Arpeggio is one of those shows which will forever be remembered as “that bad CGI anime with the battleships turning to girls”. Well, there obviously are far more things going on in it but who cares; you will remember it just for that, since it is ensnared in the middle of the uncanny valley effect. This is what it boils down to; and in case it went over your head the first time, allow me to repeat it once again: A show with bad CGI and battleships that are in fact cute girls. We live in the post Avatar era, fed up with schools and moe and THIS is what some create in an attempt to make us give a damn? What were the creators trying to do; spend money for the heck of it? Burning them in a fireplace would have the same effect and would also keep some poor orphans warm. Because as sure as hell it is not entertaining, so why not make a few poor children happy?
… What? What is that you say? Some people liked it? It has lots of cool stuff in it? It’s very entertaining? Oh, that’s right, silly me, I was talking about myself all this time while writing a review that is aimed at everybody; I should take both ends of the spectrum if I am supposed to be objective. Even though objectivity does not exist. Anyways, let’s go over the several amazing traits of this show which apparently managed to mesmerize thousands of people.
1) The manga is good.
Well, I guess that is good for the manga. This though is a review about the anime, so it doesn’t really manage to prove anything to its favor, especially when they omitted a lot of scenes during the adaptation.
2) The premise is interesting.
You don’t say; the premise is interesting, let’s give it an 11/10 then. And here I thought you are supposed to DO something with it, aside from making it interesting. Wait, what is the premise again? Mankind is prevented from traveling through the seas because magical evil girls which turn to battleships are shooting at them. Since Japan is an island nation, they are trapped there, until a bunch of teenagers with hax powers save the day. Well, that’s interesting if you are still 10yo I guess. If you aren’t, well, it’s completely retarded. Not to mention, a rehash of Attack On Titan, which aired a few months prior to this, so it can’t even be considered an uncommon premise. Furthermore, we get so little exploration of the setting the story takes place in, that it doesn’t even manage to excuse its silliness. A ton of technobabble may have made the whole concept of magic girl battleships more plausible, and it turn would allow better immersion to whatever else there is in it. And nope, there isn’t any. Instead of that you get lots of badly fitting comedy and fan service, which makes impossible to take seriously a story about humanity being annihilated by doomsday devises. So no, besides a couple of interesting ideas, you get nothing else.
3) The battles are tactical.
They sort of are. They don’t simply use raw force but occasionally head for stealth and deception. But then you realize only the lead ship, controlled by a cooldere schoolgirl, is the only magically powerful enough to defeat the other evil ships, which are controlled by stereotypical girls of all fetishes. You know, that sort of renders everybody else in the world useless. Tactics mean nothing if they are used only by a handful of people and work only against a handful of girly personifications of battleships. Or do you think any of these strategies have any effect if they are used by a normal ship? Without a universal usage, you are left watching hax superpowers versus other hax superpowers with the illusion of brain power thrown in. Sort of how Code Geass is plain retarded and just pretends it is smart and full of tactics. And of course let’s not forget how bad the CGI looks, which makes the battles even harder to like.
4) The characters have internal struggles.
Yes, both the human military and the evil battleship waifus occasionally argue and are concerned with one another. Because humans are afraid the good battleship waifu may turn against them since it can easily beat them all, while the evil waifus have a thing called personality, which makes them not following their programming all the time. That manages to make the cast 2-dimensional at times. Emphasis on “at times” since they follow the stereotypes pretty close and even their supposed development is predictable. It’s not like they are gray, or complicating, or something more than just not autistic to their surroundings. This detail is hardly enough to make them worthy to remember, especially when there is very little character development to back it up. Heck, the evil waifus get more development than the main crew, which remains as a barely explored bunch of teenagers throughout the series. You have a main character who boasts being super smart, and a main heroine who is an emotionless girl battleship, and that is pretty much all you get. The rest of the human characters get even less to remember them for. So yes, the villains get the entire spotlight, and even then it is hard to like them when the show treats them as sluts in need of a psychiatrist.
There you have it, a show which did everything wrong and ends up being bad. Have fun not watching it.