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Guin Saga: Review

If there’s one genre that isn’t represented enough in anime, it’s that of traditional fantasy.  Luckily for us we now have an adaptation of one of the greatest fantasy novel series to come out of Japan, The Guin Saga.  This is the epic tale of young twin heirs to the throne of the grand nation Parros which gets attacked and overthrown by the evil empire of Mongaul.  The children are able to escape via a special magic teleporting chamber that can only be used by those of royal blood.  Luckily they are transported to a deep forest where they meet and befriend the leopard-headed warrior Guin. 

You really have to see Guin in action to understand how amazing a fighter he truly is.  His strength is so massive that he drop kicks one soldeir into the ground driving him into the earth like a nail.  There’s another moment where he slams someone against a tree with such force that the soldier’s metal helmet creates friction heat and sets the tree aflame.  It would seem like this would almost be silly.  How can you find a series with a character so overpowered interesting?  That’s what makes it so enjoyable though.  It’s such a nice change of pace to see someone be able to defeat the enemies that you just can’t stand with such ease.  I should say that Guin still does get his challenges in battle, however, so don’t let his superhuman fighting prowess turn you away from an engaging story. 

The series is set in a dark fantasy world that mainly seems to be that of a traditional medieval fantasy style.  The premise of the series focuses around warring nations, medieval politics of kings, armies, clergymen and nobility, and those who seek power.  Along with this though you have sections of the world that are populated by great monsters, beastmen, and giants.  This is a world where magic, gods, and the forces of good and evil are visibly present and active. 

The Guin Saga is adapted from a fantasy novel series that spans 127 volumes and was written by the late Kaoru Kurimoto.  Ms. Kurimoto had been writing the series up until her death in May of 2009, shortly after the Guin Saga anime had started to air.  Ms. Kurimoto is responsible for laying a lot of foundations in Japanese literature.  Her novel, Makai Sui Koten, is one of the earliest adaptations of the Cthulhu Mythos in Japanese literature and entails a great battle between the Elder Gods and Japanese Gods.  She has even written a tale that connects the Cthulhu Mythos to The Guin Saga entitled Makyou Yuugeki Tai.  Another of her novels, Mayonaka no Tenshi, is also responsible for laying foundation and gaining interest in the shounen-ai story theme. 

The storylines in the anime are taken from the first 16 novels, and while a few of the episodes in the later half of the series may be found a bit slower pace.  It may feel like that, though, because the first half of the series moves very very quick.  My only regret is that currently we only have the first 5 of the novels translated into english.  I’ve already picked up the first novel and it reads a little quick, but is really well done.  The publishing company has stated that they will release more if there’s been enough interest shown in the novel series, so hopefully we can drive up the readership just a little bit.


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