Arcana Famiglia ~ La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia is the Anime adaptation of the Otome game by the same name. The Anime series focuses on a group of young men and one very lucky woman in a European town of some kind as they do things together around town and the mansion that they’re hosted in.
The storyline of the series should be based around the group and their Arcana Powers, but the main character barely even knows hers exists until around 4-5 episodes into the show. More onto this, there is some kind of tournament for the main characters hand that Arcana Famiglia members are supposed to be fighting in, but that seems to take a backseat for the majority of the series to instead focus on how all of the men within the series are completely gunning for the hand of the main character girl while also remaining close friends and having fun.
As Arcana Famiglia is based on an Otome Visual Novel, the pacing of the Anime series is a little bit off. Entire episodes pass where nothing of note particularly happens. We mean, things happen within the episode, but as for the overall plot, it advances at snails pace. This is strange given the short length of the series, but it is what it is.
To be completely honest, it seems as though whomever worked on the English dub for this series hadn’t seen the source material at all and instead just kind of slapped lines and voices onto characters. On the whole, the English adaptation of Arcana Famiglia is on the level of “so bad that it’s the best thing ever”. Like seriously. We have no idea who approved this, who did quality inspection or if anybody even compared episodes against their Japanese counterparts, but it turned out hilariously and awfully entertaining.
As an example, we’ll take the character Nova. Now, by default, the disc plays back in English. This wouldn’t be a problem, really, as the character Nova does look pretty feminine in comparison to the other characters in the show. However, the first time you see a full body shot of the character, you start to wonder if, in fact, the character is female. This is because the voice coming out of the character is in direct contrast to their physical appearance. Now, if anybody was curious, like we were, of if the character was indeed female, they’d switch the language track over. These people clearly did more than whomever was in charge of the localisation of this series.
Nova is a male character, and has been since the first line of dialogue in the series. At least in the Japanese version. This is even further corroborated by the fact that in the fifth episode, they even clearly state that Nova is a he during a flashback of when he was a child. Now at this point, the localisation team has caught onto their error and have employed a male voice actor to play as the child. This creates a massively inconsistent dub as it leaves the audience wondering if the character is some kind of trans character, or if the localisation team had indeed completely messed up the adaptation. What’s even worse is that after that after that particular scene, Nova suddenly has a put on deeper voice that is clearly fake. It is readily apparent that this was localised on the go with no quality assurance at all.
This isn’t really the fault of Hanabee that has licensed this for distribution in Australia. It is so very clearly the fault of Sentai, an Anime localisation studio in the USA. Between them and Funimation, we almost don’t want to touch English Anime adaptations, if this is the quality we can look forward to in releases. We feel sad slamming this so far, but it’s something that needs to be said. We feel that to get the most optimal experience from this Anime series, it needs to be watched in its native language with subtitles so as to not have to deal with such terrible dubbing.
What’s interesting in Arcana Famiglia is the way the cast works. The male characters almost always seem to be both incredible friends with each other, as well as constantly at each others throats. This in contrast with the lead female character, that acts as both an emotional rock and an anchor for the rest of the characters to hang to. It makes it a tad strange to see her taking charge but then falling back into the sidelines during action sequences because of this. But, eh, is based on an Otome game, so it’s already prescribed that way.
The best thing about this particular series has to be the opening theme. It’s just so exciting and fun, that it serves as a way of building up the viewer before the episode properly begins. However, this just worsens the blow taken by watching the average episode.
Arcana Famiglia is a series that we find it hard to recommend. This is because it is just a blatantly inconsistent series that has had no effort put into the localisation by Sentai. If you’re a fan of the games, you’ll want to pick this up for collectable reasons, but outside of that, we wouldn’t recommend watching.
Arcana Famiglia ~ La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia is released by Hanabee here in Australia. It was localised by Sentai, and they should rightfully be receiving all of the hate for a shoddy localisation effort. It can be picked up for $59.99 on the Hanabee store.