Overall, Id have to say I was impressed enough with this anime to actually reply by making a review. The story line itself was pretty much a team vs team based storyline with historic references along with humor, hot loli chicks (dont judge me o.o) and gun blazing, super powered sword slicing action. Id have to say I am very impressed with the animations, although they do sheen quite a few things that is kind of unncessisary, I still liked the show, and its not too much of a distraction. As for the gun battles, they are kinda basic, cowboy bebop kind of feel (with less bullets) they could put more attention on the guns themselves with more flash to put more focus on the single shots, but otherwise I didnt see any issues with it. The characters are all quite humorous, and I can definitely see this anime being something a lot of fanbase could follow.
Hidan no Aria or Aria the Scarlet Ammo, this review contains spoilers
The story in Hidan no Aria revolves around Aria and Kinji in a school for special law enforcers or vigilantes. The first episode sets the premise of the first so called arc by having Kinji get into trouble only to be saved by Aria predictably. Kinji has a special ability which is that when he is turned on he goes into superhuman mental state that basically transforms him into someone capable of being better than Aria on every front. Aria herself is of course a high ranked vigilante capable of beating basically everyone else in a fair fight.
Now to get some random character connections in there.
A friend of Kinji turns out to be the great enemy and Aria is related in blood to Cherlock Homes, while the enemy is Cherlock Homes' enemies ancestor. The next villain is related to Joan of arc and the last one is of course a vampire. All of Aria's enemies have superhuman abilities which they fight with. This is as horribly forced as it sounds, the character connections serve as an attempt to provide depth where there is none and for people that know cherlock homes and who Joan of arc where it's simply annoying in my eyes, it was a horrible idea.
Aria is your cut and paste loli tsundere who screams pervert in any instance she is touch in any situation. This is a running joke in the series, enjoy it. Kinji is a pessimist for the first part but afterward tags along like the good dog that he is. Shirayuki is a yandere who possesses little freedom of her own but still finds time to fall/be in love with Kinji and they of course have backstory with one other. Riko is a joyous psychopath and who I believe to be the most enjoyable character out of the bunch, She's far from shy in anything she does and her mind is completely fractionated.
I'm not an expert on animation, but I'll say that I haven't found any worth to mention graphical flaws in hidan no aria. The battles aren't extremely energetic, though so I can't give it all point on that front.
If you can bare with Aria having the standard Loli Tsundere voice actor then the sound is okay. The opening theme is nothing special and neither is the ending but both are of good enough quality to at least bother to watch once.
A 5 on story is being generous for this anime. Right from the start, there seems to be very little plot at all. The setting is generic and undetailed, comprising mostly of about ten seconds of effort to inform the reader of the following: There is an international policing organization known as Butei, which has the authority to supercede both local and government agencies, and our characters attend a high school which trains them to be agents. Setup done, commence action. Someone is targeting the Butei students, who must survive, protect their friends, and attempt to figure out the criminal's identity - and that's about as detailed as the plot gets, for quite a few episodes.
I remember reading once in Bakuman that you can't just throw together a bunch of popular hooks and devices and expect a manga (or in this case, light novel / manga / anime) to be successful. Obviously, the people behind Hidan no Aria never received such advice. After a few episodes they attempt to make things more interesting by adding in some of those typical devices, but it quickly turns into overload. First they cover the tsundere heroine who refuses to acknowledge her feelings for the hero. Next, enter the rival, a classmate who also likes him. . . and also happens to cover the 'childhood friend who is now developing feelings' character at the same time. Meanwhile, all of this is taking place in a very stereotypical high school student atmosphere. Which is also a special academy. Finally, as if we didn't have enough cliches thrown in, some of the students are given special powers (telekenesis, manipulation of ice and fire, etc). As I said, overload.
Perhaps the biggest downfall of this series is its inability to decide exactly what it wants to be, or to remain consistent from start to finish. For example, yet another of the hooks sprinkled throughout is the inclusion of ecchi scenes; however, the portrayal of them changes drastically. Early on, the animation very blatantly refuses to show so much as a panty-line, even when skirts are being blown all over by the action. Later (probably in an attempt to attract viewers after so much failure), a scene involves a whole classroom full of girls stripping, followed by a popular secondary character conducting an entire chase scene in her underwear. The plot undergoes just as drastic a change, beginning as 'we need to solve crimes and become better agents,' moving to 'we need to track down major theives around the planet to clear my mother's name,' and ending with 'we must look further into the bloodlines of major characters who are descended from important historical figures.' The genre itself changes from detective action to supernatural to straight-out fantasy - their final opponent turns out to be the immortal Count Dracula. I mean, seriously? In the end, the show tries to do and be so many different things that it doesn't end up developing or succeeding at any of them.
The characters are something of a paradox for me: they're so obviously stereotypical, ripped off from other series, and show little development, that I want to hate them, but for some reason they have enough individual appeal that I want to root for them. By ripped off, I mean obviously developed to compete with and emulate Gosick. A mostly-indifferent boy is paired up with a tiny, cute, super-intelligent and capable girl; they solve crimes together, get more action than they bargained for, and develop a bond along the way; she has a noble European father and a foreign mother who is disgraced and imprisoned. . . the parallels are numerous and detailed. The way things play out and the characters mature is a bit different, but there is very little originality in their conception. The secondary characters are pretty stereotypical, and also drawn from many different genres, including typical high school pranksters, an ancient temple priestess, and a military-level sniper.
The only thing fresh and new is the ancestry ascribed to the primary characters. Each of them is the descendant of a historical figure, and the early examples include Sherlock Holmes, famous French thief Lupin, and Jeanne d'Arc. The supernatural powers of these bloodlines are passed down through the ages, culminating in the current generation and affecting the events of Hidan no Aria. On the other hand, this gimmick goes from underplayed to overdone in a hurry, and starts to feel ridiculous, especially considering the setting into which it was added.
ANIMATION AND SOUND:
Technically, the anime is pretty well done. The animation is beautiful, done in a modern style that I really like (which is another thing it has in common with Gosick). It suits the characters well and is capable of portraying the action sequences without losing any detail. The sound effects are realistic and the music, while nothing special, is decent and well-matched to the visuals. The voice acting is pretty average, with no real flaws but also a pretty limited emotional range.
Despite all its problems, Hidan no Aria is a very fun show, and was a nice change of pace from the more serious stories I've been watching lately. The average audio and superb visual aspects manage to balance out the severely lacking story and glaring inconsistencies, at least long enough to make it through all 12 episodes. If it were any longer, I might not have bothered finishing, but as it is, it's worth a casual watching through.
I'm always amused when I stumble across an anime by accident and it happens to be quite good. This was most certainly the case when I found Hidan no Aria. It has a little mix of everythig from across almost all genres. There's comedy, action, adventure, romace, a budding harem, etc. What made this one interesting is that it seemed to incorporate history's most famous, and notorious, characters and gave them a common path. I would rather not give anything away here but it's definitely worth watching. I'm not one of those people who will rant and rave in a long litany of pros/cons. It's something you have to see for yourself.
Looking at past reviews, they all contain a bit of bias, some more than others. My rating is based on the fact that I enjoy the mix of genres that are depicted here. If you're someone who doesn't enjoy this conglomeration of subjects, then I wouldn't watch it. That is all I have to say on the sbject.
As always, my overall score is an average of all sub-scores for each catagory.
Story - 8/10
The story was definitely well thought out. Plot, events, and sequences are all lines up quite nicely and flow together as they should. I would have liked to see more background story on the main characters but that's not a big deal. I believe this will be resolved should there be a second season.
Animation - 8/10
The series was well animated, though all the females have those realy big eyes. Again, that's not such a big deal in the grand scheme of things since the rest of the elements were done quite well. This kind of quality is par for the course for J.C. Staff work.
Sound - 8/10
There isn't much to say here. The sound fit the events and was well done. The OP/ED seemed to fit the nature of the series. I would have liked to have seen a little more dynamic music but that's just personal opinion.
Characters - 8/10
The characters were certainly unique. Their personalities fit their roles and their interactions were appropriate for the same. As for development, they seemed to not change too much overall but they did evolve over time from when you first meet them in episode 1. Part of the reason for this, I believe, is that this was done intentionally.
Overall - 8/10
This was a great seried overall. I have already given my feelings on it at the beginning but I would like to say this: There better be a second season or it's going to rain blood over J.C. Staff. >.<
Hidan no Aria had the build up and potential for an exciting storyline but unfortunatly feels very rushed towards the end of the series, missing out information that was early presented in the series. Besides the shortness of the series it does provided interesting characters will good historical backgrounds.