- Alt. Name
- Lance and Masks
- Fall 2015
- No. of Episodes
- Studio Gokumi
- Light Novel
Lance N’ Masques is a 2015 Fantasy anime series from hit or miss Japanese animation studio, Studio Gokumi. Though this studio has created some entertaining series such as Seiren and Seton Academy, they haven’t been able to break out of the overall single-season series. This doesn’t say anything against this series or any that they have made in the past, but it does find itself rather interesting that terrible series can get spin-offs and even sequels, and they can’t seem to get that. What makes this series stand out is that it’s a contemporary fantasy, meaning modern fantasy set in the present day. So can Studio Gokumi create a series that is equally entertaining and worthy of the viewer’s time?
Eight words describe the feelings of Youtarou Hanabusa: “I just want to live a normal life.” Unfortunately for him, as a member of the Knights of the World, his training in this ancient and international order has left him with a condition he calls “White Knight Syndrome.” This condition causes Youtarou to instinctively act heroically and chivalrously whenever he encounters someone in danger, even if he doesn’t want to get involved.
To protect his identity in such embarrassing moments, he always carries a mask with him. Then one day, he saves the life of Makio Kidouin, the young daughter of an elite and affluent family. Little does he know that this singular act of heroism will change his life forever; whether it is for the better is still up for debate. Soon, he is simultaneously blessed with a life in the lap of luxury and cursed with one of abnormality, for his new friend Makio lives a life far removed from the everyday.
Between coping with the hijinks of six-year-old Makio and dealing with a cast of odd friends and scheming enemies, Youtarou must protect his new friend while keeping his identity hidden as the masked hero Knight Lancer. Can Youtarou keep his secret identity hidden while trying to get the everyday life he so desperately craves?
There are a few positives that need to be stated; some are oddly unusual. For instance, one of the pacings was better in some areas than expected, though not perfect. The pacing, which was paired with the simplistic story, seemed to mesh well together. Unfortunately, those are the only positives within this story which is somewhat unexpected.
For a series that had such a low amount of positives, any positive gets outweighed by the negatives by over triple. However, the biggest ones are that the story is too basic and very uninspired. Having a series being a fantasy, they had so much potential and failed at any solid world-building is utterly terrible for any series. This series story is as basic as a bag of chips; it truly deserves a sincere apology to either the original creator of the series writers for potentially ruining the source material.
Another negative this story had was that the story is very dull. Sometimes this isn’t a problem if the story finds its traction. However, Lance N’ Masques found a way to make a story flat and so hard to keep up with that it’s an accomplishment that this got greenlit. Having a series so terrible in the writing, storytelling, and even the plot is remarkable beyond anything that one can watch. If one can watch this series to its completion, then they deserve some reward.
Though the series story was an utter failure, the art style was not as bad. The art itself was well done though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The cutesy warm colors that run throughout the entire series are pleasant and well done overall. The series color scheme gives the viewer more of a Clannad feeling than a fantasy series, but that’s not a negative within either series. When it comes to this series’ art style, the soft color tones do work well together, but at the same time, it softens the fantasy elements, which leave the viewer with a weaker form of fantasy made for a kid’s show.
The animation production of this series was better than expected, almost too good for this series. The opening theme song “Light for Knight” by Suzuko Mimori was perfectly done, finding out that she is also the voice actress for Alice Cleveland. Having the song paired with the animation was an outstanding choice; both complemented each other perfectly. However, the ending theme wasn’t as good; Ayana Taketatsu exceptionally performed the ending theme song, the main problem was with the ending animation. There isn’t one, just pictures that don’t showcase anything outside of the loliness of the series.
Lance N’ Masques characters weren’t what one would consider well developed, but they weren’t wholly terrible neither. The male protagonist, Yotaro Hanabusa, is one of the last remaining knights in the twenty-first century. He has trained to fight for justice and behave in a “chivalrous” manner far removed from normal modern behavior. This unusual behavior is even why his friendship with a girl years prior was ruined, and ever since then, he has wanted nothing more than to be an average person.
The female protagonist within this series is Makio Kidoin, the daughter of a prominent family. She loves the idea of “heroes” who fight for justice and never bow for anyone. She lives alone with the help of her maids watching over her. Though she may sound pleasant and intelligent, do not be fooled, she is a very young child.
One of the maids within the Kidoin manor is Yoriko Sudo. She is the stern mentor of Yotaro and rules with an iron fist as she guides him through his training. There wasn’t anything worth mentioning outside of these few characters other than a weird loli horse named Shiromhime. It squeals like a pig that was bred and raised as Yotaro’s steed. As mentioned before, these characters aren’t well developed, nor are they anything entertaining, but for what they’re worth, they make an excellent example of how not to create characters.
Overall, Lance N’ Masques is one of those anime series where one can turn off their brain and watch the entire series without fail. This series was very abysmal and questioned every fiber of its source material. Still, if one is looking for a simple yet easy-to-follow “story” to get them through the weird portion of in-between anime seasons, that’ll be fine. However, if one is looking for anything outside of this, please look elsewhere. Lance N’ Masques is a weird series that focuses way too much on loli and does that very poorly.
There is very little to say about this series in a positive light and completely honest, and it’s not worth watching. The only good part was the proper opening sequence, but that alone does not make a good anime. This series should be overlooked and most definitely does for good reason. Skip if one wants to, and don’t look back!
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.