L/R: Licensed by Royalty

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L/R: Licensed by Royalty
LR DVD.jpg
DVD cover of L/R: Licensed by Royalty in North America, Volume 1
エルアール ライセンスド バイ ロイアル
(Eruaru Raisensudo Bai Royaru)
Genre Spy thriller, Action, Adventure
Anime television series
Directed by Itsuro Kawasaki
Produced by Akio Matsuda (Pioneer LDC)
Hideki 'Henry' Goto (Pioneer Entertainment USA)
Yoko Matsuzaki (Fuji TV)
Written by Kazuki Matsui
Music by Masara Nishida
Studio TNK
Licensed by
Original network Fuji Television
Original run January 9, 2003March 27, 2003
Episodes 13
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

L/R: Licensed by Royalty is a 2003 Japanese anime television series created by Itsurō Kawasaki with the written screenplay by Kazuki Matsui for TNK.

The show is set in an alternate world where the United Kingdom and Ireland do not exist with Ishtar and Ivory taking their places with the rest of the world. It centers on Cloud 7, an intelligence organization whose mandate is to protect the Ishtarian Royal Family and their property from criminals/terrorists/assassins. The two main characters of the show are Jack Hofner and Rowe Rickenbacker, who are known in the intelligence world and by criminals, terrorists and assassins as L/R. The series focuses mainly on the protection of Noelle Ardelade, a 14-year-old girl from Ivory as she has links to the Ishtarian monarchy.

The title name is changed from the original Japanese title, L/R: Licensed by Royal,[1] for North America and Europe.


Jack Hofner and Rowe Rickenbacker, Cloud 7's top agents, are mandated to do anything in their power to protect the Ishtarian royal family as well as their reputation while also protecting their property from crime and terrorism. While a few of their cases involved the protection of royal artifacts and royal family affiliates, Jack and Rowe were tasked by Commander Camille Freed to secure Noelle Ardelade, a supposed native of Ivory Island from press publicity. As time continues to pass, the two agents continued to get involved in corruption, bombings and murder to solve a case that could rock Ishtar's national foundation. Jack and Rowe, working under Mister's orders, are placed in a black operation to expose top officials of DTI and Duke Regent Rand for their involvement in the assassination of Prince Sparda after he found out that there were illegal dealings in securing Ivorystone from Ivory. The two agents fake the assassination of Noelle in front of a live audience, which was also televised worldwide, to arrest the Duke and DTI Chairman Taylor for the prince's death.

The series ends with Noelle continuing her life as a civilian after her supposed death. Rowe was stabbed in the back by Frost, who had been previously been the Information Division's director of the now disgraced DTI. The ending is left to interpretation as the last episode show the smashed picture frame of Jack and Rowe with Noelle, especially on whether Rowe had survived the stabbing while returning on an errand.[2]


Cloud 7 is an intelligence agency mandated by the Ishtaran Royal Family to protect them and their property, under the control of the Royal Houseguard.[3] Because of this, they are allowed to operate locally and abroad if the cases they are working on concerns the royal family without any problems. The agency is run by Holden Pennylane, known as Mister. Among the personnel of Cloud 7 are Jack Hofner, Rowe Rickenbaker, Claire Pennylane and Dez. Their headquarters is located in downtown Ishtar.

The main heroes of L/R: Licensed by Royalty. From left to right: Rowe Rickenbacker and Jack Hofner.
Jack Hofner (ジャック・ヘフナー, Jyaku Hefunaa)
Voiced by: Hiroaki Hirata (Japanese); Freddy Douglas (English)
Cool, relaxed and sophisticated, Jack Hofner is one of the agents working for Cloud 7 and one of the members of the L/R duo. A blonde-haired man, he wears a white suit with a yellow and blue dress shirt. One of the things he enjoys to do is to smoke. Near the end of the series, he and Rowe take down Taylor for being the mastermind of the death of Prince Sparda with help from mercenary sniper Gray Stratos. Prior to working with Rowe, his old partner was Claudia Eastman.[4]
At the end of the series, Jack confronts Frost on a street near Cloud 7 HQ after seeing the fallen body of Rowe. The screen goes black after a gunshot rings off, which is suggested that Jack had fired his sidearm at Frost since it is shown that he survived the confrontation.
His symbol is a Roadster token when he is summoned to Cloud 7 HQ.[5]
Rowe Rickenbacker (ロウ・リッケンヴァッカー, Rowo Riikenbackaa)
Voiced by: Yuji Ueda (Japanese); JB Blanc (English)
Rowe Rickenbacker is also a secret agent working for Cloud 7 and the partner of Jack Hoffman, who speaks more of his mind than Jack. He has brown hair in a ponytail and wears a red shirt and a black trenchcoat. Like Jack, he smokes when he is not on an operation. He also enjoys cracking dirty jokes at Jack and Claire. Rowe gets involved in missions that needs disguises. To lure out the culprits responsible for assassinating Prince Sparda and driving Princess Ciel from the royal family, Rowe was ordered to "kill" Noelle in front of a live audience.[2][6] Near the end of the series, Rowe was stabbed in the back by a disgraced Frost after the ex-DTI Information Director secretly followed him.[2] It is unknown whether Rowe survived the attack.
His symbol is a boot, which was never used in the gameboard to summon Rowe to Cloud 7 HQ.[6]
Mister (ミスター, Misuta)
Voiced by: Akio Ōtsuka (Japanese); W. Morgan Sheppard (English)
Mister is the head of Cloud 7 and a retired secret agent[5] who was appointed by Camille to run the agency. His real name is Holden Pennylane.[7] He has a daughter named Claire Pennylane, who also works with Cloud 7. It is unknown what had happened to his wife, but it's assumed he's a widower before the show started. As part of finding out who is responsible for killing Prince Sparda, Mister was pretending to be under the friendly auspices of DTI's Chairman Taylor to avenge the prince's death by getting the chairman to confess his involvement with Duke Rand.[2][6]
His symbol is a Top hat token when he issues orders from Cloud 7 HQ.[5]
Claire Pennylane (クレア・ペニーレイン, Kureia Peniirein)
Voiced by: Megumi Toyoguchi (Japanese); Siobhan Flynn (English)
Claire Pennylane is the daughter of Mister and is a member of Cloud 7, running dispatches to call for Jack and Rowe to Cloud 7 HQ whenever there is a debriefing. She sometimes goes on the field on missions if Jack or Rowe need some manpower.



The opening sequence of the L/R, "Go where no ones gone before" by Billy Preston, was released on a CD single on February 3, 2003 under the JVC Victor label.[8] The ending sequence of L/R, "Negai no Toki" by Mikako Takahashi, was released on January 22, 2003 under the same label.[9]

Two OSTs were released on the show, consisting of VOCAL SIDE and INST SIDE. VOCAL SIDE was released on February 21, 2003 with 13 tracks under JVC Victor.[10][11] INST SIDE was released on the same date with 18 tracks under the same label.[12][13]

Drama CD[edit]

Two Drama CDs were released consisting of L SIDE and the R SIDE. The L SIDE was released on March 21, 2003 under JVC Victor.[14] The R SIDE was released on the same day.[15] The premise centers on some missions from Jack and Rowe's perspectives. Both of these CDs have the TV version of "Go where no ones gone before" while the VOCAL SIDE has the full version.


L/R: Licensed by Royal had originally aired on Fuji Television from January 8, 2003 to March 26, 2003 without the fourth episode, making it a 12-episode run.[16] Another run was placed on AT-X from July 17, 2006 to October 9, 2006 with the full run of 13 episodes including the DVD-only episode "Sweet enemies in the same desert".[17] Production of the series was done under TNK.[18]

No. Title Original air date[19]
1 "Be traced"
January 9, 2003
2 "A Taste of Secret"
January 16, 2003
3 "A Girl Goes to City"
January 23, 2003
4 "Sweet enemies in the same desert"
April 25, 2003
5 "Tear Drop"
January 30, 2003
6 "Lost Recognition"
February 13, 2003
7 "Ivory"
February 20, 2003
8 "Out of Phase"
February 27, 2003
9 "Suspended Game"
March 6, 2003
10 "The Discard"
March 13, 2003
11 "Tug of War"
March 20, 2003
12 "A Day In The Life"
March 27, 2003
13 "Two of Us"
March 27, 2003


It is clear that Director Itsuro Kawasaki and Producer Akahiro Kawamura were very much influenced by 60's British Rock scene in the creation of the series, especially by The Beatles. From the main character's names Rowe Rickenbacker & Jack Hofner (John Lennon used a Rickenbacker 325 Guitar, while Paul McCartney's guitar of choice was a Höfner 500/1 "violin bass" (which was also the code name for Jack's Car, Rowe's car was code named "Cold Turkey" which is also the name of a John Lennon song) to Cloud_7's assistant, Claire "Pennylane". Episode 5 introduced a young girl, Layla (as in the song of the same name by Derek and The Dominoes - that was inspired by Pattie Boyd, the wife of both George Harrison & Eric Clapton). The group of bombers who came from Ivory in Episode 10 all have the same first names as The Rolling Stones. There are many other classic British Rock names and influences laced throughout the series.

Additionally, the song soundtracks, aside from the original theme-song by Billy Preston, consisted a group of 60's and 70's style British Rock sound-alike pieces very much influenced by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and even Herman's Hermits. Jonathan Klein, the English Language Producer for L/R, had mentioned at anime conventions that the Japanese Producer, Akahiro Kawamura, had originally wanted to use actual Beatles songs in the L/R soundtrack, since music licensing fees for old songs are far less expensive in Japan than they are in the rest of the world. However, the idea was put to rest early on in the production of the series when it was explained to Kawamura, that the cost to license those same songs for an American and European DVD release of L/R would raise the production cost by several million dollars, even if they could even secure permission from the rights holders. It was therefore agreed that original songs with a classic British Rock style would be used instead.


Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network commented that it was an "undercooked" show, but had a good dub while it had trouble with episode structure and plot progression.[1] He also said that the opening theme song by Billy Preston was catchy because it's "probably one of the best anime theme songs from the past five years, mostly because it doesn't sound like an anime theme song".[1] Adam Arseneau felt the series was "too dull to be intriguing or compelling, but too comfortable and easygoing to be a total failure".[20] The reviewer for AnimePRO compared the "fluid and loose" exaggerated actions and fight scenes to Lupin III, and enjoyed the rapport between Jack and Rowe.[21] They felt that the second volume had the right blend of action, an engaging story, and the right amount of humour.[22] Andrew MacLennan enjoyed the use of a British cast for the English dub, feeling it added to the espionage atmosphere, but felt that the story was not sufficiently engaging for an adult audience, despite the M rating.[23] Tiffani Nadeau praised VOCAL SIDE's arrangement, saying that the CD flowed well from one track to the next,[24] and Patrick King praised the variety in the songs, feeling the CD held up well even without the context of the series.[25]


  1. ^ a b c Zac Bertschy (2003-11-25). "ANN Licensed by Royalty DVD 1 Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  2. ^ a b c d Director: Itsuro Kawasaki (March 26, 2003). "Two of Us". L/R: Licensed by Royalty. Episode 13. Fuji Television. 
  3. ^ Director: Itsuro Kawasaki (February 19, 2003). "Ivory". L/R: Licensed by Royalty. Episode 7. Fuji Television. 
  4. ^ Director: Itsuro Kawasaki (February 12, 2003). "Lost Recognition". L/R: Licensed by Royalty. Episode 6. Fuji Television. 
  5. ^ a b c Director: Itsuro Kawasaki (January 15, 2003). "A Taste of Secret". L/R: Licensed by Royalty. Episode 2. Fuji Television. 
  6. ^ a b c Director: Itsuro Kawasaki (March 26, 2003). "A Day in the Life". L/R: Licensed by Royalty. Episode 12. Fuji Television. 
  7. ^ Director: Itsuro Kawasaki (March 12, 2003). "The Discard". L/R: Licensed by Royalty. Episode 10. Fuji Television. 
  8. ^ "Go Where No Ones Gone Before (Single, Import)". Amazon USA. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  9. ^ "L/R - 願いのとき (Single, Maxi)" (in Japanese). Amazon Japan. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  10. ^ "L/R オリジナルサウンドトラック VOCAL SIDE" (in Japanese). Amazon Japan. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  11. ^ L/R オリジナルサウンドトラック VOCAL SIDE (in Japanese). Fuji Television. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 
  12. ^ "L/R サウンドトラック INST SIDE" (in Japanese). Amazon Japan. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  13. ^ L/R オリジナルサウンドトラック INST SIDE (in Japanese). Fuji Television. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 
  14. ^ "L/R CDドラマ L SIDE-Down by Row" (in Japanese). Amazon Japan. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  15. ^ "L/R CDドラマ R SIDE-Jack in the Box" (in Japanese). Amazon Japan. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  16. ^ "Licensed by Royalty TV Schedule" (in Japanese). all Cinema. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  17. ^ "cloud002" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  18. ^ "Official L/R page" (in Japanese). TNK. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 
  19. ^ "L/RLicensed by Royal". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 30, 2017. 
  20. ^ Arseneau, Adam (2004-07-29). "DVD Verdict Review - L/R (Licensed By Royalty): Broken Angel (Volume 3)". Dvdverdict.com. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  21. ^ "AnimePro: L/R Licensed by Royalty Vol. 1" (in German). Animepro.de. 2011-02-14. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  22. ^ "AnimePro: L/R Licensed by Royalty Vol. 2" (in German). Animepro.de. 2011-02-15. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  23. ^ MacLennan, Andrew. "L/R - Licenced By Royalty: Mission File 1 - Deceptions - DVD Review". DVD.net. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  24. ^ Nadeau, Tiffani. "L/R Original Soundtrack". Mania.com. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  25. ^ King, Patrick. "January 2004 - Reviews - L/R: Vocal Side". Animefringe. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 

Further reading[edit]

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