People Clearly Liked This, it Received a Season 2
Last week I covered two series where I discussed how production values and writing quality can impact the enjoyment of the series. These two series were Demon Slayer and Cop Craft. In the case of the first anime, I discussed how the fantastic visuals and sound meant little in the end due to obnoxious characters and poor writing. Production values made it watchable, but not much else. Cop Craft, on the other hand, had tons of issues in the production department. Still, this managed to be enjoyable for fun characters and (mostly) decent writing. So how does this all relate to Arifureta?
It just doesn’t have either of these things. The production was a mess, to the point where most episodes are too dark to see well, animation is poor, ill-timed/fitting music, terrible CG, and I could go on here. The story is a butchered mess that features a worse version of the KonoSuba gang. Now, I won’t claim there is nothing to like here, and I will address some of the praise this series has received, but Arifureta is a prime example of a show that doesn’t have the writing chops, nor the presentation. You can get away with missing one or the other, but not both.
When it comes to the production of Arifureta, it’s no secret that there were a lot of problems along the way. So, I am sympathetic to the fact that it doesn’t look amazing. That still doesn’t excuse the convoluted writing and directing that’s taking place in this title.
One of the biggest issues is how the show focuses squarely on Hajime, the main character, and his party. For the start of the series where he meets Yue, that makes sense, but given that the cast for this anime is well over 20 characters, it quickly becomes an issue. There isn’t enough time to develop Hajime’s classmates or understand what motivates any of them. Reading between the lines, it’s not hard to figure some of this stuff out, but when things happen, they ring unbelievably hollow (looking at you final episode).
Still, fair is fair, and I should note that the visuals look pretty decent when CG isn’t involved AND when we aren’t in a dark cave. It’s pretty average in reality, but given the low bar that everything else sets, I do appreciate that this isn’t a total eye sore the whole time.
Circling back to my KonoSuba comment, the cast is a big problem in this anime. I like Hajime and Yue well enough, they are fine on their own. However, once we get discount Darkness and Aqua, I checked out pretty hard. Later he gets a daughter character too. Why not?
Shia is a bunny girl who is our Aqua. She’s Aqua, but more annoying and sexually overt. For whatever reason, Yue, who is explicitly Hajime’s lover, is the one who invites her to join the party. This is a weird thing Yue does the whole show, she constantly invites her love rivals to the party. I don’t get that.
How about Darkness then? That role is filled by Tio. She’s Darkness, but also a dragon… well that’s actually too generous. She’s Darkness but if her only character trait was that she was a masochist. Her character introduction was gratuitous, involving a lengthy anal penetration scene while she was in dragon form. You read that right, a good chunk of an episode is dedicated to (forced) dragon anal. Exhilarating…
At least with Shia I can kind of see why they keep her around, she does prove capable of fighting. Tio doesn’t do anything, she brings nothing to the table for the party. All she does is actively bother Hajime, but Yue invites her along anyway. I really don’t know why.
Even the literal child, Myuu, who Hajime adopts as his daughter contributes to the plot more. By the way, it’s no secret that I like shows that feature this father-daughter dynamic, but this is really just tossed in. Why does this show have a harem in the first place?
This brings me back to Yue, who again, I like. She’s your typical blonde loli vampire with lots of power. Her and Hajime enter an explicit relationship very early into the series, which is a point of praise from folks who like the show. And yeah, that’s pretty unique for a story like this. He kisses her with zero ambiguity very early on, they state it multiple times throughout too. This is an aspect of the show I like.
So you can see why it is disappointing that we have this pseudo-harem in place. By the way, I didn’t even list all the members. It grows… I can respect Yue’s confidence in Hajime to always choose her, but I have a really hard time buying into the show having her invite all these random women, who are not hiding their attraction to Hajime, nor their intentions, along for the ride.
When I sat down to write this, I wasn’t planning on talking about this point much, but jeez, I guess it really bugged me. There are a lot, and I mean a lot, of issues with the story in Arifureta, but being this uninspired and cliche in its genre for no reason doesn’t help. The only reason this has a harem is because other isekai anime do, that’s it.
While we are on some positives here, well sort of, I should talk about the opening arc. Despite how hard it is to see anything, and how generally ugly it all is, that was engaging. When I started the show, it was fun to poke at how baffling some of the decisions were, but I was having a decent time watching.
This is consistent with what I know about the source material. Apparently, this is what many consider to be the best part of the story, and I can see why. Hajime and Yue establish their relationship here, Hajime is gaining new powers, the stakes feel real, and there are some mystery elements tossed in for good measure. It is genuinely engaging.
Up until the end of the series, I can’t really say the same for everything else. It was a slog to watch Arifureta. Though again, credit where credit is due, the final episode was probably the best of the season. Not just because it ended, but because it finally felt like a proper story. I even laughed at some of the jokes. I had a good time with the episode.
Overall though, I loathed my experience with this anime. In its final hour it did manage to score an extra point with me, and it left me on a more positive note, so that’s the only reason I don’t really hate this show. However, it was easily one of the worst anime I’ve watched in a good while. It screams generic, uninspired, and quickly outstays its welcome.
Even with a few good concepts and “unique” ideas, like Yue’s relationship with Hajime, that just isn’t enough. You need more than that to succeed. What do I know though, this did get a second season. If you liked this, more power to ya.
Well this went in a bit of a different direction by the end of the article, but I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on Arifureta. Did you LOVE the show? Tell me why! If you want to support my work, please click one of my donation buttons below. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you back here again soon!