To say that there's a lot of anime out there would be a bit of an understatement. To say that there's a lot of crappy anime out there is also pretty spot-on, though that part can also be blamed on me being one of those assholes who hates anything that's popular, and also how I just don't like a lot of things. But to say that there's so much anime out that many get lost in the big cutesy-eyed sea and only a few catch a glimpse of them is also very true, also ignoring how there's a bunch of stuff not even translated (porn).
I'd like to say Ruin Explorers is one of those. Everybody knows about Slayers, even though it's almost impossible to watch the series now without losing a leg and a half's worth of weight in gold, and other fantasy anime such as Rune Soldier and Record of the Lodoss War may be brought up in such conversation. But who talks about Ruin Explorers? It's got tits and a catgirl, man. It could've been big
Apparently based off a manga that ran in RPG Magazine in 1992 that has no information at all on the internet, Ruin Explorers is about the quest for the Ultimate Power, as the subtitle suggests. Although beginning as simply a barely-explained ploy for revenge on Ihrie's part, having had a curse put upon her when magic is used, it soon dips into anime tradition by being big and dark and nasty, a power-mad former-priest-now-villain wanting his grubby magical mitts on it. Being four episodes in length, the first two are primarily there to have a bit of light-hearted fun and character development, and then the last two delve deeper into the darker storyline. This means it doesn't pull an Escaflowne and outstay it's welcome, but...
It's a bit short. And the ending's a bit of a cop-out. Being based off a manga, it's understandable they can get away with such things by going "if you want to know more just read the manga!", but that's where the whole obscurity problem comes in. We only got half of the story. It's great that ADV Films brought over something so obscure and small (even if they did so three years after the OVAs originally came out), but it's a mild irritation that we didn't get all of it. It's like if Superman was exclusive to, say, Sweden, and we finally got a story of it localised for English audiences. Except it was the Death of Superman plot, so all that we know about the hero would effectively be unknown, and we'd just be getting a portion of the story, and it simply wasn't popular enough for anyone, fan translator or otherwise, to get it some localised action.
That's as far as this argument goes, because the OVA is still relatively entertaining on its own without a dire need for the source material.
Of course, the manga and these OVAs weren't all that Japan got; it got a drama CD of talky-talk stories, and possibly several if my sources are right! I've no idea how important those things are in Japan, but I'd like to assume it at least got some love over in its home country. And this almost prompted me to make a whole shrine out of the series. I mean, really, who knows about it here? A true fantasy show with magic, swords and crazy people! The more recognition and uncovering of its secrets, the better.
But as much as I'd like to do it, putting as much work into it as I could, would it really change much? Everyone's still going to be lusting over Death Note or Naruto or whatever the cool kids watch these days that I'm simply too cranky to get into. Nobody wants good old magic and swashbuckling in this day and age.
And I weep.
Check it out!
Intro and ending songs! I imagine at one point in history they were released as longer songs, but I don't think we're ever going to see those.
OP (TV size): Magical Beat!
OP (full): Magical Beat!
ED: DEAR MYSELF - A Time Capsule To Myself