All in the “Famiglia”

April 14th, 2013 in Anime, General Reviews by


This started off as a rather odd show. It is “La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia”, (Italian for “The Story of the Arcane Family“) and it tells the tales of this group of people above me who have made contracts with Tarot cards to gain special abilities, which allow them to protect the Island of Regalo from the true forces of evil. It’s a pretty capacious cast, so left’s run them down from left to right:

  • Luca is the personal butler to Felicita. His contract is with Temperance (harmony, balance and health).
  • Debito (Mr Eyepatch) runs the casino and he is with the Hermit, which means he can make himself invisible.
  • Pace (Specs) eats way too much lasagna. He is aligned with Strength (discipline and stability).
  • Felicita is the only girl of the group. She is the Lovers and this allows her to reads people’s heart and feelings.
  • The guy with his back to us is Jolly and he certainly is not. Second-highest ranking member, he signed on with the Moon, which allows him to draw out memories, forcibly if he must.
  • Nova is the Captain of the Holy Grail. Assigned to Death, he carries with him a dark secret.
  • Green eyes is Liberta. He is The Fool, a spirit in search of experience, but certainly brave.
  • Dante is the Head Captain and the Emperor, with the ability to remove and/or manipulate memories.

The series tells about how they protect the island, but also how they came to be, as they are not related by blood, only circumstance. Two additional people you do not see are Mondo and Sumire, the father and mother of this clan. We see everyone put through their paces, as they learn to control and focus their abilities, but the Big Thing comes when Mondo decides it is time to retire and wants to select the next head of the family, through a Battle Royal. Whomsoever wins will also get to wed Felicita. Needless to say, Felicita, being a modern woman, rankles at being treated as a prize and not a person, so she decides she will command her own fate.

It certainly is a good series, even when they dissolve into filler tropes and the back stories make up for a lot of thin individual plot lines, but it asks a lot of questions that it either can’t answer or chooses not to. They all seem to revolve around Jolly and his ‘experiments’. I mean, this guy is really dangerous, but it all seems to be OK in their little world, even though he could potentially kill them all without much provocation.

Something they had at the beginning of the series that they abandoned later on is a kind of round-table discussion at the end, when one of the members of the family has to be ‘punished’ for a transgression. It gets a little silly, but I didn’t realize how much I liked this throw-away segment until it was gone. Oh, well……….

On a scale of 1 to 10:

Artwork 8 (A good art design)
Plot 6 (Rather standard)
Pacing 8 (Keeps a balance well)
Effectiveness 6 (The lack of real headway can frustrate)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 3 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)

Overall 8 (A lot of that ‘sameness’ feel)

And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I am here to serve you.

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