The anime will follow the adventures of Baron, a man living on continent of Arad in the year 981 after "the cursed light of Kazan" has fallen across the land. Thanks to the curse, one of his arms has become possessed. After finding a sword that has been possessed by the spirit Roxy, he embarks on a quest to unravel the secret of the curse and meets various people who also join his party.
There's a curious phenomenon occuring in the entertainment industry, one that blurs the line between what you read, watch and play, and while we may all be familiar with the weird, wonderful, and sometimes downright appalling world of the adaptation, in truth the dividing line between the mediums is beginning to fade.
Where am I going with this? Well, in recent years games and gaming, especially on consoles, has moved to the forefront of the entertainment industry, and in order to capitalise on the popularity of a given title various production companies and writers have begun to produce adaptations of games that have
proven themselves cash cows. One recent example of this is the latest Hollywood release, "Prince of Persia", a movie which clearly signifies Hollywood's desire to make more money cashing in to the current games market, especially after the debacle that was "Super Mario Brothers" and the recent glut of superhero affairs.
The problem though, is that game adaptations aren't really the best source material, especially MMO games.
Slap Up Party: Arad Senki (or Slap Up Party: Record of the Arad War), originally began life as a Korean multiplayer fighting game called "Dungeon & Fighter" that incorporated certain role playing aspects, however the popularity of the game was such that it quickly expanded to include a more immersive RPG system. Now while the game itself is copmparable to the likes of World of Warcraft, the main problem with any adaptation is that in orderfor it to work, the story would not only have to fit into the game world, but also be accessable enough for those unfamiliar with the title.
Unfortunately, Arad Senki seems to have fallen into the same trap as titles like Ragnarok, Ar Tonelico and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, amongst others.
The story follows a young man named Baron through the land of Arad as he travels from place to place seeking a way to cure his particular affliction, namely a demon arm, which was caused by a curse that affected the land some time before (it's never clear when). Along the way he is accompanied by a small floating spirit named Roxy, and is later joined by several other companions.
Sounds familiar. right?
Like many anime of this kind, this tale oozes shounen sensibilities from almost every pore, from believing in one's friends to never giving up, and everything in between. The problem though, is that the plot has no real direction, and because of this haphazard approach the story proper takes a very long time to get going. However, even with the tale in full flow, there is still not enough substance to make one take the story seriously. Strangely though, this lack of focus and actual storyline doesn't impact one's enjoyment as much as one might think, as there seems to have been some realisation that the platform upon which the entire show stands is full of cracks. That said, these cracks have only really been papered over with a thin veneer of comedy that, in truth, is sometimes a bit hit-and-miss.
The main reason for the lack of focus is the fact that the anime is based on an MMOG, and because of this the writers have had to fit the story into the pre-existing world, something which limits their creativity. On the other hand, if this type of anime is approached correctly, then there is scope for improvement as the game allows for a phenomenal amount of content and ideas that could be adapted.
It's unfortunate then, that this hasn't been realised, however there is something about Arad Senki that makes it reasonably enjoyable viewing (more on this in a bit).
As far as looks go, the series is colourful enough, and the characters are designed reasonably well, however there is a comic element inherent in this that may not be obvious at first. The animation is generally pretty good throughout the show, and because of the nature of the series, Gonzo are able to show off a variety of styles, from comic to fast-paced action, something which serves the anime well come the end.
That said, the show lacks a degree of refinement where the visuals are concerned. While it may be argued that a good portion of the series is stylistically designed to enhance this or that comedy or action scene, the viewer may find that the show has a "rushed" feel for the most part.
Sound is also pretty decent throughout Arad Senki, with many of the effects being clear and well choregraphed. The acting is good for the most part, however some of the seiyuu really do ham it up, and in all honesty I can'tbe sure if this is by accident or design, as several scenes actually work better this way.
Arad Senki is generally well served as far as the music goes. The tracks used throughout the show enhance the atmosphere fairly well, however the comedy element means it's difficult to take the action scenes seriously, even with the ubitquitous dramatic music. The show has two OPs, "Party Play" by Sakura Nogawa and "Sokujin no Pandora" by Nogawa Sakura, both of which are decent J-rock tracks. The first OP is fairly typical with it's visuals, however the second takes a more innovative and humourous approach to golf (that's right, golf).
As for the EDs, "Hateshinai Sekai" by YMCK and "LEVEL∞" by Akiko Hasegawa, they are both made using music from what sounds like an 8-bit or 16 bit game. Of the two EDs, I have to admit that I do like the comedy Hateshinai Sekai's visuals, which feature the characters in a 16-bit game opening treasures and fighting monsters.
The characters are on of the issues with the series, as there simply isn't any real development given to them, and the little growth that does occur is often formulaic and "methodical". None of the characters really stands out in any way, however it's not all bad, as while there is a distinct deficiency in this department, they actually work fairly well when there's comedy about. Rather than focusing on developing the characters, the creators seem to have gone in a completely different direction. Essentially, the characters are treated as nothing more than toys that are wound up and let loose in a given situation, the results of which aren't always successful or effective.
I already mentioned that there's something about Arad Senki that makes it reasonably enjoyable viewing, and that something is the tongue in cheek nature of the show. Where series like Raganrok take themselves far too seriously, Arad Senki has made a concerted effort to add some fun to the mix. While the result isn't everyone's cup of tea, there's enough variation in the anime to keep the viewer interested at the very least.
Okay, so as a straight forward story the show doesn't work all that well, however if one treats Arad Senki as a series of short stories rather than one complete tale, it becomes far more palatable, and that's one of the things that it seems to actually encourage during the early part of the show. Unfortunately, there's only so far a series can go using this format before the viewer needs something more substantial to maintain their interest, and in this department the show doesn't quite deliver.
It's a shame, as the idea of making an MMOG based is a good one provided the effort is put in to make everything work. While Slap Up Party: Arad Senki may not be great, it's actually a lot more enjoyable than the likes of Ragnarok, and although it may not be to everyone's tastes, there are occasional flashes of what this show could have been like.
Still, at least it's not Super Mario Bothers again :)
I watched this show years ago and it was the first “real anime” I ever saw. It holds a special place in my heart and I decided to come back and write a review because of the DFO re-release.
Ill go ahead and say I gave the show a 8/10 based purely on just how much I enjoyed watching watching it. I wont sit here and defend the flaws that are very much present in this show.
There really isn’t a story behind this show besides Baron trying to get rid of his Demon arm and the ridiculous characters he gets to join his
cause. The characters that join him on his journey get a short little arc before joining up and continuing on with Baron. The characters have very little back story but I wanna say they redeem themselves by not being boring and making Barons “party” a very nice mixture of craziness and seriousness. I understand they don’t have much source material with it being a game and all but mi glad they added all the original classes from the game into the amine.
The opening songs are very generic in my opinion . I found myself skipping them very early on unlike most amines were most of the time I sit and enjoy the song and video. The pixel ending sequence was a very nice add that I watched a few times. The BGM was generic nothing to gloat about and voice acting was average at best
I wont say much here except it wasn’t bad too look at but I’ve seen Gonzo do better with other shows that have been produced by them.
Overall all I stand by my intro. The characters are not deep but they’re fun to watch on this very generic story. I admit I am biased since I enjoyed and still enjoy Dungeon fighter online. I think and fan of both anime and DFO should watch this. I think they will to some extent enjoy seeing those original classes come to life and seeing the world of Arad we have spent countless hours in come to life in an anime. Not very well executed and as a standalone show since its very generic and poor story but being a fan of the game puts it just a little bit higher on my list . Hopefully one day with all the fans of the game there’s a well executed show based in Arad. PARTY CALL FOR LIFE
Half of this show feels like (and probably is) filler. A few filler characters are important to the plot in the end, but many aren't. While some of the it is fun and interesting (episode 11), the rest is tedious (anything with the guys who wear pots on their heads).
Filler aside, the show isn't really anything special. Aside from some of the colorful characters, it's just another fantasy-adventure anime where our band of heroes must go somewhere to find something. The show is often goofy, so if you're looking for a serious fantasy series, I'd look elsewhere.
-The animation often looks stiff and only a
handful of character designs actually stick out.
-Jeda the priest needed more screentime.
-I did get some laughs out of the frequent slapstick.
-There was a chibi folk tale episode that was really cute and I actually really liked it.
-Baron's got nice eyes under his headband (I like his design in general).
-Overall, the show's fun if you're looking for something simple and colorful.
-Seriously, don't think too deeply about this show.
This anime is a hidden jem: it's not perfect nor the best anime ever made, but it is worth your time.
First things first: this anime's plot is generic and a bit bad; and it's a shame that the first half of the fist episode is dedicated to set up the plot and introducing characters that are not important until later in the series.
But the shows knows this, so instead of boring you with the same generic plot of "let's travel and save the world", the show focuses on traveling though the fantasy world and the character interactions; and only specific episodes are plot
"heavy", and even in those episodes there are more than enough gags to keep you entertained. Althou, my problem with this approach is that you'll forget why they were travelling in the first place (but you'll have so much fun that you won't care)
Almost every episode is set on a different city/town and focuses on the adventure that the party has on each location. The location themselves are normal (houses with normal people), but the interesing part of them are the adventures the party in the city: maybe they'll have to defeat a monster using the power of a pumpking-god, or maybe they'll do random jobs (like fishing flying piranhas) so to gather money to buy supplies and don't starve to death, or maybe they'll have to help a gunsmith to save his sister because he is alergic to the guns he creates, or maybe one of the party members just scews something up and the all the party has to fix the problem they caused.
But the most important thing about this anime are it's characters and their interactions: all of them are idiots (with good or bad intensions) and they're pissing each other off for the hell of it but, at the end of the day, they can't stay mad because they are all friends that care for each other.
By the way, this show is a comedy. Without spoiling anything, the "fights" are not real fights... but, at the same time, they are there so that the conflict is resolved. Also, since the last a cople of seconds, they won't bother you.
A side note; this show handles fanservise in the good way: most women are really hot, but their boobs are not the reason for why they exist.
Its visuals and its sound are good: both of them are deliver a good experience but they are not remarkable enough to point them out.
But maybe you'll read this review and ask yourself "if this anime has so many problems, why does this guy gives it a good review?". Basically, because it is that funny! It is hard to review this anime without spoiling anything because the things that heppens in it are hillarious and ridicule!
If you've read this review and you have doubts about watching the show, go to Youtube and watch it's second opening. It doesn't contain any spoiler, it is a short adventure that shows how goofy and hillarious this anime and it's characters are.
I hope you have found this review helpfull. Any type of feedback is welcome (send them by PM).