La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia, or just Arcana Famiglia is one of those shows that when the new season came along, I read the synopsis and became fairly interested in it. I'm generally not the kind of person who tends to discriminate on anime based upon genre so I had no problem watching something labeled as shoujo, however, I became somewhat hesitant when I learned that it was based of an otome game aimed at young girls. (Please note that I have not played the game; I have only watched the anime.) Despite my hesitation, I watched the first episode and found it to be enjoyable. It was enjoyable enough that I showed my little sister it as well (who is a preteen and definitely within the target audience); she enjoyed it and from then on we watched it together.
The concept of the Arcana powers and the characters seemed interesting based off the the first episode. There was a lot of action in the first episode and the premise of a family-wide contest for the position of Papa (the big boss) and the protagonist's, Felicita's, hand in marriage was interesting as well. It provided a dilemma for her that would allow her to develop as a character while defending her right to choose who she marries. It had potential- in fact, the entire series had potential. Unfortunately, the series never comes close to fulfilling the potential it initially held with the protagonist remaining static and boring throughout and the event that I expected to span most of the series, the Duello, only spans the last episode and that itself was a disappointment, much like the rest of the series.
First, let's talk about character development. There is none- well, nothing really besides an introduction to most of the characters. They never really delve deep into any one character. In fact, the most developed character is not the protagonist; the most developed characters are the two main male leads, Liberta and Nova who are in love with the protagonist. Even though they are the most developed I could never bring myself to really remotely care about them- I frankly found them annoying. In fact, the only thing I found interesting about the both of them was Liberta's mysterious Arcana Power. Felicita seemed less of a protagonist and more of a side character the entire series, only speaking when necessary and often seeming to go out of character by being overly-concerned or over-emotional only when the situation demands. (And her Arcana power is clearly just a tool made for the game's romances.)
The second topic of discussion is the art and animation. The art was nothing spectacular to me, however it did its job- most of the time. The characters never really looked bad, even the background characters seemed to be drawn well (besides the occasional derp character), however what really suffered was the background itself. I noticed several instances of just plain bad background art and the one in particular that really bugged me wasn't even noticed by me at first; it was noticed by my sister. A pirate ship in one of the episodes actually changed in art style at least three times in the same episode (and it really wasn't drawn well in the first place). Besides the art itself, the animation was not very good for the parts where it should have been good, namely the fight scenes. The fights seemed more like gifs that were just repeated at different times and at one point in the last episode, Nova's shoulder was definitely in a strange position.
The sound of the anime serves its purpose but does little else, it does not excel in any aspect. I personally like the opening song much better than the ending song, mostly because the guys can't sing.
Overall, I don't have much good to say about this anime. With each passing episode, I prayed that it would get better. Unfortunately, my prayers were never answered; its potential having been completely wasted. This anime is bad; my sister, a member of the target audience, does not think that this show is good. If there was anything redeemable about the series, it would have to be the supporting cast because the main characters are all flat, boring, annoying, or a combination of all three.