Come and sit by the fireplace, and we’ll tell you a legendary tale. A tale of toys that were compatible with gaming devices 10 years before Amiibos were first released. The epic saga of the Legendz Soul Dolls.
The Legendz manga – Soul Dolls are born
Okay, so Legendz started life in 2003, as a manga. It’s a totally normal story about a boy and his dragon.
The Soul Dolls (or SoulDolls, if your spacebar’s broken) are precious crystals that hold legendary creatures – the ‘Legendz’. Like Shiron the Windragon, owned and commanded by our hero Ken Kazaki.
Ken’s not a full-time monster trainer, like a certain Ash Ketchum. He divides his time between going to school and Legendz fights. That’s right, school – he’s 11 years old, still at elementary/junior level. Kids that age are allowed their own dragon? We’ve been missing out.
It was all going well… until the magazine Legendz was published in folded. We never got to read the final episodes. Good thing it became an anime series at that point.
The Legendz anime – even dragons need a backstory
In the anime version (Legendz: Tale of the Dragon King), there was less training time and more battle action. And some more explaining of how Soul Dolls work.
Plus, whoever thought up the English episode names was a genius. A genius who knows their music and movie references. We can sit here and appreciate them now, but these titles would’ve gone straight over your average Legendz-loving kid’s head.
The show was set in New York City, so the characters got weird Engrish names. Mike ‘Mac’ McField (named for the burgers he eats), Meg Sprinkle, Halca Hepburn – it’s like the writers pulled ‘American’-sounding names from a hat.
Even the main character’s name changed, and we followed Shuzo ‘Shu’ Matsutani around NYC instead. You could tell Shu was the new hero, ’cause he was the one toting Shiron the Windragon.
Legendz: Tale of the Dragon King ran for 50 episodes, so there was time to flesh out each Soul Doll’s origins, powers, and personality. Y’know what helps with that? Official merch!
The Legendz themselves – nearly human…
At first, monsters were split between the 4 elements: Wind (sky blue), Fire (red), Water (deep blue), and Earth (green). More colours, like yellow (Holy/Light) and purple (Darkness), were added later on.
Legendz are ‘reborn’ from their Soul Doll crystal as real monsters. Sages (elemental masters) use them to battle other monsters that’ve been summoned the same way.
The basic elements work against each other in battle, like 4-player ‘rock, paper, scissors’. Water beats Fire, Fire wins over Earth, Earth tops Wind, and Wind kicks Water’s butt.
Shiron’s naturally one of the strongest Legendz monsters. Even against Earth elemental Soul Dolls, or else there wouldn’t be a story.
As we mentioned, the anime gave each monster moods and feelings… maybe more than the humans got. There’s more ‘personality’ info out there on the Legendz than there is for the main characters.
Shiron’s cocky, Zuou the Bigfoot’s a sweet, naive and caring thing, and Greedo’s the all-out tsundere.
The Legendz games – unlocking more power!
Back when the anime was running, the hot new game console all the kids asked Santa for was the Gameboy Advance. There were 2 Legendz games for the GBA: ‘Island of Ordeal’ and ‘Sign of Nekoromu’.
(Wow, those sound like ‘play with the lights off’ jumpscare horror game names…)
Plugging a Soul Doll into the special Legendz adapter for the GBA directly affected the gameplay. By the 2nd game, all 103 Soul Dolls released up to that point were compatible.
That’s right, Nintendo’s been doing this toy-console compatibility stuff for decades. Data and powers for each Soul Doll got transferred into the game.
Sure, you can complete the games without owning any Soul Dolls. Is it as fun? We’ve got no idea, we never owned a GBA…
‘Legendz Fierce Fight! Saga Battle’ was the other Legendz game, made for the PlayStation 2. Players could choose from 60+ Soul Dolls to battle with – that character history from the anime starts to get real handy.
The Legendz online – shops and Yahoo! Auctions
The Legendz manga and anime both tell us that the Soul Dolls on sale aren’t real. Let’s prove them wrong! Take a look for them on DEJAPAN.