In unique fashion, here's a modified snippet from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet 43 for your personal enjoyment. It is the best way I can capture the pure essence of this show:
"Oh Anime Lottery Game, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways you have *BLEEP*ed me over this time 'round.
My soul could have leapt from the Maison Forte de Reignac château,
For being forced to endure this God-awful show!"
If you haven't guessed it, Ulysses: Jeanne d'Arc and the Alchemist Knight was my random selection for the masochistic pleasure known as the Anime Lottery Game (ALG) Fall 2018. And let me just forewarn you, I will be doing the best I can in this review in an attempt to discourage you from even considering watching this piece of (you know what)!
What story? So far the story feels rushed, is unoriginal, and completely uninspiring. It's about one country invading and attacking another country. How original. The timeline takes place from roughly 1337 to 1453. It's about a weak alchemist named Montmorency and his personal quest to unlock the powers of the Philosopher's Stone in order to save France. Again, how original. No other anime with the word "Alchemist" in its title features a story with the Philosopher's Stone being a main focal point. ◔_◔
The plot has too many holes in it, like Swiss cheese, except that the cheese at least has good taste. The show does not. Between the fondling of the girls and their over-endowed, uh, eyes (yeah, we’ll go with that), and the crude concept of the young protagonist, Jeanne D’Arc, constantly having to French kiss Montmorency is enough of a put-off to keep pedophiles and non-pedophiles alike from staying clear of this unsavory, tasteless show. Oh, and lets not forget the man on man kissing to sooth those bothered by the aforementioned (even though one of the so called "men" looks like an underaged little girl).
Is if that wasn't enough, at about midpoint in the series the plot becomes almost completely convoluted and confusing. Actual plot intricacies are attempting to be intigrated into the storyline, such as small actual pieces of European history are finally being introduced. However, it's done so horribly wrong that I am glad the real history is not like that.
Lastly, we start to see a swing to some more Mature Themes taking place, such as Jeanne (a child, mind you) having to take a virginity test to prove that she didn't sleep with the devil, or when Richemont gets captured and has her breasts and inner thigh fondled in a provocative manner. As I already mentioned, tasteless.
This is the only bright spot and saving grace of this revolting show, at least through the first few episodes. The line detail is sharp, the characters are well drawn, and the actual animation itself is above average, most of the time. There are a few scenes where the animators got lazy and have some really stiff looking characters “moving” about. Now that’s what you’d call an oxymoron due to it being difficult to move about on screen while looking as stiff as a board.
The details of the characters and overall variety of colors used is where the anime gets its visual accolades. Speaking of characters, the women…oh boy…are probably the only true reason to watch this, especially if really Huge Breasts are your thing; and I do mean every female except for the underaged French kisser, of course.
However, once you get past the first few episodes, both the artistic details and the quality of animation drop off significantly. It's almost as if studio AXsiZ ran out of money except for a few thousand yen, and are finishing more then half the series on that small amount alone. It becomes really bad. Some examples are clearly seen in the CG battles in episode six, atrocious! They all move like robots, when they are actually moving in the scenes. Even the hand animation isn't any better either. An excellent story with colorful stick figures would arguably be better then this portion of the animation!
The last 2-3 episodes do slightly improve again, which is good should you make it this far into the series.
Standard fair OP and ED. The soundtrack is equivocally adequate - try saying that 10 times fast! Heck, I can't even say it "one" time fast without screwing it up! The audio during the unenthralling action scenes is both average and inconsistent. If the scenes where actually better themselves, then you probably could go without noticing much sound at all in my opinion.
Bland, unlikeable, unrelatable, and underdeveloped. If all you're looking for is some female eye-candy, then you've come to the right place (re-read Animation section for further details). Otherwise, get out! This anime isn't for you, nor for me. (mumbles to self, "Damn lousy ALG pick!")
To briefly mention some of the main and secondary characters:
Don't do this to yourself. I had to because I'm bound by the ALG covenant, but if you don't have to suffer, then don't! You'd be better off standing near the edge of a cliff (see opening poem excerpt), staring down at the rocks below, and wondering to yourself, "Do I jump or do I continue to watch this disatrous show? Hmmm... What a conundrum; certain serious injury or death, or watching this anime? Such a hard decision."
Have I seen worse? After six episodes, I can tell you that I'm positive I have not! At the time of this final review update (Jan-29-2019), I cannot think of any. Believe me, I've been trying to ever since I started watching this. Unless the ALG gets me bad again, I doubt I will succeed in finding a lousier anime. If nothing else, let that very thought be a testament to the show's quality. If this show looked like dog fodder on a television, then it would be the worst review-rated show I've ever written. Period!
The anime is an insult to the real historical Hundred Years' War and of Joan of Arc events. I do not see anyone watching this past episode six, but if you're watching it beyond that (or at all), then historically insulting, horribly written, poorly animated, pedophile anime must be your thing. That's all this has going for it.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE: 3/10
1️⃣Weighted Average System Score: (3 + 6 + 5 + 9 + 6 = 29/100)
Disclaimer: I'm watching this because it was my ALG pick (and it's why you should never do ALG)
Story: A take on Jean of Arc story (legend?) with alchemy, fairies and a harem. Yes, a harem.
When I first read the synopsis I thought "oh it doesn't sound that bad" and first half of the season was watchable. Nothing too spectacular, some fan service, potential incest, potential pedophile but hey it's anime. Complete with a perverted summary of the following episode (which usually didn't go well with the tone of the actual episode) and (surprisingly useful) French lessons.
Animation and Sound: Probably a redeeming quality in this case - some very nice fighting scenes and it looks pretty. One thing I'd say looked bad are the final few episodes, where the setting is just very dark and it looks like they didn't bother much with it.
One thing that annoyed me was Jean's voice, in her non Ulysses form. I get that she's cute and all that, but do we have to have her sound like that?
Plus points for ED
Characters: Oh boy. I don't know why they went with Gilles de Rais as the main character. All things considered, it wasn't the happiest choice. As far as the actual character goes - for a main character he wasn't whiny, which is often the case with harem anime. Jean is sweet, but there isn't much else to her. Rest of them weren't memorable, as they're mostly girls running after the main characters.
I can't say there was a lot of character development, as it kind of got pushed to the background.
Conclusion: This was by far one of the worst anime I've seen in my life. Okay, you wanted to do a different take, you added mythological elements, you added cute girls, there's even a trap to appeal to the general fan-service-loving audience. BUT it failed to deliver on so many levels. Dialogue was terrible, characters were so shallow (one of them literally tortures her brother and no one cares), villans were just boring, there's so many of them and the anime itself has no clear direction. I read an interview with the director recently and while I think he wanted to create something nice, but in the end it looked like he put more effort into the ending sequence than the actual episodes. They have so many elements that might work separately, but pushed together like this, while trying to seem appealing to the target audience, they just didn't work out.
It was shit. The story was subpar, the character were meh, the only thing that was alright about it was the animation and that want even that good. The story basically revolves around a 20 year old adult spending a good chunk of his youth in a tower learning about alchemy, just so he can return to the real world and become a sexual predator. I understand during the 13th, 14th century old men and aristocrats used to take wife much younger then them, but they where at least 15 or around that age , she barely looks 10 years old. Then that fact that he seem to have sexual feelings for a girl that underage in modern standards and at least 8 to 10 years younger than him is disgusting. That's just what's wrong with the story the characters didn't make this anime more enjoyable, if anything they made it worst.Why the developers thought this premise would make for a good story is beyond me.
<section class="pure-g scores"></section>
I absolutely loved it !! I would recommand the story because it is different : I believe what's makes the story special is the fact that the main characters are not overpowered, there is humor, and also dark content which makes it roller coaster of emotions and an enjoyable ride !
As for the story, alchemy and fantasy makes it more intresting because mostly everyone knows what happened during the Hundred Years War but here these magical elements make way for unexpected scenes and so the story becomes even more intriguing !
The music is also captivating and the piano is really great for emotional scenes throughout the epidodes!
I really like the charcaters developping from the 1st to 12th episode and how they change! You can see them turn from kids to adults episodes by episodes all while keeping humor !
The animation and drawings are beautiful, especially the charcaters design along with the ones for fights and emotional scenes.
Overall I would truly recommand it for an audience that what to see something different. It is a special anime in it's own way and that difference is what's makes it intriguing and captivating at the same time !