First Impressions – Arata Kangatari

Yaoi bait of this season?

WHOOOO Midterm is over HELL YEAH! That means I can get back to all my animu since my presentation was done few hours before I started writing. By the way, I aplogize for not being active on Metanorn past few days. I promise I’ll make it up starting this week. Anyhow, it seems that there are plenty of yaoi-ish anime this season, and Arata Kangatari is one of them. Since it’s Watase Yuu, I guess the level of bromance will be high, but I’m not so sure whether the quality of the story will be high too.

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Story // Being Watase Yuu, of course the story is fused with something supernatural. The story is about a boy living in modern Japan named Arata. He’s what you call a confused teenager, but too bad the side effect stays all the way until he’s in high school. He’s bullied by someone who was his best friend, and now that bully makes everybody avoid Arata. As a result, extremely sensitive Arata falls into the depression cycle of high school life where he wants to disappear from this world.

Now enters Arata from another world. I can’t remember the name of his world or whatever his clan’s name is, but he’s the next princess that is supposed to guide the country he is in. The princess of the country has the ability to control some weird power? The problem is, Arata’s clan hasn’t bore any female heir for the last few decades, and only females can can have that power. Reluctant Arata fills in for the nonexistent princess for his clan’s sake and meets the six-year-old loli princess… Until the princess’ guardians assassinate the princess (well, she’s dying now) and makes it look as if Arata murdered her.

Arata runs to a forbidden forest while Arata in Japan wishes he would disappear. However, suddenly both Aratas are switched, with Japan’s Arata switched to the what-is-the-name-of-the-world’s Arata. Japanese Arata is hidden by the other Arata’s annoying female friend, but he finally turns himself in for the sake of the clan. What is Japanese Arata about to do now? *drum rolls*

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Characters // There are basically four main characters in this anime. Those who love the non-Japanese Arata, prepare to be sad because he’ll be shoved away into a supporting character. Yep, the main character of this anime is the, of course, Japanese Arata. I’m not so fond of this idea, but this is the Yuu Watase pattern where she picks the shittiest character and turns the character into something decent (not good or better) as the story progress. Now the question is, will Yuu Watase fails like always or does something revolutionary and actually make a good character? Too bad the other Arata only serves as the guide.

The second character would be the one who’s bullying Arata right now aka Masato. I’m starting to wonder why he has such a long-standing grudge against him, even when they’re in high school. When, y’know, they’re supposed to be adults. I hope the reason that Masato is bullying Arata is not something simple and unnecessary, or else…

The two other characters are two of the Twelve Guardians that plotted to kill the princess. They are none other than Kannagi and Akachi. Though it’s not known what are they going to be in the anime, I’m sure they’re going to be major characters in the story. They’ll become Arata’s and Masato’s protectors, perhaps?

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Author // I’m sure Watase Yuu is not a strange name for many. Well, at least for shoujo and yaoi lovers because she created the famous Fushigi Yuugi saga, Ayashi no Ceres, and Sakura Gari. Many yaoi lovers loved loved loooveed Sakura Gari so much because of its dark tone (despite of the drama), but for her shoujo manga… At least I know I’m not a big fan of her shoujo manga because of its repetitive pattern. That is why I was a little surprised when I see Arata Kangatari. Though it still has the patter, it is slightly different from the other manga, I guess? Well, it’s just the start anyway, so let’s see how Arata Kangatari is going to be.

Director & Studio // Surprisingly, Yasuda Kenji did create some decent anime for the past few years. Ikoku Meiro no Croisee and Shougo Chara are his works. Yeah, that explains the whole similar moe vibe from both anime. He did get involved in Boogiepop Phantom and Fullmetal Alchemist though, so Arata Kangatari won’t be Kenji’s first action-ish anime. The studio of the anime, which is Satelight, is one of my favorite studios out there because of its awesome works such as Mouretsu Pirates and Hellsing Ultimate. I have many favorite anime coming from this one studio. I just hope that the combination of Yasuda Kenji and Satelight will make the combination that makes Arata Kangatari an enjoyable anime.

Seiyuu // Unfortunately, I’m not too familiar with the seiyuu of the main characters. I mean, I know who Mamoru Miyano and Akira Ishida are, but they’re just minor characters in the story. Okay, fine, there is Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Arata, and he happened to voice the famous Kirito and Narumi from Kamisama no Memochou. Thankfully, there is Nobuhiko Okamoto as the Japanese Arata. He voices the NGGHH Io from Acchi Kocchi and Rin from Ao no Exorcist. Welp, I’m definitely not familiar with the seiyuu, so I hope I can get to know their voices better as I watch this anime, teheh.

To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed with Arata Kangatari. I’ve mentioned that Yuu Watase has this pattern in her shoujo stories, and it is happening again in this anime. The two different worlds in this anime reminds me of Fushigi Yuugi, and Japanese Arata’s weak character reminds me of the main character in Alice 19th. What makes this anime different is the fact that the main character is actually a male. I guess Watase Yuu wants to try something that is slightly different? Too bad from the premiere, it seems that Arata Kangatari will be one of her many works that will also shine among them… Unless the story takes a sudden turn and has a whole new mind-blowing turn. But it’s just the first episode (second episode by the time this article is published /sob/), so let’s see how the story is going to be.

The one thing that surprised me in this anime is Watase Yuu’s artwork though. For those who have read her previous works, they’ll know that the artwork she’s doing with Arata Kangatari is definitely different from the rest. The females might be the same, but the males are not as pretty as her previous works, and they look somehow… Manlier. Seeing how Watase Yuu experimented with Sakura Gari, I won’t be surprised that she’s experimenting with her art style in Arata Kangatari.

Oh yeah, speaking of surprise, the animation also surprised me. But not in a good way. I am also not impressed with the animation. I was even surprised by the animation that is lacking in quality. Is this really Satelight? That studio with awesome animation and some great CGs? I was really really really disappointed at the awkward animation. Well, it is not that bad, it was not impressive to be seen also. It was UGHHHH I can’t. Hopefully the animation will get better and we’ll have some interesting turn to the story.

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Have read 418 BL manga and continuing.
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17 Responses to “First Impressions – Arata Kangatari”

  1. Ishruns says:

    Hi I’ve been skulking around Metanorn for the best part of three years and yet to make a comment but since no other Aniblog sites I usually go to has really picked up Arata Kangatari I thought it be a good time to start.

    I’m not a fan of Yuu Watase, her stories are pretty one pattern and I can only ever see Vision of Escaflowne clones (clones as Misaka proves are weaker than the real deal). Also after Shin Sekai Yori I think I’ve become better at raging at characters for being stupid. Literally having a low IQ.

    I mean in the first half of ep 2 Arata (Jap) keeps saying that he’s from a different world but when the chance to prove that to the Genki maid girl comes, when she asks him what happened to her necklace, he does a 180 and says ‘I lost it’ when he was never given it in the first place. No doubt this is so that she’ll make a shoujo shock face when in a hundred chapters time she sees the Arata (Fabulous) with it and realizes which is which. And when Kannagi asks who he is he just clams up for no reason unlike before. With his head on the chopping board you might want to prove your innocence a bit better than that.

    Rage over. With Arata (Fabulous) on the bench for most of the anime, I don’t think I’ll stay for the rest of the match much longer.

    • akagami says:

      Escaflowne! I really liked that series.

      • skylion says:

        I have very vague memories of that program, but I largely remember enjoying it. Trapped in another world stories are one of my favorite fantasy takes.

        • anaaga says:

          Is it a good anime? Like, better than Fushigi Yuugi (who also has the “trapped” theme)>

    • anaaga says:

      Haven’t seen Escaflowne, so I can’t compare the characters. I have to agree though about the illogical things Arata did, just like the ones you mention. It’s the little details like this that matter, and the fact that the mangaka did these mistakes disappoint me somehow

  2. Ceyrai says:

    I don’t know about anyone else but I actually want to give this a chance, since I do like the manga somewhat. There was this whole chunk of an arc or two I skipped, though, given the tediousness of it, but the rest gave me good enough shounen vibes. Not as edge-of-your-seat as, say, Fairy Tail, but quite impressive for an author who mostly does shoujo. Also, I’m hoping that the arc I skipped will be covered well in the anime.

    As for characters – though I do agree about Watase’s tendency to make shitty MCs, Japanese-Arata is actually more well-rounded than any MC Watase’s written before. He’s someone I can at least root for, in any case. (Miaka and Aya were just painful to watch, really.) And Watase is just great with secondary characters, so I want to see how the ones I love get fleshed out in the anime. Also I wouldn’t label this as yaoi-bait just yet – the male:female hotness ratio isn’t so skewed, and neither is the opposite-sex interaction as opposed to same-sex. (But yeah maybe it’s pointless to argue about this point with all the bishies Watase constantly throws at everyone.)

    Production-wise, the animation was… meh, for me. Nothing too special or revolutionary, but smooth and colored well enough that I don’t complain. There’s not really much to say for now.

    Anyway, maybe it’s just the Fuushigi-Yuugi-was-my-childhood Watase fan in me talking, but I think this deserves a chance. At least give it the benefit of a 3-episode test.

    • anaaga says:

      Ah, if you like Fushigi Yuugi then you’ll probably like this anime. I used to like Fushigi Yuugi too… Until the second half of it that made me create this impressive frown on my face. this is the common problem I always got in Yuu Watase’s works: most of them went downhill on their second halves of the stories.
      Well, I have to admit Arata has a cliche opening but since it’s a first episode, I don’t want to judge it too quickly, but I hope it can become a good anime, better than Yuu Watase’s other works.

      NO BL!? WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTT

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Congratulations on your liberation from your exams. Enjoy your freedom while you can before you go back in.

    This has shounen written all over it. So obvious that it’s almost painful. The premise is interesting but there’s some doubt in my mind that it will stay that way seeing how this almost unmotivated protagonist is moping around. Hopefully, this anime will be close to Magi’s level of entertainment. If this modern day Arata has switched places, I wonder if we’re going to see what happens to the other one as well. It’s going to be trouble designating who is whom because they both have the same name.

    • anaaga says:

      Really? I see it as a shoujo because of the ridiculous amount of bishies that are definitely eye-catching. I don’t think you should expect magi’s greatness from this anime. Since it’s Yuu Watase also, it will be hard to let go of her shoujo tendencies that will be seen as the story progress later on.
      From the reviews, it seems that the Arata in the modern Japan will be pushed as a side character *sad face* it would be great if the author can focus on him also. It will be interesting to see how such traditional person can adapt to the modern aspects of Japan

  4. skylion says:

    Wow, I don’t want to mock anyone that likes the show, but this was incredible in how insipid everything was. Direction, animation, script, backgrounds. Even the vocal performances were just ridiculous.

    It felt like they just tossed elements into a blender and then hit the “make anime” button.

    …and now I read that it feels like a repetition of previous work?

    Not even a LOLi princess can keep me interested.

    • anaaga says:

      Hehe, I don’t think this is the kind of anime that would suit the gandalf of metanorn. This is not a complicated anime, and it is meant more toward the female audience. Unless, of course, you’re starting to develop some fetish for 2D bishies… *hoping for skylin to say “yes”*

  5. HannoX says:

    I’ll give it the 3 episode try, but I’ll probably drop it. The sadsack Arata is a real turn-off for me. And how many times have we seen the modern day character sent to another world/back in the past where s/he must become the hero(ine). It can still be interesting if well done, but I don’t hold much hope that this will be.

    I think the more interesting story would be the dynamic Arata trying to fit into our world, especially given whose place he’s taken. He’d certainly be a more interesting character to follow.

    • anaaga says:

      We can only pray that Yuu Watase will try something different (except the art) from this work. Her repetitive pattern is getting tedious and boring.

      I doubt the story will focus on the Mayan Arata that is in modern japan right now. Well, remembering how Yuu Watase does her story, I don’t think that will be done at all. Saddening, since it seems that the Mayan Arata is much more interesting than the suicidal Arata

  6. akagami says:

    Hmm, I found it decent at best but decent enough that I’ll continue watching it for now. Though the MC remind me of OH MY SHOE in terms of his “My life sucks so much whine whine whine” that I really want to put my foot in his face. Several times.

    Animation was horrible though. Talking animation was sometimes decent, sometimes horrible. Repeated scenes of open and close, sometimes before and after the voices had started/stopped. *facepalm*

    • anaaga says:

      NONONONO OH MA SHOE is still the worst character in this world. Though Arata has the potential to be one. But pleaaaseee, no.

      Oh man, you have no idea how many times I frowned just because of the animation. the characters’ movement were so stiff I was all like UUUUUGGGGGHHH

  7. Irenesharda says:

    I fell in love with Yuu Watase after my friend showed me Fushigi Yugi and I later went on to watch Ceres: Celestial Legend. I also love her Alice 13th and Absolute Boyfriend manga series. Fushigi Yugi is also happened to be the show that brought out the fujoshi in me. ;) (totally a Nakago/Tamahome shipper! :P )

    At first I totally ignored Arata, but upon finding out that it was by Watase-san, I immediately put it on my watch list. I have not read the manga and went in here cold, but it was much better that I thought it was going to be. Sure the animation and music leaves much to be desired, and doesn’t even come close to its much older, and yet so much more beautiful predecessors, but its still very lovely in its own way.

    It has all the Yuu Watase-isms, including the handsome bishonens, the intricate plot underneath a deceptively simple veneer, the many main characters, a lot of them with tragic backstories. It didn’t have a lot of overwhelming humor, which I’m glad for.

    I liked the plot line for both Aratas and I like that the 12 warriors here are actually evil. It reminds me of Fushigi Yugi but with the celestial warriors all trying to kill Miaka rather than protect/fall in love with her. This will make things pretty desperate for our fish-out-of-water Aratas who will have to save the kingdom from these evil bishies and their horrid plan.

    This is very fairy tale-like, which is one thing that I enjoy about Yuu Watase’s work. Its a very complex fairy tale story that somehow still has both very real tragedy and very real happily-ever-afters. This gets a 7.95/10 for me.

    • anaaga says:

      Well, this is a first haha. It would make sense for you to like Arata because you’re a huge fan of Yuu Watase. If someone like her work, she will like all of her works because Yuu Watase has the ability to create a consistent quality throughout her works. Her fans won’t be disappointed with her. Too bad that I’m not one of those people.

      The 12 Guardians are evil, but it seems that some of them will turn back to the modern Arata? Well, that’s the vibe the ED gives

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