Have you heard of the spring anime Arata Kangatari? You’ve probably checked out its preview on this website, or someplace else. You might have also seen it as well. An alternative reality setting with historical-like ambiance and a lot of fantasy. This anime takes, however, a potentially great idea and stomps, trashes and ruins it. Read the full review of Arata Kangatari (アラタ カンガタリ ~革神語~)!
Arata Kangatari was announced as project that combines action, adventure and old-school fantasy. Soon enough, we got to find out that a lot of romance might as well be involved. On top of this, there were politics, the drama of a falling princess, the school bullying topic and the arch-enmity between the main character and his classmate/opponent. There were clashes for power, for territory, for life and death and for close ones. A lot of stories and the histories of about 12 characters were all introduced as well. And all of this for just 12 episodes. That sounds like a lot to me and it just didn’t work.
In short, the story centres on Arata and Arata – two boys from different dimension who exchange places due to an abnormality. The fantasy member of a notable family Arata ends up in modern-day Tokyo and has to go to school, while the student Arata from Tokyo ends up in the middle of a fantasy world, led by a princess, which has been betrayed by her 12 generals (Shinshou) who wield supernatural weapons.
These same men were supposed to protect her, but instead endangered her life and only the newest Sho, Arata who is accepted by a famous weapon as a master, can clash forces with the men.
Let me tell you one thing, almightiness has to have a limit. This newcomer to the fantasy world manages to not only wield this legendary weapon, fight well with it, attract strong men to his side and win against able, experienced and shrewd others. He also wins the heart of the tag-along moe. There is a bit too much happening here as well.
Not to mention how the staff tried to tell the stories of so many characters that, at the end of the show, we know so much about the past of Kannagi and Yorunami, but barely anything more distant about Hinohara. Arata from the fantasy world remains an almost absolute mystery.
First of all, let me tell you that this anime is an adaptation of the original manga by Yuu Watase (Ayashi no Ceres, Fushigi Yuugi). This lady is definitely able to make hit series and create wondrous settings relations between the characters. What ruined the otherwise great idea was the inability of the animation team to say ‘no’ to some things in order to be able to achieve an attachment between the viewers and the characters. There was just too much going on and at the same time a lot went untold. Let me give you an example, battles in this series were often skipped and happened in the dark space between the end credits of episode A and the opening ones of episode B. Also, out of the twelve shinshou, we got to know just a few, although each of them as supposedly as important as the others.
Apart from this quite large fail, which is creating a rushed anime an ruining an otherwise good idea, is that the animation quality was generic if not awful. Just look at the screenshots in this review and you will get a general idea of what the episodes were mostly made of. On top of this, the OP/ED were mainly aimed at future possibilities for mainly yaoi/shounen-ai fanfics and had some pretty good fanservice shots. The show itself made a few of them available as well. Having said this, there is no way you can allow yourself to have badly drawn anime, no matter how bishounenised or shoujofied your story is.
All in all, this show is the worst out of all that are based on Watase-chan’s works. If you’re
looking for a fun time in front of the display/monitor/TV – you better try Ayashi no Ceres or Fushigi Yuugi.