Take a couple of plucky adventurers, toss in a few dungeons loaded with traps, serve with a healthy dose of comedy, and the result is Ruin Explorers. Well, most of it anyway.
Slayers fans will love this series. There's a good mix of slapstick, zany characters, and the good old-fashioned humorous love triangle. In the first few episodes, Ruin Explorers goes straight for the funny bone. While the humor is liberally thrown in, the series does develop a decent story line involving a young prince and his arch nemesis. Even though the story isn't earth-shattering, it still has an epic feel to it, and while the old "arch nemesis" theme may not be terribly original, things do build up to an exciting finish.
Leading the pack of this wacky cast are Ihrie and Fam, the two ruin explorers. Part human girl, part squirrel, Fam is probably the cutest thing I've seen since Mink from Dragon Half. Ihrie is more of a tomboy, and she balances things out with her macho attitude. Rasha and Migel are a couple of rival adventurers who provide a good dose of the laughs. The dashing young prince, Lyle, helps contrast the humor and give the series a more serious edge. A scrupulous merchant and his dog round out the main cast.
I'll admit I was a little put off by the first episode. I didn't find it as funny as the later episodes and found it a bit flat. Still, by the second episode things start moving a long quite nicely and get progressively more enjoyable.
The art and animation are of typical anime quality, with sharp artwork and bright colors. The voice-acting was mixed, though. I didn't much care for Ihrie's voice actor, and she tended to sound "fake" at times. Fam was a bit too squeaky for my ears to take, but it certainly fit her character. Prince Lyle was probably the best voiced, with an English accent to distinguish him from everyone else. The rest of the cast was pretty average on the whole.
If you like anime like The Slayers and Dragon Half, then Ruin Explorers will certainly satisfy you. While it's not the most original anime out there, it's light-hearted, humorous, and just plain fun to watch.
The Verdict: * * * 1/2 (above average)
|last modified: 05-26-03||The Anime Critic and associated content © 1999-2003 Pete Harcoff. All rights reserved.|