By the end of Rune Soldier #1, the series formulaic comedy was starting to grate on the senses whilst all the time becoming increasingly predictable. Unfortunately, Rune Soldier #2 simply continues this trend and thus begins to feel pretty tiresome– recycling many previous jokes and eventually leaving the bitter taste of mediocrity your mouth.
Rune Soldier #2 follows many of the threads set up by the first batch of episodes. The girls suggest or do something, Louie (our bumbling hero) jumps in on the fun, inadvertently saves the day and everyone hates him for it. If I were Louie, I would be on strike by now– the way he is treated by his so called friends leaves much to be desired, especially since it’s usually him that ends up getting everyone out of trouble. I could accept this type of attitude from the likes of Merrill and Melissa (Louie’s fellow adventurers) at first, simply because Louie, based on first impressions, isn’t exactly the sharpest knife in the draw– but having since proved himself and his valour umpteen (yes, umpteen) times, I can’t help but feel utter disdain towards those that continue to beat Louie down with a rather ugly and twisted stick.
There are a few signs of character development; I get the feeling that Melissa is finally starting to accept Louie as her hero, and we do briefly get under the skin of the rabid-monkey known as Merrill (all be it during an episode full of self-centred money grabbing escapades), but I can’t help but feel this is all too insignificant to really divert my attention away from Rune Soldier’s notable flaws. I just don’t feel any connection to any of the characters of this series, and thus end up feeling isolated and frankly, uninterested.
The series is supposed to be comedy, but the humour has yet to really go beyond what I would consider classic slapstick situations. The jokes are amusing and will make you smirk, but never hit home enough to make you boom out a proper laugh.
With that said – my issues aren’t so much with the humour of this series as with the disappointingly average character development; if I could at least ‘like’ these characters a little more, I would no doubt find myself enjoying the humour a little more too– but given their rather obnoxious attitudes, I often find myself wishing they would just leave poor Louie alone.
Rune Soldier’s animation continues to be very impressive; the vibrant colours and distinctive character designs lend the series a very authentic ‘medieval fantasy’ feel. Indeed, it has a very attractive look, which perhaps laments my disappointment in the story element of the series even more.
Where as in the last volume Louie and the gang were able to venture outside of the ‘village’ and happen across a few cool looking monsters and creatures; the episodes on this volume take place largely inside our heroes’ home town. Given the series is based in a fantasy world, I’m a little anxious to see and explore more of it– not spend episode upon episode locked in the type of setting not dissimilar from our own world. More imagination required next time please.
As you can no doubt tell, I feel sorely let down by these four episodes on Rune Soldier #2. The first volume promised a fun little adventure anime, but at this point, I found the series locked within its own shortcomings. I just really don’t like the majority of the characters and until we see them grow-up a little, I can’t see Rune Soldier going beyond a few cheap, repetitive jokes. Disappointingly mediocre.