Rune Soldier Volume 1

Rune Soldier is a fantasy based anime in the classic sense; big swords, big egos and a bunch of elves. However, instead of taking the ‘sweeping epic’ route perfected by the likes of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, this is a fun, character-based comedy. The fact it happens to be set in a fantasy world seems almost purely incidental.

Merrill (the smart one), Genie (the strong one) and Melissa (the young one) are an all female band of adventurers set on discovering the ancient treasures of their world. Problem is, their band is incomplete; they need a magician to help unlock the many cursed ruins they seek to raid – and so enters the final piece of the puzzle; Louie.
Thanks to the fact that no other (decent) magicians are available, the girls are forced to take the ‘crap magician’ Louie along with them. Arrogant, clumsy and just downright dumb, Louie is hardly worthy of the title ‘magician’, but alas, he’s got heart and more often than not, that’s more enough.

Looking at the cover-art, Rune Soldier has a very serious, ‘classical’ design to it. But don’t be fooled, this is anything but serious.

Okay, so for comedy to work, you need some likable characters, and Rune Soldier definitely has plenty of these. Luckily, the three main girls are amusing to watch, and play off each other extremely well; notable here is Merrill, who has her fate unwillingly tied to that of Louie, as part of a religious ceremony (naturally, she was expecting the complete opposite – an amazingly handsome knight). You can feel her great disappointment in almost very scene and for some reason, it never gets old.

Poor old Louie really takes a pasting from the girls in this and it’s never less than amusing each time. I kept expecting him to step into the ‘knight in shining armour’ role, but it never happened – this guy is an original jackass.

Louie of course is the classic bumbling, perverted fool who occasionally comes out with some… *cough*… witty one-liners (“flat chest!”).
So yeah, he’s definitely not hero material, but then, maybe that’s what makes Rune Soldier so much fun to watch – Louie is a total underdog, and because of that, you can’t help but smile whenever he achieves a victory, no matter how small it may be.

Story-wise, we haven’t yet been introduced to any kind of proper story arc, with these initial 4 episodes instead preferring to act as a kind of bridge to introduce the main characters. But as I said before, it works well, simply because everyone in this anime is just so damn likable.

There can be limit to niceness though, and I’ll definitely be looking for some proper, gritty emotion in the next volume.
At the moment, it’s all very nice and shiny, even with an occasional dash of fan service– but what’s the point? Essentially, the story is lacking a little overall direction.

In Summary

Rune Soldier #1 is a very promising comedy that often put a smile on my face. However, if it’s hoping to make a real impact on viewers, the next volume will have to up the ante with regards to proper, gritty action.

Rune Soldier is very funny stuff and I’m looking forward to the next instalment already.

7 / 10

Paul

Washed up on the good shores of Anime UK News after many a year at sea. Also known as @bateszi, Paul has been writing about anime for a long time here at AUKN and at his anime blog.

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