[Review] Arcana Famiglia episode 3; I didn’t know this was a Slice of Life anime!

It’s kind of weird that all the characters look so badass, but the storyline is… relatively normal. I mean, the first episode got me all pumped up to see some Arcana power action in the big tournament, but then episodes 2 and 3 switch genres into Slice of Life! The mood, plot, and gags are all very, well, slice of life-y. It’s not that I mind it, but with everyone suited up all the time, I really want to see some action in this anime!

The character development in this episode was fantastic. Now, we can link Butler, Creepy Cyclops, and Hungry Hungry Hippo together (Luca, Debito, Pace), which makes the character cast that much easier to remember. Liberta and Nova get their moments, and now Nova’s not just a broody guy, and Liberta’s not just some kid who can’t control his powers. It’s probably just the hair colors, but they remind me very very very slightly of Sasuke and Naruto. But seriously, I liked the character development in this episode so much that I’ll even go so far as to say it redeemed the terrible character introductions in episode 1.

What was most interesting to me in this ep was the mysterious new kid on the island, Elmo. I liked him immediately, even though it was kinda hard to take him seriously after he said his name was Elmo. The episode ended rather suddenly after he disappeared into the rain, but Mr. Dark Glasses (sorry, forgot his name and too lazy to go look for it) looked up at someone off-shot, so I guess we can assume it was Elmo? Gosh, I wanna know more about this kid than any other character right now. Like, why hasn’t any of the other children seen him around? Why didn’t he join the other kids at the party? Does he have a crush on Felicita? (because it sure seemed like that was what he was talking about with that whole i’ve-never-felt-this-pain-in-my-chest-before talk)

Crossing my fingers for some action next week.

Episode rating: 7 / 10 (Good)


[Review] Tari Tari episode 3; Badminton vs. Choir!

Oh my gosh, I didn’t expect to be so interested in every episode of this anime when I started watching! This episode, the guys play badminton against the girls in a game to determine which of their clubs will get 5 members to officially form – losers have to join the winner’s club. It didn’t actually matter, since Miyamoto planned on making a club with both choir and badminton activities no matter which side won in the end, but it was still a really fun way to bring our main cast together!

So far, the most interesting character to me is Sakai, who has a little mystery behind her character. Sakai’s approached by a weird foreigner in this episode, and cripes does her English need work. This must be related to her mother, but we’ll have to wait until next week to know more. We also find out this episode that Sakai’s mother used to be in a choir club at the school, and was apparently so amazing that she changed the principal’s opinion of music entirely. Thank you, Sakai’s mother, for getting the principal on the side of our main characters, because that bitchy vice principal just won’t let up. The vp has some mystery behind her too, and we might sympathize once we find out why she’s so stuck up when it comes to music, but for now she’s a major pain in the ass.

Also, with the guys joining the girls in the choir club, the ending theme changed! So far every ending song has been different, so does that mean this will continue on? If so, I think it’s a great touch to change up the songs for an anime centered around music. It’s so sad to see Sakai sitting by herself when the other four are… sitting close to each other, but still divided between the guys and girls. It’s a great representation of the current character relationships, and I can’t wait to see them finally sit together as a happy group.

Episode rating: 7 / 10 (good)

[Review] Sword Art Online episode 2 (hate rant warning)

Call me an anime hater, a emo gothic… darkness lover or whatever, but I was really fricking disappointed to see that SAO isn’t even close to handling its concept to full potential. Yes, it is because there weren’t enough dark aspects shown, which there should have been more of. Hear me out.

In other action animes, we usually assume the characters would manage through their huge fights one way or another, and we’re usually not worried that the characters would die. Heck, the characters aren’t even worried they’ll die most of the time, because they’re trained and they trust in their abilities. No one panics before a fight, nobody ditches the team in a moment of selfishness, no one backs down from a risky battle… no one does anything other than charge on with their swords high with perfect morals and no worry about death.

Sword Art Online took that path right down to heroic, inspirational final words. Is that necessarily wrong? No, but there is one big difference that sets SAO apart that I almost forgot about in this episode. The characters in SAO are not slaying monsters out of justice or some other idea bigger than themselves; they are fighting for survival, and for SAO to be handled like a typical heroic anime despite that makes me pissed.

Two thousand players have already died. Sure, people screamed when they were told dying in the game means real death, but now when they’re going up against a boss, nobody gets scared? Nobody considers the idea that hey, maybe it’s better to just live in the game and give up trying to beat it since that seems beyond impossible? Why is every single person here a perfect hero?

There is a character that died trying to get some bonus item, and he died with encouraging words and a smile on his face. Are you kidding me? If I were that character, my final words would be “I shouldn’t have tried to take the bonus!” followed by every single cuss word I know. That guy was as average as you and me. Every single character is as average as you and me (unless you’re not actually as average as I assume, in which case it’d just be me). They were normal people trying out a new game, then suddenly BOOM, they’re fighting for their lives, and nobody was equipped with the mental fortitude that it takes to do that. However, when you watch this episode, you really don’t feel any of that, which is my issue with SAO.

Now I feel like I need to take a step back. This is not a bad anime; I was just extremely disappointed that it has neglected a large part of what made its concept so interesting: the threat of death. Regardless, I am still curious to find out how they beat this nearly impossible game, but my hype has lowered considerably.

To finish off the review on a better note, here’s something that I did like about the episode: the rift between the new players and the beta testers, which was realistic and very well carried out. Know what, if SAO can address at least one serious issue each episode, then I can bear through its overly-optimistic mood.

Episode rating: 5 / 10 (Average)

[Review] Tari Tari episode 2

Running with no clear destination in mind, just like the plot?

Woah. What just happened?

Episode 1 ended with the 5 main characters meeting up together, in a collision-of-fate way, and I was sure that those 5 would make up the choir club. I mean, come on – there’s 5 characters, and a club needs 5 members to form? I was just thinking that this was the most obvious plotline in the world when instead, they start talking over each other, and then the guys split from the girls and don’t reappear for the rest of the episode. The choir club actually gets made up of the Miyamoto, Sawa, Sakai, Miyamoto’s brother, and a few other random characters who aren’t important.

At this point, I was still sure that Wien and Mr. Forever-alone-playing-badminton would eventually come and join the choir, but then all of sudden, it’s the day of the big recital! Wha- I… what happened? I thought that the whole plot was going to about preparing for the recital, trying to get accepted to perform, and sorting out Sakai’s problems in the meanwhile, but we’re only on the second episode and the recital’s already here? Where’s the story going to go from now, and how are the two dudes supposed to fit in?

It felt like a final episode, especially when the credits were shown during their singing. There were even resolved conflicts, like Miyamoto overcoming her stage fright and Sakai getting involved in the club. Part of me really thought the series was going to end after this second episode!

I’m just not sure what to think. I thought it was going to be A to Z, from starting the choir club to the big recital performance, but now what? The guys will reenter the story but maybe stay unconnected to the choir club, and with no idea of where this is going, I just hope the plot won’t fly all over the place.

Episode rating: 7 / 10 (good)

[Review] Arcana Famiglia episode 2

After getting some info on a huge tournament involving everyone with Arcana powers in the last episode, I thought we’d jump right into it. Turns out, we don’t really see any action in this episode, not unless you count the bit of action they do jumping to grab a kitten.

I’m Nova. I gotta look cool and serious even when I’m saving a fluffy white kitten.

Yeah, a kitten. That’s the focus of this episode, first capturing a lost kitten, and then trying to find its owner. It’s exactly as slice-of-life as it sounds, and even the comedy in this episode felt like one out of a slice of life anime, which was a direction I never expected Arcana Famiglia to take. It’s really simple stuff, like Liberta holding onto Felicita’s hand for too long, Nova and Liberta crashing into each other when they leap for the kitten, and Luca getting left up in a tree with no way to get down. The first episode made me think that this would be a much more serious anime, so this episode was a really big surprise. It’s not exactly what I wanted to watch, but it did help us understand Felicita and Nova better.

Also, this episode showcased some really great background art. I loved the Victorian-style dress on the lost kitten’s owner, and Felicita’s dress was cute. I hope there are more female characters in the story so I can see more of these styles. 😀

Am I the only one who’s really creeped out by Debito? For some reason, he reminds me of a big, scary wolf, and the fact that he calls Felicita “Bambina” doesn’t help the fact that he always looks at her like his prey. (Bambina… Bambi… deer… wolves eat deer… ) I hope Felicita doesn’t end up with him, though it doesn’t seem like she has romantic interest in anyone right now, not even Liberta.

No hidden meanings at all, nope.

There was still some information-cramming that happened in the beginning of the episode, but hopefully we’re done with that now, even if next to no one bothered to remember who has which Arcana power and who’s in charge of which division. I don’t care much about these little bits of information, since it doesn’t seem like they’ll be a huge part of the plot, but I want to know more about Liberta. Why does he have such difficulty managing his Arcana powers? Is he’s undisciplined? Is he inexperienced? Or are his powers extremely powerful, but hard to control? There’s been a huge focus on him, so I’d like to get the basics answered.

Hopefully, the big tournament will next week and we’ll see some action.

Episode rating: 5 / 10 (average)