This is but one of the anime clichés that Lodoss War, having mostly avoided in favour of RPG clichés instead, finally succumbs to in Final Battle! Marmo, the Dark Island.
We have an exuberant episode title to rival Slayers or Dirty Pair, complete with an exclamation mark. It is also misleading - the final battle is actually in the next episode with the more subdued title of Lodoss, the Burning Continent.
There is the descent into the evil lair at the speed of plot. Wagnard gets to levitate down in a straight line, and then proceeds without delay to commence a ritual that doesn't seem to be taking that long to sacrifice his minions whilst Parn et al, and separately Ashram, have to walk. Presumably in a spiral.
Desptie this Ashram manages to arrive just in time at the end of the episode, and Parn will arrive just in time at the start of the next episode.
And, at the start of the episode, the obligatory black slinky dress slit to the hip for the sacrifice (that would be Deedlit).
As Wagnard starts descending into the temple, Parn et al are still caught up in skirmishing as they attempt to reach it. Meanwhile Kashue is sailing to Marmo with an impressive, if somewhat anachronistic, fleet for a fantasy RPG.
Given those ships I was expecting a broadside of cannon to deal with the Sea Serpent that is ultimately driven off by the Wyvern Riders of Moss.
Elsewhere on Marmo Ashram is reminding the denizens of Marmo what happens when you cross the master of Soul Crusher. I suspect that this is why he reaches the site of the ceremony so quickly.
Then things escalate as a couple of dragons, one good one evil joint the party. Wort also pays an astral visit to Karla for no apparent reason other than to say "you idiot, is this what you wanted?" Which, granted is true, but doesn't do anyone much good.
As Parn et al descend into the temple the Eigen Plot kicks in. They are attacked by a tentacled monster that can only be fought with magic so Slayn and Leylia stay behind to face it.
Then there's the spirits of the dead that can only be faced by the prayers of a priest. Yep, Etoh stays back to face that one.
The sacrifice itself is played out on a grand scale with 6 largish pillars surrounding the central altar. On top of each pillar is one of Wagnards loyal disciples and as it descends to the base of the altar, the disciple is consumed. The...smile on the face of each disciple as this happens is somewhat disturbing. Overall it looks like at least a 100m radius from the centre to the pillars.
Clearly the disciples are part of the ritual so Ashram's sudden and casual disposal of one temporarily halts the ritual, and gains Ashram at least some of Wagnard's attention.
It also ends the episode before Parn arrives on scene, and with nothing really resolved.
Ultimately the problem with this episode is that it feels like the second volume in a trilogy.
The Wizard's Ambition ends with Deedlit's kidnapping and Parn heroically setting off to rescue her. Lodoss, The Burning Continent actually resolves the issues.
This episode? Well, stuff happens but it is more a case of running out of episode than the episode actually ending.
I think it is the resulting frustration that makes it easy to mock the clichés in what is still quite an enjoyable episode to watch.
Day 1 - Prologue to the Legend
Day 2 - Blazing Departure
Day 3 - The Gender of Lodoss War
Day 4 - The Black Knight
Day 5 - The Grey Witch
Day 6 - Dub vs Sub?
Day 7 - The Desert King
Day 8 - The Sword of the Dark Emperor
Day 9 - The War of Heroes
Day 10 - Requiem for Warriors
Day 11 - Nice job breaking it hero
Day 12 - The Look of Lodoss
Day 13 - The Scepter of Domination
Day 14 - The Demon Dragon of Fire Dragon Mountain
Day 15 - The Sound of Lodoss
Day 16 - The Wizard's Ambition
Day 17 - Final Battle! Marmo, the Dark Island
Day 18 -
Day 19 - Lodoss, The Burning Continent
Day 20 -
I see I have an open post tomorrow. I wonder what I'll write about?