What do I have to do to see some elf nipples?

 I’ve never seen the DVD for the second Dragon Knight OVA, Dragon Knight: Another Knight on the Town (bleh, pun), for sale at a discount, and I refuse to bother ordering it. But, as mentioned, I do have the third OVA, based on the fourth game in the series, which was apparently a pretty decent little strategy title that some developer or other eventually ported to the Playstation, with updated illustrations. The DVD I bought a while back is another ADV product, with much of the actual erotic content cut out. Again, there’s some visible nipples here and there, but at 100 minutes, there’s almost a half-hour of sex scenes missing, I presume because ADV couldn’t find talented voice-over actors who would willing feign moans and grunts, though the fact that so many of the female characters appear a bit younger than the American age of consent might have as much to do with that decision as anything, and is quite reasonable. So instead of what might be an above average, fantasy themed hentai – though I hasten to add that, not being a connoisseur of animated porn, I wouldn’t really know – Dragon Knight: The Wheel of Time is a merely average example of low-budget fantasy anime.
The movie starts with Kakeru trapped in a dungeon after a lost battle against Lucefon, a wizard or some such from the underworld. Marlena, another survivor of the battle, gives him a black stone that allows him to travel back in time. Finding himself in the past, well before the final conflict, he teams up with his past self and his companions, hiding his identity with a mask and assuming the name Eto. From the future events he’s already experienced, he knows that Marlena is not merely an elf who wants to kill Lucifon and that only she can help him resolve the final conflict. He only needs to know how to win her over to his side in order to make that happen.

The obvious answer, which we don’t really see in the censored version for the American market, is a good roll in the hay. In fact, the transition for this is rather clearly marked, if you know when to look for it. The missing content always seems to lurk in the background. I would have congratulated the makers of the OVA for their restraint and good taste during a scene where one of Eto’s companions, a female warrior with a bad attitude, decides that she cannot follow him unless he proves himself superior as a warrior and a man. After a sword fight and a knock-out punch, the typical hentai would follow up with a scene in which Eto wows the Amazonian mutineer with his – not to be too blunt about it – penis. This likely happened in the original, unaltered video, as Dragon Knight: The Wheel of Time was intended to be a typical hentai in its original incarnation, but I like that it doesn’t happen. I only wish that somebody had found a way to provide closure to that particular story arc in a way that left both Eto and the warrior-woman’s dignity intact, but the character practically disappears afterwards. It’s a trade-off that leaves neither the viewer wanting sexual fantasy nor the viewer wanting non-porny fantasy happy.
Believe it or not, she's actually about to be saved.
Dragon Knight: The Wheel of Time also takes itself rather seriously, which is something of a departure from the outright goofiness of the first Dragon Knight. There are, of course, some funny moments. Young Kakeru is much like his father, Takeru, in that he’s prone to making bad jokes and is quite immature. Eto, at times, is the same, but as most of the narrative is told from his perspective, the audience hears his internal monologues and philosophizing about the nature of time. In the third episode, he wonders if he’s not the first Eto, if history has begun to replay itself in a loop with the battle routinely fought and fought again with the same outcome. This is pretty heady stuff for an anime that seems like it wants to focus on romantic entanglements and panty shots, and it never quite works because it never develops into anything of consequence for the narrative or the characterization.

Is it worth watching, then, without any of the attractions for which it was originally created? I actually kind of liked it, at least more so than Dragon Knight. The animation is actually better, with more (and longer) fight scenes. I think I liked it more because of my affinity for the visual conventions and character designs of nineties era anime and video games than for any genuine appreciation of the narrative, characterization, or dialog. And much of my affinity for nineties era anime and video games probably stems from my ambivalence towards current anime and, to a lesser extent, Japanese video games. But that’s me.
There’s better anime features in this genre that, not having potentially offensive or illegal content, don’t suffer from content cuts the way that Dragon Knight: The Wheel of Time does. But it did kind of make me want to play Dragon Knight 4, in spite of the fact that I know I’ll roll my eyes at the erotic content and sexualized loli characters. It’s left me with another conundrum, in that sense. Do I bother to play a game that has content I was happy to not see in the licensed anime adaptation? Honestly, probably not. I figure the experience isn't too different from playing a Record of Lodoss War game while thinking about elf tits. And since there's a pretty good one translated in English (for the Dreamcast) it'd be easier to do.

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