Sorcerer Stabber Orphen

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Slayers' more serious foil in classic anime fantasies. "Well, barring the second season."

Krylancelo Finrandi and his best friend Azalie Caith Sith are two orphans who are taken in by the people in a prestigious magic school, The Tower of Fang. Azalie, however, has some connection with the beastly dragon, the Bloody August. To uphold the magic school's reputation, the dragon must be destroyed—but Krylancelo isn't about to let that happen so easily, for this beastly dragon is Azalie: she had been transformed due to tampering with something with which she shouldn't have tampered, in her quest for power fueled by a despair she held for years inside her heart.

Krylancelo abandons the Tower of Fangs and takes up the name of Orphen, furious with the fact that they want to destroy his best friend. Afterwards, people whom Orphen thought were his friends suddenly seem as though they are enemies in the race to get to Azalie first. Meanwhile, Orphan himself sets out on a journey to find and save her with his apprentice, Majic Finn, and a young girl who holds one of the key items Orphen needs in her house, Cleao Everlasting. Along the way, two bumbling Troll siblings, Volkan and Dortin, tend to make things worse no matter what.

It had a PlayStation 2 video game, but was unrelated to the plot. Fairly unique, and it had a tendency to repeat plot elements. This was, shockingly, NOT the result of bad writing, and allowed it to pull off twists other games couldn't even attempt. A machine is using its creations to steal live people and put them in their own stories. The machine records these souls and feeds on them. Hence, 'characters' are reused several times, cycling through roles, and screwing with the viewer and Orphen's head. It also had its moments of good voice acting, which more often than not carried the script. The combat was good, despite having to fight the same boss several times, and it had a solid Framing Device that accumulated into a Fully-Absorbed Finale.

The series originated from a 20-volume Light Novel series written by Yoshinobu Akita, Majutsushi Orphen Haguretabi, that began in 1994. Haguretabi had the same mood and elements from the first anime series, but had a plot that went much further than the small piece the show provided. Two years later, It later spawned a 13-volume spin-off Light Novel series, Majutsushi Orphen Mubouhen, that embraced the more comedic elements of the series. Both series finished in 2003.

The Orphen anime series is now available on Netflix Instant.

Yoshinobu Akita has recently announced a new series of Orphen light novels planned to begin sometime around Fall 2011.

Tropes used in Sorcerer Stabber Orphen include:
  • Adaptation Distillation: The first season of the anime. A lot of details and plot threads from the original novels were either simplified or taken out all together, particularly back-story revolving around Orphen himself, in order to make a stand-alone story that could last for 24 episodes.
  • Adaptation Dye Job: Both Azalea and Childman have brown hair in the original novels (and the manga), which in the anime became purple and green(ish?), respectively.
  • Adjective Noun Fred
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Azalie was in love with Childman, but he rejected her. Ellis is in love with Majik, but he's Oblivious to Love. Cleao struggles with her feelings for Orphen towards the end of the first season, but their relationship in the second one is more Like Brother and Sister. A fairly strong case can be made for Hartia being Orphen's Unlucky Childhood Friend. Apparently, Tisha liked Orphen too in the past.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The younger troll, Dortin. While the Jerkass troll, Volkan, is repeatedly referenced to as "he" and quite clearly masculine in looks, Dortin is a bit more confusing, mixing a plain, chubbily androgynous face and Nerd Glasses with, at least in the dubbed anime, a feminine sounding voice. That the dub never refers to Dortin by any gender-based pronouns doesn't make matters easier... though the subbing does have Dortin referred to by Majic and Cleao as "she" in episode 12, the same episode also has Volkan make references to "him", presumably talking about Dortin.
  • Artifact of Death: The Sword of Baltanders, when complete, kills any sorcerer who uses it pretty much instantly. Orphen, who somehow finds a way to not get killed by it is an exception.
  • Babies Ever After: Invoked in the anime ending through Orphen's solution to rescuing both Azalie and Childman's souls after Azalie in Childman's body destroys said body reverting Childman in Azalie's body back into a human form, leaving one body but two souls. He places Azalie's soul in her body, then places Childman's soul in her womb, leaving her pregnant with Childman's reincarnation. This is a happy enough ending for her, even though she hasn't given birth (or is really starting to show) by the time the series ends. Might instead be an example of Someone to Remember Him By.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Childman was this to Orphen and Hartia, until Orphen left. Orphen can be seen as this towards Majik.
  • Black Magic: Destructive powers based on the elements of Earth, Fire, Light, Ice and Wind.
  • Blind Without'Em: Lycoris
  • Book Ends: The first series.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Majic, towards the end of season 2
  • Broken Bird: Esperanza from Season 2. Cleao lampshades the trope by telling her during their fight, that she wouldn't be able to harm her since she was gentle towards birds and other living things.
    • Azalie mixes this with Magnificent Bitch. Her mental/emotional state went downhill when she thought Childman only liked her for being a powerful mage, and when she thought that he wanted to kill her rather than help her when she became Bloody August... oh boy.
  • Broken Pedestal: Childman and Azalie, for Orphen.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Hartia, Orphen's best friend, is an excellent sorcerer... and a Heroic Wannabe who actually prefers to disguise himself as his childhood hero, the Black Tiger. Hilarity Ensues every time he does so.
  • The Caligula: Flamesoul
  • Calling Your Attacks: Anytime when anyone casts a magical spell. Sword of Light is a popular one.Justified due to the fact the magic human sorcerers wield are powered by their voice.
    • Averted in the English dub of the anime, where the attack names are typically replaced by banter between the combatants.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Orphen and Azalie lived in an orphanage before they were taken in by the Tower of Fangs.
  • Cool Big Sis: Mariabelle, Cleao's sister. Cleao herself, to Lycoris (though this can be arguably seen as Romantic Two-Girl Friendship). Azalie used to be this for Orphen, until It Got Worse. Stephanie also is this, to a degree.
  • Creepy Child: Escalenna
  • Crossover: With Slayers, in the form of a light novel released in 2005.
  • Cut Short: The manga adaptation of the novels.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Esperanza and Azalie, again.
  • Dating Catwoman: Esperanza seemed to be slightly attracted to Orphen, or at least be genuinely intrigued by him. She once even kisses him on the lips at some point. And then it's surbverted: she did have him in good regards, but her priority was protectin Lycoris.
  • Deal with the Devil: Marco Reika and Escalenna
    • Also Stephanie, who's forced into this to save her hometown... via killing Orphen. He actually realizes this and helps her to get free.
  • Defector From Decadence: Orphen.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lycoris, upon painfully finding out she was Dead All Along. Sorta.. She later tries it again to stop her family and her friends from fighting to the death.
  • Dojikko: Lycoris
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Though the dub is generally quite good, the fact that the spell name calling has been replace with more conventional battle dialogue causes a bit of a plot hole in the episode where Orphen gets a toothpick stuck in his throat, as it's explained that human magic in this world is powered by the sound of one's voice.
  • Dub Name Change: In the game, Scion of Sorcery. Majik has his name changed to Magnus.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Flamesoul loves his mother Shastanasi to Oedipus Complex extremes. So does his twin younger brother, Flameheart
  • Evil Plan: Azalie's vengeance against the Tower of Fangs, which she starts when she switches bodies with Childman and infiltrates it. In the second season, Marco Reika and Esperanza's plan to keep Lycoris alive and fill their Deal with the Devil with Escalenna
  • Fake Memories: In the second season, Escalenna erases Lycoris's memories of her family to use her as an Unwitting Pawn in her and Marco Reika's plans. As she guides Orphen towards Escalenna's lair, Lycoris is unaware of her own role and thinks she's an orphan girl taken in by the Royal Cavalry and assigned with taking Orphen to its headquarters. Later, however, she starts to remember...
  • Femme Fatale: Esperanza
  • Fingerless Gloves: Orphen
  • Gender Bender: Or better said, Transsexualism. Stephanie actually was a male-bodied magic user named Stephan, who after being gravely injured asked the local healers to give her a female physical body. They complied, and Stephan became Stephanie. Cleao and Majik are surprised, but Orphen seems to not care.
  • Grand Theft Me: Azalie/Bloody August uses this to switch bodies with Childman
  • He Knows Too Much: Lai finds out about Azalie's Grand Theft Me and is encased in ice (He gets better later). Hartia finds out about both Lai and Azalie and is almost killed by her but manages to escape and reach Orphen, telling him the truth.
  • Heroic BSOD: Orphen, when Hartia tells him about Azalie's Grand Theft Me. Lycoris, when Esperanza is painfully and cruelly killed by Escalenna
  • Hey, You: Cleao almost never calls Hartia by his given name but by her nickname for him, "Shrimp Man". Except when he properly introduces himself to her, and when she talks to Orphen after Hartia almost dies.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Most notably the first and second episodes of season 2. Turns out the place wasn't really a hot springs to begin with.
  • I Have Your Wife: Stephanie is blackmailed into luring Orphen into a trap, or her hometown will be destroyed. Orphen isn't fooled by her cover and decides to help her get out of said deal.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Subverted: Ellis tries it on Majic, but fails and is knocked out. Played straight: Orphen tries again and is succesful.
  • Important Haircut: Azalie gives herself one when she starts studying magic for real.
  • Knight Templar Big Sister: Esperanza, towards Lycoris. Orphen confronts her on it when he finds out she might be The Dragon, but goes outta her way to protect Lycoris without being seen
  • Jerkass: Volkan, the troll, is this to a tea, perhaps mixed with elements of Ted Baxter. Even his own sibling, Dortin, describes him as a liar, thief, backstabber and all-around pain-in-the-ass. Obsessed with his own ego and wealth in roughly equal measures, to the extent the subbing has him constantly referring to himself as "My Magnificence", he also has a serious grudge against Orphen that just gives him a reason to stir up trouble against him... not that he really seems to need it, given how frequently they cross paths in ways that has Volkan make life extra difficult.
  • Left Hanging: The prematurely-ended manga adaption of Haguretabi, which ended with a cliffhanger.
  • Lethal Chef: Cleao. She even makes a soup called Stone Cold Killer Stew.
  • Lighter and Softer: Most of the second season, if not all. Until the Awful Truth is learned.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Azalie's Freudian Excuse was how she turned towards studies and intellectual/magical achievements to an obsessive degree, after Childman rejected her love declaration. Also, if we count familiar love, Marco Reika and Esperanza from the second season fit to a T, as all that they have done was to save Lycoris's life.
  • Meganekko: Stephanie in Season 1, Lycoris in Season 2.
  • Monster of the Week: Primarily in Season 2.
  • Names to Know in Anime: It had a pretty decent cast in Japanese: Showtaro Morikubo (Orphen), Mayumi Iizuka (Cleao), Omi Minami (Majik), Satsuki Yukino (Mariabelle), Sakiko Tamagawa (Stephanie), Ryotaro Okiayu (Hartia), Jouji Nakata (Childman), Emi Shinohara (Azalie), Kazue Ikura (Volkan), Hekiru Shiina (Dorchin), Takehito Koyasu (Flamesoul), etc. The second series adds Megumi Hayashibara (Esperanza) and Tomoko Kawakami (Lycoris).
  • The Ojou: Cleao and Mariabelle
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Cleao's Sword of Baltanders, which Orphen wants to use to bring Azalie back, is actually her last keepsake from her Disappeared Dad. Also, Lycoris's headband, to a degree
  • Pettanko: Cleao, pointed out rather snarkily by Orphen.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Two of them, Volcan and Dorchin.
  • Plucky Girl: Cleao will NOT let anything get in her way.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If only Azalie had known that Childman did care for her (and maybe was in love with her) and did want to save her in time, there would've been lotsa less drama. Same goes to Orphen, who horribly misjudged Hartia at some point and thought of him as a traitor... though that was actually a part of Azalie's Batman Gambit.
  • Proper Lady: Mariabelle fits quite well.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Majic, to a degree
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Majik and Orphen are the most blatant example. Orphen and Hartia, as well as Lai and Hartia, might also qualify to a degree.
    • Even Dorchin and Volcan follow, though they might be a parody of the trope.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Orphen repeatedly utters this sentence (and variants) in the manga of the same name. You can't really blame him, though, since he is surrounded by nothing but loads and millstones.
  • Smug Snake: Shastanasi, Flamesoul, Flameheart
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Majic and the priestess Fienna, Childman and Azalie
  • Take a Third Option: Parodied with Hartia using his "Tiger" alterego to aid Orphen in his quests without having the Fang Tower on his back. Played straight by Orphen in the season 1 finale - see Babies Ever After to learn how he pulled it.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: Azalie and Stephanie.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Orphen, to a degree Childman.
  • Team Mom: Cleao tries to be this, but it doesn't always work.
  • Team Pet: Leki, though he's also more powerful than usual.
  • Ted Baxter: Volkan
  • Teen Genius: Azalie was the most powerful witch in training of her generation.
  • The Load: The trolls Volcan and Dortin.
  • Three Amigos: Orphen, Majic, and Cleo. At least for the first season.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Esperanza was the girl who really died. Not Lycoris. Only Escalena and Marco Reika knew.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Cleao Everlasting is the Tomboy of two different duets. The first one is with Mariabelle, the other is with Lycoris Nielsen.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The Tower of Fangs pendant that Orphen carries around. It actually belongs to Azalie and not to him.
  • Tsundere: Cleao and Ellis. Both are Type A.
  • Warrior Therapist: Orphen shows some traits when he combines an "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight speech with beating the crap out of the Brainwashed and Crazy Majic, in the second season
  • White Magic: Spells that allow the user to enter the spirit world and control it; may be used for healing and body switching
  • Witch Species: You have to be born with the ability in order to learn magic. The manga elaborates on why this is the case.
  • Wizarding School: The Tower of Fang
  • Word Salad Title: If you've only watched the anime, the title doesn't really make sense. The novels, and in turn the manga, explain just what a "sorcerer stabber" is.