Arata Kangatari (Satelight) – Genre: Action, Fantasy, School
Episode 01 – “The Life of Arata”
So we’ve seen a lot of anime where normal Japanese teenagers get transported to alternate worlds, but Arata Kangatari puts a little spin on this tried and true fantasy formula. In modern Japan, we have Arata Hinohara (CV: Nobuhiko Okamoto, as in Rin from Ao no Exorcist) who has trouble fitting in at his school. He gets bullied by a bunch of jealous senpai and discovers that his only friend has been faking it the whole time. Jumping to the alternate world of Amawakuni, we have Arata (CV: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, as in Kirito from Sword Art Online) who is forced into crossdressing. Yeah…lemme explain the situation a bit.
In the mystical land of where Arata is from, a female heir from the Hime family is chosen every 30 years to take over. However, the family hasn’t given birth to a female in the past 60 years, only the lone male Arata. In order to buy time to find a suitable princess candidate, Arata is made to crossdress at the festival. I’m not sure how much sense this makes to anyone else, but if they couldn’t find an heir in the past 30 years I don’t know what makes them think three more days would make any difference. Well, Arata meets the current princess, along with her 12 Shinshou warriors to do go about the ceremony. But suddenly, the Shinshou betray the princess and assassinate her! Arata is framed for the crime and is forced to flee into the cursed Kando Forest.
At this point, Hinohara is feeling down on his luck and wishes to disappear from the world (you know, normal teen problems). Well, he sure as hell gets his wish because he and the other Arata swap places across dimensions. He finds himself in the forest, school uniform and all, being chased by soldiers. Luckily, Arata’s childhood friend Kotoha (CV: Ayahi Takagaki, as in Erika from Durarara!!) comes to the rescue. I still don’t understand how they could mistake him for Arata when they don’t look alike and he’s wearing different clothes. Whatever. He takes refuge in Arata’s grandmother’s place, until the soldiers bust in and take Kotoha hostage. They threaten to kill her unless Arata comes out, but Kotoha defends him. Hinohara is amazed at her trust, especially since his best friend betrayed, and he jumps out of hiding to rescue her. He takes the sword that even Arata couldn’t use and summons magical powers from nowhere.
Yeah…a lot of stuff doesn’t particularly make much sense to me, but maybe that’s just me. The animation is average at best, but the plot is interesting so far, and I like the idea of switching worlds, even though it’s an awfully popular plot device lately. I only have mild interest at this point, but for people who enjoy action, this may prove to be a promising series to follow.