will go next. A young man is seen following the trail of destruction, he is known as the black sorcerer Orphen. There is a school for people to learn magic and become sorcerers called the Tower of Fang. Orphen was one of those students. He left to follow Bloody August for unknown reasons and the Tower now sees him as a enemy and a threat to them. In a town he meets and takes an apprentice named Majic and a young noble woman named Cleo that has a sword that Orphen wants. They follow Orphen after learning why he is interested in Bloody August and why the Tower is after him. A bigger cast is introduced and what is Bloody August and where it came from is explored.
Its a 90’s anime in a lot of ways. I really like the world and most of the characters in the show. The atmosphere is both fun and dark at the same time, the show will be joking but the characters are all showing signs of being a little worried or scared. The music I really enjoy. The plot is engaging and fun to follow, if a little predictable. The design of the character and the world while a little generic are well done and nice to look at if not moving.
The show is big on the themes of redemption and reputation. Redemption is something Orphen is looking for and two other characters entire story arcs are about can you be redeemed for past mistakes. Reputation is also a big theme. The Tower is very concerned with its reputation and will push stories out to cover up and make it look better. Orphen has a reputation of being an evil sorcerer who will hurt everyone and is the harbinger of Bloody August. He doesn’t care about it and it causes both good and bad for him.
Its a 90s anime so lots of tropes from that era of anime, so that can be a little annoying for some. The music does get a little repetitive. The dubbed voices are bad, some are good but half the cast are just headache inducing. The animation is not that great, things look great when not moving, but if its not a battle scene or a climax it can be a little rough. Cleo is just the worst.
Normally I don’t talk about spoilers or plot points but this one I don’t know where to put it and I think it needs to be brought up. Midway through the series you meet Orphen’s old partner name Stephanie. The viewer learns she stopped being his partner after an incident that left her wounded and she used up all of her magic healing herself. Toward the end of that story line its revealed that she was born male at birth and when she was hurt, by lines used in the show “She healed the injury and used all of her powers and while doing that she did other repairs.”, she became a woman. She identifies as a woman and most character and the show itself treats her as a woman. Yet the show also plays it as a joke when the backstory is revealed and she is deadnamed a few times after that. I don’t know enough to claim if this is a good thing with some bad or a bad thing with some good so it goes here.
Weeb level: 4/10. It has a lot of fantasy anime tropes in it. The consent yelling of names of characters and spells. The cute animal sidekick. Slapstick jokes. A lot of anime pacing melodrama.
Fanservice: 6/10. There is some. Cleo ends up being the focus of this. There are a lot of shots from her back side and two separate scenes of her getting out of a bath. Both played for a jokes. One character you see naked a lot, but she is in that anime spirit thing where she has no detail and just walks around
Quality: 7/10. It was one of the first anime I found on my own so a little nostalgia is going on here. I do think its an enjoyable series that is a good way to spend some time. It will never blow anyone’s mind. If you are looking for an enjoyable fantasy anime you could do way worse than this.
Where to Watch: The publisher of the series went under a few years ago. So its hard to find, you can pick up old DVDs cheep. The dubbed version is streaming on Amazon Prime.