Arata the Legend Review

Story:
Arata hates the world he lives in where he is constantly bullied at school. But when his wish to be taken away to another world is actually granted, he finds that being bullied might have been a lot easier to deal with than a coup d’etat hinging on the assassination of the princess by her own subordinates.

Violence:
Most of this show is pretty stereotypical action violence, nothing that heavy. And then the last few episodes happen where we get the intensely unasked for honor of witnessing a character lose an eye and another character give him one of his own. Thankfully they are in mid shadow so the details aren’t that viable, but the sound effects really make this scene. Hilarious, that is. Honestly, there’s no way to take this kind of thing seriously. You don’t just puck out your eyeball and snap it into someone else’s socket. It’s not a universal nightlight.
Also of note, one of the weapons used is made of what appears to be bone and the room it is in has what appears to be a bunch of corpses in it. It’s pretty creepy, so be warned on that end.

Language:
As expected, the usual TV14 fare. You’ve got your everyday sh-t and d-mns alongside the occasional b-words. Nothing unique.

Nudity:
We are wonderfully blessed in this section. There’s not much to report other than a few females having large chests and some of the guys going shirtless on and off (one scene shows Arata taking a bath). Beaches hold more danger. A lot more danger.

Theology/mythology:
First off, there’s the whole idea about being chosen by swords which apparently used to be “gods” and whatnot. Like many shows, not much is explained on this. It’s more mentioned in passing and for all the characters know (or care) the weapons are just super powerful equips. The lead character’s weapon is, of course, pared with the idea of creation and being the “origin” of the weapons or something. Again, this isn’t really explained and it’s pretty much just an excuse to make the hero seem like a hero despite the fact that you could replace his personality with that of a lab rat and get the same results.

Personal impression:
No, really. Nothing unique. In this whole show. Rarely have I seen so many cliches in a single series. In a comedy, this would be a boon. But in a show that’s trying to be taken seriously, it’s just painful. Every move was easily predictable and oftentimes completely flat due to the horrid characters (although I must admit that the whole eyeball exchange scene was pretty left field. I mean, really. I have no words).
The art and music don’t stand out either, making this show the most bland I’ve seen in quite some time. Which is actually pretty amazing as more than a few anime board the cliche bus at some point, but this show never got off. As it’s only twelve episodes, I kept waiting for it to get better… No dice.
That said, it’s gotten good ratings, oddly. So if you haven’t seen too many shows (or played many RPGs) this show might just seem unique to you and keep your interest. But if you’re a seasoned anime viewer, this show might be a bit too ridiculous. And by “a bit” I mean a lot.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Action, fantasy
Website: n/a
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screenshots:
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Extra: The Cinderella set up

extraThere are some stories that are so timeless they have been retold in various forms longer than any scholar could even begin to guess. This is especially true of folklore, often in forms we now refer to as “fairy tales.” The tale of Cinderella is perhaps the most well known, and in no small part from Disney’s popular animated version (the live actions they’ve done have never stuck well). Of course, Disney was by no means the first to tackle this story. Heavens no. The Cinderella tale, also known as the rags-to-riches story, has been told and retold all over the world for hundreds of years. In fact, no one knows for sure where the story began. As soon as one old tale that seems the be the “original,” known academically as the “Ur tale,” is found, another text shows up even older and on the other side of the world to boot. It is for this reason (among others) that many professors believe the Ur tale to be a myth itself. They often believe that these stories stem from basic human needs or some kind of collective human consciousnesses. But regardless of whether or not you believe such theories, the fact remains that these motifs and plots are used heavily in nearly every culture in the world.

Which brings me to Fruits Basket‘s main heroine: Tohru. She’s a near perfect example of the Cinderella character. She has a painful past, yet smiles. She had a horrid family, yet remains kind. She is overworked and taken advantage of by others, yet continues to be cheerful. All of these attributes are seen in Cinderella’s heroine, even in the odder versions from various points on the globe. The universal idea that a girl who does not lose her integrity and “goodness” despite being in bad circumstances shall surely be rewarded in the end is pretty strong in this show. And, of course, there are two very separate camps on whether or not this Cinderella tale is as wonderful as it first seems.

One camp of thinking is that this kind of selflessness is demeaning to women. That the entire story was (and still is) a way to tell women to take whatever hardship and abuse come their way with a smile and a submissive nature that never questions anything. I fully admit that this is a compelling point considering that there are indeed many folk tales that were used as… “instructional” materials, to put it gently. However, like many stories that have been retold so many times, whatever intentions may have first existed in the stories’ creation, new ideas have indeed been added and the “point” of Cinderella may not be as straight forward as it seems. After all, is not hardship inevitable for many in life? How many exist in the world in situations that are horrible through no fault of their own? Bad things can and will happen in our lives. Should we use these bad events to justify being angry, spiteful and hateful people ourselves? I certainly hope not! And so, the Cinderella tale still makes a good point or two – so says the second camp of thinking.

I’m more in the middle myself. You will get angry over things that happen in your life that are unfair. Emotions are a part of us and that will never change. But the strength is in not allowing those emotions to control you. Not in never having them at all. And so while the Cinderella tale – and characters based off of it – has a message we all need to strive towards (that is, not letting the events around you control who you are), I think it’s a bit more understandable – and healthy! – to see a bit more of the emotions one must conquer first. Genuinely smiling after someone has cruelly bullied you is no easy task. You have to face the rage and pain inside you first. It’s not impossible to move on, it’s just not quite as easy as Cinderella (and Tohru) would lead many to believe.

Fruits Basket Review

Story:
Tohru Handa is living in a tent. It’s not the ideal way for a sixteen year old girl to grow up, but without wanting to be a burden to her family, she feels she has no other choice. Until she’s offered a place to stay with a strange family who just so happen to be under a curse. If they are touched by members of the opposite sex, they turn into animals from the Chinese zodiac.

Violence:
Most of this is slap stick type violence, but there are a few fist fights that show a bit of blood. Also, near the end there is a transformation that’s a bit ugly and could be quite scary to really young viewers.

Language:
Anything too bad gets bleeped out for comedy purposes, but expect a few d-mns and such here and there as well. Kyo has the worst mouth by far with phrases like “p-ssing me off” and “you’re an -sshole.”

Nudity:
Alright, so as to be expected of a shoujo show, when the guys transform back into human form, they are without clothing. We are spared details thanks to a very convenient colored smoke that accompanies transformations, but you will see bare chest and legs. Also, there is one scene where one male character makes a crude remark to another after he comes out of the bathroom. Oh and banter between two other male characters who are long time friends is… odd. They make suggestive comments to each other frequently. Nothing X rated, and most of this stuff would fly over very young viewers, but still. It’s there.

Theology/mythology:
Naturally since the story contains the zodiac animals, there’s some stories swapped here and there about them. God is referenced right off the bat in a fable like tale, but due to the loose definition of “God” in Japan (the same term is sometimes used to refer to many gods and also to refer to God as defined by most western religions) whether or not it’s religious remains ambiguous. I’d say it isn’t due to the story forms used. These tales are far more like fables and folklore. In any case, if the idea of curses and humans turning into animals bugs you, this show isn’t your thing.

Personal impression:
This show is pretty stereotypical shoujo fare. That said, it’s also pretty enjoyable. Tohru (I have also caught her named spelled as Toru) is very cheerful even though her past and current circumstance kinda suck big time. And there’s enough comedy from the other characters to keep things from getting too serious. Until the end, anyway.
Overall, the animation and music is pretty standard for its day, although it’s considered a bit too basic now. And the story, again, is pretty standard. It’s also pretty well paced, so it’s a bit relaxing so it’s a nice break from darker shows. Just don’t wait around for everyone’s back story to get wrapped up.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 26
Languages: Sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Romance, comedy, drama
Website: http://www.funimation.com/shows/fruits-basket/anime
Legal streaming: Hulu
Screenshots:
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