Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch 02 (“Back to the Vaults” #Manga Review)

Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch 02 (Manga Review)

I probably should have reviewed the entire, three volume Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch manga adaptation as a single entity. But since I didn’t, I’ll get on with my review of volume 2. 😜

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The Story, in Brief

Record of Lodoss War-The Grey Witch 02The Grey Witch Karla kidnaps and enthralls Princess Fianna of Valis. Sometime later, Parn’s party encounters Karla’s carriage and its armed escort, though they don’t know who’s inside beyond two women. After the carriage leaves, sopme knights from Valis arrive, pursuing the carriage. Parn decides they should follow the knights on foot. Before they catch up, a massive fireball explodes in the distance, where the knights are.

Slayn uses magic to see what’s happening. He observes Karla, the woman who’s portrait was in the manor house they visited, giving orders. Ghim is sure the woman is Laylia, the daughter of his friend and priestess, Neese.  When Parn and company arrive, all of the knights, save one, are dead. Etoh uses healing on the knight. The knight explains the situation, so they pursue Karla to a home her party has taken over.

The party assaults the home, but Karla easily defeats them with her magic. They are locked in a room, guarded by two of Karla’s troops and a dragon tooth warrior she summons. Karla leaves to get reinforcements. It is then that Parn’s party manage to escape and defeat their captors. They discover Princess Fianna, who is no longer enthralled, and rescue her, using Karla’s carriage.

During their trip back, Karla intercepts them as a giant roc. After transforming back to her human self, she offers to reward them if they help her. The party rejects her offer and manage to hold their own. However, before she can kill them, a troop of holy knights show up, forcing Karla to teleport away. The knights recognize Parn’s armor and let him know the truth about his father.

The Grey Witch

One of the problems any story can have is one where the villain is so OP, in reality, there’s no way for the heroes to defeat the villain. Such is the case in Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch 02. In the first volume, we got a taste of how powerful Karla is. And in this second volume, we are reminded of this power with her usage of powerful, forbidden magic to wipe out a squad of holy knights.

With that in mind, there’s no way the heroes could logically defeat Karla, much less survive such an encounter. Thankfully, the story provides a reasonable means whereby Karla does easily defeat them on their first encounter by simply putting them all to sleep. She has a reason to keep them alive, namely that she thinks she can win them over to her side.

Unfortunately, plot convenience allows our heroes to escape, which leads to their second encounter with Karla. I liked that she did try to entice them to her side. The problem happens when she doesn’t just obliterate the heroes the moment they reject her proposal. She had a spell ready to release, but allowed Etoh, Slayn, and Deedlit to use their magic to briefly put her at a disadvantage.

Then the plot has a large troop of holy knights arrive. Karla still could have killed everyone, taken the princess, and teleported away before the knights and battle mages got there. But she just retreated instead. To me, that highlights the problem of an OP boss, and heroes that need to stay alive in one’s story.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

As usual, I’m pressed for time, so let me wrap up my review of this manga adaptation with some final thoughts.

  • Its kind of a shame that the relationship between Parn and Deedlit only gets hinted at, usually with Deedlit showing interest in Parn.
  • The backstory for Parn’s father shows how trash the holy knights are.
  • I don’t like Ghim not speaking what he knows. To be honest, I think a lot of problems I have with the story are due to poor writing. I suspect the source material isn’t as strong as it should be, even while it creates a memorable world and characters.
  • As before, the version of the manga I have came out in 2004 from CPM Manga. As such, it is flipped, which sucks. I am puzzled as to why the cover of my volume is so different from what I see elsewhere for the supposed, same book from CPM. Other places show Karla on the cover, but my copy has that image on the back cover. Weird.
  • I’ve mentioned this before, but the adaptation of this manga was pretty bad when it came to names. As to the rest of the text, without access to the Japanese, I couldn’t say how many liberties were taken, beyond stripping out Japanese honorifics.

In the end, Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch 02 is better than the first volume. However, there are definitely issues when it comes to plot and character development. As I said before, maybe that’s why I had it and the two other volumes sealed up for nearly 10 years. 😅 Ah, but there are lots of cute images of Deedlit in the volume, so I’ll let it ride, I guess.

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