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Anime Profile: Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

USA Info
Japanese Info
Sorcerous Stabber OrphenMajutsushi Orphen Mahouben (魔術士オーフェン) ("Sorcerous Stabber Orphen")Sorcerous Stabber Orphen
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OrphenSorcerous Stabber Orphen
24 TV episodes24 TV episodes
ADV Films
Fantasy, Adventure, ActionFantasy, Adventure, Action
Orphen Series 2: RevengeMajutsushi Orphen Revenge (魔術士オーフェンRevenge)
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-- more listed below ---- more listed below --

Last I checked, this anime was available on DVD at Amazon.

Characters: Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

English Name
Japanese Name
English Name
Japanese Name
Azalie Azalie Leki Reki
Childman Childman Majic Lin Majic Lin
Cleao Cleao Orphen/Krylanceo Finrandi Orphen/Krylanceo Finrandi
Dortin Douchin Volcan --?--
Hartia Hartia Marybelle --?--

Description: Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

Krylancelo is a former student of the most prestigious magic school around, The Tower of Fang. Yeah, former. Did he graduate? Flunk out? No, he ran away! Why? Simple! One of his closest friends, love interest, and fellow student, Azaile, was trying to draw out the full power of a legendary sword the Tower had gotten a hold of, and turned herself into a terrifying dragon known as the Bloody August! The Tower saw this as a disgrace, and set out to kill her, so Krylancelo changed his name to Orphen and ran away to find the sword again in order to turn her back and save her. Did I say simple? Sorry if I misled you.

The anime begins five years after this occurred, and much has changed. Orphen has now taken an apprentice under his wing, an aspiring sorcerer named Majic Lin. When he and Orphen track down the sword, known as the Sword of Baltenders, to the house of rich heiress Cleao, two pesky little dwarf brothers named Volcan and Dortin steal it. Once they run off with the sword, Cleao tags along with Orphen to get the sword back, which was the last present she received from her father before he died. So begins the epic tale of Orphen.

Anime Review: Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

All's well... but the end.

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen is a great anime for many good reasons; graphics, characters, and above all its "compelling" story. It is a work worthy of high praise, rightfully given thanks to many good fans on the net. But it is the very goodness of the story that hits hard by the way it ends. Orphen's end is, in my idea, a disappointment.

I am a huge fan of Orphen. I followed its story enthusiastically, amazed by the way the story was developing, shaking like a chased rabbit at the end of episode 22. I started watching the two final episodes with great hopes and expectations; I was gutted at the end. It is not that it did not end the way I wished for, (and I did not wish for anything more than a robust touching end); Orphen did not end the way it deserved to end.

Firstly, it was Azaile's sub-plot which suddenly altered the whole story; that is, the story of "Azaile's great talents lost to her perilous curiosity and later obsession with power of sorcery" was totally replaced with "a failed love story between Azaile and Childman". Azaile's love for Childman and his rejection (for her own sake, by the way) was a motive behind Azaile's change, but had it not been for her curious - and ambitious - trait, she wouldn't have taken those drastic measures (including her fatal experiment on the sword of Baltenders)[1]. With Azaile's sort of confession to Orphen, the story suddenly changes from dark drama to sweet romance. All the characters become so meek. Azaile's change of heart takes place too easy, too fast[2]. That Azaile loved Childman can be a good background, but now that we are brought to realize how Azaile has changed so much during 5 years she suffered in the form of the Bloody August, should it not take at least five hours to de-villainies her?

Secondly, it is Childman who I believe was badly played down in the last two episodes. That is no treatment of a hero. Childman is one of the weighty characters of the story. He is a man of great wisdom and courage and probably the most powerful sorcerer around. How is it that at the fatal moment he becomes so passive and submissive in front of Azaile? How is it that he gives her a free hand to kill him, thereby failing all those who have put so much hope on him? He fails Lio – who is dumped frozen in a dungeon, he fails Orphen and his group, he fails his closest and most loyal assistant – Hartia, and he fails Azaile herself. What would have happened if Azaile succeeded in killing Childman? Would she be saved? Or would she go on her pursuit of power in the Tower of Fang – and of her unfinished business with Hartia and others? Is this the best plan Childman could think of? Or is he made to behave so much out of character only for the sake of the romantic atmosphere of the final episodes? (Not mentioning that as if it was not enough, he ends up being an embryo in his former pupil's belly!)

And thirdly, it is the sword of Baltenders which given the emphasis on its power throughout the story, one would expect some more action when it became whole, but instead there was just a light and then everything changed.

Of course, not all ended badly in the final episode. I liked how it ended for Orphen, Cleo and Majic and their reunion as a group. I was more than relieved that Hartia and Lio survived. But the story as a whole did not have a convincing conclusion; it was almost as if hastily wrapped up at an immature point.

Orphen's story had so much potential for an impressive end; to see it wasted like that is a source of profound lament; the more so if you hold it so dear, as I do.


(1) This is following the English dubbed version. According to the Japanese version Azaile was not that eager for power after all, all she did (including using Baltenders) was in order to appeal to Childman. When she failed, she took Childman's body, reasoning like "now we are together forever, and I shall just make sure nobody ever finds out." That's indeed a more logical ending, but, in my idea, not a better one.

(2) The Japanese version avoids this problem, since apparently all Azaile's grievances are against Childman because of what she perceives as his indifferent and cruel treatment of her and she all but regrets it when she finds out she was wrong. Once again more logical but it simplifies the whole story.

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