On the island of Regalo, a group of supernaturally powered mafia-like protectors called the Arcana Famiglia safeguard the people from any who would harm them. The members of their organization, having made contracts with tarot cards, each possess different abilities, such as overwhelming strength, invisibility, or the power to see into someone's heart.
Mondo, their leader and the "Papa" of their family, announces at his birthday party that he will be retiring soon. He plans to hold the Arcana Duello, a competition that, if won, will grant the winner the title of Papa and any wish they desire. But there is more at stake than just a title: Mondo also decides that the winner will marry his daughter, Felicità. Enraged by this, the strong-willed Felicità decides to enter the competition herself, in order to make her own way in the world. As Felicità battles for her freedom, her competitors battle for her heart.
To start my review, let me say that I don't necessarily hate Arcana Famiglia.
I simply hate the payoff I got for watching it. Which was absolutely nothing.
The entire series looks as if it is building for this tournament that has been set to decide who will be the new leader of the Family and marries the boss' daughter.
In the first episode, you get some immediate development in the relationship between father and daughter plus daughter and coworkers. To add, there are some pretty nice powers being used and an awesome mysterious character with an awesome name looming in the background (Jolly). So, when the series
starts, you know where some people stand and how things are going to go.
The only thing is, it never goes there.
Arcana Famiglia gives you the build for this tournament that's soon to take place. Every episode is wasted on character development and character interaction. You see everyone's past and you even find the origin of the family. For a build-up, this is great, it helps strengthen character connection so that you root for a particular character to win when the fighting starts.
The fighting doesn't start. Ever.
Watching the entire series would be worth it if it led to some awesome battle royal conclusion. It would even be awesome if a bunch of pirates just came and ruined said battle royal. Neither happens. All of the action is skipped and the powers aren't expanded on any further than episode one. They're explained, but they aren't expanded on.
Another thing, this has to be the only series I've seen where I think character development was a bad thing. The characters lose any finesse that they had when their lives are explored. The only exception was Jolly, who barely got any screentime in most of this series. And he didn't even participate in any real fighting. However, I can tell you exactly what his past is like and why he's so cold. That's absurd and just plain ridiculous.
The anime takes so much time in explaining every single character and having them fight their demons that we don't even see what their demons really are. They never come across any serious conflict and the only climax to look forward to is the tournament that's supposed to be the motherload of all battles.
The battling is non-existent. Chances are I said that earlier in the review, but I must emphasize how bad it was. For one, it was minimum. There was no intricate fighting nor any type of personalized moves. The tournament that the series builds up to becomes absolutely pointless with every new episode. The winner was even pointless and so was their "resolve" once they won. You really feel like a major butt for even watching the entire series for a climax that could've been the length of an average youtube video.
And to make matters worst, it doesn't try to cover its flaws. Maybe a little fanservice or some nice cop-out scenes. Nope, not once. It burrows a reverse harem shtick that it can't even fully deliver on. You don't feel like these guys (with the exception of two) are all that into her.
There were no antagonists. There was minimum fighting. The romance barely showed and was ended on the weakest of terms. The characters don't live up to their reputations. The story blows major chunks.
When La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia, or just Arcana Famiglia started airing, I was first surprised over how entertaining I found it, considering it was based on a dating sim visual novel for girls. The quality of the art and animations where good, the story appeared interesting, but most of all was the character gallery and their hidden powers very appealing.
After watching the whole series I was saddened to see it was only the first episode that showed true potential of what this series might eventually have become had it not been for certain downfalls that I will try to explain bellow.
The story, which is
supposed to be a love story with Felecità, and one of the male characters in the series never seems to advance.
Most episodes aren't even slightly connected to either Felecità or romance at all, and the typical rivaling struggle between the two male protagonists grows to be nothing but annoying over the course of the series.
Felecità remains more as a background accessory, whilst non of the male characters seems to be interested in her above the point of cheering her up when she is depressed. Which she happens to be in all the later episodes. This depression is also the only real emotion she expresses, which is kinda sad considering this is supposed to be a love story.
However, the main factor that brings this series down from what it could have been is the way they neglect to explore any character.
In most of the episodes we are introduced to a new characters personality and background, which could have become very interesting, had it not been for the fact that we only ever get to see the surface of every characters life. Not one single character throughout the whole series is properly explored. We are only shown enough to know that "There is a lot more to know".
Not even the main characters are properly explored, which leaves us at loss as of what pasts all these people share.
We are only shown glimpses of their pasts, and it is never properly explained what really happened between any of them.
All in all, Arcana Famiglia starts out with a great potential, and the very interesting character gallery, which end up being completely wasted due to the lack of progress the characters make, and non of them being properly introduced or explored.
When this series ended I honestly felt a little angry with the producers, having wasted a lot of potential, and made what could have been a super cool action/shoujo/romance into just another series nobody will remember in a year.
Note that I have not played the game, but I sincerely hope and believe that it is much better than the anime.
Watching Arcana Familga is like reading an autobiography, you know..the sort of book a person writes about his or own life and it is usually full of all sorts of boring details. In any case, Arcana Famiglia is a strange series from the start.
La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia details a group of people who have made contracts with the Arcana cards to obtain special abilities in his or her own rights. On the birthday of the head of household, the Father decides to host a tournament - a series of duels known as the Arcana Duello, between Arcana-users. It is every one
for themselves because it's winner takes all.
Apparently, the series' promo depicts around a tournament but half way now through the series, what do we have?
- cat/neko chasing
- rivalries between two of the main characters in a boring love triangle that has little flavor
At any rate, this series is not exactly the smash of the season and shouldn't be especially with throwing in fillers at the very get go.
The series continuously avoid the major story of the series but instead throws fillers at your face like apple pies. But the story is not as tasty. It lacks flavor of an apple pie because they are all fillers from the beginning. Although later on, we do see some storyline development (chiefly flashbacks), the main story so far is avoided. Furthermore, it seems that the flashbacks are cliched and stereotyped. Honestly, who on Earth is planning on sitting through over four episodes to watch some flashbacks? We want to see some movement and drama with the main arc!
Luckily though, the character designs are cool. And of course, they need to be especially since everything up to this point has been focused on the characters of the tournament (you know, the one that hasn't yet officially begun yet). But towards the finale (yes the very last episode), the duel is finally presented. Even the duel itself has some problems though with one of the main characters actually withdrawing while other battles between our cute pigtailed girl being way too short and no flavor.
Felicità is the main heroine of the series, the holder of The Lovers arcana, which gives her the ability to read the hearts of others. She is spicy, she is cute, and she is to herself. And those little pigtails, who doesn't want to cuddle them? Beyond that though, she has some interesting interactions between two of the main characters, Libertà and Nova.
That brings to their rivalry.
It seems that Libertà and Nova often gets into fights like ying and yang. Just look at it. Every five minutes in the series, they fight out and competes sometimes over absolutely nothing. Libertà is depicted as the hot headed guy while Nova remains his cool. (most of the time) Regardless though, it gets old after watching it over 9000 times. Besides, there's already rivalries similar to this without the l for love in a certain ongoing series. Perhaps the Tail of the Fairies ring a bell?
The other characters of the series seem to be like background characters of a stage play so far despite their cool appearances. The bold headed guy who has the ace hands of a bazooka, the cool level headed guy with the eye patch, and the mysterious Jolly with his shades. I'm sure they will eventually get the opportunity to shine but so far, it's not happening. Besides maybe Jolly, everything seems so stale between the background characters. Yup, the apple pie is once again losing its flavor.
Luckily, there is some minor good flavors for this disappointing anime so far. The soundtrack, namely the opening song of the series seems to play well in this series.
Magenta Another Sky" by Hitomi Harada is well orchestrated and depicts the Arcana-users showing off some of their abilities in the sequences. The music is also catchy and as one of the first series to watch on Sundays, it's a pretty damn good way to start off the week, at least in the music department.
The art is also colorful in this series. It gives off an Italian like atmosphere and overall, demonstrated well with the cool looking characters, some backgrounds, and the mansion where the family stays at.
Overall, to enjoy this series, you'd have to be a real brave fighter, one that is very patient and ignores the fillers but instead concentrate on other aspects of the "story". The first half of the series isn't one of the best ways to start off this originally hyped series. The "story" moves like a turtle and the apple pie is losing its touch. It's not too surprising that J.C. Staff's expectations didn't live up to the hype.
With all the filler episodes going on and the "story" moving so damn slow, it's no surprise that some people have dropped it. There should be limits on how to start a potential series but in this case, Arcana wasted it. It brings up boring sequences from the get go and fails to deliver anything unique to the viewers. While the art and music/Op song does somewhat makes up for this, it so far is anything but special. J.C. Staff you disappoint. No one likes reading an autobiography and especially of a series that originally had potential.
La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia, or just Arcana Famiglia is one of those shows that when the new season came along, I read the synopsis and became fairly interested in it. I'm generally not the kind of person who tends to discriminate on anime based upon genre so I had no problem watching something labeled as shoujo, however, I became somewhat hesitant when I learned that it was based of an otome game aimed at young girls. (Please note that I have not played the game; I have only watched the anime.) Despite my hesitation, I watched the first episode and found it to be
enjoyable. It was enjoyable enough that I showed my little sister it as well (who is a preteen and definitely within the target audience); she enjoyed it and from then on we watched it together.
The concept of the Arcana powers and the characters seemed interesting based off the the first episode. There was a lot of action in the first episode and the premise of a family-wide contest for the position of Papa (the big boss) and the protagonist's, Felicita's, hand in marriage was interesting as well. It provided a dilemma for her that would allow her to develop as a character while defending her right to choose who she marries. It had potential- in fact, the entire series had potential. Unfortunately, the series never comes close to fulfilling the potential it initially held with the protagonist remaining static and boring throughout and the event that I expected to span most of the series, the Duello, only spans the last episode and that itself was a disappointment, much like the rest of the series.
First, let's talk about character development. There is none- well, nothing really besides an introduction to most of the characters. They never really delve deep into any one character. In fact, the most developed character is not the protagonist; the most developed characters are the two main male leads, Liberta and Nova who are in love with the protagonist. Even though they are the most developed I could never bring myself to really remotely care about them- I frankly found them annoying. In fact, the only thing I found interesting about the both of them was Liberta's mysterious Arcana Power. Felicita seemed less of a protagonist and more of a side character the entire series, only speaking when necessary and often seeming to go out of character by being overly-concerned or over-emotional only when the situation demands. (And her Arcana power is clearly just a tool made for the game's romances.)
The second topic of discussion is the art and animation. The art was nothing spectacular to me, however it did its job- most of the time. The characters never really looked bad, even the background characters seemed to be drawn well (besides the occasional derp character), however what really suffered was the background itself. I noticed several instances of just plain bad background art and the one in particular that really bugged me wasn't even noticed by me at first; it was noticed by my sister. A pirate ship in one of the episodes actually changed in art style at least three times in the same episode (and it really wasn't drawn well in the first place). Besides the art itself, the animation was not very good for the parts where it should have been good, namely the fight scenes. The fights seemed more like gifs that were just repeated at different times and at one point in the last episode, Nova's shoulder was definitely in a strange position.
The sound of the anime serves its purpose but does little else, it does not excel in any aspect. I personally like the opening song much better than the ending song, mostly because the guys can't sing.
Overall, I don't have much good to say about this anime. With each passing episode, I prayed that it would get better. Unfortunately, my prayers were never answered; its potential having been completely wasted. This anime is bad; my sister, a member of the target audience, does not think that this show is good. If there was anything redeemable about the series, it would have to be the supporting cast because the main characters are all flat, boring, annoying, or a combination of all three.
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