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
I'm probably being too generous giving this 8/10 overall, but I quite liked it. Before watching it, I heard many complaints. The priest's certain "habit", some "Gonzo" company made it, people said it was boring, and just made negative comments in general. Throughout watching it, I heard several comments about how people hated "party call" and a lot of other things. Some of the positive/negative comments people made led me to believe they didn't really understand the show.
This show loosely follows the storyline in Dungeon Fighter Online. The show has many of your favourite NPCs from the game, which is just something fun to see
if you've played DFO. GSD definitely looks like he's able to see, Bwanga wasn't in here at all, and there are a bunch of other inaccurate things.
Anyhow... I'd have to say the show starts off horribly. The first part of the first episode is awesome since it involves Roxy and Aganzo. It's interesting since we don't know much about them even from playing DFO, just the little hints that they loved each other from some of the comments on newb equipment and that Aganzo is "The Grey Slayer". The show has a pretty serious tone at this point, which is also pretty cool.
After that, things start to get a little silly and trivial. The show isn't really going in any direction and they're just sort of building up a party. I say the show starts to pick up around episode 5 or 6, by which time the party is assembled and we start to meet some NPCs. Now, in a good anime series, the introduction of a new main character would be an extremely interesting episode. Here, however, it was pretty boring and a bit of a grind to get through.
Baron, the slayer, has been hated and discriminated against ever since he received Kazan's curse. Every normal person wants him dead. He simply wants to find a cure for it and doesn't really blame people for hating him; he just tries to ignore them and leave them be. His character was fine at this point... but then they turned him into a gold hearted hero who goes out of his way to save every single person he can despite how he was treated. It was just very poorly written and had no emotion at all, especially how he gave confidence to a little girl who just lost her parents. She was breaking down, but a thumbs up from Baron was enough to make her cheerful and hoping to meet this great guy again someday since he saved their town. Stupid. He's the main character and he was done the worst... Big mistake. He should've been a bit more badass.
Capensis, the gunner, is pretty much just comic relief. He complains a lot, hits on women, gets treated like a slave, gets hurt the most, and nobody cares about his wellbeing at all (or even likes him). I found him to be pretty funny.
Ryunmei, the fighter, was a pretty decent character overall. The show had to sneak in the extremely typical and unfunny joke about a flat-chested girl commenting on her large breasts... However, they actually had a good gag involving her large breasts somewhere in the middle of the series.
Ixia, the mage, was introduced poorly. She was a total brat who was wanted captured. And our party did capture her. Then scolded her. Then... Then they let her go without resolving anything after she deeply insulted all of them. Guess what? They decide to treat her as a precious comrade out of the blue. They should've done a better job of converting her to the good side... She might as well have remained a spoiled brat since she only joined them because they accepted her, not because she understood that what she did before was wrong. She's a pretty decent character after that, though, and it's kinda fun to see how she gains new familiars/summons.
Just had to get all that out there... Anyhow, the art takes a little getting used to. The animation is pretty average, maybe a little below average since the shading isn't too fancy and the animation is still only at this level. The battles are weak. Capensis takes out all the grunts, Ryunmei and Ixia help out with that and/or pin the boss, Baron finishes the boss off with an aerial attack, a single triple slash, neutral wave sword, or (for the final boss) ashe fork. Better than dragging battles on for 3-10 episodes, though, right?
I found the ending theme to be particularly cool since it's done in a retro pixel art style.
Last, but certainly not least, PARTY CALL~! Some people really hated this about the show, but I think it was my favourite part. This really made the show unique and added a good amount of humour. It's not a kind of humour that everyone an understand or appreciate, though. Some people take it a bit too seriously, but it's clearly a joke in itself. Some say it ruins the mood of battles, but the pep talk itself is funny and it lets them get the battle over and done with. If it weren't for the party call, how would you end an even match? Fight till both sides are totally exhausted, then the good guys use some kind of finishing move. Party call skips straight to the finishing move.
If you like DFO and can find the party calls amusing, then you'll probably like this show as much as I did after you get past the first few episodes.
Arad Senki is one of those series that are often overlooked because they do not appear interesting or already received a 'Deemed for Failure' stamp the moment the preview crawled its way to the wonderful i-net. Granted, the moment I found out Gonzo was behind this an alarm bell did ring in my head, but I still decided to have a go at this anime. This was not before recalling the wise lesson I have learned from watching Gonzo productions over the years:
Never put high expectations Gonzo, for it shall ruin your your expectations the most. Instead, expect the worst so it can only seem
After 18 episodes of Arad Senki I can tell you that wise lesson still applies. Want to discover how I came up with it? Watch Kaze no Stigma while expecting a good show. I'll be taking the time how long it takes for you to crawl back to me and admit you were naive. Anyways, review time.
The plot in Arad Senki is kinda based on your default RPG story; grow strong and the defeat the ultimate evil to grow into a SAVIIIIIOOOOOR. In this case it is a demon that has cast a curse over the continent, awakening monsters and causing any people that have witnessed it to slowly turn into Demons. The story focuses on a young man named Baron, who also received the curse and looks for a way to undo this.
Nothing wrong with that. I have seen anime series with an overused or boring plot still pull off something interesting. The problem with Arad Senki though is that there are too few plot related episodes, and that there usually are ~5 useless or 'stand-in' episodes between them. At the moment I am writing this I have watched up until episode 18 haven't seen much plot development at all. Only something involving a huge flower. Well this may change later on, so I'll leave it at this.
The art is, in my opinion, rather poor but somehow it fits the overall rpg-ish feeling of the series. Not to mention, Gonzo doesn't have a big budget so this may be the best they can pull off. If you have to decide between a good story with crappy art or good art with a crappy story I'd still go with the first option. The reason why the rating is 5 instead of 3 or 4 is not because I think that is where the art quality stands compared to other series, but because this is a Gonzo series. Their budget is low, they can't match the better anime companies anymore, they have a wife and kids at home...so lets show some sympathy. 'I am a compassionate person' as Hime from Princess Resurrection would call it while adjusting her hair.
I don't want to get started about the art used in the second OP for the series, so just drop that question.
Not much to see here. The soundtrack pretty much fits the overall show with a few RPG battle and 'route xxx' tunes, but its nothing too outstanding. However, it isn't bad either. The tunes go well with the battles and other scenes, so that's a plus that covers up for the lack of originality.
A sword user, a melee user, a gunner, a mage and a priest. Now, where have I seen that before...
The characters individually are a bit boring, but in a group they're a fun bunch to watch. Baron is the lead guy on a mission that doesn't mind a fight, Ryunmei is your damage dealer and source of the little bit of fanservice that passes by sometimes, Cabensis is your ranged support that is at the center of pretty much all comical parts with his expressions, Ixia is your mage with a sometimes childish attitude and Jeda is your priest sidekick with the muscles.
What I also like is the fact the the 'bad guys' are not just your average bunch with some insane/evil masterplan that try to stop you. They also get some development which allows you to get a better view of what situation they are in, how they feel etc. Especially after one of the recent episodes that was focused on them (although the main part was comedy again) I really felt for them.
Arad Senki isn't too popular, but it does have its own charm. And that is its comedy. It never fails to give me a good laugh every few episodes. The only problem I have with this series is the fact the emphasizes is a little bit too much on the comedy and useless stand-in episodes and too little on the plot. A 12-episode slot may have been better, but that means they had to go with either comedy or plot development. With 26 eps it is both, and although that isn't too bad here you can just tell that some episodes really have no real use other than stalling the excitement until the antagonists execute the next stage of their plan.
My recommendation: watch this show while not expecting anything too special and when you have nothing else to watch at the moment. If you take on Arad Senki with that attitude you'll be just fine. Even for a Gonzo production.