La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia

Alt titles: Arcana Famiglia


roriconfan's avatar By on Jul 29, 2012

- Animated by J.C. Staff, which means it will be nothing more than fan service. As far as the production values goes, the show is good in terms of colours and detail. Nothing amazing since it still has jerky motions, poor visual effects, and simple battle choreography. But since most will be starring at the cool super dudes, nobody will care much for what I mentioned a sentence earlier.
- Directed by Kon Chiyaki, known for his work on Higurashi. Well, good for him to not rape the source material like most do but all his other works are plain passable.
- Based on a dating sim for girls. You can already smell the fail.

Arcana Famiglia (AF henceforth) is using a lot of baits to lure you in but as soon as you bite, like the average fish you just shake around and try to escape. The intro picture makes it look like a badass story about macho mafia dudes with superpowers. YEAH AWESOME! And then you read the description and it says it’s nothing more than a reverse harem. LAME! But who knows, maybe it will be a good reverse harem in the likes of Ouran Host Club. And it’s revealed right away that it hardly is.

It all boils down to the most unimpressive heroine. She is not sympathetic at all, which makes it impossible to identify with (if you are a girl that is). If you are aware of shoujos and romances you probably know how their protagonists are almost always frail, poor and naive everyday girls, which one day find themselves in the laps of one or more super sexy bad boys. In AF’s case they instead have this chick Felicita, which is the exact opposite; that is dynamic, rich, and educated. She is spoiled and has everything taken cared of in her life, until her father decides to marry her. He brings in a bunch of super mafia dudes and tells her to choose one of them. So as you expect every episode is about the chick talking and learning about a dude, while occasionally having some simple adventure where they are chasing a cat or they baby-sit. Not exactly what you expect to see in a show full of super powerful mafia dudes. They even promise you an epic fighting tournament but never deliver on that thought.

The problem with Felicita is the exact same all main characters have in your run of the mill normal harem show. She has no personality! This is done deliberately, so the viewers can throw themselves in the role of the protagonist and you are not supposed to care about him/her as much as you will for his/her possible lovers. After all, the anime is based on a dating sim, so why not? The thing is, the average male fan will only be watching a harem show for the boobs, while an average female fan will care more about the romance. And it’s bloody hard to feel anything if the heroine barely cares about any of them. She talks as dried up as possible, and doesn’t really do anything, other than standing still and listening to the super dudes talking or blowing up stuff, before she is in need of them saving her. And even if they do, she still acts like she doesn’t care. I understand that if she had more personality it would be easy to tell with whom she matches best, but that is still not an in-story excuse for acting so snobbish. And look at her, always walking around in a mini skirt and never missing the chance to perform a roundhouse kick. Doesn’t she know anything about subtlety? She is supposed to be raised as a noble or something. I can’t feel any sympathy for this spoiled slut. She is obnoxious even without having a personality!

The super dudes definitely have a lot more meat to like them, as each one of them has his own personality, special attack based on Tarot cards, and even a usually dramatic backdrop to flesh them out. The problem is that the focus of the story changes every few minutes amongst them, so you never feel like they get enough spotlight to shine properly. There are also lots of scenes where nothing plot-related happens, so they count as fillers.

Another problem is that there is no actual romance in AF. Technically none of the candidates have any real feelings for the heroine. They don’t like her for her personality (since she doesn’t have any), they just want to marry her and be stinking rich and powerful mobster bosses. So they pass more as manipulating and hypocritical bastards than people who would do everything it takes to win the heart of a simple everyday girl. That makes the show to feel heartless instead of exciting.

So there you go, a show with absolutely no feeling or good intentions, thus a big failure right away. If you ask me no reverse harem is any better than a typical harem and Ouran Host Club did a good job only because it made a satire out of the genre’s stereotypes. AF doesn’t do that and in the contrary tries to replace the stereotypes with far worse elements. Not recommended.

And now for some excused scorings.

General Artwork 2/2 (looks interesting)
Character Figures 2/2 (the mafia dudes are cool)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)

Voice Acting 1/3 (Felicita has no colour in her voice)
Music Themes 2/4 (average)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)

Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (loose)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (dull)

Presence 0/2 (Felicita is a robot)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (doesn’t exist)
Catharsis 0/2 (doesn’t exist)

Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch)
Memorability 1/4 (forgettable)

Art 0/1 (looks ok but nothing much)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 0/3 (it practically doesn’t exist)
Characters 1/4 (the mafia dudes are somewhat cool but that hardly makes them interesting)

VERDICT: 3.5/10

3/10 story
7/10 animation
5/10 sound
3/10 characters
3.5/10 overall
legnanellaf's avatar By on Oct 3, 2012

Really in retrospect I should have watched just the first and last episode and I would have been much happier. It starts off really strong, lots of characters introduced, hints of some sort of battle and what appears that what is obviously the girl everyone is going to be into is actually independent for once.

Then about 10 episodes of backstory, character development, and budding 'romance' before going back to this supposed battle that the first episode sets up. The concept of these powers based off of the Major Arcana tarot cards is interesting, although out of the 22 cards there are about 10 people in the show, so even that isnt really expanded on. 

The biggest disappointment is Felicitia. Looks to be a tomboyish girl, can fight, so a bit typical if she is a strong character in her own right, but she quickly turns meek, the sense of fight is rarely seen again and she becomes a damsel in distress. Most scenes with her in it is her expressing her lack of knowledge of people, things, how the little group works.  For someone who is going to be if not the head, the wife of the head, she knows absolutely nothing about what she is supposed to inherit.

You can tell from the get go that it is a reverse harem, the only other girl besides Fel is her mother. It is forced to be so with the declaration that some guy who wins this battle will be her wife because her father says so, and the hint that she can take lead herself and choose her own destiny is a red herring of making you think she will actually do anything worthwhile. 

Character development is more about the guys learning how to get along and bromancing than trying to get with Felicitia, who is rarely present, not really the focus of most of the episodes and is just talked about as almost an object. Backstories given are interesting but really are not needed to the extent given with how many episodes there are. Which only shows that there isnt much to really have in this anime besides explain why so and so has this card and why they are apart of the 'family'. 

By the time the last episode happens with the actual duels, it stops being really about some amazing battle, as fight scene are for the most part rushed into a 30 sec rounds, but more about this family value plot that has developed that attempts to do the typical, we may not all be genetically related but we care for eachother stuff..but really just ends up saying that we just want used you for our own gains, inclding our blood daughter. What makes it worse is that these people know they are being used yet still feel there is this bond here instead of what is inslavement of sorts. 

Romance that was supposedely the point of this whole plot is barely developed, and is more of an arrangement kind of deal. Without really interacting with the 2 obvious choices for her love much, she cannot have any real feelings towards them. When the fact that she has to choose one is clear, its hard to tell who she would choose because there is no basis to go off of. Most of the romance is really to the 2 guys, Liberta and Nova who start off hating eachother but after realizing they both like Felicitia they make the point in trying to win for her sake and with whatever hijinks end up getting along. This is the typical guy love of fighting eachother with their all to show that they care stuff going on. 

Not really worth the time it takes to watch the season but the use of another nationality is fun and the clothes are easy to cosplay so if anything that is a plus. 

2/10 story
6/10 animation
5/10 sound
4/10 characters
4/10 overall
Esztichan's avatar By on Apr 7, 2015

It's an opinion. Not a criticism.

Story: I liked the basic story, it was interesting, and original. But that story is lost in the meantime. So, what did we see? The both boy love the one girl. This is discussed in 3-10 episode. I hoped in that, there will be action, fight, and excitement, but it did not happen. Another thing, 12 episode is too few (by far) for this anime.
(Only me think that it's like the Kuroshitsuji a bit?)

Animation: I don't have any problems with it.

Sound: The opening, and the ending was good for me, and nothing more. The characters voices... when (example) Nova is child(in the memories), why he has deep voice?

Characters: I liked them all. Only one thing that really bothered me...
Felicitá; if she was agressive in the first, and the second episode, why all of a sudden became so dear with everyone?

Overall, I think a good anime could have been, if they do not spoil with a love story.
What a waste.

5/10 story
10/10 animation
9/10 sound
6/10 characters
6/10 overall
lyllyean's avatar By on Feb 25, 2014


The story revolves around a group of people sworn to protect Regalo Island, with their black suits and weapons they kind of give off a mafia fibe. While there are some really cool aspects within the story, like in the beginning when the boss declares a duello and the fact that all the main characters have some kind superpower based on Tarocco cards, it's doesn't really live up to it's potential.

In the beginning you get curious and you expect a lot of action and battles, however, after episode one it kind of becomes an emotional drama series with comic relief and not a lot of action happens. Until the last two episodes, when most of the characters are suddenly a lot weaker and you don't get to see a lot of the action.

Some aspects of the story are quite good, but most of the episodes could just have been filler eps.


The story takes place in Italy, and they did do a great job with incorperating that in the backgrounds and architecture of the buildings and stuff. Also in the clothing style. But besides the convincing and pretty accurate Italian style, it's pretty normal.


The opening and ending songs are kind of misleading, the opening song indicates a lot of action happening but that doesn't really show in the story. The ending song doesn't really fit either.

The sound effect are pretty simple. Nothing bad but nothing nice either.


There are a lot of characters, but mainly you'll follow the boss's daughter who's really trying to get along with everyone. From watching the first episode I concluded she was going to be a strong female character who was prepared to do anything because she wants to follow her own path. However I got strongly disapointed, she spend most of the series just sitting there going 'eh' all the time. Until the last episode, when she's suddenly a lot stronger. She ends up in situations that indicate that she's curious but then she doesn't show that in her behaviour. But then she does get angry when some of the guys tries to hit on her again.

The other characters are mainly all men. Pretty handsome men at that, they do all have individual personalities and show that in their appearence. We do get to see some of the backstory of the characters, which gives us a reason for their behaviour and actions.


Not an anime that I would watch again, it's kind of nice to watch but some aspects are really annoying. For example how the story could have been told in three episodes. And some of the character development is lacking.

I feel they could have done more with the concept. The powers of the cards are actually quite interesting.

However, if by any chance you do watch this series, make sure you watch the OVA. Just that one episode made watching the series worth while.

4/10 story
6/10 animation
5/10 sound
6/10 characters
5/10 overall
TallyCrow's avatar By on Jul 21, 2014

(My opinion everyone) 

First off I want to say, I can see why some people didn't like it, but I did. 

The story was amazing but I also felt like it lacked something... I wanted a bit more action but other than that I felt like it was an awesome storyline and it was unique apart from using Tarot cards which I think other Anime have used. 

The Animation and Sound was not a problem to me bar the fact the Dubbed voice of Felicitá was a tad annoying at times. 

I really loved the main three characters; Felicitá, Nova and Libertà. Nova and Libertà's relationship develops so much throughout the anime and I really loved that. The only problem I had with the characters was the fact I wanted more storylines to the other main characters for example I wanted to know more about Dante

Overall I really loved this Anime but wished that a few things were different and of course, I wished it would have been longer. 

9/10 story
10/10 animation
9.5/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall