La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia (Blu Ray) Review

Based on the PSP game of the same name, La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia is exactly what the title suggests, a story about an arcane family. What ensues is a series which delivers on so many levels except the one that really matters most - story.

It’s an all out battle for her hand in marriage!

Felicita has had her hand in marriage unwillingly brought to the table to determine the future heir of the family. Not only does she have no choice in husband, it seems her suitors must come from the family itself! But Felicita is not going down without a fight.

As the head of the Swords Division, Felicita has decided that she will win herself back and claim the title that is rightfully hers. Although it might be easier said than done when your family is Italian mafia, and working with guns and knives is just a simple way of life.

It’s now a race against family to determine who wins, and Felicita is placing all bets on herself. Let the battle begin! - Hanabee

The harem genre is a staple of the anime realm and frankly, has been done to death but this series follows the source material in being an "otome" game. Otome games are a type of visual novel in which you control a female character as she befriends a willing suitor. It's basically a dating game. Seeing male characters all competing over the affections of Felicita is fantastic. Each of their efforts go towards exposing their character without resorting to forced exposition. That said, while all of this character work is being displayed, very little fisticuffs are taking place. Don't let the action poses on the cover or the glimmers of swordplay in the trailer fool you. There was more than enough for me, but if you're looking for a more typical shonen series you may be disappointed.

The character progression is fantastic and allows for many a laugh throughout this 12 episode series. In fact, it's quite surprising just how well we get to know these characters in such a short amount of time. Bravo to director Chiaki Kon. Also deserving of praise are the good folks at JC Staff, who are also responsible for Hanabee's Little Busters. The animation is sharp, fluid, vivid and is well representative of the tone of each scene. That is to say that they do action just as well as they do humour and as usual, they inject a healthy dose of CG animation but never enough for it to feel heavy handed. The Blu Ray quality is crystal clear with not a single noticeable artefact to be seen.

Unfortunately, this series isn't what some may expect based upon the DVD sleeve or even the trailer. Instead of a series filled with magic wielding tournament fighters, you get a delightfully comedic look at a group of diverse characters who are both likeable and well developed. But to be honest, I'm so glad that this series wasn't what I saw in the trailer. The characters are great, it looks great and it's just plain fun! But, and this is a huge but, the story is an absolute mess and at times is barely even existent. Sure, it's great to get to know some cool characters through their interactions, but when none of these characters seem to do anything of significance, you're left with a series with is fun, pretty but ultimately forgettable. 

- Ryan

La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia is available on Blu Ray and DVD now.


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