Sometimes, I crave simplicity. It’s easy to become burnt out by the minding bending story lines and complex philosophy that are present in many an anime story. My antidote is Rune Soldier; a fun, simple series about a group of medieval guys and girls wandering about the open countryside and tripping over hidden rocks. Perhaps I’m dumbing down the plot a little too much, but you get the picture, Rune Soldier is just a consistent slapstick comedy.
Volume 4 basically continues this trend of stand alone but none the less funny escapades. There is something reassuring about this series, a deep confidence in its predictable but endearing formula.
We know things aren’t going to get too heavy for Louie and the gang, but that doesn’t stop us feeling a slight flinch of tension every time something out of the ordinary occurs.
The first episode on this volume is a great example of this; it’s one of the few times characters actually show their serious faces and for a few fleeting moments, there is a real sense of peril filling the atmosphere. You would assume, given this is a comedy, that the more serious moments would feel slightly forced and unnatural, but this is not so- Jeanie and Louie find themselves in some real, life threatening danger, all underpinned by a particularly traumatic moment from Jeanie’s military past and honestly, I found myself quite engrossed by it all, culminating in a fantastic scene in which Louie literally gets the crap kicked out of him for protecting one of his friends.
This episode quickly became my favourite from Rune Soldier (so far), illustrating that the light hearted atmosphere has served to attach us to these characters as well as laugh at their often bizarre actions.
The only aspect really lacking from earlier instalments of Rune Solider was a keen sense of direction, but finally, this volume also serves to introduce us to what I assume will become a key plotline. Government conspiracies, illegal military testing- it’s all here, with raised eye brows and evil laughs to boot.
Of course, with this being an anime series dominated by large female personalities, we are treated to our fair share of bikinis and tight fitting outfits too. This volume contains a particularly memorable “I know, let’s have a random vacation to the beach!” episode; a classic staple of anime fan-service gone mad. Having seen so many different varieties of this beach vacation formula- ranging from down right lewd to purely suggestive; I was pleasantly surprised to see the atmosphere retained it’s innocent, playful feel- just with less clothes!
My only real grievance with Rune Soldier #4 is with our hero- Louie- and how he is treated by his co-adventurers. We are now past the half way mark for this series and the guy is still being bullied as if he is a total blithering idiot. Granted, he isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but really girls- give the guy a chance.
Rune Soldier #4 simply continues the consistent, playful comedy that has dominated the first half of the series. I can sense the tension rising though; something dark and evil is on the horizon and it’s aimed at Louie and the girls.
If you’ve enjoyed previous episodes of Rune Soldier, I see no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy this volume too. It’s just good old fashioned fun.