Hey, guess what? I liked this show. Yeah, that’s right – I enjoyed it. And I enjoyed this episode so much, I’m going to watch the entire season. And! Maybe I’ll even blog it.
Arcana Famiglia is almost exactly what I was expecting. Lots of men with little personality development, a lone female character they’ll all vie for, and not a hell of a lot of originality. But I liked it quite a bit, and its quite simple to explain why: our heroine, Felicita, isn’t the typical weak-willed placeholder we see in shows of this ilk, but will apparently actually have a hand in her own fate! Now, let’s just hope the narrative doesn’t shit all over that.
So, the premise, for those of you out of the loop: there’s this mafia family (they call them vigilantes, but let’s be honest: they’re mafia), and the patriarch has decided to pass on his mantle because he’s sooooo old at fifty-nine. A tournament will be held, the winner of whom will become the new family head, get a wish granted, and, surprise surprise, get Felicita’s hand in marriage. Kyaaa! But, instead of blushing away and uguu’ing like most heroines would, Felicita attacks the patriarch. Awesome!
Sadly, she gets her ass handed to her, but the implication is that anyone who tried to beat him up would, not that she lost because she is a precious, delicate lady. And, while it hasn’t happened yet, there is also the implication that Felicita will enter the tournament herself. And, if we’re really lucky, maybe she’ll even win it! Which I personally think is the best outcome there could be, and I actually do think we may get it, since harems and reverse harems almost never give resolution on the romance front these days.
So far, the men of the show vary between bland, unpleasant, and somewhat decent. Only a few of them state their intent to give Felicita the option of choosing should they be the champions of the tournament; several of them simply lick their chops and speculate over how awesome it would be to be married to her. If these guys stick around in the later rounds of the tournament, I’ll probably throw something at the screen, since to them Felicita is clearly an object, not a person.
Unfortunately, Felicita does display some moments of sheer empty-headedness, which is worrisome. This is also a rare moment where Mamiko Noto was absolutely the wrong choice; for a girl who is going to fight for her future, Noto is much too softspoken, and it undermines Felicita’s character a bit.
I do wish to mention that while the guys here are supposed to be the draw, surely, I find Felicita to be much more attractive than any of them are. Her skirt suit is quite nice, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a big fan of the thigh-highs. But, hey, I’ve always been a sap for women in suits, even if Felicita can’t quite reach the levels established by Saber and Darker than Black’s Hazuki before her.
While much of Arcana Famiglia is definitely in the unoriginal camp, the positioning of the core story as one about Felicita becoming and adult and gaining her own independence makes it stick out slightly, and does more than enough to encourage me to stick around. I’m going to be pretty disappointed if it ends up simply sinking back into the usual reverse harem morass. Knock on wood, folks.