La storia della Arcana Famiglia – 01
OP: 「Magenta Another Sky」 by 原田ひとみ (Harada Hitomi)
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「La notte del compleanno」
“The Night of the Birthday”
Hello and welcome to a new show of the season! I am glad to take on a more fast-paced show to spice things up, yet still keeping in line with the romance stint. If you haven’t read up on Famiglia’s premise and preview as written by Divine, I would highly recommend doing so, as I will avoid repeating anything said there. Also, for those of you new to my writership, please take note to the alt-texts I will do for this show’s images this week and hover your mouse over the images to receive lighter, more casual commentary! With housekeeping out of the way though, onwards to the actual show!
Arcana Famiglia is opening up exactly as its description says, without any surprises. The setting unravels in an Italian-inspired trade/port city, protected by a Mafia-inspired organization, the Arcana Famiglia. The townspeople generally accept this group as the de facto police of the commune, with criminals being disarmed and subdued by the family’s skilled members, rather than flat-out killed. There’s classiness in that brand of justice that makes it easier to watch than the alternative. Mafia-types that have a strict code of honor, while still playing by their rules, have always been a cool dynamic to watch. However, this show doesn’t look like it’s going to be about the action. Specifically, Famiglia will most likely focus on interpersonal issues of development, true to its otome game roots. Some major developments I (and the ED) predict are…
- Felicità’s (Noto Mamiko) own growth to become a suitable sole head of the Arcana and…
- …deciding whether or not she needs a husband to lead with her. It is inevitable that she will head the group, but how she will do so is still up in the air.
- Resolving tension between Libertà (Fukuyama Jun) and Nova (Yonaga Tsubasa), both in terms of their philosophies but also in terms of their inevitable love triangle with Felicità.
- Debito (Yoshino Hiroyuki), Luca (Nakamura Yuuichi), and Pace (Sugita Tomokazu) resolving their own conflicting interests invested in Felicità and by consequence, their conflicting approaches to her. One sees her more platonically as a caretaker, one sees her as an interesting companion, and the other an eternal playmate.
- Dante (Kosugi Jurota) and Jolly (Yusa Kouji) being shady.
No, the above list wasn’t an excuse to list out all the seiyuu :P.
These developments will probably be spearheaded by each of the member’s emotional developments, conveniently connected to signature magical powers: their Arcana. Two such Arcana caught my eye this episode, though all Arcana’s will serve their development eventually.
First, Felicità’s Arcana, the ability to see into people’s hearts, will undoubtedly be a key catalyst, revealing deeper layers and alternate facets within the various members of Arcana Famiglia. Hers, out of all of the others Arcana’s revealed so far, is the only one not obviously combat-geared, further creating the divide between the ojou-sama and the male elite troop.
Secondly, Libertà’s Arcana, which as hinted in the conflict scene, has the ability to negate or deactivate all other Arcanas used against him. He seems like the archtype to be the idiot having wisdom to impart on the superior. Even he said himself, “I have no need for Arcana powers,” hinting at a possible conflict match-up between Libertà and one of the more Arcana-heavy–and by extension possibly cocky–characters.
However, more importantly than Arcanas this episode are the true intentions of Papa and Mama, Mondo (Fumihiko Tachiki) and Sumire (Inoue Kikuko), for instigating this Brave x Hitman Reborn type of competition. We can safely guess that the couple has no malicious intentions towards their daughter, but they sure like hiding them. Just below the surface, it looks like a demonstration of tough love to strengthen the resolve of their daughter in preparation for her inevitable ascension, but just slightly below that, we can safely deduce they wish to break a grounded idea within the family. Specifically what that entails is still up in the air, but strings are being pulled to reveal the hidden potentials of most of these (currently) stereotypical and arch-typical characters in order to break that ideal. We can guess at their goals as a hazy gut feeling, but the path ahead is still completely black.
As for aspects outside of the plot, I can say this. The backgrounds are fairly well drawn, though the fact that the background extras don’t react to the havoc around them indicates either lazy quality or the most jaded citizens ever. The character designs are cleanly done and attractive, though the creativity of the art is standard. Fans of male seiyuu will surely squeal with such an expansive and experienced male cast, as well as fans of Noto Mamiko. The music is currently hard to judge from a lack of scenes to appropriately judge them on, but so far I have no qualms. The fight scenes are alright, but without much context to them, that opinion may get better or worse as more meaningful battles play out.
As you can see, I’m more a fan to talk about the intricacies of the story rather than the logistics. I apologize if I brushed over something you absolutely loved, but if any of those aspects jump out at me in future episodes, I will be sure to talk about them in greater detail.
Overall, I felt the episode was fairly standard (read: not bad) in terms of an introductory episode. It could’ve spiced up its way of introducing the plot elements and characters, but overall it brought out an intriguing premise. Here’s to hoping that Kon Chiaki, director of such classics such as the Higurashi series and Junjou Romantica, can surprise us with this fairly under-the-radar series (correct me if I’m wrong).
ED: 「Pieces of Treasure」 by 福山潤 & 代永翼 (Fukuyama Jun & Tsubasa Yonaga)
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