Legend of Lemnear Anime Review
LEGEND OF LEMNEAR 極黒の翼バルキサス
Legend of Lemnear Gokukoku no Tsubasa Barukisasu
Legend of Lemnear - The Pitch Black Wings Valkisus
US Release By
Sleazy Fantasy action
Lemnear is an attractive young woman in one of those armored bikinis who seeks revenge for the destruction of her village and the death of her family. She was formerly known as Silver, one of three powerful guardians of the people, until an evil mage captured Bronze, killed Gold, and caused untold havoc. Problem: This mage (the bad guy, in case that wasn't clear), aside from having really huge shoulder armor, also has a hefty army of minions. Bigger Problem: He is an underling of the lord of evil, a guy who floats around in a big, scary castle bringing darkness to the land and wearing even bigger shoulder armor (meaning, according to the laws of fantasy anime, that he's even tougher). But, before Lemnear gets down to vengeance and all that world saving stuff, she's going to have to deal with the local slave trader, and becoming part of his harem...
Quick ReviewSwitch to Full Review
Legend of Lemnear is sleazy fantasy at its worst. Filled with gratuitous nudity, wanton violence, and a complete lack of plot and characterization, there's none of the pretty art and mindless fun usually associated with Urushihara's name to be found. At least there's a heap of action--the entire last third of the film is a big ol' fight--but the animation is cheap and the visuals bland. Even the Japanese acting is bad (the dub sounds good by comparison).
A low-minded, nudity-strewn, fantasy action fest only likely to be worth the time for fans of heckling bad action movies and diehard Urushihara followers.
Full ReviewSwitch to Quick Review
A low-minded, nudity-strewn fantasy action-fest with a complete lack of plot and characterization, Legend of Lemnear is lame fantasy at its worst. Seeing Satoshi Urushihara's name attached to it might give you the idea that it's a good kind of sleazy (a la Plastic Little), but no--it fails badly even in the fun department.
Like the manga it's (loosely) based on, there's no shortage of action--at least the last third of the show consists entirely of one fight, and there's plenty more in the preceding two thirds. There's also plenty of nudity to go around--Lemnear's costume would embarrass the women on Baywatch, and there is, of course, a harem. Sadly, the story manages to be both convoluted and non-existent at the same time, and neither the action nor the cheesecake look good enough to be worth sitting through it for.
The characters, despite following a tried and true formula, are another area where Legend of Lemnear doesn't cut it. The overall mediocrity of their designs, personalities, and acting left me not caring much about any of them. When you don't care about the main characters, there'd better be something pretty darned interesting going on to make up for it. There isn't.
Based on Urushihara's talent for pretty art I was expecting at least some nice visuals, but Lemnear doesn't even have much to offer in that department. The character designs are okay, but not noteworthy and nowhere near the level of Urushihara's more recent work. The art, likewise, is passable but entirely unimpressive. The animation, at least, has a few brief bright spots, but for the most part is rough and cheap-looking.
I was a bit surprised at how bad the Japanese acting is. Not awful, but despite a couple of recognizable names in the cast it's well below par even for lame fantasy. The dub is surprisingly good. Well, not really good, but it is decent, and in comparison to the striving-for-mediocrity Japanese (and the often-abysmal USM dubs of the era) it seems praiseworthy.
Put together, the whole thing is so sleazy, mindless, and plotless--all in the bad way--that it just isn't much fun to watch. The entertainment level is about equal to the no-budget fantasy slasher flicks on late night cable, worthy of heckling at best. If bad action movies and/or bad fantasy action movies are your cup of tea you'll probably have a ball, and diehard Urushihara fans might want to give it a shot. Otherwise, just stay away.
Have something to say about this anime? Join our newly-resurrected forums and speak your mind.
Your best bet for quality B-movie action and lots of skin is either the anime adaptation of Urushihara's Plastic Little (even though it's still bad and sci-fi, it's much more fun) or the semi-serious handiwork of the (in)famous Go Nagai: Devilman, Shuten Douji, and more. If you really want fantasy, there are plenty of choices as well: Bastard!! (relatively similar), Record of Lodoss War (much less sleazy), Rune Soldier Louie (less sleazy and less serious), and more.
Notes and Trivia
Legend of Lemnear is very loosely based on an even more nudity-strewn 2-volume manga of the same name, drawn by Satoshi Urushihara and written by Kinji Yoshimoto. Yoshimoto wrote and directed the movie, Urushihara supplied character designs and acted as production supervisor. The manga was available (in three volumes) in English from CPM Manga.
US DVD Review
The all-region DVD (one of USM's early efforts) has both English and Japanese stereo soundtracks, an English subtitle track, and for an extra tosses in introductions to the characters linked to illustrative scenes. It's not bad for its era, but there are a couple of rough spots. First, though the transfer is generally good, there are a couple of scenes with a subtle transition between two shades of black in the background that produces a sort of shimmering line right down the middle of the screen. Second, if you're watching it with the Japanese audio, when the credits are about to start, the sound just... stops. They obviously froze the final shot just before the Japanese credits rolled, so they could overlay the English ones on that image, but they apparently neglected to keep the audio rolling in the Japanese soundtrack (it is still there in the English one). Finally, as with all early USM DVDs, there is no translation of the Japanese voice cast.
There is also a much later re-release from USM; the overall production is an improvement, but I'm not sure if the actual video is any different.
Definitely qualifies as 16-up. Has absolutely no redeeming qualities, either.
Violence: 4 - Plenty of blood and bodies.
Nudity: 4 - Several gratuitous harem scenes and a lot of barely-on costumes.
Sex/Mature Themes: 2 - Threatened rape.
Language: 1 - Surprisingly mild.
Formerly available in North America from the late US Manga Corps on bilingual DVD, both a very early edition and a much later 2004 re-release. Was originally available on subtitled and dubbed VHS.