PRICES GO UP AT THE GATE
Written by hanachan
It’s Gonna be Legen--WAIT FOR IT: Arata the Legend
Most shoujo anime fans have read or watched at least one of Yuu Watase’s titles at some point or another. Between Fushigi Yuugi, Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden, Absolute Boyfriend, Alice 19th, and Ceres: Celestial Legend, there’s something for almost everyone. But there’s never been anything for fans of shounen until now. Arata the Legend is a traditional shounen action series that both guys and girls will enjoy.
Arata the Legend tells the story of two different worlds: Amawakuni, a mythical world with magic and gods and stuff, and regular, modern-day Japan. Arata is a son of the Hime family, from whom the princess of Amawakuni is always chosen. It’s time for the old princess to retire, but because of the current lack of females in the family, Arata is being forced by his grandmother to cross-dress and pose for the role so they won’t be punished for failing to produce a new one.
However, during the ruler changeover ceremony, the princess is betrayed and killed by her twelve Shinsho, powerful magic weapon-wielder guard guys. Of course these super villianous-looking Shinsho dudes then frame Arata for her murder, and he is chased into this scary, people-eating forest. It turns out it really just switches them with people from another world. Which brings us to....
Hinohara Arata was seriously bullied in middle school (I’m not really sure why since he seems like a nice, attractive, intelligent kid) and is still pretty emo over it, but seems to be doing better at his new high school. Unfortunately the old main bully (his childhood friend Kadowaki) is skulking around in the background and ends up intimidating Arata’s one friend into bullying him too. Hinohara feels seriously betrayed and freaks the f*** out. As he’s meandering around wishing to disappear... he does.
Suddenly he’s got a few more problems when everyone in Amawakuni thinks he’s the other Arata, and thus a murdering fugitive on the run from the law. So with his trusty sidekick (Arata’s female childhood friend/servant Kotoha), he finds out that he’s a Sho--one of those magic weapon-wielder guys--and the princess wants him to stop the evil Shinsho. Quest time! Meanwhile, Other Arata is just stuck in Japan with everyone thinking he’s Hinohara. The series is kind of one-sided about who the story follows, focusing mainly on Hinohara’s adventures in Amawakuni.
The few problems I had with the series are mainly art-related. I find the promotional poster for the series to be embarrassingly generic, and the opening to actually look poor in quality compared with the episode animation. I’m also a little disappointed with the way Yuu Watase’s super distinctive art style was translated in the anime. It’s a bit more boring and typical than the manga. The story is one of those kind of slow starters that gets more interesting as you go on. Some of it kind of reminds me of The Legend of Himiko, which I watched years ago and still own the DVD’s for.
The series has nice animation and character designs, good music, and an interesting story, that I’ve heard gets way better as it goes on. The characters are pretty fun, and I’m really hoping they’ll add more to the main group. It has the overall feel of a Yuu Watase series, so I’m already a fan. If you’re looking for a refreshingly old-school anime feel, definitely check Arata the Legend out.