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Fire Emblem

When Nintendo created the Fire Emblem series, it was immediately a hit among fans of strategy games. It was even instrumental in making people fans of the strategy genre. From its humble beginnings on the Famicom, then making its way to subsequent Nintendo systems, the series became more and more popular. While it had plenty to enjoy in terms of strategizing battles, early games in the series tended to be somewhat light when it came to story. In order to add a bit more life to some of the game’s more popular characters, an anime OVA based on the original Fire Emblem was made to as a bit of bonus content. Being only two episodes, the show didn’t go into great detail, but did manage to provide a window into the personalities of major characters like Marth and Navarre. With that, the anime became a nice piece of complimentary material that fans of the Fire Emblem series will likely enjoy.

This anime tells the story of how Marth was forced to flee his kingdom with a handful of retainers and minimal troupes, taking refuge on an island nation with political ties to his father. It tries to give viewers a basic idea of how he was forced into exile, and the first tentative steps toward leading an army back to the mainland in hopes of liberating everyone from the forces of Gharnef, who’ve conquered much of the continent.

All said, Fire Emblem’s story is extremely straightforward. Viewers see Marth slowly come to terms with the fact he’s the only person who can save everyone. His personality is built up to some sort of paragon of all that is good with various little quirks such as letting enemy soldiers live if they are trying to run away. He’s very much the hero out to free the world from darkness. Meanwhile, he’s surrounded by a number of archetypes like his chief advisor, Jagen, a grizzled, old paladin, or Sheeda (Caeda in the game), who has feelings for Marth, and is a princess with loyal subjects of her own. Many anime and video game plots were still veritable cornucopias of tropes in the mid 90s, so this doesn’t come as a surprise.

As mentioned earlier, this anime is only two episodes. It’s intended more as a primer for the story in the actual game. Viewers get to see Marth’s escape to safety and a handful of early battles as he reclaims the continent. The show ends after he defeats an army of bandits defending a mountain pass. From there, it’s assumed if players want to experience more of the plot, they’re going to have to actually play Shadow Dragon. So, it leaves fans of the game with a taste of what the characters are like. It’s nothing ground breaking, but people who are really into the Fire Emblem universe should get a kick out of it.

Visually, Fire Emblem’s art is quite typical of what one would find in the early 90s. It’s nothing special but gets the job done. It's quite good at recreating the sort of environments Marth had to fight in, and the towns he saved. As a result it really brings the game to life, giving a a much more detailed view of Fire Emblem’s world.

Perusing the voice actors involved with this anime, it’s interesting to see how many would go on to big projects in the years to come, or were already established. For instance, Marth was voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa, who also provided his voice for the roles of Naoki Shinjyo (Future GPX Cyber Formula), Tamahome (Fushigi Yuugi), and Lancer (Fate series). Princess Sheeda was voiced by Sakura Tange, who also took on the title role in Card Captor Sakura, and Red Saber in the Fate series. There’s even an early appearance by Akira Ishida (Katsura in Gintama), as he takes a small role, playing a young archer named Gordon.

People curious about Fire Emblem should go in with stayed expectations. The art is very straightforward, and the story is simple. It’s a nice bit of garnish to add some flavor to the game it is connected to. This is an anime for fans of the games that have the good sense to understand it was never created to be some form of high art, but simply a fun way to pass an evening.

- IroIro
November 28, 2019

More Anime Based on Videogames that We've Discussed:

- Xanadu Dragon Slayer Densetsu Anime Review

- Cosmic Fantasy: Ginga Mehyou no Wana Anime Review

- Psychic Force Anime Review
Directed by: Shin Misawa
Studio: Studio Fantasia
Episodes: 2
Released: 1996

Fire Emblem Anime Image 1
DVD Cover Art

Fire Emblem Anime Image 2
Marth setting off to the mainland

Fire Emblem Anime Image 3
Marth's father

Fire Emblem Anime Image 4
Navarre (Navahl in the anime) at the bandit camp