Since this weekend is the Anime Boston convention here in my fair city, I thought today's post would be appropriate. I'm not a huge fan of Anime in general, but there are a number of titles I really enjoy. People who say they "don't like Anime" always perplex me, because Anime is such a vast, wildly heterogeneous mix of visual and storytelling styles, that to declare you don't like "Anime" is pretty much like saying "I don't like Hollywood movies". If you're going to say that, you need to realize that your statement encompasses a massive body of work.
Anyhow, one of the series I've recently gotten into is Guin Saga. Originally a series of 130 "light novels" (a Japanese equivalent to Young Adult / Pulp Fiction paperbacks, quick, simple, easy reads), a portion of the Saga has been made into an Anime series. The main protagonist, a warrior named Guin, awakes in a mysterious forest to discover that he has the head of a leopard and an almost complete case of amnesia. Pretty whacked out, eh? Guin finds and rescues Remus and Rinda, twins and the heirs to the kingdom of Parros, a nation that had just been invaded and conquered by the rival kingdom of Mongaul. Remus and Rinda are hunted by the armies of Mongaul, and Guin becomes their guardian. The story then unfolds as Guin searches for why he has the head of a leopard and why he can't remember anything, while he protects the twins against the Mongauli hunting them down.
This sounds...kind of bizarre. But if you substituted "Conan" for "Guin", you'd have a sense of the sort of Swords & Sorcery badassery that goes on in Guin. It is not your Dragonball Z -esque fantasy anime series by any means. Considering the novel series was begun in the late 1970's, it carries with it a very vintage, Heroic Fantasy feel that those with more traditional sensibilities may approve of.
I found the opening trailer on YouTube:
For a taste of the story itself, this is where Guin meets and rescues the twins. Guin's strength is somewhat over-exaggerated in this fight; later battles aren't shown in such over-the-top insanity, but I think this was done to emphasize just how powerful a warrior Guin is compared to the "average" man.
Those of you who have Netflix can find and watch the entirety of Guin Saga there. Otherwise, you can buy the DVDs off of Amazon or probably any other major DVD/Anime retailer.
The first few "light novels" in the Guin Saga are now available in English. I hope to pick one up sometime soon and give it a read.