I finally completed the rather lengthy series Deltora Quest (with Canadian English dub) via Crunchyroll. It was definitely a fun ride. It is aimed at children, so some of the violence is blunted and nerfed, but it is still an engaging story from start to finish. Deltora Quest is originally a book series from children's fantasy author Emily Rodda. It was adapted as an anime, specifically as a Japanese-Canadian co-production.
It is a High Fantasy adventure story with Knights and Magic and Dragons. A young Blacksmith's son, Lief, is sent on a quest to retrieve the 7 sacred magic gemstones of the legendary Belt of Deltora, which is the only device capable of fighting back against the evil Shadow Lord who currently holds dominion over all the land. He is joined in his quest by former royal guardsman Barda and later by the roguish heroine "wild girl", Jasmine.
Each arc of the story relates Lief's quest to obtain the next gem for the belt, one after the other, each of which is kept hidden away by a powerful guardian, each more terrible than the previous one. The belt, once complete, must be turned over to the one true heir to the Kingdom, who can then use the belt to defeat the Shadow Lord and restore freedom to the lands of Deltora. Each quest is an opportunity for Lief to learn and grow and become a better person. His relationship and emotional bonds with Barda & Jasmine deepen as their quest continues.
I watched this series' entire English dub run on Crunchyroll (alas the original Japanese subtitled version is not available for streaming nor is it included in the physical release, which is a shame because it includes extra OVAs that continue the story beyond the original); I liked it so much I bought a copy of the box set to own. The characters are very likeable and the visuals are compelling, as are the stories contained in the quests for each individual gemstone. Jasmine is very independent minded and is never used to only be a damsel in distress nor as Lief's love interest. Jasmine has her own agency and her own agenda. I think she has feelings for Lief but she does not pursue a romantic relationship with him in the context of the story.
Emily Rodda teases us with the prospect of a Queen Jasmine but then throws in a twist that defaults back to the least surprising ending. I think an actual surprise that delivered us a Queen Jasmine would've been a much more interesting tale, but I'm sure the more predictable ending is what Emily Rodda intended and the anime was constrained by the source material. In any case, it's a fun fantasy yarn and definitely worth watching.