Manga Adaptation by Satelight
Simulcast on Crunchyroll
Premise: Arata Hinohara is constantly bullied at school and has trouble making friends. In a different world called Amawakuni, another boy named Arata is framed for murder while trying to save his clan. While fleeing for his life, he runs into a mysterious forest and the two Aratas change places.
Jel’s Verdict: Refreshing
I can’t think of anything I’ve watched recently that’s quite like Arata the Legend. It kind of felt like a show you would see 15 or 20 years ago when these world swapping stories were a little more common. Aside from the novelty factor though, I was more surprised this was a really solid episode all around. While I wouldn’t say the story telling and emotion were particularly nuanced, we were able to learn about the each of the Aratas’ predicaments without having it smashed into our face or grinding through a boring infodump. With one Arata trapped in a fantasy world and running for his life, and the other presumably dealing with the challenges of a bullied modern high school student, this episode opened up a lot of potential for good plot lines in the future.
It also helps Arata has strong production values to back up the plot. I really love the vaguely Chinese aesthetic of Amawakuni, with its appropriately outlandish character and weapon designs. It’s not going to challenge Gargantia or Attack On Titan (or even The Devil Is A Part Timer oddly enough) as far as best animation quality this season, but it’s not bad to look at either. Really my only concern going forward is whether Arata will stick its solid storytelling and unique setup, or if it will fall into predictable shonen battle show trappings. With the conveniently numbered twelve Shinshou established as the enemy, I could totally see it going that route. If Arata can keep up what they have going in this first episode though, it could be really good. I’ll try and keep an eye on it as the season goes on.
Lifesong’s Verdict: Surprisingly Fun
Jel really said it all. Arata is reminiscent of fantasy anime from days long past. There isn’t any one thing about this anime that really sticks out to me as awesome, but the execution of the first episode is done with a sense of grace that feels fresh. I am not really sure what to expect from this anime, but I plan to follow along. This fantasy world looks to have some depth to it and I looking forward to exploring that. If you like fantasy this is probably worth some of your time.