It should not be a surprise for anybody who reads this blog but I really like the fantasy genre and last year we were granted with two great shows: Konosuba S2 and Mahoujin Guru Guru. I recommend those two to anybody but the foundation of these shows is mocking the tropes of this genre while embracing them. Somebody told me about a similar old show that does the same thing but warned me that I should only watch the OVA and not the complete adaptation. So today, I’m reviewing the 4-episodes Fortune Quest OVA and it was a blast from the past.
About the show
Fortune Quest (フォーチュン・クエスト) is based on a light novel from the same name. It was first adapted with a 4-episode OVA on 1994 and then got an entire adaptation called Fortune Quest L on October 1997.
Fortune Quest is a tale of a group of adventurers and their (mis)fortunes. We got a Thief, an amnesiac Healer, a clumsy Fighter, a chibi Magician who causes more troubles than benefits and a girl who whines a lot. Together they will try to get money to pay their debts and take on part-time jobs no matter how menial or mundane they are. But these jobs would led them to great and dangerous adventures
Most of the shows I like combine well together the elements of fantasy and comedy, it is a difficult task to make it work because you don’t only have to come up with a large universe, you have to tune it with the right comedic timing. Konosuba does it by injecting a well-crafted satire and characters who break their own stereotype and Mahoujin Guru Guru is the well-hearted homage to the old RPG fantasy games. Fortune Quest is nothing like that. I did not find its world interesting or funny and the characters are quite bland and forgettable. To finish the first OVA, I had to picked it up more than three times because it felt like an eternity, the show just dragged along and I didn’t want to watch more of it.
Let’s begin with what I think is the weakest part of Fortune Quest, the characters. For a show like this, the strongest aspect should be the characters. They are our eyes to the fantastic realms and through their interactions and personalities we learn how this world works. Fortune Quest fails in this regard because it assumes that the audience already knows the role of each character. One of the best examples is that we don’t know who is on charge. There’s a Fighter who does not nothing in the entire OVA but be a burden to the others, there’s the girl character who appears to be in command in some scenes but the general impression is that she is not in charge of the group. There’s no clear answer to this and other questions about the show. I know this is an OVA and it’s announced as a prequel to a main story and yet it fails to engage to the point where I want to know more about this group, their adventures and relationships.
Humor is as weak as the characters. I don’t want to say it’s lazy comedy but sure it’s lame. The jokes you expect to be in a fantasy anime are here but they are underwhelming, predictable and they drag too long about them. One that comes to my mind is that trope that they need to slay a dragon and they discover that the dragon is not as intimidating as the townsfolk told them. You know the gist, it could be a cute creature or an enormous monster whose personality is charming or timid and want to make friends. There’s a ton of stuff you can make with this and Fortune Quest does almost nothing with it, the dragon is a cute who enjoys smelling bad things. And that’s it, that’s the joke and they repeat it more than once. I only laughed once watching this show, in the last third of the second OVA, out of nowhere, a bunch of weirdo bird creatures break into a rap musical. It is unexpected and bizarre, it reminded of the rap on the Titanic animated movie or the horrible 3D CGI rap from Tales From Genesis Space. Points for the weirdness but not enough to make me re-watch it.
Fortune Quest fails in almost all accounts, if I had to mention something that I like is the art style. The details on the world and the creatures are great. Alas, a good art style cannot save a show when the characters are mediocre
(Looking at you Violet Evergarden). I would not recommend this show, even if Fortune Quest could be described as a pioneer of these kind of shows, it doesn’t hold up and many other Anime have surpassed since them. Anime is available where anime is.