Fire Emblem (ファイアーエムブレム 紋章の謎 ) is a Japanese anime OVA based on Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, the third game in Nintendo's Fire Emblem series. Produced by the Studio KSS and Studio Fantasia in 1996, the OVA is only two episodes long and covers only a very small part of the game's plot, presumably due to lack of interest or/and funding. Both episodes were released in dubbed and subtitled formats in North America on VHS by ADV Films in 1997, making it the first licensed Fire Emblem media to see an official release outside of Japan.
Produced long before any of the Fire Emblem games were released in North America, several character names as translated by ADV Films do not match up with the officially localized counterparts that were later adopted by Nintendo. For example, the name of the lead character Marth was translated as "Mars" by ADV Films. The character's first official western appearance under the name Marth came with the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee.
The first episode focuses on Marth and the knights in his service. The opening scene is a flashback of a time when he, his sister Elice, and their guard Jagen were attempting to escape capture from enemy forces following the death of his father at the hands of the evil priest Gharnef. Elice cast a teleportation spell on Marth and Jagen, allowing them to escape, but she was left behind and captured.
Time shifts forward to the present, where Marth has grown into a young man and is living in exile in Talys. He is spending an afternoon with his friend Princess Caeda. She invites him to stay for dinner, but he has second thoughts after hearing nobles complain of his family's failure in battle.
Later on, Caeda comes to Marth begging for his help, as the city is under attack by Gazzak's pirates. Against Jagen's advice, but with his support, Marth and his knights arm themselves, enter the city, and defeat the pirates. Following this victory, Marth is emboldened and decides to return to the mainland and fight to reclaim his home. As he and his soldiers set sail, Caeda joins them, flying after the ship on her pegasus.
The second episode focuses on the deadly mercenary Navarre. The episode begins with him surrounded by attackers, but he easily defeats them all, which catches the attention of Hyman, a bandit leader. Hyman offers Navarre a job, which is initially refused. However, Navarre changes his mind once he sees that the bandits have abducted a priestess named Lena. Meanwhile, Marth's group has arrived in a nearby village, and hearing about Lena's abduction, agrees to rescue her.
Navarre's nightmares give a brief insight into his past, but he spends most of his time observing the functions of the bandit lair. He notices that one named Julian has been secretly delivering food to Lena. When Julian and Lena try to escape, they are ambushed by guards. Navarre approaches, and although he appears intent on killing Julian, he instead kills the guards, and then leaves. Julian is later seen wounded, and encounters Marth, begging him to rescue Lena.
While Julian's betrayal seems to be known, Navarre's is not, and he remains with the bandits. Once Marth's forces attack, the lair erupts into chaos, and Lena is once again saved by Navarre. She asks why he kills so casually, and he claims that even God can't forgive his sins. While leaving the lair, Navarre encounters Ogma, one of Caeda's mercenaries. The two engage in combat, and seem equally matched, but Caeda steps in and stops the fight. She tries to reason with Navarre, who believes that no fighting can be honorable. Caeda tells him that it can be if his cause is just, and Navarre replies that he wants to see the just cause for which she fights, joining their group.
Playable Character Appearances
Several characters who appeared early on as playable in the original Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Mystery of the Emblem also appeared in the anime. The following is a list of these characters in order of appearance in the anime along with when they first appear:
- Marth - Seen in opening scene of first episode escaping with Jagen and Elice.
- Jagen - Seen in opening scene of first episode escaping with Marth and Elice.
- Elice - Seen in opening scene of first episode escaping with Marth and Jagen, although she does not escape with them and is absent from any other appearances with the shows short run time
- Caeda - Seen first in early scenes with Marth on Talys.
- Abel - Seen in first episode as one of Marth's forces. Usually with Cain.
- Cain - Seen in first episode as one of Marth's forces. Usually with Abel.
- Draug - Seen in first episode as one of Marth's forces.
- Gordin - Seen in first episode as one of Marth's forces.
- Ogma - Appears in time to save Marth during his battle with the leader of the pirates.
- Barst (name not given in Anime but looks the same as game counterpart) - Is seen with Cord and Bord shortly after their arrival with Ogma, he has only one verbal line.
- Bord (name not given in Anime but looks the same as game counterpart) - Is seen with Cord and Barst shortly after their arrival with Ogma, he has no verbal lines.
- Cord (name not given in Anime but looks the same as game counterpart) - Is seen with Bord and Barst shortly after their arrival with Ogma, has no verbal lines.
- Navarre - Is seen in opening scenes of second episode.
- Lena - Appears as a captive of the bandits early in the second episode.
- Julian - Appears giving the caged Lena food as Navarre spies on them.
- Hikaru Midorikawa - Marth
- Sakura Tange - Caeda
- Seizo Kato - Jagen
- Jurota Kosugi - Ogma
- Akira Ishida - Gordin
- Ryotaro Okiayu - Abel
- Nobuyuki Hiyama - Cain
- Kappei Yamaguchi - Julian
- Takehito Koyasu - Navarre
- Michiko Neya - Lena
- Yasuhiko Kawazu - Draug
- Kiyoyuki Yanada - Gazzak
- Sumi Shimamoto - Elice
- Akio Otsuka - Cornelius, Narrator
- Takeshi Aono - Gharnef
- Shozo Iizuka - Slave Trader
- Osamu Saka - Bect
- Ai Orikasa - Marth (Young)
- Spike Spencer - Marth, Marth (Young)
- Kim Sevier - Caeda
- John Swasey - Jagen
- Rob Mungle - Ogma
- Kurt Stoll - Gordin
- Bryan Bounds - Abel
- Kyle Sturdivant - Cain
- Brett Weaver - Julian
- Aaron Krohn - Navarre
- Tiffany Grant - Lena
- Jason C Lee - Draug
- Matt Greenfield - Gazzak
- Amanda Winn Lee - Elice, Bect's Granddaughter
- Robert Bundy - Cornelius
- Charles Campbell - Gharnef
- Guil Lunde - Slave Trader
- Rick Peeples - Bect
- Tristan MacAvery - Narrator
- Massimo di Benedetto - Marth
- Jenny de Cesarei - Caeda
- Emanuela Pacotto - Lena
- Debora Magnaghi - Elice
- Marth's Japanese voice actor in the anime, Hikaru Midorikawa, has since voiced the character in all games in which he appears. The first video game in which Marth has voiced lines is Super Smash Bros. Melee.
- Navarre's voice actor in the anime, Takehito Koyasu, likewise reprises the role of the character in every game he appears except Fire Emblem: Archanea Saga.
- Sumi Shimamoto and Jurota Kosugi, the voice talents for Elice and Ogma respectively, are the only other actors to reprise their roles from the OVA in Fire Emblem Heroes alongside Midorikawa and Koyasu.
- Spike Spencer, the voice actor that portrays Marth in the ADV Films English dub, has since played the English voice of Excellus in Fire Emblem Awakening.
- Though the VHS box art depicts Marth in possession of the Falchion, he never acquires it during the course of the anime, which concludes at a very early point in the original story.