Final Review: Arata Kangatari

Arata Kangatari is based off a manga by Yuu Watase, a mangaka famous for her shoujo works and in particular, Ceres and Fushigi Yuugi. Arata Kangatari, is an action, fantasy shounen work that follows Arata Hinohara (known as Hinohara going forward) in modern Japan who is a high school student and the primary target for bullying. After being betrayed by his only friend, he is magically swapped with the Arata of another world. In this world, humans and gods co-exist with the Hime-ou (or Princess Kikuri) keeping in check the balances and abuses of power. However, Hinohara is thrown into the world at a time where Arata is accused of murdering Kikuri. Now Hinohara must fight to survive while living on the run if he wishes to return home. Arata Kangatari premiered during the Spring 2013 anime season and was simulcasted by CrunchyRoll.

Arata Kangatari in simple terms is a show about trust and betrayal. It’s often a very good theme to use despite not being an original concept but the execution is key. Arata Kanagatari has a semi-interesting fantasy setting but a terrible script. The series has many transition problems early on by showing events that happen in the future prior to explaining them. The other issue this series has is the switching back and forth of the two worlds. With two heroes in two different worlds, the series needs a delicate balance of both. Unfortunately, Arata Kangatari becomes heavily concentrated on the adventures of Hinohara in the fantasy setting and effectively tossing aside how Arata manages in other world. Of course, there are a few episodes dedicated to Arata but they didn’t seem to add any value to the story. Speaking of character development or even characters in general, it’s pretty atrocious in this series. We learn little to nothing about each of the characters in the show and when we do, the same ideas are recycled over and over again with no conclusion. It effectively leads us to asking, why don’t they just spit it out? This is particularly true for Kadowaki as he repeatedly remembers that race against Hinohara. As a result, shallow characters lead to cheap motives, meaning whiny characters. Conclusion wise, it’s a cheap way to tease a potential sequel by revealing some of the low hanging fruits of this series (e.g. “Emisu”)

Art is average with character designs on the stale side. Animation is below average coming from Satelight, especially when you look at AKB0048 and Fairy Tail. It’s better than Muv-Luv Alternative -Total Eclipse-, but not much better given the heavy recycling.

OP is okay but not great coming from sphere. I did get a bit of Sousei no Aquarion like feeling out of it, though it did have “sousei” in the song name.  ED1 is not that memorable. ED2 is a little more but still weak compared to many other songs this season. Background music is average as are sound effects. Seiyuu is above average. Lot of good emotion and drama but to some extent, it became more like typical shounen titles of guys yelling at each other over something.

Enjoyment? Started off really bad. The show did get better in some aspects but still failed to hold my attention in many regards. The show did not leave the same impact as Ceres and Fushigi Yuugi, especially the latter, which shares many themes with Arata Kangatari. Granted that Arata Kangatari received the short end of the stick with only 12 episodes when it is now Yuu Watase’s longest running title, it does not change the fact that the show skimped on the material. Twelve Kingdoms is another show I easily recommend over this.

Overall, it’s hard to recommend this show. It certainly shows promise but in the 12 episodes it has, it’s nothing noteworthy. Maybe if it receives a proper sequel(s) then it may be of value but until that day this series will remain as nothing but a generic shounen fantasy title.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0.5/1): Unoriginal but semi-interesting.
  • Character Personalities (0/1): Awful and annoying
  • Character Development (0.5/2): A little bit but too much of the same thing over and over again.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1/2): Small cast for now. Easy and memorable
  • Pacing: (0.5/1): Pretty bad at the beginning. Gets better towards the end. Loses out on the other Arata.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (1/2): The show jumps to conclusions before explanations sometimes or skips it entirely. Apparently the manga explains.
  • Conclusion (0.5/1): Expected and obviously a tease.
  • Total: 4/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1/2): Average
  • Character Designs (0.5/2): Stale, especially for bishounen work
  • Fluidity (1/2): Ok but too much recycling.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (1/2): Certainly colorful but special effects are a bit bland and cheap
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (0.5/2): Subpar for Satelight
  • Total: 4/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (1.5/3): OP is okay. ED1 and 2 are not too memorable.
  • Background Music (1/2): Average
  • Sound Effects (1/2): Average
  • Seiyuu (2/3): Decent
  • Total: 5.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (0/2): None
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (1/2): A little better as the series progresses but sloppy scriptwriting.
  • Presentation (1.5/2): Fairly linear and easy to follow despite all the terminology
  • Re-watchable (0/1): No.
  • Recommendation (0/2): Fushigi Yuugi, 12 Kingdoms, Ayashi no Ceres
  • Value (0/1): Anime adaptations of Yuu Watase’s other works are much better at this point. Maybe if this series gets a sequel then maybe
  • Total: 2.5/10

Preliminary Score: 4/10

Final Score: 4/10

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