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Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova | Worth Watching?


Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova, might be a series that people would sway their heads away at first. The idea is hardly original as demonstrated in previous sci-fi war theme series such as Strike Witches, Tactical Roar, Blue Submarine No. 6, and Full Metal Panic. Potential viewers for the series might also sway their heads away as lead director Seiji Kishi is in charge of this adaptation.

The main characters from this series includes the captain of the Blue Steel, Chihaya Gonzou. He can be described as a serious man with tactical mind of a leader with the ability to lead his crew through obstacles. However, he can’t do this alone without the help of his crew members. Among this group is a prominent avatar with code name 104 that also goes by the name “Iona”. Throughout the series, she describes herself as a weapon born to fight with no other purpose.

Iona can be easily described as a giant killer. She may have a small frame but Iona’s abilities shines in battle many times thanks to her ability to eradicate emotions and fight. She’s a character that is surrounded in mystery with her stoic behavior. Her relationship with Gonzou and the crew can be described as professional at best. Throughout the Anime you see her question existence and purpose.

The plot derives from the manga quite a bit with certain omitted scenes. It cuts out parts with this adaptation involving some of the comedic dialogues/scenes. Most importantly though is perhaps character development during the journey that is minimized in this series. Being a one-cour show, this anime suffers from rushing. There is also a lack of exploration in terms of characters’ backgrounds. Most of them are vaguely expressed by whom they are presently. The main protagonists are also difficult to get attached to because they hardly get any development.

Action wise, the series makes sense although the CGI might take awhile to get used to. As the series takes place mostly in a naval environment, most of the battle takes place at sea. The battleships themselves are modeled after real life naval ships. Hence, they are designed with devastating firepower that proves itself in battle. Most of the Fog ships possesses different personalities that reflects their designs. The weapons used throughout the series often includes missiles, force shields and wave motion cannons that clearly outshines our modern world’s technology.

Arpeggio of Blue Steel matches well by science fiction means. The way most of the characters are designed give them an impression that they are weapons of war or humans who stand up against them. The animation studio SANZIGEN is not well known though in the anime industry. They are known for only a few science fiction theme series including 009: RE: Cyborg and Black Rock Shooter. Fortunately, the background of the series redeems itself with glorious naval features, explosive battles, and science fiction aesthetics. The drawback would be the CGI that makes the show itself less powerful with its computer generated graphics. There’s also some fan service usually featuring the Fog Ships that might generate some reactions of eye rolling especially with the way camera angles are pointed at.

The soundtrack is pretty well done by OST standards. Most battle scenes are accompanied with a dynamic beat and dominant intensity. It brings out the intense environment that exists in this alternate historical world. The OP song “Savior of Song” is well performed by Nano (Btooom!, Phi Brain: Puzzle of God 2, Ark IX) with vibrations of energy. The ED song on the other hand provides feedback of a more calm atmosphere similar to some of the comedic scenes in the series. 


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