The story is set in the 15th century, during the Hundred Years' War between France and England over the succession to the French throne. Montmorency, the son of a noble, immerses himself in the studies of magic and alchemy at a royal knight training school. However, following France's crushing defeat at Agincourt, the school is dissolved. Having lost everything and now a wanted man, Montmorency, who had just become an alchemist, encounters a mysterious village girl named Jehanne.
Remember that time when Darling in the Franxx and Seikon no Qwaser almost had a bastard baby, but decided to have an abortion when it was clearly too late? Somehow the embryo survived and got raised by Fate/Apocrypha. Then, at the age of 9, it discovered that its upbringer and role model is not the only thing that exists in the world, and learned about Tokyo Ghoul, JoJo and FMA. That baby is Ulysses.
Jokes aside, I may be a bit too harsh on the show in this review, but it reflects my personal opinion and what I saw in the show. Some spoilers ahead, not
that you should really care.
Plot: what plot? The plot, as the premise makes you think, is on a level of some pseudo-historical smut fanfiction written by a 12 year old edgelord, except I've seen better pseudo-historical smut fanfiction than this. The main idea is that Jeanne D'arc can go Super Saiyan after receiving a kiss from the MC (who is Gilles de Rais, just saying). Those kisses are called "baisers" in the show, which is unneeded and cringeworthy use of French and could make my score lower by a point itself, if only it had somewhere lower to go. Then, apparently, it's supposed to follow Hundred Years' War, which it doesn't really do, only showing fragments of real history in the beginning of the first half of the show. In reality, the show is about people who want to have philosopher's stone, which is split between MC and Jeanne. At some point the show literally pulls a Franxx on us, with random aliens on spaceships trying to destroy the Earth and everything, though I wonder which came first because apparently the original novel is a few years old. Overall, the story is an incomprehensible mess and doesn't know what it wants to be at any point of the show, which results in it being either mindbogglingly boring or unbelievably dumb, and I honestly don't know which is worse. There's no ending, either, so it ends up being a LN promotion, though I can't see anyone saying "Yes, I'm going to read this".
Characters: okay, let me say this straight: this is a show where plot drives the characters, not vice versa. While I don't think there's something inherently wrong with it, this anime definitely doesn't understand what to do with those characters. This ends up in them being randomly in and out in the plot, being pushed on the sides and forgotten as quickly as they made their appearance. Most are based on some historical personalities, but almost none of their original documented traits remain, and in some cases, not even their original gender. Sadly, that's all there is to them, because the show doesn't even try to do any characterization, and any kind of development that may happen fails miserably because there's no character to develop, just a carton cutout. Also, it has an Astolfo from Fate/Apocrypha. I mean, he looks, dresses and behaves like him, but he isn't Astolfo. Amazing, isn't it?
Art: is horrendous. While the first episodes were decently animated, the quality rapidly declined in the second half, to the point where anime almost fully consisted of panning stills and ugly CGI soldiers in the end. The worst part that stills weren't even drawn properly. Montmorency's character design gave me cancer. Cute lolis were the only thing that kept me going, guess what, one got in-universe sudden boobs and ass expansion. Apparently that's a thing.
Sound: voice acting was average, the opening song was fine, the ending song (well, 10 of them, it has a new version in almost every episode) was good, and the background music wasn't really noticeable. I can't really say much about it, but it's definitely the strongest part about the show.
Enjoyment: trainwreck but it was fun to make fun of it on Discord. It's not the good kind of fun, though, as you feel your brain is slowly dying. Some scenes were rage-inducing, for example, MC saying "I want to save the girl I love so go fight for me" and army of peasants going berserk easily slaughtering professional full armored soldiers after that. Thoroughly unenjoyable even ironically.
Overall: no/10, almost the worst TV anime with normal length episodes I've ever seen (Lord of Vermilion from last season still exists). Go watch literally anything else and it probably would be better. Or try this - I don't even want to call it a trainwreck because there was no train to begin with - and maybe you'll like it, although I certainly didn't.
History has a famous name and it’s Joan of Arc. As a heroine of France, she’s a peasant girl that became a commander with a level of charisma that few could match during her era. She's a village girl that became a legendary figure. But Ulysses is far from a legend. It’s a show that deserved to be burned by fire.
That may be a harsh thing to say and it pains me to actually mention it. But as someone who enjoyed the author’s previous work (The Ambition of Oda Nobuna), this was nothing short than a damnation. You’ll probably want to know the who, what,
how, and why. And make no mistake, prepare for disappointment.
For starters, you should discard any historical facts about the show altogether. This is more of a mixture of fantasy, history, action, and drama thrown together. While many people may have heard of Jeanne, few probably know of the name, “Montmorency”. As the main male protagonist, I question his motives as an alchemist. In the beginning, he tries to discover the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone. The man has potential to create a world without pain and suffering after what he’s been through. The actual result ends up with him summoning a Fairy Queen. Her name is Astaroth and she promises to teach Montmorency on how to become a Ulysses. What is a Ulysses? In their world, it’s a supreme being with unimaginable powers. To be honest, having a set up like this already sets off a lot of red flags.
As for the story’s plot, we don’t meet Jeanne until after going through a background story about Montmorency and his childhood friends. The most prominent is Arthur de Richemont, who happens to be his secret love. The first episode spells doom for these kids when Richemont is seemingly killed while Montmorency experiences the reality of war. While I dare say the author made a memorable impression of the tragedy event, it didn’t make me care much about the main characters altogether. There wasn’t much chemistry between the protagonists and Montmorency hasn’t been established as a character. Why should I also care about Richemont besides her name and social status? However, I don’t want to sound too off base since that’s the early portions of the show. In the preceding episodes, we finally get to know Jeanne d’Arc, the titular main character. And oh boy, that red flag sailed high in the air.
I know this show is far from historical accurate but Jeanne’s debut is also just dreadful. It’s far from paying a homage to the historical figure when she has blonde hair and also a childish personality. As a 12 year old, it’s hard to care about her beyond what she brings into the show. It doesn’t also help that the majority of the cast are also much younger than their historical counterparts. But when she becomes a Ulysses, her child persona disappears and becomes a completely different being. It’s like an inner demon awakens inside of her and makes Jeanne into a killer. Only in this show, they seem to portray her Ulysses persona to be some sort of heroine. The way I see it, Jeanne feels like a weapon of war rather than a person. While she does have a personality, her character lacks morality when “saving” people by resorting to killing. She sees Montmorency as someone to trust in after they establish a bond with each other. But to me, there’s little more character bond than an alchemist and his partner. Sadly, the show’s character relationships are poorly written with little creative thought. The childhood friendships between Montmorency, Richemont, Charlotte, and Philip gives off a pseudo-harem stench that hardly develops anywhere. Then, there’s Astaroth (who isn’t even human) so her lack of common logic at times is thrown out the window. Weak character bonds and chemistry made the cast look like poor actors on a stage. If we talk about other characters with status, there’s guys like La Tremoille. As a sadistic human being, it doesn’t take long for the man to reveal his true colors and his intentions against Jeanne. And by this point, I knew pretty much every antagonist in this show is more like disposable waste.
Luckly, there’s something in it for fans who are interested in seeing a well-polished war story, right? After all, the show does take place during the 15th century when France and England were engaged in warfare. Unfortunately, I’ll have to be the bearer of bad news. Challenging myself to watch this series with a focused mind was tough when it’s just bloodbath slaughter on the battlefield. In later episodes, I find less and less devoted to see who would take the French throne. Even some of the more noticeable characters like La Hire feels out of place. Seriously, who wears that sort of shaggy outfit with twin barrel guns? I think the author went over their head to make the characters look fashionable but it came out as nearly unbelievable. Oh and be prepared for a host load of fan service in the form of kissing. It’s not just a soft gentle kiss either as many scenes show French kissing with tongue and saliva. Don’t mistake that as romance though as it’s more of a process necessary for the plot device of the show. Studio AXsiz has a mixed reception of their projects and to be honest, this anime can join that list too.
I get it now. I think what the show wanted me to experience is some sort of war story with emotions and character struggles. What I got instead is a show with poorly adapted historical figures that almost feels like an insult to the real Joan of Arc. I’d advice from committing to this show unless you’re absolutely curious about Mikage Kasuga’s work. Avoid this like the plague and don't look back.
History is always something that we tend to look back to in order to improve from the mistakes we have made in society and also act as a precortional tale. of course, history also spawns stories that can be seen influencing media today. Often times, media likes to bring these classic tales to the modern day to have a new way of telling the story. Sometimes they put their own spin on it to differentiate itself or to spice things things up. That last sentence is where we find ourselves today. A retelling of the story of one of the most empowering females in history
with a twist of it being in a magical setting.
Sit back, relax and make sure that you drink some of that sweet, sweet elixir as I present to you the anime review for Ulysses: Jeanne d'Arc and the Alchemist Knight. Lets Begin.
Set during the 100 years war between France and England, the story follows an aspiring alchemist by the name of Montmorency who wants to protect his closest friends by becoming the next Ulysses, a protector of humanity. With the help of the fairy queen, Astaroth, and being the owner of the powerful Philosophers stone, he finds out that he cannot do it for he cannot contain the power of the stone. However, after encountering a young farmgirl by the name of Jeanne who is able to able to contain the Philosophers stone, they decide to become a beacon of hope for all of France to drive back England to their country and become the heroes the country needs.
If it wasn't obvious already, the story is based off the story of Joan of Arc, a woman who was blessed by God to drive back England from their land. Only this time, its not religion that grants her powers, its magic. It was intriguing for me at least to begin with since magic is more interesting I would say than being blessed by God because you can make some interesting storylines with that. Well it would be if the story managed to keep sight of what the story is supposed to be based on. Even though the magic element makes for some good explanations, it doesn't change the fact that this is a loose adaptation of the Joan of Arc story. Throughout the series, the story goes off track as it likes to take detours to explore other plot threads. If you are going to do that, you've got to make them interesting. Ulysses does not do that. The story's characterisation is piss poor. They don't do well at distincting the characters from one another and establishing them in the story. Instead, they just fall into cliched character tropes that just don't help make the story more interesting.
It makes the story overall feel uninspired. It doesn't do well to captivate its audience as it just lacks that unique factor despite its setting. It doesn't help the fact that the story just goes off the rails near the end and feels like a completely different story overall than what it was supposed to be. The fact that the entire story continuously forgets that this is a fantasy retelling is bad when you think about it. It is like the show just loses interest and wants to do something different. That's just bad storytelling. If you are going on a set path, stick with it. There is also explanation dumps at the start of almost every episode to tell the story that is going on in the background. Telling your story and not showing doesn't exactly make your story engaging now does it?
The characters in this show are just plain awful, cliched and boring.
lets start with out main protagonist Montmorency. Montomorency is yet another standard, generic protagonist. His motivations are clearly just to protect his best friends and Jeanne which isn't exactly an original motivation and his personality isn't endearing either. He is more or less annoying and a bit dense as, like every other generic protagonist, he doesn't always consider other people's feelings and apologises for it. He doesn't do much either as his only relevance to the plot is at the beginning and near the end of the story. That's bad for the character that's supposed to be the main protagonist.
And it only gets worse. All of the female characters in this show are best described as "Montomorency harem." The majority have little to no personality whatsoever and basically just feel lost without Montomorency. They basically can't do much without requiring their mmaaaaann to come and save them. It kind of ruins their individuality. Richemont especially feels like this. What I thought was going to be a strong female character turned into one of the parts of the overall harem and what the show likes to focus on when it comes to fan service with some groping and sexual harassment. Yeah, like that's going to build a character. And the fact that she feels lost without Montomorency at her side feels so cliched (again, the harem).
But what I find the worst part of the characters is the show's treatment of Jeanne. Jeanne (or Joan of Arc) is regarded as one of the most empowering woman in history. Her motivation and ability to unite France under one banner to drive back England was inspiring and captivating to make her an icon in France's history books. So what does the show do? Make her a thirsty loli who has an obsession of having big breasts. That's just insulting. And also, she feels like a secondary character despite she should be the main focus of this show and, guess what? Feels lost without Montomorency. The show goes through Montomrency first and he is just so boring, uninspired and unlikable. So that just makes all other characters just as bad, if not worse than Montomrency.
Crap is the simplest way to describe it. While the art style is arguably alright, the animation itself is just bad. Cutaways, intense, shaky cinematography instead of animating it and some really crappy looking CGI. It makes the fight scenes really lacklustre. There are times though where the animation looks good, but they are few and far between when the show is dominated with cheap ways to animate a fight scene. The character designs are somewhat relevant to the time period, but some of the designs lean more to the fanservice side with large, bouncy breasts pretty much everywhere (No wonder Jeanne wants a pair) and showing more skin than, well, armour. Again, it just feels like the characters are just there to act as nothing more than part of the harem.
The music for Ulysess is alright. Nothing spectacular yet not bad at the same time. It certainly sounds kind of like the style of music that would be playing at that time with a sense of French royalty to it. It can add a mood but really, it is played down a little too much and is forgettable or even noticeable at times. It fails to stand out and add to a scene. The same goes with the opening as well. It is a pretty standard opening with showing the characters and visually foreshadowing of events to come. The song "Liberation" by Mai Fuchigami didn't really make want to "jam out" to this opening because it just meh. That is it, it doesn't do anything good, neither does it do anything bad. It just exists.
The ending sequence though. Now that's beautiful. It's brilliant artwork correlating to the episode is just so good to look at. The calming song as well adds to it as it just makes it that more beautiful. It almost makes it worth to watch through an episode. Almost.
There are some anime that I watch because I enjoy them. There are some anime that I watch because I am going along with the ride. Then there are some anime that I watch because when I get to review them, I get to bash the s**t at them. Ulysses is very much the latter. A story that has no idea what it want it wants to do with itself. Uninspiring and uninteresting characters. Crap animation and and meh ost. This show really doesn't have anything going for it. It doesn't do anything well and just does everything else either meh or poorly. I had some hype going into this series and it really didn't do anything to amaze me to match up to that hype. What could have been an interesting, fantasy retelling of the story of one of the most iconic woman in history turned into a mess that I don't recommend anyone to watch. Not even to the curious. Your time is best spent elsewhere with this one.
I'm French so it might be my national pride or something but this anime felt like an insult to Jeanne d'Arc, I really like this period of history and I know the story of Gille de Rais (Montmorency) and Jeanne so almost all caracter don't have the personnality of their historic figures wich is not really important if you can do a better caracter but they did not. Orginaly the king (Charlotte) his a coward, Jeanne is a little girl who became a general and lead army, killed people, and had the charisma so incredible she is still consider one of the most incredible caracter
of our history and Montmorency was crazy about Jeanne so fucking crazy he killed babies. I'm normaly not harsh on anime but this one is just.....
So what did the show gave us?
The story : Kind of messy maybe they tried to put a lot in 12 épisodes but could not so the story didn't make sense if you don't know history or geography of France.
The magic aspect was really bad, the magic stones were like not really exploited; they were just magic weapon but 3 min of an angry girl beating up soldier from time to time not worth it espacially in the end the god felt like a pile of shit falling from the sky on an anime that could have been at least decent.
Charaters: Just basic nothing really amazing; jeanne is disapointing, Montmorency is like any other anime character that want to save the world and the other are just like any other female character that like the hero because he is a nice guy who want to save people. The main enemy doesn't exist well they are like 2 or 3 depending on the situation.
Quality: The quality of the animation and music overall is decent.
General opinion: They could have done a incredible anime but they wanted to change it to make it more like any other fantasy anime and they fucked up so bad.
If their is a lesson for that show; it's don't try to change something big and incredible into a normal thing because you will most likely fucked up.