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Ruin Explorers
Reviewer: TD McEachern 12/31/1999

Synopsis:
Set in a very Slayers-ish era of swords and sorcery, our two heronies Fam and Ihrlie search for the Ultimate Power -- a power with vague legends surrounding it. Each is lucky enough to be able to use magic, but Fam doesn't want to, and Ihrlie can't do so without 'something' happening to her. Along the way they gain the company of several different, chaos-inducing characters, and a prince named Lyle -- who unintentionally draws them into a personal quest for revenge.
 
Review:
I can find only one problem with this series -- it is way too short. Not that they didn't make perfect use of the four episodes, but by the end I was still itching for more. Maybe it's because of how much I ended up caring about these characters. Each one seemed to have found his or her own place in my heart, and I think that's impressive for four episodes. However, characterization is not the only thing Ruin Explorers has going for it. The background music is entirely orchestral, and ends up sounding like an old Disney movie -- but in a good way. The opening theme, Magical Beat, places a grin on your face that will remain there until the end of the episode. Dear Myself, the ending theme, is a very sweet, but introspective song. The character designs are deceptively simple. They have that professional yet amateurish look, which, when combined with the fluid animation, extensive shading, and breathtaking backgrounds create a very pleasing overall scenario -- which is something I wish more anime titles had.
 
The plot itself is fairly dark, and includes a villain who becomes evil through the corruption of power. But what I find especially captivating is the fact that he isn't purely evil. He's real. Nobody is completely good or completely evil in life. Everybody is layered, and that fact is neglected in a lot of entertainment features. It's refreshing to see a villain whose side you can almost take, who you can almost feel sorry for. But what works best in this series (and what there is the most of) is the comedy. Ruin Explorers is one funny show. Since the plot is on the dark side, the humor comes almost entirely from the relationships between the characters. The scenes where Fam and Rasha are fighting over Prince Lyle are just gut-bustingly hilarious, as is Ihrlie's little "problem", and Galaff's compulsive greed. Everything right down to the anime version of Mutley from Wacky Races. You' just gotta love these characters, and this show. Rent it, buy it, borrow it... whatever it takes! It's definitely worth it.
 
Miscellanies:
Why isn't there a soundtrack for this? The DVD contains all four episodes.

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Ruin Explorers
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Review Title:
Ruin Explorers
Alternative Titles:
Hikyou Tanken Fam & Ihrlie
Type:
OVA
Episodes:
4
Duration:
120 Minutes
General Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Aired:
1995-1996
Suitable For:
Young Adults
Genres:
Action, Adventure, Comedy,
Fantasy, Magic
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