Blu-ray Review: La storia della Arcana Famiglia (2012)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Monday, March 24, 2014 0 comments

La storia della Arcana Famiglia (boy that's a mouthful) is an animated mafia drama show.  This show is about a mafia family that lives on a small Italian island called Regalo and they do their best to protect it from criminals and damn dirty pirates (yah har harg).  After finishing a very explosive task we see all of the members attend a meeting hosted by their leaders named Papa and Mama (all the leaves are brown and the sky is grey).  Papa announces something big and that is he is holding a special tournament where all his men and women will be fighting one another until a grand champion is crowned.  The winner will not only be granted a wish and be head of the family but will also win the hand (in marriage that is) of his daughter, Felicita.  Felicita is not too happy about it and rejects the idea of being served to the champion like a doll.  Lucky for her she is also one of Papa's soldiers and is eligible to be entered into the tournament and she intends of winning it so she can get her wish and also doesn't have to get married.  These men are not your everyday foot-soldiers either as they all have contracts with tarot cards that give them all special abilities based on the card that they have made a deal with.  This show sounds like a lot a fun but don't be fooled as...  Well just click to find out after the jump (I'm such a tease).  (Click "Read More" to read the full review).

The first episode sets up the show with a very interesting plot but that's all just one big tease as we don't see the show follow up on it until the final episode (episode twelve).  That's right ladies and gentlemen we get nothing but filler episodes through out (roughly) eighty-three-point-five percent of the show (I cheated and used a calculator to solve that).  All the filler episodes of the show aren't even about the build-up to the tournament but instead are about useless stories that help you get to know the characters so that you'd be drawn in emotionally by the time the characters battle.  I typically don't mind filler episodes if it were one or two episodes but having ten episodes of filler in a twelve episode show is way too much.  The filler episodes themselves ranged from average to decent and I did enjoy a few of them as they had some decent action and did help me to care about some of the characters.  I did not care for the drama in the rest of them as it was very uninteresting and it felt like the writers were caught in a tangent.  The show is very predictable too and you will see all the twists coming from a light-year away.  I actually really enjoyed the flashbacks in this show where they showed some of the older characters in their prime and I wonder why they didn't just make full episodes of a full series about the islands past as they were way more interesting than anything that happened in this show and that includes the main plot.

By the time we do get to the final episode you will be severely disappointed due to how anti-climatic and rushed it was.  The tournament should've been a few episodes long as it would've drawn us emotionally deeper into the characters and fights.  The tournament also has a very creepy element to it as while it is a tournament to win Felicita's hand in marriage (and among other things) you will see her blood relatives like her cousins and even her mother entered in the tournament which gives it a very, very, veerrry creepy incest vibe to it (cue "Dueling Banjos"). Characters themselves are alright and they do have some charming traits but some of them can also get quite annoying.  I do like how they have powers based on making deals with tarot cards as it gives them a unique feeling about them but it also would've been nice to see the characters in more situations where they get to use their powers.

Artwork had really strong coloring and it looks great but the character designs are very unoriginal and lazy with some very stock designs.  I'm mixed on the backgrounds as you do get some good looking ones but there are some backgrounds that lack depth and look very flat.  I like the animation on the action but the facial animation is really goofy and you will see some very awkward facial posing that looks like something out of an parody comic dome by some schmuck on the Internet.  The English dub is very average and it also sounded rushed as there wasn't much detail put into the characters voices.  They also did a thing in this show where they gave one of the female maids a males voice and while this does sound funny on paper it ends up sounding too stupid and out of place.  Soundtrack in this show is very decent and does it's job at setting the mood.

There's a very slim but welcomed selection of special features that includes text-less opening and closing credit sequences.  The opening  credits weren't bad as I liked how it was stylized to look like old kung-fu flicks and the music was decent.  The music in the closing credits was also decent but there isn't much going on in terms of animation as it's only three panels from the manga repeating like a screensaver that's been sent on photo mode.  There is also a special bonus episode that has the main cast accidentally drink a potion that has them all switching bodies and they must find the antidote without letting anyone else find out that they've all switched bodies.  This episode was okay but a bit of a novelty and also very predictable but it did also give me a few laughs.  Overall this show could've been a lot better if they trimmed down the filler and I do not recommend this due to how frustrating the show gets with it's filler.  Avoid.

Title: La storia della Arcana Famiglia
Animation/Production Studio: J.C. Staff
Genre: Animation/Anime, Action, Drama, Romance, Comedy, Mafia, Fantasy
Running Time: 308 Minutes (12 Episodes + 1 Bonus OVA)
Distributor: Hanabee Entertainment (
Rating: PG (Mild themes, sexual references, coarse language, animated violence)
Price: $64.99
Recommended: No


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