Conan the Adventurer Season 1 Review
Conan the Adventurer is a 1992 animated series about the character of Conan the Barbarian. It follows Conan who along with his friends is on a quest to revive his parents who have been turned to stone by an evil wizard Wrath-Amon.
The first season consists of thirteen episodes which are of the similar quality throughout. Now, this series is one of my childhood favorites which is the biggest reason why I wanted to revisit it after so many years. And as an adult, I have mixed feelings about it. Now I notice how mediocre the animation is and how bad the acting definitely is, but on the other side, the story is still excellent and quite engaging from the first to the last episode. But, let’s go aspect by aspect.
First off, the story. It is undoubtedly the highlight of the show. It is very appealing to me not just because of its well crafted storylines, but because of its evident dark tone and fantastic villains. As a child, I always rooted for Conan to bring back his parents, but that eludes him for such a long time and I was frustrated. Watching it now, I still think that villains are great and that the stakes are high. I adore its mythology with weapons and magical abilities all very well realized. And each episode has a distinct storyline which is an interesting approach that mostly works. It is done for better and for worse. It is problematic because in a 20 minute timeframe the story has to conclude which leads to a couple of really rushed episodes. But it is great because that means that there are no weak and plain boring episodes here because it all moves at such a brisk pace, albeit affecting the character development in the process.
It starts somewhat weak and ends with a so-so episode, but a couple of episodes really stand out. The Terrible Torrinon is a really well done story and the duel at the end is excellent and it is a great character vehicle for Wrath-Amon. Greywolf of Xanthus is also a great episode as it perfectly introduces you to the new member of the team and is the most well imagined story for sure.
But it is Windfang’s Eyrie that is the only fantastic episode. This is just a great story from start to finish and I only wished that the others were like it. Windfang gets such a great story here and probably the most development of all the characters. His backstory is such a tragic one and his relationship with Jezmine is very poignant. Here everything gets emotional and everyone gets proper due, but it is also a great explanation of some plot points as well in an incredibly well rounded and just immensely satisfying result.
The characters are okay. Some are weak, but others are better. Conan as the protagonist is rather bland and he is the weakest link here. But Needle, though annoying at times and a typical creation, is a comic relief with an endearing personality and relationship with Conan. Zula is okay and their relationship is great but he is a typical good character. Jezmine is annoying to me with her voice and attitude. Greywolf is solid mainly due to his portrayal and his wolf animals accompanying him. Snagg is the most realistic of them all and Falkenar is rather forgettable.
But as I said, the villains are much better. Wrath-Amon is superb. He is so well depicted, voiced and above all a genuine threat that his lack of development can be forgiven. Mesmira is also very well realized in this season and Windfang is the standout as I mentioned before, the one character that is the best developed and the most complex one.
The animation is rather bad. It is just too bland and too forgettable to be enjoyed. It is subpar even for 90s TV standards. The character design compensates for the mediocre animation as it is rather well done with genuinely well depicted characters and some quite interesting armors, clothes and weapons. The score is one of the standouts. It is simply terrific not only in its sound effects and episodes’ score, but also in the themes. It has a great opening song that, although childish, is so incredibly catchy and not overlong making it a perfect opening for the show. And the ending is the same, but they could have added another song for the ending.
The voice cast is horrendous. There are some well voiced characters here like Wrath-Amon and Needle who are both great, but the others are just so weak and some are downright horrible with Conan and Jezmine being the weakest of the bunch. The tone is well handled, going from comedic to fantasy to adventure and the stories are mostly very intriguing. The humor is okay, but it all relies on Needle too much and it is rarely as funny as it thinks it is and just never that present whatsoever. The pacing is okay, but sometimes too rushed and preventing bigger character development and allowing for more action sequences which are definitely overwhelming. It does have a too episodic nature, but at least most of the episodes have very well imagined and interesting to follow storylines. The world-building is also great as is the conflict. And I am genuinely interested for the second season and I hope it is going to be even better. Conan the Adventurer may have weak technical aspects, but it is entertaining always and the storytelling is stupendous.
Conan the Adventurer has an incredibly weak animation, awful acting and it is at times too rushed and some characters are never developed, but some are very well depicted and developed with some of the episodes being great but most are entertaining to watch. It succeeds due to its score which is quite memorable, a story that is always involving and its villains which are all very well depicted and imagined.