June 11, 2010

Mystery Meat -- Tears to Tiara

So I've watched two episodes of this so far. It has the kind of over-the-top feel of the two Conan movies. But the story feels like it was ripped off from the Highlander anime movie, with a healthy dose of Arthurian legend mixed in.

Indeed, one of the main characters is a young man named Arthur, "First Knight" and de facto leader of a tribe known as the Gael. His younger sister Rhiannon is another main character.

In the first episode an evil priest named Drwc (may I buy a vowel, please?) comes to their village along with a considerable force of men wearing full plate armor. (Um, do you know how difficult it is to march long distances wearing that stuff? There's a good reason why medieval armored knights rode horses.)

It's all so earnest in presentation. There's no hint at all that they think there's anything silly about it. But false notes keep ringing out.

Easily the most false note was the casting of Rhiannon's voice. She is strong, wilful, brave, self-sacrificing (though that didn't turn out to be necessary), and they gave her the voice of Mikuru from Haruhi. That voice just doesn't have the gravitas. It was perfect for Mikuru. It's dreadfully miscast in this case, and it makes it hard to take the character seriously -- which is a hell of a problem, because she's the center of the story.

On the other hand, the voice of Arthur is perfect.

About 25 years ago there was a TV series here in the US which was intended to be a satire on the swords-and-sorcery craze of the time. Parts of it were played straight, mainly the villains. And some of the characters were completely silly. I remember a princess (I think she was) who talked like a Val-girl. (Another dated reference.) It only lasted one season because ultimately it was a one-joke pony, and not even a very good joke.

Tears to Tiara feels a bit like that. Mostly they're playing it straight, but they don't quite know how to play it straight, so there are jarring notes all through it that make it hard to take seriously.

Of course, as of the end of the second episode it hasn't fallen into the real story which occupies the majority of the series. Eventually Rhiannon, Arthur, and Arawn (the demon who was summoned at the end of the first episode) will embark on a road trip, accompanied by half a dozen gorgeous women, all of whom are powerful and dangerous in various ways.

They're telegraphing the ending: the story is really about Arthur, not Rhiannon. He's gonna find and draw a sword embedded in a stone (they show that happening in the OP) and eventually overthrow the Holy Empire and become new king of whatever replaces it, with one of those women from the party as his queen.

I may watch a bit more of this, but probably won't.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Mystery Meat at 09:33 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 Wizards and Warriors, I think?

I thought it was great, but I was pretty little at the time.  If I ever get around to getting back on Netflix, I need to see if they have it...

Posted by: BigD at June 11, 2010 09:53 AM (LjWr8)

2 As non-spoilery as I can make this... in a weird sort of way, the show isn't really about Arthur and Rhiannon. The real male lead shows up soon.

You're right, though: False notes abound in this. I like a sword-and-sorcery romp on occasion so I put up with the silliness, but the show's hardly going down in history as a classic.

Posted by: GreyDuck at June 11, 2010 10:03 AM (3q5Q5)

3

"Wizards and Warriors" is the one I was thinking of

Greyduck:

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 11, 2010 11:25 AM (+rSRq)

4 I was hoping for a good swords & sorcery series, with cute girls. I gave up about the time he collected his fourth waifu. It was just getting ridiculous.

On the other hand, Ichiban has delivered, in spades.

Posted by: ubu at June 11, 2010 04:11 PM (EI+3x)

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