Even at first glance, Fortune Arterial seems... shakey... generic. Whoever said "don't judge a book by its covers" probably didn't look in the right book section because, indeed, Fortune Arterial is shakey and very generic. The experience of watching Fortune Arterial is comparable to eating rotten food (not that you would ever do it voluntarily)- the experience is horrible for the first half, then after eating it for a while your taste buds already dead so you feel that it's passable. After you finish eating all the rotten food, you look back and ask yourself "what the hell just happened?" Not all of the episodes were bad, just a majority of them - pointless episodes that you wonder "why the hell are they showing me these things". In addition, the lolwtfBBQ ending really didn't do much to improve the standing of this anime in my eyes.
The story is my biggest problem with this anime. Simply put, the plot doesn't make sense. The story follows Kouhei after he transfers to a private academy. On the first day, he meets the Vice-president Erika, who strangely alienates him by suddenly stepping away from him. Later he learns that the both the prez and vp are vampires. I think, at this point, ok a generic vampire school one, I'll just put my hopes at that. Yet, surprisingly it fell even short of what low expectations I put onto it. For seriously the first half of the season, nothing happens. Take my word, absolutely nothing happened. They went shopping, talking, tea blah blah blah. Then for the second half of the season, it seems like the producers were smoking crack, trying to fit in everything into the remaining measly 6 episodes. This shows very faulty planning and poor organization. Certainly it would be wise to introduce the plot through the season, maybe even hinting at it for the first few seasons if they don't want to jump right into it, but none of that happened in the beginning. The characters kinda just shopped their asses away and then worked their asses off for the remaining episodes trying to do everything that was written. Truth be told, I skipped parts through the episodes in first half of the season because it bored me to the point where I'd write English essay sometimes instead of watching it. And I didn't feel bad about it. The second major let down was when I become very interested in it starting at the 7th episode and it began to build suspense. I expected a stunning ending.. and all I got was a cheap generic one leaving myself to wonder "wait.. what the fok happened in these 12 episodes?". Grr. the horrible plot makes me angry just by thinking about it. After 12 episodes, almost nothing happened and the things that did happen were relatively insignificant and beyond my care.
Art was probably the only thing that matters that significantly raised the score. The art is good, nothing exceptional, but pretty to look at and doesn't interfere with enjoyment of the story (albeit the meagerness of enjoyment). Besides, one of the characters in the end looked so much like Yami, so I found that pretty awesome.
ugh... characters. What can I say? Kouhei's dense, retarded and probably a fallible species of those generic harem type males. It comes to the point where you're almost yelling at the screen asking how he could be any more oblivious. Oops she's screaming in pain and falls down, knocking over and breaking stuff... BUT she says she's ok with a pained expression... so SHE MUST BE OK :D. yeah that's how "smart" Kouhei is. Nevertheless, the producers had no problem portraying him to the level of goody2shoe that even Mary Sue would get annoyed at his actions. You'd hear the word "Gomen" about 5 times for every time you see something enjoyable. Besides Kouhei's pathetic personality, I find that the majority of the characters weren't too likable or significant. The manipulative and arrogant president, the overprotective secretary, the loud obnoxious loli... perhaps the other quiet loli was the only character that I didn't dislike. What's more is that over 80% of the anime was simply the lazy president forcing Kouhei to join the student council and forcing him to plan events. After 7 episodes of Kouhei with papers around, typing and bowing to the store owners for their support in the next whatever event, one tends to get bored. Very bored.Meanwhile the prez is trying to get Kouhei and Erika together all the time for some unknown reason revealed later. Nevertheless, nothing happens between those two. If you were hoping for a nice summer romance, well look for somewhere else. The lack of actual love in the plot sticks out like a sore thumb in the pile of "we believe you" "you're important" and "not only I, the school needs you!" cheesy crap.
After reading all these vehement criticism of Fortune Arterial that I wrote up until now, I'd feel bad to simply leave it at that without explanations for improvements. There were some very good things about this anime: stirring scenes that incites emotion, suspense keeping the viewer watching, deep character developments, however, animes hardly ever succeed with just that. What let me down the most was the ending. I was so hooked on the series from episode 7-11 that I thought a good ending would amend for the crap first half of the season; yet, I was very disappointing by the ending and it's inability to introduce something innovative. Not even at the standard of just generic, the ending reverted it so absolutely nothing important happened at all. If the producers ever make a second season, these are some aspects they should consider.
1) Better organization and connection of plot and events so they make sense
2) Cut the useless school scenes and focus on the actual plot. Many anime attempts to combine school and ulterior plot, but unfortunately few succeed at that ordeal.
3) Reduce the episodes spent on developing the history of characters that didn't play a single role in the actual plot.
I really hope that if another season comes out, it would be a season where the characters in it could actually feel proud being in it. Call me weird but I sometimes feel sorry for the anime characters being in an anime that was just skimmed through and thrown away. They unfairly carry the failure of the producers who made it.
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