Early 1996. The golden age of gaming, as some may call this era. Nintendo had yet to release the Nintendo 64, but it was host to many popular franchises. Even then many knew of the likes of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and so on. Depending on who you asked, though, Nintendo also delivered a few other series, but were predominantly in Japan. One of these series of games was called Fire Emblem, which had been around for a little over five years and saw just about as many games across the Famicom and Super Famicom.
When it came to Fire Emblem's early steps, its peak of popularity in Japan was with the third game in the series, Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem. It told not one, but two adventures starring a young man named Marth, who saved his kingdom from evil. Thanks to the jump to a 16-bit console, Mystery of the Emblem was able to capture an audience wider than what the previous games had garnered, being more accessible and just more fun to play.
It was then that, a few months before the release of the following game, Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, Nintendo and Intelligent Systems collaborated with KSS and ADV Films to release a two-episode anime OVA of Marth's journey. Unfortunately, the OVA only scratches the surface of the story and ends abruptly. Some believe the anime was canceled and there were plans for more episodes, but nobody really knows for sure what the reason was for its cancellation. What is known is that this anime was officially released on VHS and DVD, and surprisingly, was later given an English release in 1998, making this the first instance of the Fire Emblem name having any kind of presence in North America, pre-dating Super Smash Bros. Melee by several years.
While currently out of print, both the English dub and a subbed version of the Japanese original are available on YouTube, if you know where to look.
Provides examples of:
- Adaptational Early Appearance: Ogma and his three Axe Fighter mercenaries play a prominent role in the first episode, which covers the events of Chapter 1 of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. In the games, they don't show up until Chapter 2.
- Adapted Out: Wrys, Darros, and Castor are nowhere to be seen. While the former two were also missing from Book 1 of Mystery of the Emblem, Castor is notable for having his entire introductory chapter skipped over.
- Ascended Extra: Gazzak, the Warm-Up Boss of Chapter 1 from the games, is given an extended role in the first episode.
- Battle Couple: Marth and Caeda.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: In contrast to her game counterpart, the anime portrays Caeda this way, angrily stomping on Marth's foot when the village elder's daughter makes eyes at him.
- Cool Old Guy: Jagen, as always.
- Dark and Troubled Past:
- We briefly get a glimpse at Ogma's past as a gladiator, and how a young Caeda rescued him by appointing him as her retainer.
- Navarre is shown suffering from a nightmare involving a woman being taken away, which is implied to have something to do with his reluctance to fight women.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Medeus is acknowledged as the Dragon of Darkness and ruler of the antagonistic nation of Dolhr, but since the anime ends long before Marth and his army confront him, Gharnef serves as the Big Bad in his stead.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Elice is shown using a Warp Staff to allow Marth and Jagen to escape from a group of enemies that had them trapped in a small room. As the anime ends long before her rescue, it's left ambiguous whether she was killed afterwards.
- I Have Your Wife: Gazzak pulls this twice, first on Caeda with her father, then on Marth with Caeda.
- It Was a Gift: The anime is notable for showing the origin of Marth's tiara: Ellice gave it to him as a good luck charm before Warping him away.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Since the English dub pre-dates the western release of Shadow Dragon by about a decade, a lot of the names in the anime don't match up with their official localizations:
- Marth > Mars
- Caeda > Sheeda
- Draug > Doga
- Ogma > Oguma
- Navarre > Nabal
- Archanaea > Akaneia
- Altea > Aritia
- Dolhr > Durhua
- Aurelis > Orleans
- Those Two Guys: In addition to Cain and Abel's pre-existing relationship from the games, the anime portrays Draug and Gordin this way as well.
- The Voiceless: Barst is given a single line of dialog while blocking Gazzak's escape route ("Going somewhere?"), but Bord and Cord only have wordless grunts.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Just like in the games, this is how Caeda convinces Navarre to join Marth's ranks.