I was just getting into AD&D when this gem came out in 1983. I was in my mid-teens and it wasn’t cool to watch cartoons anymore(not that we were really concerned with what was cool), but I can remember several of us getting together on Saturday mornings to watch this. The plots were fairly straightforward and it really had about as much to do with D&D as GI Joe did with the U. S.military, but we enjoyed it, if only for the opportunity to mock it. The characters names are awful(Presto the magician?) and they have classes that didn’t exisit in D&D(acrobat?) and the voice cast was B-list heaven(Donnie Most from Happy Days and Willie Ames from Eight is Enough) but we enjoyed it nonetheless.
A co-production of Marvel Productions(!) and TSR, the show originally ran from 1983 through 1985 for three seasons on CBS for a total of twenty-seven episodes. The Japanese company Toei Animation did the animation for this series.The show focuses on a group of friends aged between 8-15 who are sucked into the “Realm of Dungeons & Dragons” by taking a magical dark ride on an amusement park roller coaster. Upon arriving in the realm they meet Dungeon Master [worst name EVER] who gives each child a magical item.
The children’s main goal is to find a way home, but they often take detours to help people, or find that their fates are intertwined with that of others. The group come across many different enemies, but their primary antagonist is Venger. Venger is a powerful wizard who wishes to rule the realm and believes the power from the children’s weapons will help him to do so. Another recurring villain is Tiamat, who is a five-headed dragon and the only creature Venger fears.
Throughout the show, a connection is suggested between Dungeon Master and Venger. The final un-produced episode would have revealed that Venger is the Dungeon Master’s corrupted son, and would have explained that the children were brought into this realm to help redeem Venger and to restore balance to their world.
The entire series is available on DVD and several episodes are watchable on Youtube, the first episode being posted below. For a taste, just watch the intro.
It’s worth checking out, just for the novelty of it. The unicorn still sucks, though.