Eternal Filena (永遠のフィレーナ, Eien no Firēna) is a fantasy light novel series by Takeshi Shudō (best known for writing the scripts for Magical Princess Minky Momo and Pokémon) which was serialized in Japan in Animage, illustrated by Akemi Takada. The series has been collected into nine volumes published by Tokuma Shoten. An OVA series based on the novels was released from 1992 to 1993. The novel series was also adapted into a role-playing video game released by Tokuma Shoten for the Super Famicom in 1995. It was only released commercially in Japan.
Eternal Filena follows the adventures of Filena, a female slave and gladiator brought up as a boy in the ocean kingdom of Filosena, which is in the middle of a revival. The ruling empire offers gladiatorial games to keep the masses happy, however they use young boys to be trained as gladiators for the games, and force the girls into prostitution.Filena (フィレーナ)
The main character of the series, she is a princess who was raised as a boy after her kingdom was conquered. She is a gladiator and she was taught to fight at the age of six by her adoptive grandfather Zenna. She enters the gladiator fights to win her freedom. Filena's personality is serious and straightforward, she frequently rebuffs Lila's advances but the two do show a strong bond and as the game progresses the two develop a relationship.
A slave assigned to be Filena's bed-mate before the gladiator fight, after Filena ignores her advances she forces her way into Filena's room and learns the truth about her gender. Lila has a peppy and cheerful personality and becomes very close to Filena as the story progresses and she tries to become Filena's love interest and even calling Filena her wife when the male party members speak of her. She is shown to get very emotional at times, especially in moments of joy much to Filena's chagrin. She also seems to know about childbirth as she assisted nurses in delivering Amanela's child.
A battle writer who writes the scripts for the gladiator fights to keep viewers interested, he later joins up with Filena and Lila on their journey after they are attacked by the Black Devils. He is a master of machinery and uses a hammer as his primary weapon as well as a ray gun he invented himself. He leaves the party for a good while but returns later on.
A woman whose husband enters the gladiator fights to provide for his family, and she has a son named Fis. Her husband gets killed by Filena during their battle at Colosseum and Milika holds a grudge against Filena for killing her husband and distrusts her and in the video game casts a blind spell on her for killing him. She reluctantly joins up with Filena and Lila and Nest after a Black Devil attack. Milika falls to her death after a Black Devil burns the bridge out of Delacinia.
A woman who lives in a rebel camp where the women rule over the men and she is accompanied her dog Gappy. She is portrayed as being a very strong and confident woman and she will protect her camp at all costs. She meets up with Filena and Lila on Mon Shulay beach. It is revealed during their exchange that she is pregnant and is expecting a child. She eventually gives birth to a baby girl and joins the group for a while to eliminate the threat of Clechia hunters, she later decides to stay behind to take care of her child and sends Gappe in her place.
Gappe/Gappy (Hunter in fan translation)
Amanela's trusted dog companion and he is implied to be a wolf dog hybrid. In battle, he attacks with his teeth and claws. He is shown to be very protective of Amanela and he quickly forms a strong bond with the party since Amanela trusts them. Amanela sends Gappe along with Filena and Lila after she decides that she can no longer fight with them due to the birth of her child and sends Gappe in her place.
Black Devil Baraba (Black Demon Baraba in Japanese)
The Black Devils are the antagonists. They are the leaders of the Evil Empire that rules the land. The Black Devils are shown to take many forms of people.
Zenna is Filena's adoptive grandfather and caretaker. He raises Filena as a boy, and teaches Filena how to fight at the age of 6 and become a gladiator.
The light novel series was serialized in Animage from 1985 until 1994. Interior illustrations as well as cover artwork for the collected volumes were done by Akemi Takada, known for her work on series such as Kimagure Orange Road and Creamy Mami. The series has been collected into nine volumes. The series was popular enough to place in Animage polls for readers' all-time-favorite series as late as 1999.
A six-episode anime OVA series, with original character designs by Akemi Takada, was released by Tokuma Japan Communications from December 1992 through February 1993 at a rate of two 30-minute episode per month.
A soundtrack for the anime series was released on October 23, 1992, two months prior to the OVA series. The soundtrack was performed by guitarist Jinmo, with vocals for the opening theme song, Ocean, performed by Azumi Inoue.Filena: Arisa Andō
Lilla: Yūko Mizutani
Zena: Yūsaku Yara
Baraba: Hideyuki Hori
Nesuto: Ken'yū Horiuchi
Sarah: Ai Orikasa
Sources:Original work: Takeshi Shudō
Director: Yoshitaka Nitta
Character Designer: Kenzō Koizumi
Animation Director: Kenzō Koizumi
Art Director: Geki Katsumata
Audio Director: Noriyoshi Matsuura
Original character designs: Akemi Takada
Animation: Studio Pierrot
A role-playing video game based on the series was first released on the Super Famicom in 1995 exclusive to Japan. The game was developed and published by Tokuma Shoten. Eternal Filena was released late into the Super Famicom's life, but despite this it had somewhat dated graphics that were remniscent of Final Fantasy V and a battle system similar to Final Fantasy Mystic Quest.
The game's story begins with Filena, a girl raised as a boy by her grandfather Zenna. Filena is raised as a boy because the Empire ruling the country forces girls into prostitution and turns boys into gladiators. After turning 16 Filena prepares to make her debut in the imperial coliseum, however before the battle she and her fellow gladiators are assigned concubines. Filena ignores her assigned bedmate, Lila, but Lila forces her way into Filena's room and learns the truth about her gender. Filena later fights through the gladiator ranks and discovers that their battles to the death are all scripted by behind-the-scenes writers. Filena then sets off with Lila on a quest to bring down an empire and reclaim her rightful place in a lost kingdom.
The gameplay is typical of role-playing video games of its time, using a turn-based battle system with random encounters with monsters to gain experience and level up. Characters can equip up to three weapons and switch between them. Weapons have different abilities and a character can perform a technique at the cost of ability points.
On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the game a 23 out of 40.