Fortune Arterial's story revolves around the male protagonist Kohei Hasekura, who transfers into a prestigious public school in the style of an English six-year school encompassing junior-high and high school students. The school is on an island named Tamatsu Island off-shore from mainland Japan, and the only way to get there is by boat. Soon after transferring, he discovers that one of the student in the class next door to his, Sendo Erika, is in fact a type of vampire.
There are few trends in anime that are as fallible as the visual novel adaptation, yet they continue to be made in the hope of finding the next Air, Kanon or Clannad. Unfortunately this means that the industry is littered with forgettable titles that have no other purpose than to serve as no brain entertainment for an audience that simply doesn't care anymore.
There is hope though, as every so often a series will appear that defies all expectations. Sadly, Fortune Arterial: Akai Yakusoku (Red Promise) isn't one of them.
Based on the adult visual novel of almost the same name that was released in 2008 by
developer August, the series lays out a fairly stereotypical harem plot of boy transferring into prestigious school and girls immediately falling head over heels for his kind personality and slightly bumbling mannerisms. Oh, and the main heroine just happens to be a vampire.
Now where have I heard that before?
Fortune Arterial does have a plot, but unsurprisingly it's about as predictable as the sunrise for anyone who's ever watched a harem based show. The storyline is laid out in the typrical fashion of boy meets girl (or in this case, vampire), upon entering the school, then meets his long lost childhood friend(s) (also girls), then some other girl(s), etc. All the while some mysterious force keeps pushing the boy and the first female (let's call her Girl A since I can't be bothered remembering her name), together.
The problem with Fortune Arterial is actually twofold where the story is concerned, the primary one being that the show follows the harem format almost to the letter, with little in the way of innovation or deviation. There is never any assumption that the viewer is intelligent enough for deductive reasoning, and the only thing expected of them is to sit there, look at the pretty anime girls, and buy the merchandise afterwards.
The second problem is the fact the series is based on an adult visual novel, and they're not really the best choice when it comes to deep, well written storylines or nicely developed characters. In fact, they're so far down on the list of possibilities that one has to wonder how the hell they get chosen in the first place.
They're also as generic as they come where design is concerned.
Fortune Arterial is, if nothing else, a faithful representation of the visual novel, (at least in terms of how it looks), but that's not really saying much as the series would only be laudable if the show was at least decent in other areas (storyline, for example). The other downside to staying true to the original (at least in this case), is that there is an inherent lack of creativity, and it shows itself here in several visual ways.
Like so many other eroge, Fortune Arterial has some pretty decent animation, and while there are some issues with body position and timing, it's probably on a par with many other shows of this type. The downside though, is that the anime is awash with big eyed characters of just about every "moe" stereotype you'd care to name, and that includes the hapless lead male. The scenery is nice enough, but lacks any real flair that would set it apart from just about every other posh, western styled school in anime (there are a few after all).
Which, strangely enough, leads me on to the acting.
The seiyuu generally work well throughout the series, but the main issue with their performances is that they lack passion. The delivery of their lines can be wooden, and there are several occasions where it sounds like the actors and actresses would much rather be doing something else.
The rest of the aural department isn't really any better. The OP is a cheesy, boppy J-Pop track that is typical for this type of show. The ED is, as you've probably already guessed, a ballad that is meant to sound somewhat bittersweet, but instead comes off as cloying and unoriginal. The incidental music has some issues with timing and choreography, and there are some odd pieces that doesn't seem to match the mood of the scene.
As for the characters, if you've seen one harem show of this type then you pretty much know what to expect. The lead male isn't as bad as some I could name, but the girls are as stereotypical as they come, and to make matters worse their character types include a vampire and an amnesiac childhood friend (let's call her Girl B).
Hooray for genericism!
The story is driven by events rather than characters, mainly because the nature of the visual novel defines the plot format. Unfortunately this means that there is little in the way of actual character development as while events do occur over the course of the show, the characters basically remain the same from beginning to end.
That said, there were some mildly diverting moments dotted here and there, but not enough to warrant watching the show a second time.
Fortune Arterial is a strange anime that doesn't really feel comfortable with itself, never mind the viewing public. A major problem with the series, aside from all that inherent genericism, is that several aspects of the storyline have already been realised far better in other shows. Because of this, much of the plot seems derived rather than original, and there is little in the way of content to persuade the viewer that they wouldn't be better off watching something like Karin or Rosario + Vampire.
To its credit, the series does present some interesting situations, but like so many other titles it never fully realises or utilises them to their full potential.
The biggest problem with Fortune Arterial though, is that it represents just about everything that is wrong with the anime industry today. Studios like Zexcs seem more focused on catering to an almost non-existent market than they are on giving the majority of fans what they want, and the main reason for this is habit - historically their money has mainly come from selling merchandise to hardcore Japanese fans.
The sad part is that the repercussions of making a series like this are far more widespread than people may initially believe, and the shortfall in finances resolves itself through increased license fees and mark ups on the price of merchandise and DVDs.
Fortune Arterial isn't the worst show of its type, but it's a long, long way from being the best. Then again, in a genre that's littered with the failed attempts at cracking the harem format, what else would you expect?
Even at first glance, Fortune Arterial seems... shakey... generic. Whoever said "don't judge a book by its covers" probably didn't look in the right book section because, indeed, Fortune Arterial is shakey and very generic. The experience of watching Fortune Arterial is comparable to eating rotten food (not that you would ever do it voluntarily)- the experience is horrible for the first half, then after eating it for a while your taste buds already dead so you feel that it's passable. After you finish eating all the rotten food, you look back and ask yourself "what the hell just happened?" Not all of the episodes
were bad, just a majority of them - pointless episodes that you wonder "why the hell are they showing me these things". In addition, the lolwtfBBQ ending really didn't do much to improve the standing of this anime in my eyes.
The story is my biggest problem with this anime. Simply put, the plot doesn't make sense. The story follows Kouhei after he transfers to a private academy. On the first day, he meets the Vice-president Erika, who strangely alienates him by suddenly stepping away from him. Later he learns that the both the prez and vp are vampires. I think, at this point, ok a generic vampire school one, I'll just put my hopes at that. Yet, surprisingly it fell even short of what low expectations I put onto it. For seriously the first half of the season, nothing happens. Take my word, absolutely nothing happened. They went shopping, talking, tea blah blah blah. Then for the second half of the season, it seems like the producers were smoking crack, trying to fit in everything into the remaining measly 6 episodes. This shows very faulty planning and poor organization. Certainly it would be wise to introduce the plot through the season, maybe even hinting at it for the first few seasons if they don't want to jump right into it, but none of that happened in the beginning. The characters kinda just shopped their asses away and then worked their asses off for the remaining episodes trying to do everything that was written. Truth be told, I skipped parts through the episodes in first half of the season because it bored me to the point where I'd write English essay sometimes instead of watching it. And I didn't feel bad about it. The second major let down was when I become very interested in it starting at the 7th episode and it began to build suspense. I expected a stunning ending.. and all I got was a cheap generic one leaving myself to wonder "wait.. what the fok happened in these 12 episodes?". Grr. the horrible plot makes me angry just by thinking about it. After 12 episodes, almost nothing happened and the things that did happen were relatively insignificant and beyond my care.
Art was probably the only thing that matters that significantly raised the score. The art is good, nothing exceptional, but pretty to look at and doesn't interfere with enjoyment of the story (albeit the meagerness of enjoyment). Besides, one of the characters in the end looked so much like Yami, so I found that pretty awesome.
ugh... characters. What can I say? Kouhei's dense, retarded and probably a fallible species of those generic harem type males. It comes to the point where you're almost yelling at the screen asking how he could be any more oblivious. Oops she's screaming in pain and falls down, knocking over and breaking stuff... BUT she says she's ok with a pained expression... so SHE MUST BE OK :D. yeah that's how "smart" Kouhei is. Nevertheless, the producers had no problem portraying him to the level of goody2shoe that even Mary Sue would get annoyed at his actions. You'd hear the word "Gomen" about 5 times for every time you see something enjoyable. Besides Kouhei's pathetic personality, I find that the majority of the characters weren't too likable or significant. The manipulative and arrogant president, the overprotective secretary, the loud obnoxious loli... perhaps the other quiet loli was the only character that I didn't dislike. What's more is that over 80% of the anime was simply the lazy president forcing Kouhei to join the student council and forcing him to plan events. After 7 episodes of Kouhei with papers around, typing and bowing to the store owners for their support in the next whatever event, one tends to get bored. Very bored.Meanwhile the prez is trying to get Kouhei and Erika together all the time for some unknown reason revealed later. Nevertheless, nothing happens between those two. If you were hoping for a nice summer romance, well look for somewhere else. The lack of actual love in the plot sticks out like a sore thumb in the pile of "we believe you" "you're important" and "not only I, the school needs you!" cheesy crap.
After reading all these vehement criticism of Fortune Arterial that I wrote up until now, I'd feel bad to simply leave it at that without explanations for improvements. There were some very good things about this anime: stirring scenes that incites emotion, suspense keeping the viewer watching, deep character developments, however, animes hardly ever succeed with just that. What let me down the most was the ending. I was so hooked on the series from episode 7-11 that I thought a good ending would amend for the crap first half of the season; yet, I was very disappointing by the ending and it's inability to introduce something innovative. Not even at the standard of just generic, the ending reverted it so absolutely nothing important happened at all. If the producers ever make a second season, these are some aspects they should consider.
1) Better organization and connection of plot and events so they make sense
2) Cut the useless school scenes and focus on the actual plot. Many anime attempts to combine school and ulterior plot, but unfortunately few succeed at that ordeal.
3) Reduce the episodes spent on developing the history of characters that didn't play a single role in the actual plot.
I really hope that if another season comes out, it would be a season where the characters in it could actually feel proud being in it. Call me weird but I sometimes feel sorry for the anime characters being in an anime that was just skimmed through and thrown away. They unfairly carry the failure of the producers who made it.
Yes, of course I watched this because it's bad. One must watch bad shows from time to time, otherwise good shows lose their worth. Of course I watched it so that I could bash on it afterwards, it is simply entertaining to me. You would be surprised to know that I almost dropped it around five times though, I had to battle myself every time to ensure that I could finish it!
I want to start out by saying that I feel sorry for Ono Daisuke, I know a job is a job and that everyone's got to eat, but I'd live off of porridge as
my three meals a day for a month rather than involve myself with something like this.
By no means is this anime in any way original. Fanboys of harem have seen it numerous times before. Since the vampire theme, unfortunately, is all the rage at the present time they've decided to incorporate it in this schoolbook harem that I'd frankly hoped they would stop producing for the sake of the anime industry. The vampire theme has become something so common that we don't really think it's strange anymore, neither do the characters in the anime when they find out about the existence of vampires so it's all good really. Therefore the vampire theme in this anime became a gimmick, it could just as well have been left out and the show would probably have been better for it (not really).
Characters, character interaction, script, screenplay, storyboard, art and animation were all sub par in this production. Being a harem characters especially were abominable, but really, noone should ever expect good characters in a harem. This anime could never have become good, the concept would never allow it, nor would the stellar production company Zexcs, which probably is the worst production company in the industry.
It has been a misfortune to have watched Fortune Arterial: Akai Yakusoku.
Story & Characters (2/10)
Another season, another eroge transformed into an anime. Eroge adaptations are now ubiquitous enough that they have to be treated like shonen action series: you have to start ignoring the obvious and start enjoying the variation in details. Taken that way, Fortune Aerial isn't just bad enough, but even if there's a level of Hell for anime, it wouldn't be allowed in.
Ah, school transferring. No youthful memories, no lasting friendship and no meaningful romance. That's the kind of lifestyle Kouhei has been suffered from until he finally gets a choice of his own he opts for Shuchikan Academy, a boarding school out
on a peripheral Japanese island that he had once briefly stayed at several years ago. There he reunites with his childhood friends and quickly gets associated with several classmates, but when comes in contact with the eccentric vice-student council president Sendou Erika, something annoys her so bad that would forever leave mark. Much to his dismay, is the discovery of a vampire on campus, and it's someone he's already met.
Yeah, this is yet another old-fashioned premise of visual novel, spends its first episode introducing the key players. Awfully familiar, yes? Some guy transfers to a new town to frolic amongst the walking female set up; he encounters "Girl #1" then childhood friends and some new girls. Why does this have to be strikingly cliche when there was another eroge adapted-series in its season, Yosuga no Sora. My goodness, if it isn't bad enough that this was filled with the worst kind of school-romance drivel and unacceptable introduction, it's got VAMPIRES. Whenever you hear the word "vampire," the first thing comes to your mind is blood-sucking monster walking around at night and get burnt when interacted with sunlight, doesn't it? Don't expect any of that kind of treatment in Fortune Aerial because it simply is what it is, school romance.
The regular episodes have nothing that could be called an ongoing plot, as they mostly just amount to the main characters busily preparing for school events, enjoying school activities, or (in Erika's case) try to subdue her vampiric nature. The personalities of the characters are a cross-section of archetypes common to fan service shows, and most are executed in a simple, straightforward way. To begin with, Kouhei's lamely nice guy attitude and his "picking-up-girls" comrade soon prove to be boring. While other characters don't show up much, including standards like the childhood friends, the mysterious and quite one, the cute younger sister you want to protect, the focus remains on the central character Erika. However, the latter turns out to be the most awfully written of all. Heard this before? A vampire tries to integrate herself into man's society by subduing her thirst for blood ends up being more pathetic than she already is. Even if you're not a big fan of Twilight, you would not want to see how much damage vampires receive in this show, stick to Hellsing or Tsukihime if you want to see a vampire babe in action.
Feel, a support-focused animation studio whose only other significant lead efforts are the recently-released Mayo Chiki! and the unlicensed Yosuga no Sora, here produces a showy and colorful effort which is hardly a paragon of vampire element but loads itself up so effectively on the cute factor that the lackluster animation may not matter. The same applies for background art and character design too, which seem to look good but also absolute typical for this type of series; while the girls' look can be replaced, the blandness of background art is a complete waste of this unusual setting (a boarding school built on a small forested island). Perhaps the way vampirism is going to fit into the picture could be a bit intriguing and serve as an initial hook, as these vampires can walk in broad daylight, but this offering comes from Feel didn't show why viewers should keep watching.
The problems don't end there; production wise, this thing is an epic fail. The score is acceptable with nice violin mix and soothing music, but its graphic spends too much to show the bright side of schooling despite all this vampire problem here. The same could be said to ED, which captures the enthusiastic fan-service of the show, something they didn't allow to bring on campus.
Japanese seiyuu performances conform to the expected mix of cutesy interpretations. The voices is a loud, shrill assemblage of cheesy and cute accent; whenever something "funny" is supposed to be happening, a "THIS IS FUNNY" honk-beep cacophony starts blaring, nearly at the same volume as the dialogue.
Now Fortune Arterial is a terrible show, but not because of the idea - its current season also aired one of the most censored eroge anime, a guy traveled to his place from childhood and got stuck up in one of the worst harem, so let's not pretend that somehow this particular idea is any more or less boring than anything else in its genre. No, this show is awful because it's unbelievably poorly constructed and executed – this is one of the worst vampire element of any fiction ever come in existence. At least Yosuga no Sora has the benefit of pretty landscape and soothing music; this series can't even manage that much or perhaps, it aimed to become even more than what a school romance could be, which often fails.