「Arcano Duello」
“The Arcane Duel”

La storia della Arcana Famiglia brings us the long-awaited duels in the form of a spectacular finale, and I must say, this conclusion really surprised me! All this time, I believed this anime would be longer and lead to sequels, but no – the story was completely wrapped up so I can’t see any ahead. I expected Luca, Pace, and Debito to have their own arc like Libertá and Nova did; it turns out they weren’t important enough. When last week’s episode’s preview showed us that the duels were coming up, I was preparing myself for a messy finale, so I was really surprised to see such a spectacular ending. Yes, spectacular. I found this finale very fun to watch. I think my disappointment prior to this episode was caused by my interest in the other characters, but at the same time, I ignored the fact that this isn’t just about the males – it’s all about Felicitá’s fate!

Felicitá as a heroine has been quite plain. She didn’t have many lines throughout the show, so to be honest, I haven’t noticed her as much as the other characters. But now we can finally see her as the amazing girl she is. Watching everyone around her grow helped her find herself, and eventually, she solved the “riddle” given to her by Gli Amanti. Even though Libertá and Nova had most of the screen time in this episode, I thought Felicitá stood out more than anyone. The two boys may have gone through a lot throughout this anime, but in the end, it all comes down to their powers and developing them. Felicitá on the other hand has, as a character, developed more than anyone. She is definitely a worthy winner of this tournament.

The tournament itself was entertaining. I do wish that Pace, Luca, and Debito’s battles would’ve been shown to us, but the way it was illustrated was quite hilarious so I’m not disappointed. Something that seemed quite odd to me was Sumire’s participation in the duels. Why was she there? Everyone with Arcana powers is supposed to participate, yes, but she has nothing to gain here. As the leader’s wife, she already has a huge influence on the family. It’s possible that she was there for the sake of Nova proving his newfound strength, but still, she is quite an unnecessary participant.

It’s very interesting to see how weird the duels were. Aside from Sumire’s participation, I thought a lot of the combat was a bit peculiar. It’s hard to tell who is the strongest in these duels because everyone is using unique methods to fight, so in a way, this tournament is very unfair. I do think Felicitá was the best winner, and I’m glad she won, but the other participants’ battles looked too weird. I’m not sure when it’s logical to fight someone wielding a sword with a bazooka or a fan. I can see why Felicitá won. Her powers allow her to read people’s hearts and by using it, she probably found out about their tactics. Also, she fought only with sheer physical strength, so her winning this tournament was the only foreseeable outcome to me.

Now that Mondo’s life has been saved, and the duels are over, everything is returning to normal. It’s actually a proper ending for an otome show, i.e. the heroine didn’t end up with anyone, but many possibilities still lie ahead of her. So in a way, this isn’t a happily-ever-after kind of ending. It’s more the beginning of a new story.

Random thoughts:

  • I thought the final battle was quite anti-climatic because Jolly totally ruined it by giving away the result before the match was shown.
  • It was obvious right from the beginning that Libertá and Nova’s duel would result with a draw.
  • I can see why Luca and Debito lost, but Pace’s loss surprised me a bit. Does this mean that Felicitá’s physical strength is greater than Pace’s, which comes from his Arcana?
  • Felicitá would make a great leader. I find this picture to be very fitting, and I’d like to see this future.
  • I thought Luca would be using alchemy, but I guess that’s not necessary with such a strong Arcana power.
  • Why were Debito’s powers not revealed to us until this stage? His powers are so impressive, and they’re definitely my favorite powers from this show!
  • I’ve never been a fan of songs performed by seiyuus (there are some exceptions), so I died a little bit inside when the ending theme could be heard in the middle of the show despite being entirely appropriate for the situation…
  • Yoshino Hiroyuki’s squeal…
  • Full-length shots: 16, 31, 32


Final impressions:

So La storia della Arcana Famiglia reached its end with a very unexpected conclusion. When I read about this show, I thought it seemed quite unique for an otome anime. While I did have in mind that it wouldn’t be an action show about mafia, I did expect this anime to be slightly different from the other reverse harem titles I’ve seen.

When the summer season started, as you might remember I didn’t blog anything but FAIRY TAIL. I thought it’d be better if the other writers would cover the shows I’d intended to choose because some of them might’ve ended up without any shows if I would’ve been given my picks. This anime was definitely one on my list, so when Zanibas decided to cover Oda Nobuna no Yabou instead of La storia della Arcana Famiglia, I took over its coverage.

Was the effort worth it? To be honest, I must say that while this anime has its ups and downs, it was definitely enjoyable. Many readers have been quite negative about this show, and I believe the cause for that is the fact that many people ignored the primary genre of this anime. Yes, this show’s premise promised something related to action. Yes, all relevant characters are in the mafia. Yes, interesting powers are involved. But the main fact here is that these are all only small details in an otome show. While watching an otome series, you should be prepared for almost everything to be slow: pacing, story development, character development, clichés, and the most important thing that all otome shows share – the heroine’s development. This is not an action anime, nor does it have anything special to do with mafia. La storia della Arcana Famiglia is an otome show where the characters just happen to be mafia. The story itself involves what typical reverse harems do. I wanted to make people realize that, and that’s why I covered this show here on Random Curiosity. It bugged me that people disparaged this anime for being different from what they expected considering that the source material was written out clearly on the summer preview. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to judge, but why judge something for the wrong reasons? For example, would you judge a shounen show for being a bad romance anime? I think it’s okay to judge as long as you do it to something for what it is and how relevant it is to its genre. While I did face a lot of complaints for covering this, I want to thank everyone who has supported me with kind and heartwarming comments. As a blogger, I find my motivation to keep doing my thing when I read your kind words. So thank you, really, it means a lot to me!

As I mentioned earlier, I did expect this anime to be slightly different from other otome shows, and I must say – it really is different, especially in the romance aspect. Unfortunately, most otome shows end without the heroine picking one of the males and that happened here as well. However, all otome shows have romantic clichés everywhere in every episode while La storia della Arcana Famiglia lacked those. There were some romantic moments, but they were there for the sake of comedy rather than hinting at any possible romance.

Aside from the romance, the most unique thing in this show, to me, was Felicitá’s status. Unlike other reverse harems, she was on equal footing with her fellow family members. She was in no need of protection; she protected everyone else instead by saving Mondo’s life. I really liked that about Felicitá. Independent heroines are very admirable, and Felicitá is beyond that. She is capable of taking care of herself and others. While I do think it was nice of her to wish for her father to continue leading the family, a small part of me wishes to see her as a leader because she was born to be one.

Felicitá is not the only likable character however, La storia della Arcana Famiglia’s strongest point story-wise is that it has so many of them. I really do think I like all of them. Libertá and Nova are overdeveloped I admit, but I still find them likable, and while I like Luca a lot as well, I must say that Libertá and Nova are the most suitable guys for Felicitá.

Going back to the fact that some characters were overdeveloped – this anime, like many others, wasted a lot of episodes developing certain characters while ignoring others. Unfortunately, that leaves me very unsatisfied as I have many questions left unanswered. Jolly’s situation has been explained, but he as a character is still an enigma to me. Also, Libertá’s past wasn’t fully wrapped up, we still don’t know why Dante saved him. Priorities in anime will always be an issue and unfortunately, that affects my view of the entire show.

Libertá and Nova were featured in every episode. They stole time from other characters, yet, their stories still have too many plot holes. This is the main drawback of this show – it has an entire menu of various characters but only few of them are served to us. The plot holes that remain don’t affect the main story about the duels and Mondo’s life, but they’re still there and that irks me. All this time, I was thinking that we’d have two seasons for this anime: one for character development, and one for the duels. I didn’t think the duels would be so short. To be honest, this anime might’ve fared better if things would’ve gone the way I expected. I think that would have left us a lot more satisfied and we’d be able to understand some characters better.

Basically, you can watch the pilot and the finale of this anime and then you’d have seen it all. The character development in the ten episodes in between is interesting but very unnecessary, considering there were flashbacks in the finale, showing everything you needed to know about Nova, Libertá, and Felicitá’s powers.

So to sum it up – La storia della Arcana Famiglia is definitely an enjoyable otome show with very likable characters, but it leaves you slightly unsatisfied because of some loose ends and some people being too overdeveloped at the expense of other characters. As an otome anime, I think this did very well; its unique heroine and the Arcana powers are definitely enjoyable and memorable. I’d like to thank everyone again for the kind and supportive comments – those were my motivation! Having said that, I’ll probably cover the upcoming unaired episode, but for now I guess it’s goodbye to La storia della Arcana Famiglia.


  1. I guess my overall impression is, people should stick to the game (if they understand enough to play it) or read the manga, IF the manga proves decent down the road (which is difficult to tell at this point since it’s not that far yet).

    I’m thankful in a way they chose not to pair Felicita up with anyone because it just wouldn’t have jived since the anime didn’t follow one route specifically or heavily. However, I’m also sad because as I’ve commented before, the creators chose to shove in so much Liberta and Nova when they were just going to go with the normal ending anyway.

    I’m also fairly disappointed because Felicita in the game gets to do MUCH more than in the anime, since she IS on equal footing with the guys and does her own thing but in the anime, they made her so generic aside from the occasional flash. Part of the selling point of Arcana Famigilia is that Felicita is different than most otome heroines in that she has some agency and a personality. The anime went and tossed that out the window. Blah.

    Going back to routes/what the anime covered. This is a 12 episode series so understandable, you are not going to get in hours and hours of gameplay into a series like this. However, as I’ve said before, the execution was more than a little off. It got better in the later part of the series but they made serious stumbles early on, such as the whole episode 2. It would have been nice to get more on the adult trio, especially because Liberta and Nova were shoved in and even took over events made for other characters (the trip to Luca’s garden comes to mind). The more biased part of me wishes we got more with Luca and Jolly’s paths just because there’s a lot of plot of the overall world/situation there but that’s more bias than the series could have been much been much better. For example [VN spoilers]… Show Spoiler ▼

    I think if you have low expectations, you could probably somewhat enjoy AF but I personally find it unsatisfying, even if you take the anime in itself rather than as an adaptation.

  2. The reason why AF is getting so much negativity is in part because of the people thinking it’s an action anime instead of an otome game adaption, but also because the anime did a horrible job of adapting the game. The game is amazing, and so is the story behind each route, but the anime did not bring out the original story as much.
    The anime focused on a Felicita/Liberta/Nova triangle, but they didn’t do the focusing well either by introducing other characters’ problems. We never get to see who that man Pace talked to was, or what happened to that grey-haired girl, or why Debito has an amethyst eye, or why Dante rescued Liberta. Heck, that comment from Nova about how Liberta might be related to Mondo just ends up as a passing comment.
    I don’t know if I’m the only one who caught this, but that last line about how there was something suspicious at the harbor might be a hint for an adaption of the fandisc of Arcana Famiglia or what’s in the unaired episode… I hope I’m dead wrong because I don’t want to see another great game butchered.

    1. Well, the studio only animating the normal route story of the game which contains Arcana Famiglia true story which is the reason why Mondo held to Duello.


      Based on the game review like the above link, the studio does almost everything that happened in the normal route. The problem is the events in normal route of Arcana Famiglia has barely any action and romance.

      Probably the studio add more Liberta and Nova to give the story some romance and giving better reason for Felicita to use “Wheel of Fortune” safely which making bonds strong enough to give power for “The Lovers” (in the game when Felicita used Wheel of Fortune, she is completely relied on her luck).

    2. I thought the ending was kinda BS. They waited all thru the series to have the big battle and then pull a Deus Ex on us more or less. Reminds me of the movie The Grey showing scenes of Liam Neeson fighting wolves in the wilderness. Too bad it never happens in the movie.

  3. THIS

    If they only made the the duello 3 episodes long and not cram it on one episode it would have been at least be okay..

    Seriously I’m sick and tired of animation studios treating otome game adaptations like crap just because there are far more male otakus than female ones..

  4. If anyone out there is a fan of this show, I have no idea on how you could defend this show from criticisms.
    Well, I had no high expectations of Arcana Famiglia in the first place. I only watched it till the end just to finish what I started watching.
    Anyways, this show was way~~ below average. bad. I do not recommend watching this to anyone who thought about starting it. it’s just bad. the story goes no where.

  5. I agree that the drawback was that not all the characters were developed equally with the amount of screen-time each were given. But what can be done in a 12-episode series (plus that yet-to-be-aired episode which might be an obligatory fan-service episode) can be as enjoyable as a movie. That is to say, this anime could be abridged to be watched in the two to four episodes just to get the main plot to the finish line, but only to skip all the fun in between. Aside from the plot, the strong point for this anime is the characters for me, and I always think if an anime can keep its characters memorable even after the series is over then I think it is a good anime. Arcana Famiglia isn’t exactly my top favorite anime, but it definitely made me want more so it’s not that bad to watch again someday.

    random viewer
  6. so they followed Felicita’s route
    a little disappointing but already foreseen it, considering the two main protagonist ,(excluding felicita)strong personality
    ohh well it was a good series,short and nice but i don’t expect a second season out of it

  7. Well it’s over, I want to rage but really there’s no point anymore. Thanks stereoman for covering this until the bitter end. Sadly for me I haven’t played the game. I came into this after watching Hiro no Kakera first season. So I’ll try to comment from an otome point of view. The difference is brutal. The heroine in HnK gets developed slowly but consistently. I suffered as they lost their battles, but they kept pushing forward. Every single guy had a plot moment. The lovely moments were few but you can feel them. In famiglia Fel hardly moves the plot; her grow is so internal that the realization at the end comes as a boring thing. As you said watch the first and last episodes and will get the idea of the whole show. That’s sad, that means 80% of the story was wasted time. Watching the duello was an insult (I totally forgot that there were others members; so seeing them back for second just to lose to our gang was like filler material). Then they lose to Fel in second. Yes is not a battle anime but come on! The only time you can feel the love came in the last few seconds with Fel realization.
    Finally I don’t mind the end was returning to status quo; but to get there they could have done so much and not spend all that time on Liberta and Nova. (I ship FelxLib)… I’ll not recommend the anime because the adaptation is badly implemented; like Swiss cheese: full of holes (like the homunculus kid). It was a good effort but it fell short. The good thing is that HnK new season is coming, so far that’s an otome with all its perks well done.

  8. I was waiting for some story about Luca the whole anime because I read somewhere something I shouldn’t have read -.-” this is not just dissapointing it hurts!

    I have a massive patience for anime and I would watch it till the end, this was nice :p maybe nice if I didn’t read some spoilers accidently, but I could say I’m dissapointed. It was very much rushed and we did not see any development to the baka trio’s story at all, or Jolly and Dante’s relation to Mondo, or why the blonde guy (Fast typing forgot his name) also had it at birth, holes :p someone wrote swiss cheese, I’ll add that there. I was really hoping for some story ABOUT WHY LUCA AND JOLLY LOOK SO FRIKEN ALIKE lol tyvm.

    Thanks for covering this up, even though it was dumped prior.


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