First Look: Giant Beasts of Ars

Alternative title(s): Ars no Kyojū
Anime original by Asahi Production
Streaming on HIDIVE

Premise

The fantasy world of Ars is beset upon by the eponymous giant beasts, which can only be defeated with entire armies or with the magical powers of Paladins and their mystical weapon-people, Clerics. A mysterious girl known as Prototype #22 escapes her captors and meets a former Paladin named Jiro the Already Dead, and the two form a new pact to fight the giant beasts.

Iro’s verdict: Needs Pep

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this premise, and there are a fair number of dangling plot threads in this premiere, but it all feels a bit lifeless, which is disappointing from HIDIVE’s first co-production. The backgrounds and set dressing are comically bland apart from the out-of-place hovership, and I don’t feel like I’ve latched on to any of the characters, least of all our main duo. If you want to watch a fantasy show where a mysteriously powerful and powerfully mysterious pink-haired girl teams up with a skilled-but-cynical main man, you should really just go watch Rage of Bahamut: Genesis instead.

Artemis’ verdict: Confused But Intrigued (I think?)

There sure is a lot going on here. Lots of characters, lots of set pieces, lots of fantasy tropes that give this show a very old-school vibe, like it was based on a long series of novels published in the ‘80s or ‘90s. Visually it’s very much a contemporary title, but tonally, I’m getting more classic fantasy, back when it was de rigueur to have a million plot elements going on at once and not have them fit together into a cohesive whole until like book 3 or something. On the one hand, that certainly makes Ars stand out from the vast majority of shows that have aired not just in recent seasons but recent years, given that “fantasy anime” has more or less been taken over by isekai titles. On the other hand, it feels as though it’s not one but several different series stitched somewhat awkwardly together, so actually watching it is something of a disjointed experience. I’m intrigued enough by this anime-original to give it a second episode, but right now, I’m still a bit confused about how exactly I feel about it to commit.

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