Sorcerous Stabber Orphen (2019): Anime Review

By all rights, Sorcerous Stabber Orphen, at least this year’s show, should not exist. It’s an adaptation of a heroic fantasy light novel that not only isn’t an isekai, but is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary. That said, I’m glad it does.

Quick summary – the character of was born Krylancelo, and was an orphan. He and a bunch of other kids from his orphanage showed talent in magic and were recruited to the magic academy of The Tower of Fangs. There they were trained by a powerful sorcerer named Childman. However, one night, near the end of their training, a magical experiment by one of the kids from the orphanage, who Krylancelo viewed as an older sister – Azalie – caused her to be forcibly transformed into a dragon. The elders of the Tower determined Azalie, now called “Bloody August”, should be destroyed instead of being turned back, leading to Krylancelo to reject not only the school, but his old name, instead taking on the name of Orphen.

Orphen becomes basically a moneylender/loan shark in a small town while doing some small magic lessons for the son of his landlord until Bloody August resurfaces again, and the Tower of Fangs sends a group of wizards, lead by Childman, to destroy her, forcing Orphen back into the world he rejected.

Stylistically, Orphen, both the character and the series, are a selection of creative anachronisms. Orphen’s own character design has him wearing a denim jacket that is screaming for a variety of heavy metal or punk band patches on the back. Similarly, we meet a police officer in an early story-line whose badge is in a flip wallet, and later meet rangers who are dressed just like US park rangers.

Orphen on the right, with his apprentice Majic on the left.
Not quite full Hesher, but you can see it from here.

Again, in comparison to 07-Ghost, these anachronisms work very well, because they all serve a purpose. The concepts that are being re-used are ones that exist for a reason – the flip wallet is a good way to carry credentials, the uniforms of park rangers were designed to be something that you can wear in the out-doors for extended period of time and be comfortable and visible.

As far as the show itself goes – it’s fine. It’s animated by Deen and, well, between this, season 2 of Log Horizon, and by comparison with Showa Rakugo Shinjuu, I suspect that action scenes are not Deen’s strength, and maybe they’re better off with character pieces. The animation isn’t bad, it’s just okay. As mentioned at the start – I’m surprised this exists, I’m glad it exists, and I’m glad I watched it and I intend to watch season 2. That said, I don’t know if I’d recommend it to someone who wasn’t an oldtaku like me.

If you do want to pick it up, the show is available for streaming on Funimation.

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