Sorcerous Stabber Orphen (2020) Review

It’s time to look at the 2020 remake of the classic Orphen story. This one takes a far different approach than the last one though which was pretty interesting. Azalie plays a much bigger role here which I was happy to see. It definitely ended up completely surpassing the original series. This one is a blast and a half from start to finish with excellent animation and story beats. If you want a solid action anime to check out then this is definitely the one that you will want to have at the ready.

The show starts by introducing us to Orphen. He used to be a member of the Tower of Fang but left to pursue Azalie since he disagreed with the Tower’s approach. Most of this is cloaked in mystery and explained as the story goes on so I’ll leave it there. He’s now a renegade mage trying to make ends meet until he can find her. He takes on an apprentice named Majic who really wants to be a great mage but Orphen doesn’t take him too seriously. A rich girl named Cleao also ends up joining the party so now this trio have to try not to hold Orphen back as they tag along. Orphen will have to go up against assassins, the Tower of Fang, and of course Azalie. Are his skills as a stabber and inheritor of the Razor’s Edge going to be enough for this?

The show starts off quite fast paced and it has to in order to cover all of this in only 13 episodes. The show does a great job of making you feel like a lot is happening. We get to see Orphen in a lot of different fights and scenarios. I’d say that the first arc of the series is naturally finding Azalie and then the second half is sort of about finding her again. We get mini arcs throughout of course so there’s always more than one plot going on. For example, one plot has the heroes head to an isolated village of people who can’t stand sorcerers. Naturally they aren’t too happy to see Orphen and pals so the heroes have to end up fighting them off.

Another mini arc and my personal favorite in the series is when a fake Orphen appears and stars murdering Tower of Fang members. Naturally this puts Orphen in a bad light especially as this clone looks like how Orphen was back when he was a member. Orphen has to try and take this guy out but the problem is that the Fake Orphen appears to be as powerful as Orphen was at his peak. Unfortunately the Orphen, he has actually grown weaker over the years because he is not able to actively train like he used to and so his skills have naturally deteriorated. It’s a pretty intense arc for sure.

Finally the last arc involves some more assassins. These guys want a book that the Tower of Fang currently possesses and they will do whatever they have to in order to get it. Once they start targeting Orphen’s friends he takes it personally and decides to remove them. He is a stabber after all and isn’t opposed to destroying his enemies when necessary. They went after Cleao and Leticia (Tish) so at this point Orphen needs to make sure they don’t go after anyone else.

The season ends with a nice cliffhanger setting up the next season pretty well. Once again Orphen and the gang are going to be heading to a place that isn’t exactly known for being nice for mages. Should make for a pretty tense second season. We already know Azalie can protect herself so the question is if Orphen’s up to the task. He never backs down from a challenge so I expect he will do just fine here. He’s ready for whatever they throw at him and is pretty good at using underhanded tactics in a fight to make up the power gap as well. He’s not the kind of guy who will just give up.

All of this is to say that Orphen is a pretty great main character. He has confidence and ability, two traits that you absolutely need to have.
His fight against the Fake Orphen is a good example of that. He was completely outmatched in terms of physical and magical ability so he had to win with his pure intelligence. Otherwise he had no real shot to pull this off. Same as when he fought with Azalie. He knew that he couldn’t take her down in a fair fight so he had to have some good equipment at the ready. It’s not really uncommon in this series for Orphen to be outmatched so it’s good that he’s so cunning. He is the inheritor to the Razor’s Edge which the show loves to bring up every episode and used to be the strongest but he no longer holds that title. Even so, I feel like he is second only to Azalie in terms of ability from Tower of Fang members. I wouldn’t be surprised if people outside of the tower would be able to take him on though. He didn’t exactly do well against the Elder Dragon.

Then we have the main heroine Cleao who is a fun character. She may not be much of a fighter but she’s a good morale booster and is always here to raise everyone’s spirits. She also has her pet dragon Lucky who can fight really well. At least this gives her something in the way of defense and she can land a surprise blow when needed. She definitely will always try to contribute when needed. Her role isn’t huge and it doesn’t look like she will ever be going into more of a full combat role but as it stands she does add to the dynamic.

Unfortunately Orphen’s other partner Majic is not nearly as good. He’s just around to hold the team back. He’s the hapless trainee whose abilities aren’t improving at nearly the rate he was hoping for. Usually that could be an inspirational character as you root for his success but he ruined that in his first appearance when he betrays Cleao’s confidence and only stops because he is caught. His character never recovered from this peeping incident and for the rest of the series I was rooting against him. Clearly Majic doesn’t have the discipline needed to improve his magical abilities.

You’ve also got the pair of comic relief characters Volcan and Dortin who follow the heroes around. Their roles have been greatly reduced compared to the original show though. They show up a few times as they sell out Orphen over and over again but that’s about it. They’re pretty fun though and it’s a comic relief kind of style that has aged pretty well. I dare say that it’s about as funny now as it ever was. Keeping it in short doses is probably a good thing though so we can really focus on the actual plot going on.

Azalie was always a great character in the original show and the same is true here. She makes for a very good wild card. I would certainly not call her a hero but as a loner she doesn’t mind helping the heroes out once in a while. Her abilities are still formidable and she only loses one fight in the series due to a good magical item. Otherwise she looked pretty much invincible. She definitely enjoys being quite mischievous and pranking Orphan all the time. It makes for a very fun dynamic and she really is the heard of the series. The whole thing revolves around her so much that you couldn’t have the show without her.

Then we have Childman who is a pretty interesting character. He certainly looks after Azalie like how Orphan does although in his own way. He doesn’t have a huge role in the series but gets a lot of respect in his own right. He’s certainly a powerful opponent and a pretty reasonable guy in general. At least he’s someone that you can count on when the going gets tough and that’s always important. We’ve also got Leticia who’s another high ranking member of the group. Her abilities are fairly decent although I wouldn’t say I was too impressed. Her first big fight doesn’t really go all that well. In a fair fight I’d take her over most of the opponents though. When you’re outnumbered it’s hard to really do much.

The other members of the Tower of Fang like Heartia or Forte are around but don’t do quite as much. The final character I’d single out here is the Fake Orphen who really steals the show. Naturally there’s a twist about his true identity. His episodes were really the peak of the series with how fantastic they were. This guy would really keep you on your toes the whole time and I loved his absolute confidence. He’s definitely one of the strongest characters in the series without a doubt. Unfortunately he will likely never appear again so you will need to have enjoyed these scenes as much as possible.

As mentioned, the animation is quite solid here. It’s definitely bright with a lot of good color contrasts. The energy fights are good and the same goes for the hand to hand choreography which is quite impressive. I think this goes a long way into helping shape the series into the great title it is. When you’re following a show that just looks really good in addition to its good writing and solid soundtrack then you’ve got a solid combo. The soundtrack may not be an all star or anything like that but I thought it sounded really good for the scenes that were there. You’ll hear the themes a lot over the course of the series. The opening theme is also pretty catchy for sure.

Another thing that separates this show from the average title is that it was even able to make the flashback scenes interesting. In most shows I definitely don’t look forward to flashbacks at best and normally I dread them. It’s the perfect way to absolutely destroy a show’s pacing and give us extra info we didn’t need to know. 9 times out of 10 we don’t need a sob story for the characters. Fortunately the flashbacks are actually pretty interesting this time though. I think they could even make a whole show about Orphen’s days at the academy. It’s always rare to see a main character who was stronger as a child than when he was grown up. The idea that he had to fight while always holding back at the Tower was a pretty interesting one that they could run with. The writing here is just exceptional and it’s why the show is so much fun and so interesting throughout.

Overall, Orphen is definitely a great anime. As a reboot it’s very easy for anyone to just pick up and watch as well. You don’t need to go back to the old shows and can just start here. The animation is very smooth and the writing is on point. The show really has no weaknesses and had no bad episodes. It just does a superb job of showing what you can do in 13 episodes. It set a high bar for the next season but I look forward to seeing what other adventures we get. This was definitely one of the more fun self contained shows I’ve seen in quite a bit. It really took all of the strengths of the first show and expanded on them.

Overall 8/10

Orphen Scion of Sorcery Review

It’s time for a game that was on the back burner for a very long time. I got this game years ago, but better late than never right? Since I saw the TV shows not too long ago, it seemed like a good opportunity to finally play the game. It has some unique concepts when it comes to the gamplay, but unfortunately the puzzles, boss designs, and the plot hold this game back a little. It’s still a fun little adventure, but it certainly could have been a lot better. Having to play the game 3 times over to see the true ending was a bad sign from the start.

Orphen is a sorcerer and currently travels along with his apprentice and a heroine who is seeking adventure. Two trolls tell them that a boat is heading to their next destination, but unfortunately, Orphen never learned that you should not trust trolls. The boat is actually heading to a haunted island. The mystery thickens when the ship is attacked by monsters and Orphen is forced to land on the island. From here, you have the option of helping out one person out of the three individuals. You can help out the tough warrior who is searching for his daughter. You could help out the girl who is trying to find the grave of her fiancee to properly mourn him. Or, you can help a kid find his mother who is lost on the island. You can only help one person per playthrough though and then you have to start the game again to help the next person. There will be some slight changes as Orphen partially remembers that he has gone back in time, but quickly forgets after the first cutscene since the game doesn’t know which story you’d pick first and a lot of the dialogue would change if Orphen remembered. No matter who you help, you’ll eventually try to find the Crystal Egg which lets you pass through time. You’ll need to do so in order to locate the missing people and keep the giant monster at bay. Once you’ve helped everyone out, you can finally fight against the true boss of the island.

Unfortunately, the plot goes off the rails by the time you finish it. For starters, the three stories can’t seem to agree on anything. In the kid’s story, the old lady is actually a hero who is trying to keep the beast from waking up and destroying everyone. However, in the lady’s story, the old woman is the one kidnapping kids and aging them into teenagers to further her own ambitions. Likewise, in the warrior’s story, she is also the main villain. The ending sheds some light on this, but makes the rest of the story more convoluted as well. See, this island was actually one big illusion. It may be more accurate to call it a theater stage though. The robot would animate the bodies and have Orphen live through fake quests based on old stories from ancient times. That’s why the characters kept switching roles and personalities. It’s because the actors were playing different characters at that point. Luckily, one of the souls was still wandering around and inhabited the robot’s A.I. assistant and summoned Orphen to destroy him once and for all.

This leads to some painfully long cutscenes with the robot talking very slowly and panicking while the assistant also dies because their lives are linked. Orphen takes this in stride though and the gang is back to their normal cheerful dispositions after leaving the place. They did save the bodies from being used in an endless puppet show so that’s something to feel good about. It was a fairly unnecessary twist though and the whole final act was just really boring and random. Seriously, the plot is definitely not this game’s strong point and it just won’t keep your attention after a while. Seeing the heroes bicker all the time can be endearing I suppose…

Graphically, the game is all right. The character models are good for their time and the boss designs are fun. The levels are also quite big and there are a nice variety of them even if a few like the tower and the boat are overused. My TV has a very tough time playing any PS2 game without the lighting going down to its minimum levels. This made seeing the game a little trickier than it should be, but it has happened so many times that I’m pretty sure its an issue on my level rather than with the game. Nonetheless, I was always happy to see a rare daytime level as most of the stages took place at night. Day-Time levels are better 99% of the time as a good night level is quite rare. Still, they are possible of course, you just have to make sure that it is still light out like in the good ole Shadow The Hedgehog game.

There are actual anime cutscenes in the game which was really impressive for its time. I still get excited to see that nowadays since it is as rare now as it was 10 years ago. There may not have been a lot of them, but it was better than nothing. As for the soundtrack, it is very limited so I wouldn’t expect much from the title here. The minion theme is boring, but the boss track was fairly good. Those are really the only two big themes in the game although a few more will pop up here and there. It’s certainly sub-par though and I expect better from a game like this one.

All right, lets talk about the actual gameplay. There are two different styles to be found. When you’re not locked in combat, it is your standard 3D platformer. You walk through the levels and try to get to the end of them. Sometimes you will have to find items, step on switches, break objects, or solve puzzles. You have an energy sword, energy blasts, and you can jump in this mode. The energy blast is never used once, but it is fun to look at I suppose. The sword is useful once in a while for breaking towers. This part of the game is fun for the most part, but the puzzles are extremely annoying when they pop up.

One puzzle has you reconstruct a music piece using 6 tunes, but only 4 of them are in the pass code. It sounds easier than it is as the combinations that sound right don’t work. You assistant will let you know which 4 notes should be used in the combination, but I spent over 2 hours trying out every possible version and none of them worked. Why is that? Well, to see if it really worked, you actually have to hit the retry note which will apparently play your combination against the lock. What this means is that I actually did get the right answer a few times, but it didn’t count in each instance because I didn’t hit the white note. Now that was just terrible and very annoying. There were other such puzzles that got old very quickly. Even chasing the bunny was a pretty sad minigame as you apparently had to walk slowly to catch him, but the game never even hints at it until someone mentions this fact.

Ah well, at least the combat section is mostly fun. You can equip up to 4 spells to use and one of them is a barrier. You must time your attacks well so that you can block and retaliate while not getting hit. This gets tricky when a lot of villains show up so at that point I recommend just blasting away at them all. The bosses can be a bit long at times, but most of them are fun as well. The only cheap boss is the final one which is very poorly designed. He’ll block anything you throw at him when he feels like it and will occasionally send in minions to attack you. There are so many minions and they attack so quickly that you are sure to get hit by them. I just kept on trying and trying until I somehow landed enough blows to win. A lot of luck was involved and the boss would just randomly not block at times while he would on other occasions. One helpful tip is to remember that you can retry the battle if you are about to lose. That way you won’t have to go back to your last save point. Trust me, it will save you a lot of time considering that the cutscenes can’t be skipped and that they are quite long at times.

There is absolutely no replay value unfortunately. Once you have beaten all of the stories and obtained the true ending, there really isn’t anything more to do here. The main campaign is fairly long though since it is over 10 hours. That will last you long enough to justify the purchase and the game probably would have really dragged on had it gone any further. I can’t say that I was too pleased about having to play the game 3 times over even if it did a better job of making all the stories unique than most titles. I guess the fact that the game could keep on switching everyone’s roles without worrying about plot holes probably helped quite a bit.

Overall, Orphen certainly could have been a better game. The combat gameplay was very unique and it was fun to play around with. The game probably could have done more with it since most of the bosses and minions were a little too similar. For being a puzzle game, there luckily weren’t a lot of puzzles, but some of them were still extremely annoying so that is definitely a good thing. Fans of the Orphen TV show should definitely check it out. Just seeing the gang again should be nostalgic even if the voices are way different here. Orphen’s meanness is also exaggerated quite a bit here, but it was fun to listen to his lines so I was pretty cool with that. To the average video game fan, I recommend it, but cautiously. You can certainly do better and find a game that will grab your attention more, but this still isn’t a bad game. You’ll just slowly find that you lose more and more interest in the title as you get closer to the end.

Overall 6/10

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen 2: Revenge Review 58628 sample aizawa_masahiro cleao_everlasting dortin esperanza licorice majic_lin majutsushi_orphen megane orphen volkan
It’s been a while, but it’s finally time to look at the sequel to the first Orphen show. Interestingly enough, this show took a dramatically different approach compared to the first one. While the first season was very dark, somber, and dramatic the entire time, this one shifts gears into a full on comedy. You can see what the writers were going for here though. In the first show, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to see the cast just hang out and have fun since there were always a lot of things at stake. With the world completely safe once more, it’s the perfect time to pit the cast in all kinds of wonky situations. For the most part, this works well, but some parts of the show really just make no sense. Plot points are brought up and then completely forgotten. It makes for an odd blend, but at the end of the day the show is fairly good. The first season definitely takes the win here as I did miss “hardcore” Orphen from the search for Azalie, but this title has a lot of great moments as well.

Orphen has been having a lot of strange dreams lately. He’s trapped in a cave and bad things always seem to happen. He’s chased by giants, laughed at by the unknown, or even attacked by monsters. The one constant is that whenever he wakes up, he finds the main heroine Cleao in his room to the dismay of both of them. The shenanigans continue for a while until a new character, Licorice shows up. She wants Orphen to come with her to the royal knighthood of honor chaps so that they can properly award him. Orphen refuses so she decides to follow him until he relents. The upside for Orphen is that she is backed financially by the group so now he can use her money and live a decent life instead of scraping for pennies.

Meanwhile, a Red Haired girl continues to follow them and plays the piano during the night. Her plot twist is really obvious and I guessed it as soon as she appeared, but for those who are not too familiar with the trope, it may take a little longer than that. There are also a lot of monsters which keep showing up and try to destroy Orphen from time to time. There seems to be a mastermind behind them, but who can it be? One thing’s for sure, Orphen and the others are not going to be getting a lot of rest this time!

As mentioned earlier, the show doesn’t really know where it’s going at times. Let’s take the first plot, where the two heroes keep waking up in the wrong room. This is never resolved. There is no actual reason for the characters to be sleep walking and if the show intended for this to be a pure comical subplot, then it was not handled well. During the entire show, you’re waiting for the revelation of what is causing this, but it wasn’t to be. We can’t forget Orphen’s dreams either. He gets them constantly and some of them are even used purely for comic relief and have no purpose. One of them does come true by the end, but what about the rest? Has Orphen’s imagination just started to run away with him in his old age? I dunno, it just felt pointless once again.

Finally, Orphen’s new magical symbols are also odd. As opposed to the first show where he could just send off a spell at will, we now get a visual of an odd looking circuit board. We can definitely assume that Orphen is drawing energy from this tech to use his magic. I had a theory going on for a while that this Orphen was a clone and that was going to be the big twist. That would have really been something and I think it could have been handled very epicly. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t to be I guess. It was purely an animation change that the show did for kicks. Gotta save the budget whenever possible right? There is certainly a decent amount of stock footage in this season.

That being said, the animation is reasonably good here. It hasn’t changed all that much from the first season, but it didn’t really need too. As it stands, everything looks to be on point. The fight scenes are always exciting and all of the character designs make sense. It’ll remind you of the classic 90’s days for sure. The soundtrack is pretty uninspiring, but we have 1 or 2 very catchy themes. The theme songs look pretty good animation-wise. I’d say that the first theme song of the original series is probably the best. As for the music of these intros, I’ll update this review with something on those once I listen to them again within the next day or two.

As mentioned earlier, most of the show is rather lighthearted and fairly aimless. While this may not sound good to the action readers in the room, it was rather nice to see the group just hang out and engage in witty banter. There are some shows where you never really get to see the heroes have fun like in DBZ so this is a welcome change. Let’s face it, Vegeta and Goku bickering could make for a lot of good episodes. This cast isn’t quite as dynamic, but they can do a good job so long as the two trolls and Orphen are the main focus. My favorite episode of this season actually wasn’t an action episode, but a comedy one instead.
In this episode, Orphen gets cloned so that there are 4-5 other Orphens chasing him. Orphen even compliments this concept since the only one who can defeat him must be another him right? I can actually follow this train of logic. The fight scenes in this episode are a lot of fun and the dialogue is also rather strong. This episode simply could not be surpassed no matter how much plot they crammed into the final episodes. Some of those titles did put up a good fight, but none could match the brilliance of this event. If you thought that clone episodes couldn’t really be all that good, you’ll want to watch this one to reassess that statement.

The characters haven’t changed all that much since the first season as you’d expect. Orphen’s still the tough main character who is always ready to throw out some insults. He’s still a tough mage as well, but is portrayed as being a lot lower on the totem pole than usual. He is actually on the losing side of just about every serious fight in the series. He loses to all three of the main villains in one on one fights and ultimately only proves to be dependable against comic relief characters. I don’t think his fans will be too pleased at that part. I really thought that the writers didn’t give Orphen enough credit in this season. Maybe that will change if we ever get a season 3. He’s still a great lead though and I’d definitely say that he is the best character in the series.

I still have to give Volkan the runner up spot. He’s actually a really great comic relief character and puts most others to shame. He’s very consistent and never has a moment where you’re supposed to feel bad for him or respect his abilities. He plays the role of the comic relief guy right up until the end and that’s how it should be. He never loses his nerve and we’ll always see him try to make Orphen’s life more difficult. It would simply be odd if he ever switched from this tactic. I still don’t care for Dortin though. He doesn’t pull off the road nearly as well. His voice actor does a good job of giving him a very old/raspy voice, but that’s the only real positive for him. He really needs to get behind Volkan and help him out more against Orphen.

Majic is not nearly as terrible as he was in the first show, but there’s still little reason to root for him in this one. He’s still letting Orphen cheat his father out of a small fortune via the tuition when Majic isn’t actually learning anything. We had a whole episode about this and the moral was basically that Orphen is a terrible teacher, but Majic may as well continue to pay him out anyway. Not the greatest ending for Majic fans. He’ll have to really improve for me to like him more as a character.

As for Cleao, she’s still a good main heroine. It’s definitely fortunate for her that she has a super powerful dog in the form of Lucky. Even Orphen’s afraid of that little guy. She may not be able to fight all that much on her own and it can get old to see her quit the group so often, but at least she can be reasonable and her arguments with Orphen are always entertaining. Unlike Majic, she’s actually a very good supporting character who helps to push the show along. There are other characters from the first season who show up like Orphen’s child hood friend and the new leader of the spell castors, Azalie. Unfortunately, they don’t do a whole lot here and their roles aren’t great. You’d think that Azalie would get a lot of hype since she is one of the strongest mages in the world, but her quick cameos are just there to remind the fans that she exists. She doesn’t really get to do anything in the grand scheme of things. As for the child hood friend, his hobby of transforming into a superhero identity is still around, but beyond that he mostly spends his appearances getting beaten up or beating up on weaker monsters. There’s no real middle here and he can’t hold a candle to the stronger fighters. Neither can Orphen though so I suppose we couldn’t expect much more out of him.

Licorice is one of the newer characters and she gets a large role. Unfortunately, she is a pretty bad character. She wasn’t too bad at first as I didn’t mind her gimmick of always mentioning the Royal Knighthood. It could be catchy and she wasn’t bad. However, she started to get a lot worse once she started uncovering the truth behind her past. Suddenly, she would start getting very snippy with everyone and had a tendency of running off into the rain. She tried destroying herself 3 times or more and tended to get in the way of the heroes at all times. She lost any dignity she had by this point and ultimately the show would have been better off without her.

Erukarena is the final boss of the show and is an example of how you make a good final boss. She is a high above being who just so happens to look like a little girl. Don’t let her appearance fool you though, her powers are immense. She has super speed and a wide variety of spells to the point where she is able to take on McGregor and Orphen teaming up. They really don’t fare very well against her at all. She may look innocent, but takes great joy in making life tougher for everyone else. She may not have many goals or aspirations, but at least she makes sure that the heroes feel her sting. The design really worked well this time.

McGregor was the big villain for most of the series. (When he appeared anyway) He got to show off his skills quite a lot as he took Orphen down rather easily. He moves pretty fast for an old man. The show tries to make him a sympathetic character by the end as we find out a few plot twists about his past. It’s all pretty intriguing and while most of his decisions were good, it doesn’t really excuse the fact that he went off the deep end. Whatever the intentions may be, it doesn’t change the fact that McGregor was a complete villain by the end of all this. He was someone who needed to be taken down for the count. At least he made for a good villain though.

As far as the villains go, the final one is Flamesoul. Surprisingly, the show presented him as a greater magician than Orphen. The court room scene with Flamesoul interrogating Orphen was handled pretty well. He’s not the greatest of villains as he can be rather dramatic at times. He doesn’t know that Orphen was actually framed for murdering his mother so he seeks revenge throughout the series. He is definitely lucky to have an array of monsters to back him up, but he actually does a very good job. He came so close to completely getting his revenge here. I definitely liked him a little more than I thought I would by the end, but he does lose to the first two.

Finally, we have Esperanza. I would have liked her character more if she had stuck to playing the piano in the background. Instead, she gets a lot of development and is unsure of what she should do. Protecting Licorice is her main goal, but she also wants to take Orphen down which would be bad for Licorice emotionally. It’s definitely a tricky call either way as it will be tough for the two of them to get along. I also have to say that the kiss between her and Orphen felt very random and out of nowhere. That scene definitely had no real purpose if you think about it. Esperanza may have been mysterious, but unfortunately she was not a good character. I also happened to be playing Sword Art Online Lost Song at the same time as I watched this and that game had the very same twist as this title involving a mysterious red haired girl. It made the resolution to this plot that much more obvious.

Holding back this show from getting a complete 7 is that it did have a little more fanservice than it should have by the end. It’s nothing too drastic, but the little scenes here and there do add up. Most of the comedy episodes weren’t bad, but they were also pretty devoid of action, which widened the gap between this season and the first one. It was very close to matching the score, but in the end it just couldn’t pull it off. I’m sure that a season 3 would likely get the job done though.
Overall, Revenge is a fitting title for this season as several characters have this motive over the course of the show. It’s not as fitting though when you find out that this season is mostly a comedy. The action scenes do look really good when they show up of course, but it does take quite a while for them to really get going. Once you’re in the climax, you get a glimpse of how epic the show could have been had it stuck to this genre. We do have the first season for that though. If you like the characters then you will still enjoy the show regardless as the comedy is handled rather well. Had some plot points actually ended or been removed entirely, the show would have been even better. As it stands, I’d certainly recommend this show. The franchise may appear to be about 95% dead, but there’s always a chance that we will get a movie or another show someday. Never stop hoping for that sequel!

Overall 6/10

Orphen vs Bass

Orphen is a strong fighter to be sure, but he has no shot against someone like Bass. Bass is known as the strongest being in all of media for a win after all so there’s no way that Orphen can really hope to keep up with him. Bass is simply a lot faster and also a lot stronger than Orphen. Bass can end the match before Orphen would even realize that it has started. That’s how massive the speed difference is between these two fighters. Bass wins.

Darth Sidious vs Orphen

Darth Sidious is back, but his Force Abilities won’t be able to save him from Orphen. Orphen can move at high speeds so he’ll be overwhelming Darth Sidious on that front and his attacks can block the Force Lightning with ease. In a close quarters fight, my money’s definitely on Orphen and both of them can play the long range game quite well. There won’t be many openings for Darth Sidious and he won’t be able to capitalize on any of them. It is game over for him this time. Orphen wins.

Orphen vs Lina Inverse

Now that I have finished the Orphen series, it is time for the main character to show up. Lina Inverse is also a skilled sorceress from Slayers and in terms of raw magic ability I’d say that she is a clear level ahead of Orphen. Her destructive capabilities are simply on a different level. However, Orphen has her beat physically with his very impressive speed showings. I don’t believe that Lina would be able to tag him with a hit very easily and as her durability is not all that great, Orphen just needs a few direct hits to take the win. The speed difference is critical here and it’s not as if Orphen’s a slouch in the power department either. He starts off his blog career on a high note! Orphen wins.

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen Review

After watching all of the Slayer seasons, it was time for a slightly more serious take on the fantasy genre. By “slightly” more serious, I mean that this one is very somber and dramatic for the entirety of its run. (Ignoring the sequel series/season) You can tell that this is the tone that it is going for as soon as the first opening plays. It’s catchy, but the images are also quite sad. It depicts a barren wasteland and a solitary hero who must wander through life on his own even when his friends are near. His mission is a fire one and the stakes are high. It’s a fun series even if one of the characters goes through a personality shift a little too quickly at the end. (Azalie)

A long time ago, Orphen was taught magic at the Tower of Fang. Things went well for a while and Orphen became one of the strongest magicians in the world, but his mentor (Azalie) became greedy with power and used a mystical sword to stab herself which transformed her into the dragon, Bloody August. The Tower of Fang decided that she must be eliminated which caused Orphen to leave on a mission to save her and to defeat the Tower of Fang if necessary. On his travels, he ended up meeting up with a kid named Majic and a rich lady named Cleao. Majic gets involved in the quest because Orphen decides to take him in as an apprentice (For a good amount of money of course) As for Cleao, her family owns the legendary sword that transformed Azalie in the first place so Orphen decides to take it back. Cleao follows him so that she can take the sword back once he’s done with it.

The sword isn’t powerful enough to change Azalie back to her human form though so Orphen needs to find a few relics to amp up its power and allow him to cast the spell. Is it that easy though? A lot of complications occur and naturally the Tower of Fang aims to stand in his way. Along the way, Orphen softens up a little with the group, but for the majority of the series, he’s serious business through and through. He can’t relax until the mission is complete.

Orphen’s plot is pretty engaging and this first series builds up a lot of the universe as we learn about the current status quo. The Tower of Fang seems to be the only ruling body in the world or at least the main one by which all others look to for advice. I wonder how they got such a high rank since the group doesn’t seem all that tough. If I could change one thing about the show’s plot, it would be that I’d like a better resolution at the end, fight-wise. There wasn’t really a big fight to end the series surprisingly and Orphen never got to have a big fight with Childman. Even fighting Azalie in her final form would have been a blast to see as the student surpassed the mentor. Unfortunately, all of these fights never got to happen which was a little disappointing. The series had a good amount of action in its run, but I feel like all anime should end off with a big fight. End on a high note right?

Orphen’s the lead of course and he makes for a good one. He’s completely focused on the mission so he rarely humors his comrades on their comic relief subplots. He’s an excellent mage so he rarely ever loses a fight. He reminds me a little of Train Heartnet although he is typically in denial a little more. Azalie isn’t quite as selfless and nice as Saya was in Black Cat. It’s still a noble goal to save her of course, but he certainly bites off a lot more than he can chew here. Regardless, Orphen’s tough personality and ace combat skills make him a great lead.

Cleao’s the main heroine and she always means well. Unfortunately, she’s not much of a fighter. She gets into arguments with Orphen quite a lot, which ultimately help him not get too focused on the mission to the point where he’ll lose everything else. When a fight starts, Cleao’s glad to try and help even if it’s only a little. It’d be great if she could learn a spell or two, but Cleao is certainly charasmatic so she’s got that going in her favor. The group needed an energetic character in the mix for the good banter and contrast that it brings. She owns Leki, a magical dog of immense power who comes in handy quite a bit. This also ended up helping Cleao a lot since Leki is immensely powerful and can blow away most opponents with ease. When Leki grows up, he could even end up being stronger than Orphen if the bigger versions of him are any indication.

Then…we have Majic. Unfortunately, he’s a bad character. He’s one of the main comic relief characters of the series and a running gag is that his magical abilities are terrible and seem to never actually improve no matter how far the series ends up progressing. One scene towards the very beginning of the series doomed him though even if it was meant as a quick comic relief scene. Majic uses his spells to make a mirror next to where Cleao was bathing so he could watch. It’s a pretty despicable act and while Orphen put an end to it, it shows that Majic definitely has no standards. It’s a quick scene and Majic never does anything like it again, but there’s no way that he could be a likable character after that. When you’re in a small group on the road, you have to be able to trust your partners. After an act like that, there’s no way you can really trust Majic so it’s good to see him fail at performing spells for the rest of the series.

Volkan and Dortin are the other comic relief characters. Volkan always acts as the voice of reason against Dortin while Dortin forces him to come along anyway. Dortin is like Hercule or other comic relief characters who always talk a great game before getting wrecked. It works really well for Dortin though and he is easily one of the best comic relief characters of this type out there. He gets most of the best lines in the entire show and the banter between him and Orphen helps to make the series so enjoyable. Typically, any scene with the two of them is going to be pretty good and a lot of Dortin’s schemes are fun even if they’re doomed to fail. I don’t really care for Volkan, but then again, I typically don’t care for the “straight man” in jokes or the serious comic relief character. It just doesn’t work for me at all and destroys the point of a comic relief character.
The whole show is really about saving Azalie so she has a big role in this. For the first half of the series she’s essentially mindless. Not completely as seen when the dragon turns into Childman and he still has control, but it is hard to see what her plan is. Later on, we find out a lot of startling plot twists about her. The sword transformation may have not been how she planned it to go, but she was aiming for power for all the wrong reasons. She always wanted Childman, but as he was a reasonable mentor, he placed the friend zone card. That’s what Azalie wanted vengeance and she ultimately ends up taking over Childman’s body.

From there, she freezes one of the Fang members, tries to destroy Childman, and also breaks the mind of one of the Elders. She is a complete villain through and through, there’s no way to get around that. Despite all of this, everyone treats her as a likable hero by the end who just went a little off course. You can make a plot like that work such as Cardfight Vanguard where Kai went around doing quite a few evil things before being taken down, but it has to be gradual. In Orphen, this turnaround is just about instant as soon as she is essentially defeated and Childman is turned back into a baby. Also, we learn that she essentially becomes the boss of the Tower of Fang in the sequel series. She never gets to pay for her crimes of murder and assault in the slightest.

Don’t get me wrong, Azalie makes for a great villain, but it’s incredibly hard to buy the fact that she is now a “hero.” It’s not that easy and quick to switch sides and especially not when we see her being evil for quite so long. All it took was for Childman to remove the friendzone card from the table, but it’s way too late for that. So, while Azalie is cool, I think that the end plot development simply did not make any sense by the end. It could have been handled better.

Childman is Azalie’s mentor and seems to be generally considered as the strongest magician in the world. His abilities are quite high and it is revealed at the end that he could even have defeated the Bloody August if he had wished to do so. I don’t like this guy though because he is supremely annoying. All along he wanted to save Azalie as well, but he just decided not to tell anyone and as a result, he made no real progress in his quest. Either way, he would need some artifacts if he wanted to do anything, but he never got any of them and then Azalie took his body with ease while Childman was in awe of her. He really could have handled the situation 100x better than he actually did. I respect his power, but that’s about all.

Hartia is Orphen’s childhood friend, although you could barely tell from this season. Hartia acts like a friend and tries to act as a mediator between Childman and Orphen, but it’s tough since Orphen wants nothing to do with him. It also doesn’t help that while Azalie was in Childman’s body, she kept incriminating herself and Hartia intentionally to further widen the wedge between the friends. By the end, Orphen and Hartia had some all out battles with each other. Hartia could certainly have done a better job of explaining things at different points, but in the end the fact of the matter is that he chose the tower over Orphen and that’s probably at the heart of Orphen’s grudge. I like Hartia’s superhero identity even if it certainly doesn’t help to smooth things over with Orphen. He’s actually a lot stronger than he lets on.

Flameheart is one of the main villains and he is the first opponent to flat out defeat Orphen before the fight was interrupted. He may not be the coolest villain around, but he is quite powerful. He meets with a bit of an anticlimactic end though as he made the same mistake as Azalie as he tried to grab the sword. I suppose that the sword is just hard to resist. I’m not really a fan of this guy though and he does do a lot of whining when things don’t go his way. Good villains have to keep their calm and activate a backup plan when things don’t go well.

The show has some mild fanservice towards the beginning and the end. For the end it’s mainly through the astral projection of Azalie appearing for no real reason. It’s her astral form, but it is still overused quite a bit and Cleao also gets some towards the beginning, but by and large Orphen manages to dodge this trap for the most part. There are definitely a few filler esque episodes, but they’re typically not bad. At the very least, filler helps you appreciate the real episodes a whole lot more.

Power Level wise, I’d place Orphen the character above several magicians like Dr. Strange and Lina Inverse (Definitely a close fight though and composite Lina could be another story with her Sword of Light) but physically he is around human level which can hurt him against fast opponents. As a series, Orphen is fairly realistic despite the magic so it wouldn’t rank too high next to other anime titles, but I’m sure that we’ll be getting some power ups as the franchise goes on.

The soundtrack for the show is pretty good. We have a solid opera theme that plays for the big moments like when the Bloody August attacked the Tower of Fang. It was a great scene I have to add as it came out of nowhere and was pretty unexpected. Who would have thought that the big villain organization would be taken down so suddenly and in the span of around 2 minutes? These guys talked such a big game, but they crumbled in the end. There are quite a few other good battle themes in the series as well. Both of the openings are also quite good with the second one having better action scenes, but the first one probably encapsulating the themes of the show a little better. In the end, I will actually choose that one as my favorite for this series.

As for the animation, it looks pretty solid. Especially when the high budget scenes show up, there is a noticeable difference. The colors are nice and vibrant and this is especially useful for the action scenes. Even when the budget is normal though, the show looks very clear. Naturally, the sequel series looks a lot richer with detail, but this one is definitely solid. There are even some illustration type shots towards the beginning of the series which are always fun. As long as they aren’t spammed of course, but that’s not the case here.

Overall, Sorcerous Stabber Orphen is a solid show. It’s definitely one of the more somber anime that I’ve seen in a while at times, but there is no shortage of comic relief characters, which keeps the atmosphere fairly light at well. The animation and soundtrack hold up very well and fight scenes are solid as well. It’s an all around solid show and one I’d recommend to all fantasy or action fans. If you like good banter a lot, but are not necessarily an action fan, I think you can still enjoy this show quite a bit as well. I’m just about done with the sequel series so you can expect a review for that as well fairly soon. It opts to drop the serious angle so it’s more of a lighthearted adventure which works well enough in its own right, but it is definitely different.

Overall 7/10