- 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.