Fire Emblem Ankokuryuu To Hikari No Ken Review

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been reading this for around 5 years. I started in early June during 2011 according to my original blog post and the series just finished the other day. Of course, the series had already been over for years, it just hadn’t been scanned yet. Well, I appreciate the work that the scanlator did and the series was a good read. It had enough things to hold it back from being great, but it’s a good series and I got to see Marth take a leading role.

So, Marth’s kingdom was basically taken over and his family line is at an end. Marth is the only one standing and his “army” is really just a small batch of soldiers. Still, he is Prince Marth and he cannot let evil infect the planet. Slowly but surely, Marth gathers allies to help in the upcoming battles. Once the army is large enough, he will take back his kingdom and finally restore the land to peace and prosperity. The problem is that Marth is a bit of a pacifist and he doesn’t like to fight, but the only way to take down the villains will be to go to war with them. Will Marth have what it takes to defeat them all?

Now, as I mentioned earlier, it’s been around 5 years since I started the title so that’s why the basic plot may sound a little fuzzy. It’s been a long road and sometimes the manga would go on break for months or even nearly a year. While I still remember it as a fun title, I can safely say that you will be able to enjoy it much more than I did as reading it from start to finish without such long breaks is a lot more enjoyable. This way you won’t forget any plot points or begin to forget the characters. You’re always able to launch yourself right back into plot despite any breaks since the situations are typically simple, but nothing beats the average fast blast through the title.

The artwork for the series is solid and the fight scenes end up looking powerful. At times, Marth looks very similar to one of the heroines, but I suppose that their character models are similar as they even have the same style of hair. The artist probably could have still made them a little more differentiated by giving Marth a cool cloak. At times, he has his signature cape, but it’s more of a generic desert one than the one that you will remember from Super Smash Bros. Seeing as how Marth is just starting here, I suppose that he hasn’t matured to that level just yet. It would have been awesome to have seen him with that look though.

Marth gets a lot of development throughout the series as he shows everyone what a capable leader he is. At first, he had a lot of trouble with villains who were of only moderate skill, but by the end he is able to take on just about anyone. In terms of pure swordplay, he’s still not among the best yet, but he has the legendary sword Falchion. He uses that one in Super Smash Bros as well and it is a very powerful sword. It can block any energy/fire attack and no villain can stand up to its limitless power. The blade serves Marth quite well.

One part of the manga’s plot that is a bit much though is how outnumbered and outgunned Marth’s army is. At one point, they face off against an army who has a mage with them and there’s no way that the heroes should have won. The Mage could blow up cities with a single blast and Marth should have been unable to stop him. The only reason why the heroes are still able to do well is because the mage lowers his guard and lets the heroes get close to him. That guy was easily the strongest character in the entire series and he wasn’t the final boss so it was expected, but still no easier to believe. It’s why you should always be careful to keep the villains in realistic reach of the hero’s power. Slightly stronger perhaps, but not by a great deal. Seeing as how Marth is still human and he didn’t have the legendary sword yet…it shouldn’t have even been a fight.

While the title is still set in the fantasy land of Fire Emblem, it’s mostly realistic. If not for the occasional dragon or magician, you could have thought that this was based on a real world. Dramatized of course, but it is very down to Earth. That means that we don’t get a whole lot of feats, but the sword fights can be fun. My only problem with them is that the battles tend to be very short. At its core, the series was still a tactical one so we typically see the heroes making plans and discussing how to attack the enemies. It’s smartly written.

That being said, the series could also get a little slow at times. Once again, I do think that this wouldn’t be very noticeable if not for the breaks, but sometimes you can go quite a while without any real action. While Marth can be a skilled fighter, he’s not exactly a thrilling main character so that doesn’t help. Marth’s heroic, but he lives in a land where wars are always being waged and does destroy his opponents, although he tries to spare as many as possible. He couldn’t keep his hands clean all of the time and that’s actually a part of his character arc. It would have been nice to have seen him arrest everyone, but it’s always tough in a war. At least, now peace can reign…or not.

The series ends with Marth stating that more battles will be fought and that it will be quite some time until peace is kept within the lands. So, he heads off to win these battles with his friends and the series just comes to a close. It’s a decent ending as there are certainly many Fire Emblem games and there’s not much of an alternative on what kind of ending could have shown up. It seems like you need to play the game to get the full story, although you may have expected that.

This series is based off of one of the video games and the author has fun throwing in guest stars and cameos from some of the fan favorite individuals in the game who weren’t totally relevant to the plot. It appears like the red haired swordsman, one of the best characters in the series, is one of those guest stars. He never really contributes to the series except to beat up some henchmen and get a lot of hype. Still, I liked him from the start and I believe that I had him fight on the blog a while back. He was certainly a skilled warrior.

Oguma was the main “rival” character. I used the quotation marks because he acts like a cool Shonen rival, but technically, it’s hard to call him that since Marth is not competitive at all. Oguma was really needed as he is the army’s best fighter and without him, Marth would have surely lost the war. Oguma thought up many of the plans that were used in the battles and his overwhelming power in combat was a great asset to the team. He was certainly likable. Sheeda was the main heroine and she is good with dragons. I believe that she also knew some healing magic. Sheeda was a nice supporting character and helped out throughout the series. There’s not a whole lot to say about her, but she helped to remind Marth that while the war is going on, not everything is bleak. She has a happier ending than most of the other characters. Kain is the main comic relief of the series and he’s all right I suppose. I just didn’t really care for the guy and his magic abilities never got to be that impressive. He’s around, but he rarely helps out and is typically getting into danger all of the time.

There are certainly many more characters that pop up throughout the series. There were about 12 volumes, which were made up of 59 chapters so a lot of things got to happen. There was a more experienced mage who loved to tease Kain about the fact that she was infinitely stronger than him. There were also some fun fights with other black dragons and the main villain made his plans. More of the characters would leave a lasting impression on me with a re read and I may go through the series again someday, but I feel like I still remember enough of it that a re read isn’t quite necessary. While I don’t know most of the names, the characters are what really counts.

Another reason why the series was so good is that it was a class act from start to finish. The series avoids the fanservice trap and none of the characters are terrible. There were probably some unlikable villains and heroes around, but I can’t think of any that made it to Roshi or Oolong levels. The writing was good and didn’t need to rely on any cheap tricks to get through the story.

Overall, I definitely recommend checking out this title. Now that it’s finally finished, you can blast through it and witness the legendary war that Marth fought through. It’s no wonder why his kingdom looks like its in ruins in Super Smash Bros Brawl. I do think that Meta Knight wouldn’t have stood a chance against such a seasoned veteran there! Marth’s a solid lead and he’s surrounded by a good supporting cast. There is a lot of action in the series even though there are large periods of peace between the fights. The art is solid and the writing is consistently good. I’d probably add another star to this title with a re read as it would address my pacing problems a little, but either way it’s a complete title to check out. I’ve now finished two of the Fire Emblem titles and I highly recommend checking out the one with Al and Roy if you haven’t yet. The franchise has numerous manga titles so hopefully I will be checking out another one of them someday. If this manga doesn’t give you some incentive to play as Marth, I don’t know what will.

Overall 7/10

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