Day’s going to blog another reverse harem otome game adaptation? Even though blogging the second half of Prince-sama was awful? What on earth is she thinking?
And, indeed, I wouldn’t blame you; Prince-sama started off promisingly cheesey and self-aware, before descending into uguu uguu sadface territory. It also started off with a heroine who seemed at least slightly in possession of a spine, only for it to be slowly extricated across the course of the series. And the last time I enjoyed an otome adaptation was… uh… hmm… well, I would’ve liked Hakuouki if it hadn’t been so boring and if the heroine had been a bit feistier! I mean, it ended exactly how I loooove things to end – everyone died!
…so it seems I’ve never enjoyed an otome game anime from start to finish. But perhaps, and hopefully, Arcana Famiglia will be the history-maker here.
This episode was pretty simple: Felicita, Nova, and Liberta chase a kitten, then try to return it to its rightful owner. It wasn’t exactly earth-shattering, but despite the rather hackneyed premise, I enjoyed it nevertheless. It established more strongly that the only men in the show we need concern ourselves with as viewers are Liberta and Nova, which was hinted at pretty strongly in the initial episode. It also made me feel more hopeful about Felicita retaining her spine through the entirety of the show… although, sure, it could be just luring me into a false sense of security.
I will criticize J.C. Staff for making the start of the episode pretty confusing. I couldn’t tell at first if the scenes were taking place before or after the first episode, and while it was eventually cleared up (she was dreaming about her past, duh!), it still wasn’t handled as smoothly as it could’ve been. I can’t begrudge it too much, though, since we also got to learn that Felicita is in charge of one of the sections (series) of the Arcana Famiglia, known as ‘Sword’ (they handle arbitration), and got to be in charge because she beat all the other contenders for the position in fights.
Concerns that Felicita was going to be a tsundere are fairly well dispelled here, by the way. Nova makes angry eyes at the fact that she and Liberta are holding hands, and it is Liberta who freaks out – no stupid blushing or freak-outs here over something that isn’t that big of a deal to normal people. Felicita also fails to flip out when one of the haremettes appears suddenly right next to her, for more points in her favor. We get a smidgen of blushing at the end of the episode when a shopkeeper has her try on a dress, but its fairly minor, and the guys with her blush more than she does, so I’m willing to overlook it.
Going back somewhat, the start of the episode isn’t the only thing J.C. Staff handles awkwardly, as we continue to get the crappiest introductions for the various characters and their power. The characters say, “I’m so-and-so, my card is such-and-such, and this is what it does.” Sigh. It brings the whole thing to a grinding halt, and it seems very avoidable if everyone is going to be fighting each other in the near future.
On the shipping side, there’s really nothing in the way of romance so far. Yes, its clear that Liberta and Nova are the only two who will be in true contention for Felicita’s heart, but the only one who has displayed any actual crush-type feelings in the show is Nova toward Felicita. It just hasn’t been a component yet, although I’m sure it will eventually be one.
Of course, it’d be interesting if this all just went into shounen-y territory by focusing on the Arcana Duello in coming episodes. I don’t generally like shounen (last shounen I liked was Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning, and that wasn’t tournament-based), but I think I would actually enjoy such a development here. I wanna see Felicita kick some ass!
Ah, I wandered from shipping a bit. Obviously I’m all for the OT3 here, Felicita x Liberta x Nova. I like Pace and Luca, but the rest of the haremettes are creepers, so I just want them to go the hell away. Pace isn’t a contender at all, if we’re being honest, but its hard to hate his silly characterization… with his fixation on lasanga, he actually reminds me of Italia from Hetalia Axis Powers… well, and his stupidity, too. Luca isn’t a legitimate haremette, either; he’s already been the buttmonkey two episodes in a row, after all, and his affection for Felicita doesn’t feel the slightest bit romantic.
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least nod the the absurdities that are still present in this show… the Arcana Famiglia are basically mafioso, but everyone loves them and they do wonderful things! This despite operating the local casino, ha. GUYS ITS LIKE THE CASINO IN RIO RAINBOW GATE, OK? There’s also the lulztastic Itarian, with characters generally operating at the horrific end of the spectrum when attempting to speak the foreign tongue. Don’t worry, though! If you yell ‘lasagna!’ and ‘limonata!’ enough, no one’ll ever notice!
Oh, yeah, and I couldn’t leave without pointing out that Mondo totally has yellow fever, the creep.
In closing, I want to say that despite my praise for this episode, it’s hardly Revolutionary Girl Utena. It is, however, fun, and it does give me reason to believe that we’re getting a much better otome game adaptation than we’ve had to put up with, which is thrilling. I love my women with independent wills!