A Faithful Remake
- Episodes : 13
- Genre : Action, Adventure, Drama, Magic, Martial Arts, Fantasy
- Airing Date : January 7, 2020 – March 31, 2020
- Producers : Studio Dean
Majutsushi Orphen Hagure Tabi (Sorcerous Stabber Orphen) Introduction
Based on the long-running novel series by Yoshinobu Akita (story) and Yuuya Kusaka (art), the 2020 edition of Majutsushi Orphen Hagure Tabi tells the story of how Orphen, formally known as Krylancelo, has been on a journey for the last five years to find Azalie, his foster sister who turned into a dragon in a magic experiment gone wrong. Thanks to his training as a fighter and as a magician, he can handle himself in just about any situation that comes his way. Regardless, he learns to rely on his nakama, Claimoh and Majic, as they journey through the lands as they face the ghosts of Orphen’s past.
1. No Need to Watch the 1998 Series
In order to enjoy this version of Orphen, by no means are you obligated to watch the 1998 series. We’ve already done a Then Vs. Now article that discusses the similarities and differences, so there’s really no need to get into too much detail other than to remind you that they functionally tell the same story, but take different directions here and there (and introduce new characters). The character designs are largely the same, so you can still get into this version regardless.
2. World Building
As its story progresses, the pacing of Orphen does a great job of world-building for the audience and its characters. Through Orphen’s journeys, the viewer can learn about the world they live in a more organic manner as opposed to exposition. You learn not just the geography, but also the architecture and culture of each town/village/city they visit. As they encounter other landmarks, the series also goes into detail of its history, and how and why magic can exist. Orphen does an excellent job of showing not just how things work, but how they also make sense.
3. Awesome Final Act
As Orphen and company finally make it to the Tower of Fang, the series offers a very dramatic final act. It gives Orphen and his friends the opportunity to not only develop individually but further solidify their relationship. As Orphen has his final confrontation with his former rival, you see how Claimoh’s presence alone helps Orphen stay down to Earth. Not only does the final arc explore his present relationships, but how he has to come to terms with his past and repair his relationships with his friends prior to leaving the Tower of Fang.
1. Stiff Action
As we have said time and time again, what makes anime so appealing is how it creatively expresses action like you’ve never seen. Unfortunately, when it comes to the hand-to-hand combat scenes of Orphen 2020, it can’t deliver. The action scenes are super stiff. It’s like the animators have never studied martial arts or action scenes. Whenever the characters throw punches or kicks, there is no pivoting or weight thrown into them. If there’s a punch, it’s just about as ridiculous as Mickey Rourke’s knock out punch when he boxed in Japan, the kicking just has no power behind it, and if someone is hit, it’s like they have the pain tolerance of a soccer player.
2. Too Short
If the 1998 series could have 24 episodes, why can’t this remake? Yes, we know that a second season for the 2020 series has been confirmed, but considering that so much material is now available to adapt since then, there’s no excuse for the first season to be 13. Now with COVID-19 going on as we draft this review, we’ll probably have to wait a bit longer. If anything, with 20 volumes of novels, it might as well have been a 50 episode series to begin with.
3. Weak BGM
OK, this kind of falls into a Then Vs. Now category, but the BGM in this series is rather weak. It doesn’t really stand out and isn’t in your face just like in the 1998 edition. Granted the 2020 series BGM suits the intense fantasy atmosphere, but there are no tracks that we can say that tend to stick out. The opening and ending theme songs are ok, but they just don’t compare to what the 1998 series has to offer.
While a second season has been confirmed, all we can hope for is an adaptation that covers the entirety of the original source material. Throughout the novels, you see Orphen grow into a middle-aged man, settle down, and build a life for himself. There’s still a world for the audience and the characters to explore in anime form, and we like to see what else is out there. All we can say is, if you like adventure anime, especially the kind where it’s not about the destination but the journey, then Orphen is the anime for you. What do you guys think? Did you guys enjoy Orphen enough to look forward to season 2? If so, please leave a comment!