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When I was young (so this was about 30 years ago) I saw this cartoon about a character (I don't even remember if it was a young man or woman) who was sent on a quest. I think he or she had to defeat three magical creatures.

The thing was, a piece of each creature could be used to defeat the next one. If I remember correctly, one had the power of ice, and after he (or she) defeated it, a sliver of its heart(?) was taken and used to defeat the next creature which had the power of fire.

Does anybody recall an animated film with that plot? I'm quite certain it was a Japanese cartoon that was dubbed in English. (It may have been an episode of Prince Sapphire, but I'm not sure.)

(P.S. It seems the plot is a bit like how Perseus had to defeat Medusa who then used the severed head to defeat the Kraken, but I know that cartoon was definitely NOT about Perseus. I don't know why Prince Sapphire comes to mind.)

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Maybe your subconscious was right, as what you remember matches perfectly with episode #5 "Valley of the Monsters" of the anime series Princess Knight.

When I was young (so this was about 30 years ago) ...

According to Wikipedia, the series aired in the USA in the seventies and eighties.

... I saw this cartoon about a character (I don't even remember if it was a young man or woman) ...

The protagonist is a young princess called Sapphire, but she must pretend to be a prince in order to be a legitimate heir and eventually inherit the throne from her father; otherwise, her evil uncle will become king instead.

... who was sent on a quest. I think he or she had to defeat three magical creatures.

In this episode Sapphire has to retrieve an antidote to save the life of the queen, her mother, from a poison.

She has only three days to travel through three valleys, each one inhabited by a dangerous monster.

The thing was, a piece of each creature could be used to defeat the next one. If I remember correctly, one had the power of ice, and after he (or she) defeated it, a sliver of its heart(?) was taken and used to defeat the next creature which had the power of fire.

Here the order is different from your memories, but there are many similarities:

  • the first monster is a fire dragon, and Sapphire defeats it using water; she recovers a flaming orb from its corpse.
  • the second monster is an ice monkey; Sapphire defeats it using her sword with the flaming orb and collects some hair.
  • the third valley is inhabited by mud giants; Sapphire congeals them with the ice hair and is able to collect the herb needed for the antidote.

Terrible-quality YouTube video of the episode:

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    That's it!!! My god, I must have been in kindergarten when I first saw this. I remember the scene when the flaming orb came out of the dragon, and the sliver of ice (turns out to be a sliver of ice fur), but got confused on the sequence. I watched the video, and it's strange to have long-dormant memory cells awaken by the same stimulus after more than 30 years, but thanks so much for the nostalgia trip! :) – Tito Piezas III Feb 20 '18 at 9:25
  • By the way, how did you manage to find this 4-year old question? – Tito Piezas III Feb 20 '18 at 9:37
  • @TitoPiezasIII I was browsing the unanswered questions in the [anime] tag; the prince/princess Sapphire clue made me immediately think of this anime (which I never watched, I only knew its general theme) -> wikipedia episode list -> youtube search (which required the most time, as the video titles did not match the wikipedia episode numbers). – lfurini Feb 20 '18 at 11:12
  • I see. My thanks again. – Tito Piezas III Feb 20 '18 at 11:20

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