Alright, we’ve reached the final act of the core Record of Lodoss War series, at least as far as the Manga is concerned. How does it hold up in relation to the anime, and on its own? Does it come to a good conclusion, whether wraps everything up or leaves an opening for a sequel (or not)?

General Information

Title: Record Of Lodoss War – The Grey Witch Vol. 3 – The Final Battle
Writer: Ryu Mizuno
Illustrator: Yoshihiko Ochi
Original Publication Date: 1999, originally serialized by Kadokawa Shoten in Comptiq in 1994.
ISBN: 1-56219-937-4
Cover Price: $15.95

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The Premise

The forces of Marmo are finally moving against Valis. Parn and his party are sent to contact the sorcerer Wort, to find out the true nature of Karla, and then re-unite with the forces of Valis for the final confrontation between King Beld of Marmo and King Fahn of Valis. Ultimately, Parn and his friends’ path will take them to one final confrontation with Karla, to free Lydia from her grasp.

The High Points

The battle between the forces of Marmo & Valis is significantly better than the similar battle in the anime. The rather poorly done assassination attempt during the ball is also dropped. For that matter, the original death of Beld is used, which makes Karla’s role in Beld’s death significantly less obvious to the characters in the setting (as opposed to the omniscient reader) than it is in the anime. Oh, and the change with how Woodchuck is posessed is changed dramatically from the manga, and I don’t know if how the manga did it is how it was done in the original campaign and/or in the spinoff novels or if the anime did it the way it was done originally. This manga also brings up the connections with the Lady of Pharis manga – it doesn’t hammer you over the head with it the character of Flaus, and her relationship with Beld is acknowledged.

The Low Points

Call me a shipper, but much of the Parn & Deedlit romance (which is one of my favorite parts of the anime) is cut out of this. Further, the portion with Parn & The Party going through Moria the Dwarven Underground Kingdom to get to Wort’s tower is cut as well, which disappointed me. Also, it bears mentioning again that Ashram’s dark elf companion, Pirotess, the Deedlit to his Parn, does not appear in the manga, which is unfortunate, particularly considering both characters’ arcs in Chronicles of the Heroic Knight.

The Scores

Originality: It’s an adaptation of novels based off an RPG campaign. 4 out of 6.

Artwork: The artwork is still just as good as it was in the previous volume, with both the major battles (between armies) and the final confrontation with Karla. 5 out of 6.

Story: This section here is fairly well written, with the expositiory dialog we get in this section (particularly the infodump about Karla’s true nature), getting handled pretty well, without slowing down the story’s momentum. 4 out of 6.

Characterization: The character of King Kashew, introduced originally in this act, isn’t fleshed out very well, and the mentor relationship between Kashew & Parn that comes up elsewhere in the series doesn’t particularly come up here. However, the writing for a many of the other characters, including some who are introduced for the first time this chapter, is excellent. 5 out of 6.

Emotional Impact: Sorry for all the spoiler space, but this is where everything comes to a head. When Woodchuck willingly picked up and put on Karla’s headband, letting her posess him, my jaw hit the floor – but the character’s justification makes some sense – the character’s been in prison for most of his life, and he wants to use Karla’s power to get his life back, thinking he can resist her control. Oh, and there’s Ghim’s death, and I even ended up feeling bad for Beld and Fahn’s deaths. All in all, the emotional impact of this chapter is pretty good. 5 out of 6.

Flow: The art work flows nicely, and again, everything tracks well, and I never ended up wondering what was going on in this chapter. 5 out of 6.

Overall: After the first 2 acts were good, but not great, the comic builds up to an excellent, and enjoyable conclusion. 5 out of 6.

Total: 33 out of 42.