Saturday, 5 April 2008

「ドルアーガの塔 〜the Aegis of URUK〜」 online and FREE

Despite a few nods to die hard oversea fans, the Japanese anime industry has never been in support of fansubs, not to mention its worldwide distribution counterparts. Some studios have even gone as far as serving cease and desists to bittorrent trackers, a clear case of swatting a fly with a machine gun.

Enter Gonzo Studios and their most recent work, "The Tower of Druaga - the Aegis of URUK". I have been anxiously awaiting this new series since it was first announced in 2007. Not only did the initial trailers feature high quality animation, but it just happens that I am a huge fan of the video game series of the same name as well. I have spent countless hours on the most recent iteration, 2004's "Nightmare of Druaga", which was Arika/Chunsoft's way of reviving a classic game with their proven "不思議のダンジョン" formula. The older arcade and PC-Engine versions were absolutely brutal and I actually don't recommend anyone try these, if only to get your butt handed back to you on an 8-bit platter.

Gonzo dropped an absolute bombshell when it was announced that the first episode would hit the internet at the same time as the broadcast - for FREE. Not only for FREE, but with FULL ENGLISH SUBS. I am absolutely, positively flabbergasted. Is there a precedent for such thing? I believe not but hopefully one of my better-informed readers will pop in with some related information. Anyway, I'm still under shock. First, the Montreal Canadiens made it to the playoffs, now this?

Now of course this doesn't entail that the whole series will be posted in such fashion, but given the structure of their youtube channel, all signs point to more episodes to be posted online. Could this be the start of a new era, where anime studios assimilate fansub groups by beating them at their own game? According to AnimeNewsNetwork, Gonzo are giving another new series of theirs, Blassreiter (sounds evil/German) the same treatment.

About the show itself, I haven't even watched half of it as I am not currently home and I prefer watching anime on something larger than a 15.4" laptop monitor. What little I did see greatly pleased me however, as the show seems to poke fun at many stereotypes and clichés that surround adventure and RPG games in general. I didn't expect this sort of approach, I figured this would be a lot more straight-forward fantasy anime, i.e. no green roper alarm clocks and ska-themed OP. Kind of like how the Ar Tonelico, Tales of Phantasia and Ys animes were true to their respective games. Regarding the opening theme, Murasama's "Swinging", at first I was completely all like OMG WTF, but given the satirical nature of the show, I guess it's a good fit. Not unlike Yousei Teikoku's MagiPoka OP, which at first was a studio mistake (they ordered a denpa song and got goth metal), but worked out just fine in the end.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

anyone know where i can get the theme song swinging MP3 for free. tell me at please