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September 17, 2012

Anime Review (v.P): La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia

The anime was well presented, but it could be better.
After watching the anime, I wouldn't mind playing the original game to understand the storyline better.

Synopsis(from myanimelist.net)

Things are NOT going well for Felicit√°. For years, the island of Regalo, has been protected by her father's "organization," the Arcana Tarroco, whose success is due in no small part to the members' unusual skills with Tarot Cards, not to mention the usual guns and knives. But now, unexpectedly, her father has decided to retire and, while the fact that his position will be filled by the winner of a series of duels doesn't worry Feliciti√°, the fact that he's decided to throw HER into the contest as part of the prize certainly does! Especially since some of the contestants are her cousins, which is keeping things WAY too much in the family! Fortunately, our lady shark has two aces up her sleeve: as the head of the Swords division, she's eligible to compete for herself, and with her favored Card, The Lovers, she can snoop into the minds of her would be suitors/rivals! It's just too bad they have their own card tricks!

Review:

[STORY]


The idea of the main character growing up in a mafia family is neither new nor unique. Nevertheless, I didn't feel this story to be too mundane or boring. Certainly, the first five episodes felt really slow because they had to introduce each of the 11+ main/semi-main characters one by one. After spending almost half the amount of episodes acquainting the audience with the various roles, they add in what I felt like "filler" episodes. In the sense that these intermediate episodes didn't help with answering questions posed at the start of the story, rather they piled on even more questions about past events and the relationships between each of the characters. In the end, these questions were not answered in the anime very clearly, if at all! Finally, in the last episode, where it reaches the climax of the story, they totally ruined it by squeezing mediocre explanations and rushing the ending. It's meant to be a showdown between all the main and secondary characters, but they cut all the fight scenes down to:
Voice: "It's a match between _character A_ and _character B_"
*flash of swords clashing for two seconds*
Voice: "And _character A_ wins. Onto the next match!"
It left me feeling rather disappointed as I'm a big fan of action.
As I alluded to above, many questions were raised but only a few were answered. This was a big let down for me.
Another aspect was that keeping in mind that this is a "reverse harem" anime, meaning that it's an anime designed to focus on relationships between the main female lead with all other male (and female) personnel, I think the connections and bonds between characters weren't well portrayed or adequately developed throughout this anime. I think it was too much for the producers to completely cover both emotional and physical (special powers) growth of all the characters.

Rating: 6

[ART] 

This anime caught my interest mainly because of the bishies. So the art category gets a tick. I would say the art is typical "reverse harem" bijins (*pretty people). As well as all the males, I think mama was really pretty and I really liked her. The backgrounds were moderately detailed; the production company certainly weren't low on funding or time. The colouring scheme of the characters' clothing and background were chosen reasonably and logically.

Rating: 7.5

[SOUND]

I absolutely loved the opening and ending songs. The OP song was one of the reasons why I decided to keep watching this anime. I think this song managed to capture the action and excitement of this anime. The opening scenes also matched the changing phrases of the OP song. The ED song was sung by some of my favourite seiyuus, who makes an appearance in the anime, so it definitely has my vote. However, I didn't really notice much of the background music. I thought the seiyuus were able to capture the distinctive traits of each character, especially the older males: Debito, Pace, Luca, Dante and Jolly.

Rating: 8

[CHARACTER]

Art wise, the character designs were good. Each character had their own unique styles, be it clothing, hair, weapon or habits.
In terms of developing the personalities of each of the characters, 12 episodes is simply not enough time to let the audience understand and bond with so many characters. Unfortunately, they weren't able to explain clearly the development of the bonds between the main female character and the main male characters. One thing that annoyed me was the hesitant personality of the female lead.

Rating: 5

[ENJOYMENT]

If you don't mind having questions unanswered or poorly answered then this anime is enjoyable, with the superb voice acting and beautiful art. I relished in my big dose of bishies, swords and guns.

Rating: 7

[OVERALL] 

The way that this story was setup, I thought that it had a lot of potential for an exciting adventure. It's a shame that the story was rushed and left incomplete in the anime. 12 episodes is too short for the audience to develop a deep relationship with all the characters. Especially in the case with reverse harems, the main point is to have meaningful developments with all your potential (male) partners. Perhaps this problem is fixed in the original game. I certainly hope so, and the game reviews are definitely positive. I wouldn't mind a second series to answer the remaining questions, but I highly doubt there will be one.

Rating: 6.5