Anime: Rune Soldier Louie

Clockwise from the center: Melissa, Merill, Louis, Illa, Genie
Louie PUUUUUUUUUNCH!!

When an all-female adventuring team needs a mage, the only one they can get on short notice is the burly adopted son of the head of the local mage guild. Not only does Louie look more like a fighter than a mage, he acts like it, too, getting into all manner of trouble and trying to solve it with his fists. And when the team's cleric learns that her god has assigned to her a special relationship with Louie, well, let's just say she's less than happy.

A slapstick comedy set in the world of the ultra-serious high fantasy drama Record of Lodoss War, Rune Soldier Louie (Mahou Senshi Riui) has fun playing against type with the tropes of the fantasy genre. Lodoss's roots in Dungeons & Dragons are just as clear here as they are in the original series, with the stereotypical character classes — who don't always act anything like you would expect they should.

This show provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: In the anime, Jeanie is the most action oriented member of the female cast. Merrill also knows how to handle herself in a fight, but not to the same extent, since she's more of a Fragile Speedster.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the manga, Louie drops Jeanie with one punch. In the anime, Jeanie is a much better fighter and not only outlasts Louie when they fight in the 12th episode, she knocks him out.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • In the manga version, Melissa and her group simply appear after Louie is released from jail and tell him that Mylee has decreed him as the hero they must serve.
    • Whereas the anime has them turn him down when Ila suggests they hire him, and only accept Louie as part of their group after Melissa has performed the revelation ceremony. During which, she receives word from Mylee that her champion would be the very next person she saw. Moments later, Louie falls through the roof of the Mylee shrine and lands facedown in the holy spring, directly in front of Melissa.
  • In Another Man's Shoes: Episode 21 is about this for Melissa when she covers for Merrill, with a variation. The focus is on the difference between Melissa and Louie, rather than between Melissa and Merrill.
  • Adjective Noun Fred
  • Always Save the Girl: Don't ever pull that around Jeanie, she hates it for good reason. If she even thinks someone's trying that with her, it's liable to set her off. Which is the reason she finally trades blows with Louie near the end of episode 12.
    Jeanie: (at Farbe) "You men are all the same: you always have to be the big hero and save the girl! But I'm not a girl... I'M A WARRIOR!!"
  • Amazonian Beauty: Jeanie, see The Big Guy entry.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Louie and Jeanie get a color page image in the manga version, that has them surrounded by spirits.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Jeanie and Merrill.
  • Beach Episode: Well, lake episode anyway.
  • Beautiful Condemned Building: How Merrill sees the run-down house she buys in episode nineteen.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Melissa working with Louie, although it is against her will. Also subverted with Isabel, who eventually confesses she faked having a revelation of a hero to serve, but it turned out the man she chose by herself was a real hero anyway.
  • The Big Guy: Jeanie fills this role, moreso than Louie. Not only is she tall for a woman, she has sculpted physique that'd put most men to shame and has the strength to match; which she uses to wield her claymore. She even mentors Louie in the finer points of swordsmanship during the series.
  • Big "NO!": When Melissa discovers that Louie's the hero she's destined to serve.
    • Her special personal variant "Even if it is AGAINST MY WILL!!!" comes up several times in each episode, often in response to Louie's actions.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Celecia is a pure and kindhearted maiden... except for when it comes to Louie's feelings for her; which she shamelessly exploits so he'll fulfill her tasks for her and protect her while he's at it. Once that's done, she ditches him without a moment's hesitation. Melissa and the others spell it out for him, at the end of the 9th episode (at 18:15-18:57):
    Melissa: (smirking) "Do you still not get it, Louie? That girl was just pretending so she'd get on your good side. That way, she could have you stop the machine."
    Jeanie: (irately at Louie) "You're just lucky we were all on the same team."
    Merrill: (smug grin) "Let's put it this way, Louie: elf girl used you. But as they say: "bitches will be bitches."
    *girls laugh as Louie realizes he's an idiot*
    • Ila's manga incarnation is somewhere between this and The Gadfly, as she's portrayed as outwardly cheerful and friendly, but is actually snarky and manipulative. Like how she turned Merrill and Genie's insults back at them, to goad them into going with Louie to the Forest of Tartious.
    Louie: (deadpan, at Ila) "You really think they'll folow us?"
    Ila: (smiling innocently) "Yup! Sure do. ♥"
    Louie: "Hey, have you always been so manipulative?"
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Melissa's the blonde one, Merrill's the brunette, and Jeanie's the redhead.
  • Blue with Shock
  • Boobs of Steel: Jeanie's got 'em, though hers are closer to being pectoral muscles, due her body build.
  • Busman's Holiday
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Louie. Conrad too, whenever he shows up.
    • Also Merrill. Episodes that focus on her generally show a series of terrible things happening to her.
  • Calling Your Attacks: "Louie punch!" is the closest thing, although it's not a special move, just him shouting as he punches.
  • The Cameo (Be on the lookout for Rei, Makoto, and Ami in the bathhouse Louie peeps into in episode 1.
  • Canon Foreigner: Isabel, Renard, and their party in the anime. The manga features Ale, Ila's familiar.
  • Catch Phrase: "Louie Punch!". Melissa also has one, but it's against her will!
  • Child Mage: Lilly although technically she's a priestess.
  • Chosen One:
    • Louie as Melissa's champion, although it is against her will.
    • Isabella lied about getting a sign for her champion, but who she chose turned out to be a capable hero.
  • Cleavage Window: The cleric dresses Melissa and Isabel wear.
  • Combination Attack: Complete with portraits.
  • Consummate Liar: Louie. Even his companions, seasoned adventurers, were unable to detect any sign of deceit even when they knew he was lying.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Jeanie, the swordswoman.
  • Destructive Savior: Louie a couple times.
    • Especially in the final episode.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Very much played straight... until episode 12. See the Would Hit a Girl entry at the bottom.
  • Drama Bomb Finale: The last story arc attempts to add a (relatively) serious plot to the series and fails disconcertingly, not being a drama-heavy show this is a good thing.
  • Dunno What's Going On But...
  • Facial Markings: Jeanie has what appears to be a red tribal marking on her left cheek.
  • Fanservice: With three nubile female leads, you'd think the series would be rife with it, but there's only a moderate amount of T&A throughout the series.
    • One of the first is when Louie imagines finding a treasure cache, with Melissa, Jeanie, and Merrill, all naked and rewarding him with their affections.
    • Ila is about the only anime character that can provide fanservice while fully clothed. Practically anytime she's onscreen would count.
    • Melissa's reserved and dresses conservatively in her cleric's robes, but the few time's we're allowed to see it, she has a very comely, curvaceous figure.
    • Speaking of which, episode 15 provides fanservice throughout, since you get to see the women in bikinis; including Ila.
  • Fiction 500: Sir William is the heir of one of the wealthiest families in Ohfun and in search of the girl who saved his life a month ago, Odessa, so he can propose to her.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Jeanie and Louie finally come to blows near the end of episode 12, after her patience with him runs out. See the Would Hit a Girl entry.
  • The Fool: Louie. Anime Louie is closer to a Bunny-Ears Lawyer with some of The Ditz mixed in. Manga Louie is less goofy but more perverted and also rather more competent than his anime counterpart.
  • Form Fitting Clothing: Impossibly so and usually only the lead female characters but it's all for fanservice.
  • Gender Bender: In one episode, and made all the more disturbing by the fact that Louie is most decidedly not an Attractive Bent-Gender, looking pretty much like normal except for a pair of large breasts. It would appear Genie is the only one in the show capable of pulling off the strong lady look well.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Louie prefers this to magic a lot of the time, even as late as the 18th episode where Jeanie notes Louie's preference for punching things out instead of using his magic... or his head.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: In episode nineteen of the English dub when Merrill buys a house she says "Mi casa es su casa" (My house is your house) to Louie, Genie, and Melissa.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Melissa has a pure heart and longs to serve a noble and just champion of the people, whom she could perhaps fall in love with. Except she winds up with Louie instead. Even so, she remains true to her vows to serve Mylee and reluctantly accepts Louie as her champion... though it's against her will.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Ila in episode 2. Probably the only time where she tried to keep a far too loud Louie away from her.
  • Harem Anime: Averted. It's got the trappings of a harem comedy, but the emphasis is on parodying fantasy tropes. All three of the main females dislike him at the beginning. By the end, they have a fair amount of respect for him, but with no romantic feelings involved. And he always thinks of them as his friends.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of episode 12, Farbe finally tells Jeanie why Hector sacrificed himself, back when they were in the king's army. It was because he'd secretly been in love with her and couldn't bare the thought of her dying, so he chose to do it in her stead. While she doesn't share the sentiment, she appreciated the gesture all the same.
  • Hermetic Magic
  • Hidden Elf Village: After being captured by Louie, Celecia pretends to guide him and his friends back to her village and walks them straight into a trap set by her people. Though she does speak on their behalf, while they're there, to prevent them from being executed for trespassing into their forest.
  • How We Got Here: One episode opens with Louie out in the rain, digging a hole while Merrill lies nearby, appearing to be dead. The episode then flashes back to show how it happened.
  • Identical Grandson: It's mentioned by the Head Priestess while the looks aren't similar, personality-wise Louie is the carbon copy of his father. Since his father has great PR team that creates a different public persona, no one but his father's close companions have caught on to this.
  • Identical Stranger: Odessa for Merrill.
  • I Gave My Word: No matter how often Melissa claims serving Louie is against her will, she remains true to fulfilling Mylee's decree; even going so far as to remain at his side during a cave-in, despite him telling her to leave for her own safety.
  • Improvised Weapon: Louie is capable of swinging a wild boar around, seemingly effortlessly.
  • Inept Mage: Louie wouldn't suck so much at magic, if he ever bothered to study. The problem is, he'd much rather go off on adventures and punch things out. Which is why he only knows simple magic and can even get those spells wrong, since he tends to forget how some of them work.
  • Innocent Innuendo: The 2nd episode contains a scene that makes it appear and sound as if Ila and Louie are having sex, when all she was really doing was sitting on his back while he was doing finger pushups (at 4:30-4:43).
  • Jumped at the Call: It didn't take much to convince Louie to join up with Jeanie's group, since he'd much rather go off on adventures, than be stuck at the Magician's Guild studying magic.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Parodied by Conrad, played straight by Leonard.
  • Left Hanging: Although there are sufficient clues for the observant viewer to deduce who Louie's parents probably are and why he was fostered by the head of the mage guild, no one in the cast has access to them all — or any interest in the question, for that matter — so there is no chance to find out for sure.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Louie is surprisingly competent when the chips are down and the day needs saving. In the latter half of the anime, he hardly ever botches a spell and actually comes up with creative uses for minor incantations.
  • Limited Wardrobe
  • Little Miss Badass:
    • Lilly, mild version.
    • Merrill has shades of this dependant on how old you think she is.
  • Magic Knight: Louie is more this than a straight up wizard, particularly a Bare-Fisted Monk, as he's rather unreliable in the magic department and prefers his fists over his sword.
  • Medieval European Fantasy
  • Meganekko: Ila's glasses are really a pair of pince-nez, with regular sized lenses.
  • Money Fetish: Merrill, even bathing in gold coins when given the chance.
  • Mooks: Demon mooks sure but nonetheless...
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Ila is a looker and has a body most women would die for. Yet...
    • Not Distracted by the Sexy: It's completely wasted on Louie, even when she's sunbathing topless and asking him to rub lotion on her back.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted in episode 7, where Merrill spends nearly half of it in the outhouse, because of some laxative-laced cookies she ate which had been meant for Louie.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Melissa doesn't have any romantic feelings for Louie; likewise, he thinks of her as one of his travelling companions.
  • Oblivious To Hints: For the first half of the series, it's subtly implied that Ila's nursing a crush on Louie, 'til episode 15 bludgeons you over the head with it. Except he completely fails to notice. Even when she was wearing one of her best dresses and said she was waiting for him and his friends to show up. Or while she lying there topless asking him to rub suntan lotion on her back. And you thought Goku was bad.
  • The Ojou: Melissa is of noble birth, joining the priesthood of Mylee to escape an arranged marriage.
  • Our Elves Are Better: This is briefly discussed in-series:
    • According to legend, elves are the highest order of the fairy folk and said to be immortal, but Celecia corrects Louie by stating that while elves do have longer lifespans than humans, they're far from immortal. And says they aren't as noble as most believe them to be. Louie admits to realizing that, but says he'd still rather believe the legends.
  • Panty Shot: A rare case of some pretty damn realistic skirt physics.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: On Jeanie, which is a tad strange, given that fighters usually need to be able to see their surroundings.
  • Pillar of Light
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Exaggerated with Merrill, who is mistaken for a nobleman's true love, and she is offered a whole bunch of dresses to wear. She can't decided so she layers several on at once.
  • Potty Emergency: Merrill ends up having to run to the outhouse, during the Mylee Festival, after making the mistake of eating the cookies Melissa's fangirls had laced with a laxative for Louie.
  • The Power of Friendship: Louie's punching isn't enough to break the Big Bad's barrier at the finale, but when the girls join him, their combined punches are strong enough.
  • Pretty Freeloaders: Inverted — Louie becomes an unwanted companion to Melissa, Merrill, and Jeannie.
  • Punny Name: Their kingdom's name is "Ohfun". Get it?
  • Rebellious Princess: Melissa was a noblewoman who ran away from an arranged marriage.
  • Redheaded Heroine: Jeanie, who keeps her hair fashioned in a thick braid.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Inverted. Louie has blue hair and clothing but possesses the characteristics typically associated with a Red Oni. Genie has red hair and clothing, yet acts like a typical Blue Oni. Their rivalry is played up a lot outside of Genie's master/student sessions teaching Louie how to swing a sword.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: It would be the priestess. Poor Melissa:
    • When Headmistress Jenny jokes that Melissa's duty may require her to let Louie have his way with her, she imagines him as an ogre tearing her clothes off, complete with a Big "NO!"
    • While they're out sailing in episode 15, when Louie casts his fishing line, the hook snags the top of Melissa's bikini, then pulls her across the deck, tearing off her top in the process. She ends up flush against Louie's back and has a screaming fit when looks at her, followed by hitting him with a barrage of punches and demanding her top back.
    • And when she volunterrs to cover for Merrill, while she was out sick, she finds one of Merrill's jobs is dancing in a burlesque show. So Melissa ends up having to wear a skimpy showgirl costume.
    Melissa: (thinking) "If this is what he means when he says the word "costume", I don't want to know what he means when he says "dance"!"
  • Role-Playing Game Verse: A slightly tweaked Dungeons & Dragons universe, inherited from Record of Lodoss War.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The prince is an adventurer, but you don't find out who until 2/3 into the series. It's a minor character, though.
    • Louie is a bastard prince that has cared for by the a trusted mage.
  • RPG Anime: Of the tabletop sort; many of the tropes involved that Lodoss played straight are played for laughs here.
  • Running Gag: Melissa's repeated insistence of Mylee appointing Louie as the champion whom she's destined to serve being "against her will".
  • Shorttank: Merrill is short and usually wears a shirt with a vest and a jean skirt. Though in episode 6, she somehow fashions a bedsheet into a halter top and a sarong.
  • Show Some Leg: Merrill pulls this on a clay golem, so it'd stop long enough for Louie to get her precious jar. It sorta worked (for a few seconds, anyway)... just not in the way she intended.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: There's only one among the main female cast: Ila, of course.
  • The Smart Girl: Though she's only a novice spellcaster, as a member of the Magician's Guild, Ila's very knowledgeable of magical artifacts and ancient tomes, which she uses to help Louie and his friends.
  • The Sneaky Guy: As the group's thief, lockpicking and getting info on ancient ruins for treasure is Merrill's department. She's also pretty handy with her throwing knives.
  • Snot Bubble
  • Spanner in the Works: Louie ruined one of the bad guys' schemes because there wasn't a ready bathroom nearby. Of course, odds are he was doing it to mess with his teacher, as well.
  • Sparkling Stream of Tears
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The manga uses "Genie", while the subtitles in the anime version uses "Jeanie" instead.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Subverted, Jeanie thought this happened to her in her army days. It turned out Hector didn't let her stay behind to die because he was in love with her, not because she was a woman.
    • However, it's self-imposed with the female magicians of Ophun. Jeanie's group had come in search of hiring a female mage for their travelling party. But according to Ila, the female mages in their city simply don't have the stomach for adventure and prefer to lock themselves away with their studies. Which is why she suggested they hire Louie, since he was already more than willing (at 4:48-6:50, here).
  • Stripperiffic:
    • Genie doesn't even bother with a Breast Plate, apparently being so Badass that she doesn't need armor, or even much clothing.
    • And one of Merrill's day jobs is an exotic dancer, which Melissa found out to her horror when she tried doing Merrill's jobs when she was sick, and had to put the dancer outfit on.
    Melissa: "If this is what he means when he says the word 'costume', then I don't want to know what he means when he says 'dance'".
  • The Tease: Celecia may be a purehearted elf, but she knows how to use her feminine wiles to manipulate Louie. Which is best seen in episode 8 and especially 9, where Melissa and the others mercilessly lampshade the fact that Celecia plays him like a fiddle.
  • Too Long, Didn't Dub: Averted - a long wordplay exchange is masterfully adapted.
  • Turn Undead: Melissa and even the three student Priestesses can do this to the undead. They use it to take out some zombie mooks in one episode.
  • Underboobs: Jeanie, even her bikini allows for it.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Perhaps not necessarily a childhood friend, but poor Ila certainly appears to have an affection for Louie which isn't really returned.
  • Visible Sigh
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Louie has this sort of relationship with Merrill and Genie. Even after they start acting nicer towards him they still tend to throw insults at him.
  • Warding Gestures
  • Waterfall Puke: Let's just say the golem didn't think much of Merrill's display, in episode 6. And you can guess how well she didn't take it.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Melissa, who is from a noble family.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Being a Mylee priestess, Melissa dreamed of one day serving a valiant champion, who'd accomplish great and noble deeds for the people.
    • The manga makes this even more apparent, by having her go dreamy eyed, whenever she thinks about it. While, in this scene, she's even surrounded by sparkles.
  • White Magician Girl: As a Mylee priestess, Melissa's capable of using some offensive spells, but she mainly specializes in defensive spells and healing magic. So her role is to provide support for Jeanie and Merrill.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Genie and her fear of Giant Slugs in episode 11.
  • Would Hit a Girl: At least, when it comes to Jeanie.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Early on, Louie breaks his magic wand by beating goblins to death with it.
  • You Don't Look Like You: In the manga version, Merrill is fair skinned, while the anime makes her Ambiguously Brown. This applies to Jeanie as well, who appears much more feminine in the manga (including wearing lipstick) and with less muscle tone; though she still has a very solid frame. In the anime, she borders on being outright butch and has far more muscle.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Louie has blue hair.

Alternative Title(s):

Rune Soldier, Louie The Rune Soldier, Mahou Senshi Louie