Arad Senki: Slap Up Party
Released Year : April 4, 2009 to September 26, 2009
No of Episodes : 26
Genre : Action,Adventure,Comedy,Fantasy
Plot : The anime will follow the adventures of Baron, a man living on continent of Arad in the year 981 after "the cursed light of Kazan" has fallen across the land. Thanks to the curse, one of his arms has become possessed. After finding a sword that has been possessed by the spirit Roxy, he embarks on a quest to unravel the secret of the curse and meets various people who also join his party. (Source: ANN)
Our Review : Arad Senki is one of those series that are often overlooked because they do not appear interesting or already received a 'Deemed for Failure' stamp the moment the preview crawled its way to the wonderful i-net. Granted, the moment I found out Gonzo was behind this an alarm bell did ring in my head, but I still decided to have a go at this anime. This was not before recalling the wise lesson I have learned from watching Gonzo productions over the years:
Never put high expectations Gonzo, for it shall ruin your your expectations the most. Instead, expect the worst so it can only seem better.
After 18 episodes of Arad Senki I can tell you that wise lesson still applies. Want to discover how I came up with it? Watch Kaze no Stigma while expecting a good show. I'll be taking the time how long it takes for you to crawl back to me and admit you were naive. Anyways, review time.
The plot in Arad Senki is kinda based on your default RPG story; grow strong and the defeat the ultimate evil to grow into a SAVIIIIIOOOOOR. In this case it is a demon that has cast a curse over the continent, awakening monsters and causing any people that have witnessed it to slowly turn into Demons. The story focuses on a young man named Baron, who also received the curse and looks for a way to undo this.
Nothing wrong with that. I have seen anime series with an overused or boring plot still pull off something interesting. The problem with Arad Senki though is that there are too few plot related episodes, and that there usually are ~5 useless or 'stand-in' episodes between them. At the moment I am writing this I have watched up until episode 18 haven't seen much plot development at all. Only something involving a huge flower. Well this may change later on, so I'll leave it at this.
The art is, in my opinion, rather poor but somehow it fits the overall rpg-ish feeling of the series. Not to mention, Gonzo doesn't have a big budget so this may be the best they can pull off. If you have to decide between a good story with crappy art or good art with a crappy story I'd still go with the first option. The reason why the rating is 5 instead of 3 or 4 is not because I think that is where the art quality stands compared to other series, but because this is a Gonzo series. Their budget is low, they can't match the better anime companies anymore, they have a wife and kids at home...so lets show some sympathy. 'I am a compassionate person' as Hime from Princess Resurrection would call it while adjusting her hair.
I don't want to get started about the art used in the second OP for the series, so just drop that question.
Not much to see here. The soundtrack pretty much fits the overall show with a few RPG battle and 'route xxx' tunes, but its nothing too outstanding. However, it isn't bad either. The tunes go well with the battles and other scenes, so that's a plus that covers up for the lack of originality.
A sword user, a melee user, a gunner, a mage and a priest. Now, where have I seen that before...
The characters individually are a bit boring, but in a group they're a fun bunch to watch. Baron is the lead guy on a mission that doesn't mind a fight, Ryunmei is your damage dealer and source of the little bit of fanservice that passes by sometimes, Cabensis is your ranged support that is at the center of pretty much all comical parts with his expressions, Ixia is your mage with a sometimes childish attitude and Jeda is your priest sidekick with the muscles.
What I also like is the fact the the 'bad guys' are not just your average bunch with some insane/evil masterplan that try to stop you. They also get some development which allows you to get a better view of what situation they are in, how they feel etc. Especially after one of the recent episodes that was focused on them (although the main part was comedy again) I really felt for them.
Arad Senki isn't too popular, but it does have its own charm. And that is its comedy. It never fails to give me a good laugh every few episodes. The only problem I have with this series is the fact the emphasizes is a little bit too much on the comedy and useless stand-in episodes and too little on the plot. A 12-episode slot may have been better, but that means they had to go with either comedy or plot development. With 26 eps it is both, and although that isn't too bad here you can just tell that some episodes really have no real use other than stalling the excitement until the antagonists execute the next stage of their plan.
My recommendation: watch this show while not expecting anything too special and when you have nothing else to watch at the moment. If you take on Arad Senki with that attitude you'll be just fine. Even for a Gonzo production.
Final Rating: 6/10