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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

Anime Review: Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu

Chidori and Sagara are back in this exciting side-story somewhat related to the main story of Full Mental Panic!. This time, it is all about the mayhem and chaos caused by Sagara in high school and his experiences of trying to be a normal teenage highschooler.

Full Metal Panic? FumoffuSynopsis:

It's back-to-school mayhem with Kaname Chidori and her war-freak classmate Sousuke Sagara as they encounter more misadventures in and out of Jindai High School. But when Kaname gets into some serious trouble, Sousuke takes the guise of Bonta-kun - the gun-wielding, butt-kicking mascot. And while he struggles to continue living as a normal teenager, Sousuke also has to deal with protecting his superior officer Teletha Testarossa, who has decided to take a vacation from Mithril and spend a couple of weeks as his and Kaname's classmate.

Review:

At first I thought that this side-story based anime would be either pretty boring or totally irrelevant to the main story. However, after watching the first episode I was hooked in already. Not only did the anime series contain the action we all liked, but it had hilarious and silly moments along with comic relief that we have come to enjoy in the prequel.  Why isn't this a sequel? Because it is not meant to be. Rather, it continues chronologically where Full Metal Panic! left off, but episodes are all mostly set in the high school that Sagara and Chidori attends. Just think of this as an action, sci-fi, comedy, slice of life in high school anime rather than what you perceive in the prequel. The story is quite simple to follow as we see the everyday life of Sagara as he attends Jindai High School protecting Chidori from accidental, intentional and misunderstood harm as well as striving and surviving to become a normal teenage boy. As you can imagine, there are plenty of hilarious moments to expect as well as the rivalry between Chidori and Teletha as they try to take Sagara for themselves.

The art was slightly better than the prequel but still the same standard quality (no widescreen or high definition) as before though it wasn't really a hindrance to my viewing experience. I noticed though that the art style has been slightly improved with a bit more textured environments and detail on characters and mechas. The characters looked slightly better in this series than in the last and it is really noticeable when close-ups are shown on screen.

The voice acting was actually quite good and suited the characters really well especially the distinct personalities between Chidori and Teletha. Anyway, the theme songs were quite pleasant and enjoyable to listen to and was appropriate to the anime. Sound effects were improved in this series and there was some nice accompaniment background music for some scenes. The characters felt really expressive and alive due to the excellent voice acting. I loved Bonta-kun! His "fumo~ fumoffu~!"s never got boring!

Sagara is still as dense as ever and Chidori seemed to never cool down for a moment. However, there are some expressive terms and mutual understanding that happens in some scenes which is quite enjoyable. You will definitely love watching Sagara and Chidori interact with each other usually ending with Chidori hitting Sagara with a paper fan. Those classic moments never get bored. Of course, I have to mention Teletha and her plot to get close to Sagara as much as possible by any means. She even transfers to Sagara's highschool for two weeks just for that purpose. Anyway, apart from those three the other supporting characters such as Mao and Kurz are pretty hilarious to watch as well.

There is always something lively going on in every episode and you will never get bored. Even though this is more of a slice of life anime with some heavy action in it, the story does move along at a nice pace. No new main characters are introduced but we do see the development of the current characters strengthened as each episode progresses. You must watch this if you have watched Full Metal Panic! already and you must watch this before Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid as this leads into the sequel.

STORY: 8
Taking a much different direction than Full Metal Panic!, the anime actually does make sense and is quite enjoyable to watch.

ART: 8
The art felt somewhat improved in various minor details that is barely noticeable. The characters all looked great and the backgrounds were awesome.

SOUND: 8
Theme songs were nice and suited the theme of the anime. Voice acting was excellent for the characters.

CHARACTER: 8
You felt more connected to the characters as the story progresses. It was well directed and scripted.

ENJOYMENT: 9
I loved the comical scenes as well as the intense action scenes. It was entertaining and not boring at all.

OVERALL: 8
You must watch this if you are into sci-fi action anime and also if you have watched Full Metal Panic!.

Featured Wallpaper: Snow Miku

Remember that Mikubook competition back March? It was a challenge to see if you could finish a few challenging puzzles and claim a Miku prize. Of course though, many people did manage to finish the first stage and unlock this special wallpaper! This is a commemorative wallpaper of Winter 2012 with Snow Miku!