Every 30 years, a new princess is chosen from the Hime family to serve the Hayagami. The time has come again, but over these past years, records state not a single female has been born, save for one, the 15-year-old Arata. The only problem is, Arata is actually a male! Forced to disguise himself and take the place of the princess candidate until a formal one can be found, he attends the festival only to witness the current princess, Kokuri-hime, murdered, and his own life is forfeit as well, by the hands of the princess' personal guard, the 12 Shinshou. As he runs for his life, Kannagi of the 12 convinces everyone that Arata is the one who has murdered the princess instead, and now everyone in the Imperial Court is after his head!
The concept of two people switching places in each others worlds is interesting, particularly when nobody recognizes the person as being a different person. Problem is you really can't sympathize with the main characters when the conflict that shows up between the characters in the series is completely unrealistic and not grounded in how people would react in reality. In fact, it seems horribly forced just so the series could have some kind of conflict to it.
For example, the main antagonist was bullied when he was in middle school and he's just getting back to living a normal life only to find himself bullied by
another person. While it is true that people do bully because they are jealous of other people, Kadowaki's animosity towards Arata doesn't seem any bit grounded in reality, particularly since the two used to be friends back in middle school. I say this because he got angry at something so trivial. Even though his father is the way he is, it honestly doesn't justify his personality problems as well as his persecution complex.
Another example is the conflict between Kannagi and Akachi. It's an argument that could have been resolved through simple conversation to find out what the actual situation entailed. Perhaps that is one of the major things that is lacking in this series, the inability of the characters to actually communicate with each other. One or two is understandable, but this is the majority of the cast that lack in the communication department. Which is why all of the conflict ends up being forced.
Because the conflict is forced, what amounts to an interesting idea ends up being bogged down. The story line is also bogged down with this need to have characters submit to another character. The whole concept is bothersome even with how Kannagi eventually puts it to Arata. It almost feels as if it is down playing war and trying to stuff it into a bag where the victor ends up being able to win without killing. Which in turn is completely unrealistic.
On top of this Arata... the one from a modern world... is horribly annoying with his poor pity me attitude. I know that he was abused, but while we see the bullying occurring, the justification for the bullying ends up being non-existent as there seems to be no realistic reason to justify Kadowaki going after Arata. Which means that the bullying is thrown in there to make Arata come across as a character needing to grow and not because the creator thought out the plot device enough.
As for my enjoyment... I liked the start, I liked the style, I liked the sound. There are a few characters that caught my attention to the point I might watch a second season if it comes out, but it's honestly not the most enjoyable thing in the world.
Arata. It's one of my favorite mangas, and I was excited to see an anime was going out. It was disappointing.
Sure, in the anime Arata is still a guy who wants to win without killing, but he isn't that much of a wimp.
Besides, in the anime the relations between the characters are worked out way better, for example between Akachi and Kannagi.
The main thing that bothered me is that they completely cut out my favorite character who was in fact part of the main cast; a crossdressing female. The reason she is crossdressing is because she is from the hime clan but doesn't
have healing powers. This will eventually end up in a much larger plot involving the real world. In the manga there actually happens more in the real world too, making everything a lot more interesting. Will this still happen in the second season? Possibly. But seeing how Mikusa is cut out, big parts from the plot will be missing.
I started watching Arata Kangatari as soon as it began airing and being pretty interested in it, I also started reading manga. I am happy that this part of the show was totally along the manga storyline, which I find quite enjoyable. There are few bad parts of the series, but nothing extravagantly bad, I believe.
STORY: Story is pretty much cliche, which I find to be one of the "bad parts". It is a typical shounen "I wanna save the world" storyline, so nothing new. Some powers do seem refreshing and there is some character growth (I believe especially when it comes to Kannagi),
but overall the idea is pretty much already used up in countless of similar shows which air every season. I do like the setting and the intersection of two worlds (even though this is deja vu also), so I can't say that I am a total hater of the storyline. It is not refreshing or innovative, but it is not boring either.
ART & SOUND: I gave high marks for both of these themes. Arata Kangatari has a typical bishounen art, I believe, so it isn't hard on the eyes. Body proportions, scenery, weapon and fight scenes are pretty much well done and manga is drawn nicely. It is not really Pikaso's artwork, but I don't find any great faults when it comes to art style. Sound is pretty good as well, imho. I really loved the opening scene (which is rare, I tend to skip them a lot).
CHARACTER: If I had to choose, I would say that characters are my favorite parts of this series. There are some really dull characters, but majority of them is quite enjoyable and easy to relate to (hence the mark 9, not 10). The dull characters are the main pair, Arata and Kadowaki. Arata does grow as the series progress and when he peels out of his whiny skin, he becomes interesting as well. Kadowaki, on the other hand, hasn't witnessed so much character growth so far. I have to bring to light Kannagi, Kugura and Yataka though, as they are really interesting in my opinion. Especially Kugura, whose story is seen in manga, because he depicts real problems that everyday human can relate to, insecurities and complexes. Another very interesting part when it comes to characters is Kannagi-Yataka relationship, as it is comedic and encouraging in the same time.
ENJOYMENT: When it comes to enjoyment, I gave it 8/10. The mark is pretty high, mostly because Arata Kangatari can get your adrenaline high in some moments and it is quite enjoyable. On the other hand, there is nothing new, therefore it didn't receive 9 or 10. Storyline can become repetitive and main ideas fall into the cliche category, which can become nerve wrecking sometimes. But as the series progress, you can really get to like characters and forgive most of the storyline faults for both storylines (Earth and Amawakuni).
the purpose of this review is to give a concise,detailed,subjective view on this anime with little of my personal opinions as possible, and avoid using strict numbers.
Story:Good (about a 7)
The concept is pretty unique i will say. The idea of switching roles with a different character, in a different world gives a refreshing perspective on the characters and you can feel their reactions and experiences because of this. However, the story progression is sometimes slow and the fight scenes are kinda dull. But that aside, its not a bad storyline.
Art:Fair (about a 6)
the art style is kinda generic, like what you might expect in most
anime, but it isnt bad. The character animations are sometimes stagnant and you get the "moving mouth" talk scenes, but that isnt too often. The main reason i give it this score for the art is because you can tell the animation is lacking in an" intense" fight scene. But you will find that the backgrounds are done nicely and that helps quite a bit.
Sound:Fair ( about a 6)
the sound of the main characters are fine, and actually rather suits them though sometimes there can be a lot of screaming which you may or may not find annoying. The supporting characters, well some of them didnt sound too pretty. The OST is not too bad, it has a badass ending theme for the first part, the second half....still good, but not as appealing, since these are both OLDCODEX songs, you will find yourself subconsciously singing them in your head, i know i did. Other than that, the other music played in the backgrounds were rather forgettable, not really bad, you just are just apathetic to it.
Characters:Very Good (about an 8)
the characters is probably the strong point of this series. not necessarily because each character is done quite amazingly or that they are extremely dynamic, but their relations to other characters is wonderful. Some people try to say that Arata is a wuss or that these characters are annoying, but i disagree. Arata's character is done very well. I mean, i dont think you will be all macho and brave if you just suddenly dropped into a strange, foreign world. Of course you will be scared and freaking out, i know i would, and especially all the hell they put him through. But because of this, you can really see his psychological state and it was enjoying to watch him make decisions and take decisive action. The only character i kinda have issues with is Kadowaki and thats mainly because he really REALLY has some serious issues (you will understand it if you watche, or had watched the show), but maybe, a second season could clear that up. The remaining characters are done quite nicely, and you just have to find Kotoha adorable and sweet. However, like i mentioned earlier, the Bonds or relations between characters is this anime's best appeal. I can say that the background stories for each character and how it is carried out in the show is top-notch. You can understand why characters cling onto other characters and you understand each character's motives (despite how absurd) very clearly. Heck, i would watch the show just for that.
Enjoyment:Very Good (about an 8)
this is a rather enjoyable series to watch. most of the reasons have been stated, but i shall reiterate. To see how the characters react in this foreign world is great to see, especially since its done, rather realistically. Next, as a result, watching each character go through different psychological states adds flare to this show and makes the story progression feasible. Lastly, mentioned before, the interactions and background stories for characters is great and likely, most anyone would enjoy it.
Overall:Good (about a 7)
overall this isnt a bad anime, but dont take my opinions for granted, just watch. its not the most amazing anime i have seen,but its one thats likely to give you some entertainment and a few laughs here and there. The thing about this series, is when you watch it, dont try to be too critical or harsh, just go with the flow and enjoy.The storyline, characters, andeverything else, taken together as a whole, makes this a rather fun series to watch. though i will say...it can get kinda slow here and there and sometimes the characters do get you pissy, but thats not the whole show.
Thank you for reading this review and i hoped it helped out.