Fanart Friday returns, having rolled up a completely new character after last session's humiliating and accidental death. Last week, we got to celebrate Halloween a little early, but this week we're putting on our wizard robes and hats for all our favorite fantasy titles! Fantasy is kind of a broad genre, including classic "high fantasy" like Lord of the Rings to "science fantasy" like Star Wars or Final Fantasy. We'll be focusing more on the "high fantasy" type for this installment, just to make things easier.
What? Easy jokes aren't a crime.
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Despite my crazy little stalker-shrine for Jennifer Connelly, I was never that big a fan of Labyrinth. I mean, David Bowie is awesome and the music is great, but I think I just got sick of everybody going on and on about it. Maybe I need to give it another watch.
It's been a while since I read or watched any Tsubasa, but the sheer cost of Syaoran's quest is something I'll never forget. It's one thing to say you'll go to the ends of the Earth for the one you love, and it's another to trek across time, space, history, and alternate universes to save somebody who doesn't remember who you are, even though you remember them.
I could've gone with any number of fantasy-themed RPGs for this installment--a world of magic and mystery and melee combat is pretty much the go-to theme for most role-playing games, so it takes a truly special one to stand out. Suikoden always gives us a huge cast set within a quasi-Asian mythology--I'd say that qualifies.
Holy crap, WHAT TIME IS IT?! IT'S ADVENTURE TIME, ladies and gentlemen. I find it so weird how this goofy cartoon about a boy and his stretchy dog voiced by Bender/Marcus Fenix can end up having such a rich (and surprisingly dark) backstory. NOW, TO THE MESOSPHERE! FINALLY WE CAN DIE!
I didn't expect Sword Art Online to be one of my favorite shows of 2012. An actual, developed relationship! Well-animated action that adheres to a balanced system! A story that keeps me on my toes! Now, just tone down the creepy thing with Kirito's sister and it'll be perfect.
The Horned King is by and far one of the most terrifying villains in all of fantasy literature. It's a shame that more of the Prydain books weren't adapted to film--The Black Cauldron is one of my favorite Disney movies.
Speaking of villains, I could go on and on and on about Pirotess. I mean, Ashram's cool and all (and a hell of a lot more interesting than Parn... or Spike), but every viewing of Record of Lodoss War is all about the best dark elf ever.
Even cooler than Drizzt. Don't get me wrong, I like Drizzt Do'Urden, but he gets way too whiny with his "OH NOBODY WILL EVER ACCEPT ME" spiel.
For every first episode of every season of Slayers, Lina Inverse will blow away a bad guy (and the town they're standing in) with her signature attack, the Dragon Slave. Lina Inverse is a pretty terrible person, so it was a nice change of pace in the first episode of Slayers Revolution when she gets blown up with her own signature attack. Karma's a bitch.
Every time you talk about Inuyasha, you always hear about Inuyasha and Kagome. Makes sense--the story's about them--but why do people always forget about Miroku and Sango?
Send a pretty Japanese girl into a fantasy world, and the first thing that's going to happen is that she's going to be attacked by ruffians and saved by the handsome leading man. Fushigi Yugi is pretty by-the-numbers, but it's still a total classic and very fun to watch.
Other times, the fantasy world comes crashing down on the poor Japanese girl, like in Escaflowne. Seriously, Hitomi just wanted to beat her sprint time so she could impress the boy she liked, and here comes Van in full battle armor fighting it out with a murderous dragon. Way to cockblock, Van.
I've always appreciated how every Dragon Quest female lead has always been an interesting character, not just "the girl" in the party. I also appreciated how Dragon Quest VIII's Jessica had a sexy British accent.
There are so many good fantasy shows right now! Magi seems to be working solely within Middle Eastern mythology, which isn't explored very often in anime.
Blast of Tempest goes for a modern fantasy approach, with a warring family of mages and a very interesting magic system revolving around talismans. Also, there's something about terrifying Lovecraftian demon fruit things, but the series hasn't gone into much detail on that yet.
Most fantasy is dark and serious and heavy. Rune Soldier Louie is goofy as hell, and deals with a mage who was Leroy Jenkins before Leroy Jenkins was even a thing. The best part? It's technically a Lodoss series, taking place on a continent north of the Cursed Island.
Did The Good Witch of the West ever get released in the US? It seemed a little mellow for the US market, and it also came out around the time the DVD market started imploding, so probably not. (Edit: a quick search on Wikipedia reveals that no, The Good Witch of the West did not get released here. Maybe we can hope for it as a future CR catalog title?)
Now, this is what I think of when somebody says "fantasy." Berserk pulls no punches and tells a great, unforgettable story. I can't wait for the Blu-ray release of the first movie, and hope that Studio 4C gets around to animating the entire series.
Conan the Cimmerian is another character who defines fantasy for me. Today's kids grow up reading about wingardium leviosa and solving problems with cleverness and courage. Conan teaches you that if brute force isn't working, you're just not using enough... even if Conan is a very smart and resourceful character.
by Reilly Brown
That's not to say that Harry Potter was without exceptionally badass scenes. Personally, I think Ron is the coolest of the bunch--he's not a prodigy of strong blood like Harry or especially good at studying like Hermione. Every victory he gets is through equal parts skill and blind, stupid luck.
Something that's always bothered me about the Fate series--she's called Saber, but she doesn't carry a saber! Fine, fine, say something about how she's armed with a sword and it's a representation, but why go that far? Lancer actually carried a lance (technically a javelin), so why didn't they just give Saber a Teddy Roosevelt-style cavalry sword?
I mean, say what you will about Claymore and how weird it gets, but at least all the Claymore-class warriors actually carry claymores.
I've got a lot of 3DS titles on my plate, but I'm still very, very excited for Fire Emblem: Awakening. Who else is ready to play and replay maps to make sure you make it to the end with everybody in one piece?
I'll let you guys do all the "you shall not pass" stuff in the comments, but damn do I want this spray-painted on the side of a van. The Lord of the Rings movies helped bring fantasy to a wider audience--and no, we didn't need Tom Bombadil in The Fellowship of the Ring.
Remember how I said that for an RPG to truly stand out, it needed to do something a little different? Disgaea may have had a fairly typical world and surprisingly cutesy style, but it was rare to find an RPG that was that hilariously well-written at the time.
Here's where I'd normally say something sarcastic about "Winter is Coming," but the Ice King would stand absolutely no chance against Eddard Stark. Maybe it'd be more like "winter will be over before it even starts."
And that's all for this week! You know there's no possible way I could have included every fantasy story, so what are some of your favorites? For fans of fantasy literature, who are your favorite authors?
Like I say every week, your work is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience--just PM me a link to your work and I'll use it in a future installment! For those of you wanting to get a piece in for next week, we'll be covering another broad topic--SCIENCE FICTION! This will also include the aforementioned "science fantasy" stories like Star Wars or Final Fantasy. What sci-fi favorites would you like to see fanart from next week? Sound off in the comments!
Once again, thank you for checking out Fanart Friday--have a great weekend, and we hope to see you next time!