(24 episodes, 2001)
My previous exposure
It’s one of the various shows I tried out for my “Spring 2001 in review” thread. The first episode was fun, so I marked it down for further watching. (There’s at least one other such show coming up soon-ish.)
What’s it about ?
D&D-inspired fantasy comedy show. The all-female team of Melissa (not-that-uptight cleric), Genie (amazon fighter) and Merill (short thief) were looking for a magician to complete their adventuring party ; alas (and fortunately for our zygomaticus muscles), they can only get Louie, a definitely male (aside from that one episode) and burly magician… who ain’t even much good at magic (he often tends to run towards the enemy fists first).
It’s striking how tabletop-RPG their adventures are, down to the character of Louie’s maybe-girlfriend Ila, who hands out quests, rewards, plot hooks and exposition (while being completely useless in a fight) like the best of NPCs. (It makes me wonder whether Louie’s player was the GM’s boyfriend that she added to the table against her players’ will…)
This is a very episodic series, with just 4 episodes actually dealing with the “main” plot (although there’s obviously a lot of setup for it hidden in the other episodes).
What did I think of it ?
Well, it’s very funny indeed, although some of the running gags maybe have been a tiny bit overused (especially Melissa’s “against my will” catchphrase). My favourite character would be Merill, whose constant unashamed greed is a sight to behold (and the great, late Tomoko Kawakami really gets to show off her range in some of the later episodes). The rival team were always welcome, thanks to being actually somewhat competent and sympathetic (and the Melissa/Isabel rivalry led to consistently great interplay, although the punchline was obvious from the start).
So, it’s great fun. The problem is that there’s not much beyond the surface, I presume on purpose : neither the characters nor the setting show much depth, and the various attempts to give some of them a more serious backstory (I’m looking at you, Genie) just fall flat. The series is at its best when it relishes in its stupidity and how much the characters act like PCs. Which it fortunately does frequently.
There very little ambition here besides having fun with a tabletop-RPG setting. It works, but nothing more.