|Despite a generic sounding fantasy premise, Campione! piqued my interest thanks to a well put-together trailer that showcased some good action. Of course, one should never trust a trailer, and at least based on the 1st episode, Campione! is a fine example that showcases why.|
The key to taking down gods and becoming king, apparently.
“48 hours from now, I, Kusnagi Godou, will become the 7th king of the world,” the main character narrates early on in this episode. This could serve as the set up to an entire 12 episode series chronicling the 2 days of Godou’s ascent. It would be highly unusual; the closest anime I can think of in pacing would be Nisemonogatari which covered less than 2 days in 7 episodes of Karen Bee. However, the pacing of this 1st episode indicates that those 48 hours will likely pass within the next couple episodes and will serve just as the springboard from which the main story can jump. Unfortunate, because that sort of how-it-went-down story would’ve added quite the twist to this show to make it stand out from the many other Shana-like urban fantasy light novel adaptations.
As it stands, the show feels very standard with few noteworthy features. There is nothing memorable about the characters. Main character Godou doesn’t have any personality – even his very reason for being there in Italy is to deliver something for his grandfather, not something for himself. His current companion Erica at first seems to be another duty-bound knight, but then she doesn’t actually have a well defined personality, as she changes to haughty spoiled ojou-sama and then to willing sidekick seemingly on impulse. Even Lucrezia’s mischievous personality falls right in line with the immortal bystander/meddler archetype. Other characters make only brief appearances, popping in here and there to say ominous things.
Erica gets to be whatever girl the plot needs at the moment.
The storytelling is just a mess. Things happen without sense, and there are plenty of plot holes already. How did Erica recognize Godou’s tablet from afar, especially if she didn’t even know what kind it was? And how did she know that he was Japanese? Erica, Arianna, and Godou decide to have drinks right after meeting Lucrezia… where? If it’s at Lucrezia’s home, why isn’t she present? If it’s Erica’s home, when did they get there? And why the drinking? The high concept of rogue gods doing bad things to create natural disasters is interesting enough, but it’s nothing too different from the likes of Shakugan no Shana or 11eyes, and it needs something else to make it stand out.
Thing is, almost nothing about this show stands out. It’s not very funny; only the drunk-talking-to-mask gag made me laugh. The fanservice isn’t very good – not only is it not creative, but it’s not compelling with such boring characters. And boring characters don’t make for much in the way of romance or friendship or any other character relationships, none of which is explored at all in this episode. The action is passable. It’s hard to make a lady knight riding the roof of a maid driven sedan not look badass. But the fighting animation, choreography, and direction are all rather mediocre. There was plenty of opportunity to showcase good action, but the show never took advantage.
I laughed, even if the punchline was telegraphed way early, and Erica did not at all look like a convincing drunk.
To the show’s credit, it does hit the ground running, wasting no time throwing Godou into the deep end. And he reacts well, quickly making a deal with a god and establishing himself as a player in this game of battles between gods. Normally you’d expect some (understandable) pussyfooting. But right now, it’s hard to simply care. The narrator at the end sounds pretty pumped up about Godou becoming a king, but I don’t think that actually warrants much excitement. There’s no reason to root for Godou or Erica other than that they’ve been designated the main characters. This is a very clumsy first episode whose failure to deliver on any front – not on humor, not on fanservice, not on action, not on premise – makes it a poor hook for the rest of the series.
He’s got sword in one hand, woman in the other, but I’m just not feeling it.