Arcana Famiglia Episode Eight

FUCK YEAH OTP

So, there’s angsting, there’s stupid’ing, there’s experimenting, all in this very episode of Arcana Famiglia. In that sense, its pretty typical of AF episodes, although the fare feels more serious than the episodes we’ve had since we had angst sadface stuff with Liberta and Nova. Mind you, when I say “serious”, I mean “serious” from the standpoint of the show itself – I burst into laughter twice at points when I clearly was not meant to while watching this episode, after all.

So, Jolly’s a monster who experiments on people to force contracts with the Arcana. Or is he a monster at all? The show seems to set him up as the bad guy in some ways, but then he’s shown being nice to kids, which often is anime’s way of taking a shortcut to “Look, he’s not that bad, he’s just misunderstood, ok? He’s nice to kids!” Yet on-screen we watch him act creepily toward Felicita, and physically abusive toward Debito. He also references that he experimented upon Debito, Luca, and Pace, and the former two are obviously traumatized by the experience. Is this, too, meant as another case of folks in the know in this show doing things that on the surface seem cruel but are actually just for “their own good”, i.e. for the betterment of the apparent targets? I certainly hope not – in the preceding cases, even if all the conspiracy was dumb on its face, they weren’t cruel in the manner Jolly’s actions toward Debito et al. were.

Debito tosses Felicita onto a bed and is creepy toward her in a scene that weirdly enough didn’t bother me like it should’ve. Maybe anime is ruining me. Alternately, that I knew nothing would happen let it pass by with little reaction from me. Third option, and giving J.C. Staff too much credit, I’m sure, is that Debito’s actions themselves felt fake and plastic-y in a way that his prior flirtatiousness with Felicita hasn’t, although even this bothers me, since it ignores how Felicita may’ve felt about it. She blushes and isn’t interested, but her reaction is muted compared to her reactions to Liberta accidentally seeing her panties in earlier episodes. It actually isn’t inconsistent characterization necessarily, as she and Liberta are of similar age and operate as peers in a way she doesn’t with the slightly older set. And if she’s used to Debito teasingly flirting with her, it’d throw her off somewhat to have him come across as suddenly serious about his intimations.

Pace later on pats her on the head in a manner that would be irritating were he a potential waifu for her, but he’s not, so I didn’t mind. Felicita and the boys are seen as children still by the older ones, after all. If Nova had done it to her, for instance, I’d be annoyed.

If I sound a bit underwhelmed with the episode, it is probably since a couple of moments derailed it entirely – the ones I mentioned having started guffawing about. Debito pulls a gun on Jolly and goes crazy-eyes, which feels abrupt even knowing that he hates Jolly’s guts. It was probably meant to demonstrate even further that Debito really, really, really hates Jolly, to the point of tipping off the rocker when confronted with his presence and his mockery. As it is, though, its over-done. But, subtlety, thy name is no Arcana Famiglia.

I like the idea of Jolly having been unpleasant and abusive to Pace, Luca, and Debito in the name of the family’s well-being, with Pace having been able to get over it while the other two can’t quite. But I don’t anticipate AF having the chops to pull it off in a way that I will feel actually embraces the full potential of the idea. The characters think of the AF as a good thing, and Papa as mostly a good person, even if that whole Felicita-as-tournament-prize thing threw them off a bit. But then we have this evidence that would seem to indicate its not as good as we’ve been told, that it is willing to harm people for its own ends. Which way do we decide on this? Is utilitarianism the best option, or is it wrong to hurt some for the sake of the most? If it is bad, does that mean that it outweighs the positives of the AF and Papa?

But yeahhh otome game adaptation, yeah… Ah well; such is life.

Near the beginning of the episode, Pace is chowing down on lasagna, and I immediately wondered if he eats anything else at all. Debito comments that its early, so does Pace have lasagna for breakfast? Can a person even subsist entirely on lasagna? Pace’s character gets more development once we’re past that moment, though; he may seem the goofiest of his cohort, but he’s well-adjusted and more down-to-earth despite his pretensions to childishness. He’s the one who steps up against Jolly in defense of his mentally and emotionally damaged friends after Jolly manhandles Debito and practically reduces him to a quivering wreck. Throughout the episode, we see a different Pace than what we have gotten to know previously – more serious, thoughtful, and mature. And its actually done such that it doesn’t feel like an abrupt change from previous characterization.

Anyway, OTP is obviously DebitoxLuca. HNNNNNNNNNNNGH.

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