Years ago, the demon Druaga built a tower, filled with monsters, and waged war with the humans. The hero Gilgamesh climbed the tower and defeated the demon many years ago. But recently, monster activity has risen again, and the tower is once again teeming with monsters! The humans have fought a bitter battle and cleared the first floor of the tower from monsters. They built a stronghold city there, and it is there that adventurers (known as 'Climbers') gather. There is fame and fortune to be gathered in the higher floors! Most notably there's the Blue Crystal Rod, which will grant any wish -- but of course that's Druaga's personal item...
Main character is Jil, who went to the tower to join his older brother who is also a Climber. At first, Jil joins his brother's party, but he is worse than useless (leading to a very amusing 'dream'-sequence) and so he gets kicked out. He finds himself new party members and becomes entangled in the machinations of the royal court. Then the "Summer of Ainu" comes, when the monsters are at their weakest, and the mad rush towards the top of the Tower begins! There are various factions battling each other over who gets to fight Druaga for the Blue Crystal Rod, and there's some intrigue and backstabbing involved too...
The series is an interesting mix of very serious moments and total slapstick. There's quite a bit of excitement to be had in the fights and tight spots where Jil's party finds itself in, but there are also very lighthearted episodes that offer a bit of relief from all the action. In my view, that's really the perfect combination: there's a cool plot, but the series doesn't take itself so seriously so there's also room for plain fun.
The concept comes from an arcade game that was released in 1984 - wherein you play as Gil(gamesh). There's one episode where Jil is put through the floors in the arcade game (guided by his party members), and the things they make him do match up exactly with the actual video game.
I have been thinking of running an RPG in this setting -- it's just so much fun.
Visually, the series is stunning. This being a Gonzo series, the digital effects are very, very good -- but unlike some other Gonzo series, the character animation is stunning as well. The visual style is semi-realistic, though the armor is of Lodoss-proportions...
There's not much character development -- the series is only 12 episodes, so there's not much room for complex interactions. Only Jil rises above himself, from simple farm-boy to hero, which is fun to watch. The other characters stay rather 'fixed', though there are some plot-twists waiting there. The interactions between the characters are fun: the comedy comes mainly from the washed-up magician and his nagging cook,
- Interesting premise;
- Doesn't take itself too seriously;
- Lots of serious moments, but also lots of fun.
- No room for complex character interactions;
- Too short.
It's very light viewing, but the plot lifts it above 'mere fluff'. Very fun, and I can't wait for the second series to start! I'll give this one a 8.5.