“Arcana Famiglia” is one of the few anime that manages to create a great first episode and produce excitement for the upcoming competition. Unfortunately the rest of the series lets the anime down.
“Arcana Famiglia” is set around an organisation or “family” living in Regalo. Members of this family have special powers – obtained from “pairing” with tarot cards. These powers are called Arcanas. The main character is a young female called Felicita – the daughter of the head of the “family”, Mondo. During the first episode Mondo proposes a competition, the Arcana Duello, to see which family member has the strongest Arcana. The winner of the competition will be the next head of the “family” and as an extra bonus will marry Felicita.
The story itself was set up really well. I found myself really excited about all the battles I would see during the Arcana Duello, as well as the relationships between each character along the way. I was a little disappointed when I realised that the majority of the series would be showing all of the different characters and hardly any of the actual competition. In fact, only one episode is dedicated to the Duello. You don’t even see much fighting! I felt like the story could’ve been less filled out with the characters and more of the competition could’ve been shown.
As the anime is set around a big “family”, many of the members had to be shown. I liked that there were all types of characters so there was someone for everyone’s taste. This also gave a lot more choice with storylines and I feel that this worked well. I do think that more effort could’ve been made into exploring more of the main characters as I felt I couldn’t connect with them later in the series. The only character I had a slight grievance with was Felicita. In the first episode she was shown to be a strong, wilful character who wanted to create her own path in life. I felt that she could be a good role model if given the chance. Unfortunately I found her very weak the more I watched. I felt that she was driven by the other characters too much and didn’t live up to the character she was portrayed to be in the beginning.
I think that the animation and art style was very fluid. Great care had been taken to show the anime being set in Italy – especially with clothes and environments. This was a nice surprise as I’ve seen quite a lot of anime before try and incorporate a Japanese style even though the anime is set out with Japan.
I don’t normally watch anime dubbed – I’m a big fan of subs. I thought that I’d start watching “Arcana Famiglia” in dub since it seemed more natural and the anime was set in an Italian setting (English is closer to Italian after all). I later went back to watch some of the episodes in Japanese with English subtitles and I noticed some large differences between the voices. With the dub I felt that the character’s voices suited their characters more and they were a lot more varied, whereas in the sub I felt the opposite. Some of the voices I felt were a bit too adult for their characters, while some of the adults had very weak voices and I couldn’t tell some of them apart as they were too similar.
The DVD also had a few extras added to the second disk. There were numerous trailers and clean versions of the opening and closing songs. The trailers provided a wider range than I’m used to, which I thought was good, as it would appeal to more audiences. The anime trailers being shown were of “Kokoro Connect”, “Little Busters!”, “Bodacious Space Pirates”, “Kids on the Slope” and the “Youtube” series “RWBY ‘Red’ Trailer”. The latter I was the most surprised with as although the series has an anime art style, it is completely computer generated and was not released on anime channels.