La storia della Arcana Famiglia
The island of Rigalo is under the protection of an organization known as "the family". Many members have special powers bestowed upon them by cards of the Arcane. Leading the family is Mondo, but he's now looking forward to retiring in peace. At his birthday party, he announces a tournament in which the winner will succeed him, and marry his daughter as well.
Marry his daughter? That's news to Felicita (the daughter in question) and she's not happy about the announcement. She decides to win the tournament and choose her own destiny.
La storia della Arcana Famiglia which means
The environment is very cool. I loved the concept of "the family", a kind of benevolent mafia gang protecting the island. What time period takes place in is anyone's guess. People use swords (pre 20th), cars (early 20th) 1930-40s style clothes, and one guys gun of choice is a Beretta 92s (1970s). La Storia basically does "whatever" provided it's kind of Italian and looks stylish. But I'm okay with that.
The arcane card idea looks interesting, but the logic behind them is divorced from what they represent, making the rules seem random. "Death" puts people to sleep, while "The Moon" retrieves memories. New abilities are haphazardly mentioned when convenient and I'd think "where did that come from?". It's not a bad idea, it simply needed to be better thought out.
Some family members I liked, and others not so much, but especially I didn't like the two boys focused on. Felicita herself is fine, but she's like white bread on a sandwich - a necessary component adding no flavor. On one side of her is Nova, a young man too serious for his own good, but rather "meh". Then there's Liberta, a punk kid who's always saying or doing something stupid. He riles Nova, then they argue, and this is how the entire anime goes.
Nothing is a deal breaker, and on a per episode basis it's not bad. Only after finishing the anime did I realize very little happened. Episode after episode of mundane stuff that isn't terrible, but neither is it fulfilling. Things get mildly interesting with events surrounding the family head, and one section with Felicita in a coma but that's about it. The family fighting tournament, and Felicita's destiny? Crammed into episode 12, with participants' fights not even shown. It's not a fighting anime, I understand that and I'm perhaps even grateful it didn't dwell on fighting, but it's a huge letdown the way it plays out.
The anime makes it seem like Nova and Liberta are the only romantic choices, but Felicita can choose any guy in the visual novel. That could have made this very interesting. Pairing Felicita with one of the older guys like the bad boy with an eye patch, or even the dubious alchemist, would have set this one apart. Then soak it enough lust to make Japanese fan-girls check into hospital en mass with severe nose bleeds. Now that would be something worth watching.
I'm not even getting into the steady stream of logic failures each episode, but I found those annoying as well. While nothing too substantial is accomplished by La storia della Arcana Famiglia, there are a few good things mixed in there even if not put to good use. It might seem like that should make this better, but I think it only makes it more disappointing. Not particularly bad, but hard to recommend.
Mondo: If you can't become stronger, you cannot be kind. If you aren't kind, you won't be able to give each member of the family an equal amount of love.
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