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Campione! – 02 »

Campione! – 01

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「はじまりの物語」 (Hajimari no Monogatari)
“Tale of the Beginning”

Don’t expect Campione! to break new ground. But with that said, it doesn’t mean fun can’t be had with its intriguing premise.

First, basic synopsis of this introductory episode: Camipone! follows the misadventures of Kunasagi Goudou (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) who has taken up the job of returning a stone tablet to his grandfather’s associate, the eternally youthful Lucrezia Zoa. Along the way he is confronted by the mage Blandelli Erica (Hikasa Youko) for possessing this supposingly magical tablet. Through a series of events he subsequently is made aware of mythological pagen gods that walk the earth alongside men, bringing disaster where they go. The both of them gets involved in tussle between two of these gods, and Godou subsequently uses the tablet to steal the power of one the the gods, Verethragna, and then kills him with it, earning Godou the title of God-Slayer, the Campione.

With another season comes yet another take on the fantasy-action-harem setup that almost seems like a prerequisite for every new set of shows. You pretty much go into Campione! knowing what to expect already: There’s an Ordinary High School Boy in Godou meeting a Spunky Mage Girl in Erica, and Goudou subsequently gets dragged into extraordinary circumstances while unwittingly being given a be-all-that-ends-all power. It’s the classic setup that feels so pervasive amongst the endless generic light novels adaptations we see these days, and the show certainly doesn’t seem keen on averting these preconceived tropes seemingly drawn straight out of Japan’s “Storytelling 101” like it’s the bible. That said, whether this derivative nature is a bad thing or not is wholly subjective. Take last year’s Infinite Stratos for example, an anime stuffed with the very same overbearing clichés but executed with so much bravado and flair that it became far more entertaining than it had any right to. And, well, the impression I gleaned from Campione! is that it’s an enjoyable if wholly unremarkable series. This is completely fine with me as I certainly didn’t expect the show to ever get creative with its storytelling or its direction, especially with a director like Kusakawa Keizou (Sekirei, Dog Days) at the helm. I have no illusions about the show encroaching upon greatness, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be somewhat fun in its own right, with Godou having his own little moment of unexpected GARness, and Erica making for an surprisingly appealing heroine that delivers oodles of HNGGG-worthy pouty faces and fanservice.

It is the spin Campione! puts on this standard setup that was the true surprise for me, and it certainly helps that I’m a complete sucker for tales than involve ancient mythologies. Yes, I’m a guy who has read through the Tales of the Argonauts and spent nights browsing the wikis on Egyptian deities, and you can bet that I’d love a good mythos mash-up in the same vein of stories like Everworld or American Gods. (And if you haven’t read these two books, DO IT. NOW.) Campione!’s take on this, that these ancient gods unseeingly runs rampant about the world causing untold destruction, has plenty of potential to it, especially if they want to get down to the nitty-gritty of the god’s own nuances. The depiction isn’t entirely accurate to a fault as one might expect -Verethragna for example is a divinity which embodies the concept of “Victory” in Zoroastrianism, is the base of numerous derivations of Zoroastrian deities and has parallels to various other mythological figures in pagan religions- and there are flourishes to the mythos such as with the 10 avatars he supposedly possesses. Having said so, the explanations achieves a nice balance of actionable details while delivering some of that critical mythological referencing and cultural expositions that makes stories like these so much fun to follow. What I also liked was that the gods were suitably imposing in their depiction as gods rightly should be, and there was a strong sense of mortality when the humans could only negotiate with these overpowering deities. (Until, of course, Godou pulls out his gamebreaking-divinity-stealing-power.)

Now, one thing I’ve heard is that this first episode greatly condenses one of the series’s later volumes. It’s an interesting thing to note, because the story might not be as expansive in its settings as this first episode seems imply with the opening act on the Italian island of Sardinia. From what little I’ve heard it’s also highly likely that the series will devolve into the standard Japanese school setting that the genre just can’t seem to break free of. “Work with what you know best” and all that standard jazz, right? The condensation also reflects in the pacing of the episode, which quickly does away with introductions and rushes through a large set of developments that could’ve been more spread out for exposition’s sake. It is a style quite unlike what I’ve come to expect of Hanada Jukki, who previously worked on the brilliant screenplays of Steins; Gate, Level E and Setokai No Ichizon, and there are vocal complains about his trivialization of events in order to fit an entire volume into a single episode. Having never read the novels, I cannot attest to the flawed nature of this adaptation, but I did wonder about the rushed pacing when we have barely eased into Godou’s character before being interrupted by Erica and a fight at barely two minute into the episode. It’s likely that this might be the case because they wanted to get the origin story out of the way, so I’ll reserve judgement on this until I’ve actually seen a few more episodes.

Moving onto the more technical details, Campione’s art feels as unremarkable as the setup, but props should be given to Studio Diomedea and Barnum Studio for their decent production values, evident by multiple fights and the UNLIMTED GATES OF BABLYON WORKS scene that closed the episode off. The character design are equally serviceable (read: Erica is major cute, ‘nuff said) and a step-up from the light novels’ designs as well, of which I’ve seen some artwork of. And while the score won’t have me scrambling for my hi-fidelity ATH-A500 headphones, it suits the show well enough, as it rightly should.

It’s hard to tell how much focus will be given to the mythological aspect of the Campione!’s story as compared to its inevitable harems bits, and this might very well be the key factor in deciding my overall enjoyment of the series.

Full-length images: 01, 02, 08, 10, 16, 19, 20, 21, 30, 34.

 

Preview

Campione   01   Preview 01
July 7, 2012 at 2:22 pm
34 comments »
  • July 7, 2012 at 2:53 pmewok40k

    hmmm how many fantasy harems we have this season on fridays alone? Hagure Yuusha, Dakara H Dekinai,Campione, Accel World counting as techno-fantasy…
    Fantasy Harem Friday anyone?

  • July 7, 2012 at 3:57 pmAnishuma

    Yeah this anime reminded me of Ichiban no Daimyou, which I also liked.

    It seems the anime season went from Moe Moe to Harem Fest this time.

  • July 7, 2012 at 4:24 pmDorian

    I’m not really sure what to think about it may possibly falling into the school anime thing. But considering he’s in another country to start the show, I’m getting the feeling us staying in Japan all the time isn’t very likely to happen. Might just be my guess though.

  • July 7, 2012 at 4:32 pmSushiGoKart

    Again I loved the mythos of this series but like it has too much to explain. The Anime format might not have been the best route for this series honestly. The writing and pacing are so bleh. Thats the most succinct way I can put it. Overall I’m digging the mythic references, thats why I loved Fate/Stay Night Fate/Zero so much. Overall I think this should be a cut-and-paste show that we won’t really remember.

  • July 7, 2012 at 4:43 pmGrandier

    Read the novel and watched the first episode out of curiosity. Just like the novel, the anime was so so. The sad thing is, the premise of the story is actually rather interesting and had so much potential to be far better than it is. Show Spoiler ▼

  • July 7, 2012 at 4:50 pmZhinvu

    From the season preview Goudou reminded me of Index’s Touma. I guess it was because his pose with his right hand raised Show Spoiler ▼

    . But yeah cliche isn’t a bad thing. Erica is definitely looker. She looked really really pretty and stylish in that red dress. I never read the source material but Goudou has the makings of a bad-ass, seeing that in the face of danger he simply smiles. Just something random but I’ll assume Erica is already at the right age even if my first impression was she looked pretty young to be already getting drunk

  • July 7, 2012 at 5:17 pmsankakujt

    ..

  • July 7, 2012 at 5:44 pmNymphetamine2791

    “What do I do now that I hold the golden sword to strike down a God?”

    …make out.

    OF COURSE! Why didn’t I think of that? I think I’ll thoroughly enjoy this series because of the story and potential romance though.

    • July 8, 2012 at 6:13 pmFantomOmega

      I wonder if the sword “rising” after the kiss is a metaphor for something…
      Nah, that would be FAR too cliche for this show!

  • July 7, 2012 at 5:50 pmKen Sanders

    THIS YEAR IS THE YEAR OF THE LIGHT NOVEL HEROES….

    ALTHOUGH, MY FAVORITE GENRE IS HAREM STORY BECAUSE IF THERE ARE MORE GIRLS, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE TROUBLES AND ADVENTURES FOR THE MAIN CHARACTER.

    LIKE:

    [CAMPIONE!] KUSANAGI GODOU – THE YOUNG GOD-SLAYER W/ FOUR BEAUTIFUL SERVANTS ON HIS SIDE,

    TWO ITALIAN GIRLS AND TWO JAPANESE MIKO.
    [HIGH SCHOOL DxD] HYOUDOU ISE – THE PERVERTED,YET, KIND HAREM KING AND EVERY ONES’ OPPAI DRAGON. WITH A STUNNING EIGHT BEAUTIFUL GIRLS AT HIS SIDE.
    THEY ARE:
    RIAS GREMORY – HIGH-CLASS DEVIL
    ASIA ARGENTO – FORMER CHRISTIAN; DEVIL
    AKENO HIMEJIMA – FALLEN ANGEL
    KONEKO TOUJO – NEKOMATA
    IRINA SHIDOU – ANGEL
    XENOVIA – FORMER CHRISTIAN; DEVIL
    RAVEL PHOENIX – PHOENIX CLAN
    OPHIS – A DRAGON GOD

    [HAGURE YUUSHA NO ESTETICA] AKATSUKI OUSAWA – THE YOUNG MAVERICK HERO. HE’S PERVERTED SKILLS
    IS ON PAR WITH NEGIMA’S JACK RAKAN LIKE THE “SILENT STRIPPING
    TECHNIQUES AND SUCH.

    I THINK ISE AND AKATSUKI WILL GET ALONG REALLY WELL, SINCE BOTH THEM LIKES TO DO PERVERTED THINGS TOGETHER. THEY MIGHT TEACH GODOU A THING OR TWO ABOUT HOW TO HANDLE WOMEN WITH THEIR ADVICE.

    AKATSUKI STRIPS THE GIRLS UNDERNEATH WHILE ISE WILL USE “DRESS BREAK” TO REVEAL THEIR
    CLOTHES. A GREAT COMBINATION OF THE THE TWO.

    WE GOT A GOD-SLAYER, AN OPPAI-DRAGON, AND A MAVERICK HERO THIS YEARS LIGHT NOVEL ANIMES.

    I EXPECT GOOD THINGS FROM THESE GUYS AND THEIR SERIES, ESPECIALLY THERE ADVENTURES.

    • July 7, 2012 at 7:37 pmHario

      My eyes! It hurts!

    • July 7, 2012 at 8:25 pmFiShar

      Do you need to CAPS them all?
      and you FAIL for not mentioning Shinku (Dog Days).

    • July 8, 2012 at 1:34 amZnail

      It’s also more then a little spoiler info for those who haven’t read the light novel!

    • July 9, 2012 at 6:04 amThe Moondoggie

      AMEN KEN! AMEN!

      SINNERS REPENT! THIS YEAR, MANY ANIME STUDIOS TURN TO LN FOR IDEAS. ANY IDEA WHY? THAT’S BECAUSE MOST MANGA STINK RIGHT NOW(Like the top three)… OR IS PROBLEMATIC(Like UBEL BLATT).

  • July 7, 2012 at 8:08 pmFiShar

    Kunasagi Goudou! Gilgamesh wants YOU!!

  • July 7, 2012 at 9:16 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    i need something more….

  • July 7, 2012 at 10:01 pmTingster013

    Nice!! Want to watch more stuff with mythology in it!!

  • July 8, 2012 at 1:58 amDa5id

    Please tell me that kiss at the end was meant to activate the Unlimited Blade Works and not the protagonist gaining his first harem girl…

    • July 8, 2012 at 2:49 amSalbazier

      In a sense, both are true. Well, it really was just for supplying what is needed for the ‘Sword’ activation, but it is obvious that Erica are going to be first member of Godou’s harem
      Show Spoiler ▼

  • July 8, 2012 at 3:27 amMasterson

    They put the whole Vol 3 in one episode so many things went wrong. And Erica even trying to go against Gods when is her first encounter with one that is silly, her spirit was utterly crushed just having meet her first God.

    Erica couldnt do a thing against this gods because they used their abilitys to their maximum.

    And Godou is not dense well he is, but since the first novel he is more of a tsundere when we really know what he thinks is when the eleven hour comes, or his instincts take presedence.

  • July 8, 2012 at 7:03 amTheVoid

    I have to wonder what Ahura Mazda was thinking when he let Verethragna keep a sword that can kill Gods.

  • July 8, 2012 at 9:13 pmhaseo0408

    I was really surprised the studio decided to adapt most of The Tale of the Begining (volume 3) in just one episode, but I can stand that if they only wanted to show the origin of Godou´s power. Next time the story will be take to the first volume which is good because you can see more of Godou´s character and nature.

    By the way Asobi, I´m not going to spoil anything but some volumes do not take places in a school envirement or Japan for that matter. By the way, Godou not only became the Seventh King but also slay a God no other Campione since the begining of time had been able to defeat, Verethragna had never met defeat not even at the hands of the most powerful Gods.

    • July 11, 2012 at 1:19 pmAsobi

      That would be the most desirable. I tire of seeing the mythological and supernatural all flocking to a Japanese high school.

  • July 9, 2012 at 12:58 amMatt_D

    heh This was an awesome episode, it was like an entire series in a single show and hearing it was a single volume compressed makes sense. It would be depressing if this went off to become jahsf but I suppose I wouldn’t be suprised by that anyway.

  • July 9, 2012 at 3:48 amPietro

    As an Italian, I feel the need to punctualize an error, what they erroneusly mistake for a “god” is just a medium size boar from the Campidano plains. In Sardinia locals use to kill them with headbutts and eat them roasted accompaining the meal with the tipical Sardinian liquor “Mirto”. They call it “Purceddu” which in Sardinian language means “the small pork”.

  • July 9, 2012 at 4:38 amThe Moondoggie

    A God-slayer huh? Nice try. Nothing new, but I expect it would be fun… IF they followed the LN that is.

    • July 9, 2012 at 6:28 amCommento

      Shut up and go back to Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon post where u belong, Moondoggie. No one give a shit on what u have to say in this post.

      • July 10, 2012 at 4:47 amThe Moondoggie

        Booo… Who are you to tell me what to do?

  • July 9, 2012 at 9:04 amWilfriback

    Its time to mess with gods, motherfuckers!!

    Kratos approves this series.

  • July 9, 2012 at 9:19 amKagura

    at least this erica is better than erica in fortune arterial

  • July 9, 2012 at 9:54 amD-LaN

    Wow, fantasy/SF season we hv here.

  • July 11, 2012 at 12:28 amDoria

    In fairness, Verethragna does have 10 forms in at least some sources for him (although you are quite right that he is a composite god, as most pagan gods tend to be). I think the sometimes-reliable Wikipedia lists the Bahram Yasht as the source for this.

  • July 20, 2012 at 12:07 pmRyner

    I can only describe the guy’s power:

    UNLIMITED BLADE WORKS!

  • August 11, 2012 at 11:26 ammike

    wow i like how screenshots are taken :)