Sunday, December 2, 2012

Anime Review: Tower of Druaga: Aegis of Uruk

Okay, so I just finished watching the anime series "Tower of Druaga: Aegis of Uruk" on Funimation's YouTube channel.  Yes, I know what some of you are thinking.  Why the heck has he gone off the rails and started watching anime?  He's not on break 'til we say he's on break.  We're not paying him to watch cartoons, we're paying him to whip up wholesome, nutritious RPG content.  Well, actually I only recently heard about this anime from the DandDPuzzleOfTheWeek channel on YouTube which did a vid about D&D style anime.  Afterwards I realized that although I had heard of most of the anime mentioned in the video, I'd never actually watched any of them.  Oh, all right, I'll go ahead and out myself as an anime fan.  But I generally don't have the cash to spend on entire series so maybe I'm more of a poser than a true otaku.  Anyway, luckily for me this entire series and its sequel, "Tower of Druaga: Sword of Uruk", are available on the Funimation YouTube channel for the low, low cost of watching a few advertisements.

This anime really is a dungeon crawl.  It mixes classic D&D dungeon crawl tropes like gender-changing magic traps with classic anime tropes like over-the-top powers and frequent mention of food.  The core concept is that there is a massive (really massive) ancient magical tower containing various monsters and an evil god at the top guarding an ancient magic treasure.  However, the tower is so large that there is a human city in the lower part.  The tower is so huge that in some places there are gaps in the sides which allow sunlight into large parts of it.  Thus the interior of the tower ranges from typical dark dungeon corridors to rocky caverns to open air terrain with vegetation and waterfalls.  It's a concept that could make for a good short-run table-top RPG campaign.

The plot involves several groups "climbing" up through the tower to take down the evil god.  There are plenty of good plot twists to keep things shifting nicely--but no spoilers here.  One word of caution is that early on in the first episode it suddenly goes from serious to lame and wacky.  I almost turned it off and missed out on a great anime story.  It's actually just a dream sequence.  Hang on and it will get back on track.

I plan to watch the sequel and as many of the others mentioned in the DnDPuzzleOfTheWeek vid as I can manage.  I'll post reviews as I go along.

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