Well, I’ve reviewed Record of Lodoss War, the classic anime that set the mark for a lot of people’s anime campaigns. Now I’m going a little closer to the source, with the manga adaptation of the original game session transcriptions and the novels based of them.

General Information

Title: Record of Lodoss War – The Grey Witch Vol. 1: A Gathering of Heroes
Writer: Ryu Mizuno
Illustrator: Yoshihiko Ochi
Original Publication Date: 1999, originally serialized by Kadokawa Shoten in Comptiq in 1994.
ISBN: 1-56219-919-6
Cover Price: $15.95
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Premise

Parn is a traveling mercenary who has returned to his home village after several years of travel, only to have to save the village from goblin attack. Parn joins forces with his childhood friend, the priest Etoh, the elf Deedlit, as well as the dwarf Ghim and his friend, the wizard Slayn to investigate the increase in Goblin activity. Ultimately, they end up picking up an thief, Woodchuck, as get caught up in a war between the kingdoms of Lodoss and the forces of the dark island of Marmo.

High Point

The manga is probably closer to the anime in terms of similarity to a D&D campaign. In particular, there were several moments which I distinctly recognized the character’s dialog as being gaming group shorthand for “Rather then spending the same amount of time the GM spent in giving out expository dialog, I’ll just give a really simplified version of what the GM said, so the other PCs know what the results of my Knowledge check was.”

Low Point

The manga doesn’t retain the in media res introduction of the anime, which really kicked the anime off well. Also, destruction of the school of wizardry is clunky – it doesn’t serve any purpose to the narrative – not even to say “oh, the bad guys are really evil” as they’ve already established that earlier when the forces of Marmo landed on Lodoss.

The Scores

Originality – It’s an adaptation of a D&D campaign. 4 out of 6.

Artwork – The artwork on the comic is very good – the action
scenes are well drawn and easy to follow (while still being exciting). 4 out of 6.

Story – The story is still pretty good, and it’s a little more fleshed out in this medium than in the anime. 5 out of 6.

Characterization – I have to say that the characters in the manga, thus far, are more fleshed out than they are in the anime. 4 out of 6

Emotional Response – The emotional beats really aren’t the same in the manga, due to some of the alterations to the plot – in particular, the scenes of Parn’s rejection in his home village (leading to Parn burning his home as he leaves) as well as Parn considering joining the Alanian military don’t happen in the manga. 3 out of 6.

Flow – The story flows very smoothly, without any particular pacing
problems of note. 4 out of 6.

Overall – This is a pretty good start to the story, and (in relation
with the first half of the anime), it picks a good stopping place. 4 out of 6.

In total Record of Lodoss War – The Gray Witch – Vol. 1 gets 28 out of 42.