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[R1 DVD box art.]
AKA: Druaga no Tō ~the Sword of URUK~, ドルアーガの塔 ~the Sword of URUK~ (Japanese)
Genre: Fantasy adventure.
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: R1 DVD box from FUNimation.
Content Rating: TV 14 (Standard RPG violence, some fanservice.)
Related Series: Tower of Druaga: the Aegis of Uruk. (Season 1.)
Also Recommended: Scrapped Princess, Record of Lodoss Wars, Elemental Gelade, Utawarerumono.... and still trying out the original arcade game.
Notes: Loosely based on the Tower of Druaga game series, most notably the original Tower of Druaga and, to some (unknown) extent, The Tower of Druaga: the Recovery of BABYLIM.
Rating:
 

Tower of Druaga: the Sword of Uruk

Synopsis

Six months after Jil and his friends had conquered Druaga in the tower, only to be betrayed by his brother, he and Fatina try to move on with their lives. To make matters worse, king Gilgamesh had taken credit for Druaga's defeat, which left Jil finding little joy in the peace that reigns all over Meskia.

So when Jil and Fatina encounters a little girl named Kai, who requests them to take her to the top of the tower, Jil eyes the chance for more adventure, but also the chance to find some answers to the events that took place six months ago and those that transpired in its wake.

Review

Those of you who read my review of Tower of Druaga: the Aegis of Uruk or saw it yourselves probably remember that the show was a few floors short of a full tower, both literally and metaphorically. The opening episode in particular was like a full blown night on the town, with liberal amounts of alcohol, drugs and red paint. (More metaphorically than literally this time.) And while I felt the show was a little short on plot points, it was a generally entertaining watch.

But if the Aegis of Uruk was the big, no-holes-barred, full blown party, the start of the Sword of Uruk definitely felt like the morning after. Fatina had taken a job as a tour guide and souvenir saleswoman, while Jil, having taken the betrayal of the kingdom much harder, spent most of his time sleeping his days away. It was a rather sobering contrast to the stark raving madness of the first show, to say the least.

Which is not to say the show is completely without comedy. Fatina, having temporarily managed to drag Jil out of his funk, take him to a wrestling match, where they meet up with an old ally of theirs. They don't recognize him at all at first, and it takes him holding a rusty old pan with holes in front of his face for them to recognize him as Utu, Neeba's old partner and formerly fully armored fighter. ("Attacker" being the correct gaming-related term.) Later, they also meet up with Melt again... in his new occupation as the CEO of a new winter resort. (Remember that "frozen hell floor" in the first series? Yeah, that's the place.) His newfound wealth is certainly not doing his sense of morality and humility any favors. (His corruption, on the other hand...)

The show still look pretty damn nice too. Character designs are as good as ever, as is the background art, in particular the random worlds our main party is traversing. The music is also pretty good, adding a lot of atmosphere to the show itself, not to mention a... well, fairly decent general rock opening theme, I guess, once again showcasing the cast in a modern setting to go with the animation.

But more than anything, I just want to say... about damn time! When I went through the Aegis of Uruk, I lamented the lack of any actual explanations on what was going on. The Sword of Uruk actually explains all this. We learn what went on with Gilgamesh before he became king. We learned what Neeba wanted when he took Kaaya and left the others behind.

The Sword of Uruk, alongside its prequel, is still a little too fond of old fantasy clichés, though. While the dialogue is mostly written in a modern style, the storytelling is all too fond of keeping its plottwists close and its lead-ups even closer. The story and the conclusion of the Sword of Druaga isn't necessarily predictable, but some of the setups to the events in it are painfully obvious.

Also, for what it's worth to all of you; the settings and trappings of the upper half of the tower feels more disjointed. Instead of ascending floors -- or even doing an upside-down version of the tower -- the party is now hunting portals to the next realm. This would have been nice if there had been some kind of pattern to these realms instead of just feeling like random stages that has to be conquered.

Still, the story is actually progressing at a fairly brisk pace, so in the end, this show is actually more rewarding than the first season. Ideally, the Aegis of Uruk could have been summed up in less episodes and lumped together with this show. As it is, the first season serves as the stumbling block to the better second season; a test of your dedication, as it were.

Oh yeah, there's one thing, though; Gonzo and FUNimation? If you're reading this, I'd like to register a complaint! The DVD case promised me a "Tower of Druaga Complete Walkthrough". I expected this to be about the game, but what did I get? A documentary about the show I just watched. All false promises and lies. I am outraged. OUTRAGED, I SAY!

This here represents the Tower of Druaga series finally getting on the ball and going somewhere.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: Like the first season, the Sword of Druaga has your average amount of typical RPG violence. Nothing too bloodied, really, but between that and the various amounts of fanservice (the ladies like their baths), I think it's safe to say that it's made for teenagers.



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, bilingual
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Tower of Druaga: the Sword of Uruk © 2009 Gonzo, Bandai Namco Games.