I'm still making my way through a couple of games, so in lieu of a game review I thought I would write up my thoughts on the Fire Emblem anime, which was apparently released in the US around 1997 (and in Japan a year earlier). The anime is based on the first video game in the series, and so features series icon Marth, although in the anime he's called "Mars" (understandable, since this was the origin of Marth's Japanese name). The anime only made it to two 30-minute episodes, but oddly it was dubbed into English and released on VHS. You can still track down a VHS copy without too much trouble, although it's also easy to find on YouTube.

Anyway, I watched this a while ago, and after watching it I'm still mystified as to why it was released in the US at all. Most of the first Japanese animation brought to the US was sci-fi as opposed to high fantasy, so maybe companies were feeling out the market and seeing how it would fare. Or maybe it was scheduled for release before it tanked in Japan, and so it never got a chance to fill its role in being part of a bigger marketing push to make Fire Emblem popular outside of Japan. One can only wonder what the history behind the anime was, but aside from all of the anime's backstory, the quality of the anime, by a company called KSS, is actually quite high.

The episodes correspond to the first and third chapters of the game, and the anime does a nice job of filling in the backstory and bringing the barebones drama of the game to life. The English dub is done well and the voice acting is all pretty good, although as with the original game the story is pretty by the numbers. Aside from the fantasy setting there isn't anything that particularly stands out in comparison to other anime of the time, but fans of the series such as myself will get a definite kick out of seeing all of the familiar characters and settings (including the odd versions of now well-known names, like the afore-mentioned "Mars" instead of "Marth", and "Oguma" instead of "Ogma"). It's too bad the series was cancelled, but this is a fun bit of Fire Emblem history that fans will enjoy and worth watching.

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