OP Sequence

OP: 「オープニングテーマ」 (Genesis Aria) by (SPHERE)


Two episodes in, my feelings about Arata Kangatari are pretty much unchanged from where they were a week ago.

As much as I want to focus on the anime independent of anything else, I can’t help but be a bit preoccupied with the fascination question of just what Satelight has planned for this series. In point of fact it’s not as if the first two episodes have been preposterously rushed – they’ve covered about seven chapters, which isn’t all that unusual a pace for a manga adaptation (though some extraneous tidbits from later in the story have been discreetly moved up). Just what do you do with a 17 volume (and counting) manga in 12 anime episodes?

As was the case with the premiere, I find that Yasuda-sensei has done a fine job keeping the story coherent despite packing a lot of information into the episode. It should be pretty clear to anyone watching exactly what’s happening here, which is an important element because one of the charms of Watase Yuu’s manga is that it’s a relatively straightforward story despite it’s complex mythology. We certainly don’t know all the "why" yet – but in what fantasy series would you after two episodes? With the characters in the dark about their situation as much as they are, it wouldn’t work if the audience was clued in on all the secrets.

We see a fair bit of both Arata and Hinohara (I’ll stick with Arata’s strategy and refer to them that way for simplicity’s sake) in this episode, but most of out time is spent in Amawakuni dealing with Hinohara’s problems there. I worry that Arata’s adventures in Tokyo are likely to be a major casualty of any schedule constraints, which would be a shame because though they’re always the B-plot in the story, they’re fascinating in their own right – and I really like Arata as a character. We’ve seen enough of both boys to see just how different they are – which is an important plot point in many ways – and how they respond to inheriting the problems of the other is one of the most compelling parts of the series.

The depths of Hinohara’s dilemma in Amawakuni really come into focus in this second episode. Despite the surprising revelation that he’s a Sho – one of the chosen ones able to wield a Hayagami, the sword manifestation of a Kamui, one of the mythic land’s Kami – he’s been framed for the murder of the land’s Princess Kikuri (Yamamura Hibiku) by the ones who control the entire apparatus of power. They were the only witnesses, and have an obvious vested interest in seeing that the truth never gets out. In addition to Kannagi, the other members of the Twelve Shinsho we meet are equally complicit if not equally involved physically – among them Yataka (Miyano Mamoru, who’s becoming almost as ubiquitous as Sawashiro Miyuki and Kaji Yuuki).

Fortunately for Hinohara, he has help from unexpected sources. Though he’s captured by Kannagi, Arata’s grandmother Makari (Mayama Ako) manages to send Kotoha after him with his sword, Goshintai – and when she realizes that the boy she still sees as Arata doesn’t have the stone she gave him (a gift from Princess Kikuri) she gives him hers. The stone allows the two Aratas to communicate – briefly, but long enough to share some vital information, the most vital of which being that Arata didn’t kill the Princess and Kannagi did. Though of course, in point of fact, no one killed her as she’s not dead – and from her magically preserved state, she makes it clear that she intends to help Hinohara in any way she can to overcome the injustice that’s been done to both of them and the threat it poses to Amawakuni. With Arata sentenced to exile on the "living hell" of Gatoya Island (because Kannagi doesn’t want to kill him until he understands his power) he’s going to need all the help he can get.

That’s a very solid epic fantasy setup – though of course, it doesn’t seem as if we’re going to have an epic fantasy series length. if there’s anything missing from the first two eps that really bothers me it’s the richness and detail of Hinohara’s bullying history in our world, because it’s chilling and brilliantly written, and because it adds power to the scenes in which he’s being tried and held in judgment. Apart from that I really have no complaint because this is basically the Arata Kangatari I liked when I picked up the manga. I wish the animation and backgrounds were a bit more lush in the mold of Mouretsu Pirates or Ikoku Meiro, but they’re perfectly fine if unspectacular – and I’m very much enjoying the BGM by the superb veteran Shou Otani, which really suits the mood and the setting. So far so good, I would say – though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried about where we go from here.




  1. Just what do you do with a 17 volume (and counting) manga in 12 anime episodes?

    wwoooaaww??! Is that true, it was confirmed?
    Because on anidB, they still mark it as “unknown number of episodes”; and really, TWELVE episodes is just not possible to cover this series, unless they leave off more than half of it or end it abruptly long before where we got with the manga.

  2. I’m always unsure and scared to pick up anime based on manga. Mostly because I worry that the anime will never be able to cover the series. Arata Kangatari happens to be one of these anime.
    It’s such a shame. Hopefully they change their mind or decide to make a season 2.
    Gotta cross my fingers and hope they don’t give us a shitty original ending. Urgh.

  3. Just what do you do with a 17 volume (and counting) manga in 12 anime episodes?

    Well they do what they’ve done with nearly every manga in a 12 or 24’ish episode adaption, they butcher it and make you want to cry.

    The last good manga adaption I watched was FMA:B

    Kurisu Vi Britannia
  4. I’m really hoping that we get more from Arata’s side of the story as well. Hinohara(yeah, I’m gonna go with that naming as well) is too emo for me and Arata(the long haired one) seems much better as a main character. Sadly, the OP and ED seems to indicate that we’ll only be getting Hinohara’s side with the Hayagami and stuff. Arata doesn’t even appear in the ED while that Kadowaki is pretty much present, and even holding a Hayagami of his own.
    The thing that interested me in this show was the prospect of the dual worlds and how both the characters with the titular names will survive in the new environment they are in.
    And it seems like Arata has it better than Hinohara. The former is living comfortably in a room while the latter is getting the fall for the shit that’s happening. It doesn’t seem balanced in terms of storytelling but it’s too early to tell I guess.
    I’ll still be sticking around with this. I like underdog shows that don’t get much attention, just like Amnesia last season.

    And I can’t shake this feeling of NTR with Kotoha. She’s fawning over Hinohara when she’s initially attracted to Arata. I know it’s not the intention of the story but still. I gotta stop reading those NTR doujins and stick to vanilla.

  5. The pacing doesn’t look promising. If I recall correctly, though the premise was good at the start, they took their time to flesh out the story and the characters. To have stuff like that squeezed into a ‘tiny, barely even half of 50-episodes’ package bodes ill for those who don’t want/don’t have time to read the manga.

    Regardless, I’m sticking with it to see how it goes. One can’t get enough of Kotoha, after all. =3

  6. So like, I’m still raging over how Kotoha keeps thinking that Hinohara is the Arata from their world. I mean, Hinohara and Arata’s similarities seem to be only in their eyes. Everything else is different. Dress style, skin tone, hair color. Hell, hair length! But she keeps thinking it’s the same dude. I know this is for plot reasons but damn.

    And when she hugged him, I was like, “This girl cheating on you Arata! Technically speaking. Technically.”


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