The original Record of Lodoss War anime series both conclude with happy endings. Lodoss is at peace. Parn got his answers and became a hero. He and Deedlit literally ride off into the sunset together. There’s the promise of new adventures together. But there’s also the mystery of what happens next. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth attempts to offer a possible resolution. In so doing, it also broaches the idea of how Deedlit’s life might change and how things might go as time passes.
Editor’s Note: There will be story spoilers for Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth below.
This is because of the obvious. Deedlit is an elf and Parn is a human. During the Record of the Lodoss War anime, she’s 160. He’s 18 when he first deals with the goblins plaguing his hometown. There’s a gap. We know she’s going to outlive him. As Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth’s story begins, it seems like this could be an adventure set not long after the adventures we know of. Karla offers Deedlit a bargain as the adventure begins. We see her encounter people like Parn, Etoh, Ghim, and Slayn. She happens upon spirits she knows and fought with. We see nostalgic enemies. It offers the illusion of familiarity.
But it’s clear something isn’t right. The game hints that there’s a wish that can be granted if Deedlit goes through these trials. There are moments of distortion. The screen flashes and shakes. There’s a dreamlike quality to it all.
That’s when the twist hits. Parn is dead. This isn’t a new adventure for them. It is Deedlit coming to terms with the loss.
Deedlit, in her grief, ended up in this world. She only remembers the truth as the player reaches the final boss. (Though prior to this, there are hints of what’s coming.) It’s then that the sense of understanding and heartbreaking nature of it all comes into play. The stories we know present an ideal. But it is one that can’t last forever. The adventures Parn and Deedlit could have together are limited by his lifespan. Not hers. Which means that the whole adventure is a coping mechanism. It is her deciding what is next for her. (If there is anything at all.)
It means Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth’s story must end in the only way possible, which is with acceptance. After fighting through it all, she has to part ways with Parn. She even admits how it would be easier to forget, something she did for much of the game. It’s only when she moves on that she escapes and wakes up in her home. She steps out to see Leaf, a half-elf, waiting for her. The ensuing conversation hints at exactly how long Deedlit sequestered herself after losing Parn. It even offers an explanation for it all, suggesting the Spirit of Loneliness is behind it, and suggests she’ll move on by composing a song.
It reminds me of another Japanese story about an elf. Like Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth, Frieren shows a long-lived elf’s journeys years after the journey with her human allies that made her a hero. It’s a different take on “how does someone cope.” We still get those vignettes and memories. But in both, there’s this sense of showing what happens to someone who can live for hundreds of years after their shorter-lived loved ones pass away. In each, we get this sense of what they are emotionally going through, how they deal with it, and what they’re going to do now that they’re able to move onward.
As someone familiar with the series, it made everything more satisfying for me. It would have been easy to pick up with what’s next for both Parn and Deedlit. There are plenty of plausible adventures the two could experience. Going with one showing that Deedlit’s life as she knows it changed, due to something we all knew would happen eventually, turned it into the best possible experience for me.