The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Earl and Fairy

Title: Earl and Fairy aka Hakushaku to Yousei
Genre: Romance/Action
Company: Artland
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 29 Sep 2008 – 24 Dec 2008

Synopsis: Lydia Carlton is a fairy doctor, which means she can see faeries. A talent she inherited from her deceased mother, Lydia isn’t often approached for her services, since the time when people believed in faeries and went to fairy doctors for help has long past. Her father invites her to London, but along the way she’s caught up in a kidnapping plot involving a mysterious man with ash mauve eyes. Lydia and the man, named Edgar Ashenbert, escape together. Edgar claims to be a descendant of the Blue Knight Earl, ruler of the Fairy Nation, and asks Lydia to help him reclaim his inherited land.

The Highlights
Plot: Overly convoluted and too ambitious.
Logic: Highly questionable; changes at the plot’s convenience.
Romance: Fun; resembles a game.
Main characters: Lack depth, but are enjoyable to watch.
ED sequence: Too many half-naked men for my liking.

Filled with cute fairies and bishounen, Earl and Fairy is very much a girl’s anime. However, unlike many of the better shoujo anime, there’s not much in this that doesn’t overtly appeal to females. Putting that to one side for the sake of reviewing it, this is a fun, if mild, anime that has amusing characters, but an overly convoluted plot which is too ambitious given the emotional complexity (or lack thereof) of this anime.

Although it’s set in Victorian England, there’s not much in this that’s grounded at all. Faeries are the order of the day, so it’s no surprise that the plot resembles a fairy tale, bending and twisting its own internal logic at its own convenience, and then using contrivances to both generate and then solve the dilemmas the characters face. One can tolerate the lack of logic in the writing for a few episodes, since the show lacks the truly solemn atmosphere which would make questionable writing feel like a betrayal of sorts (see Death Note or Code Geass R2 for what I’m talking about), but the episodes leading to the climax are a mess, featuring excessive plot twists and plot devices a plenty. The constant explanations and counter-explanations don’t quite reach the proportions of Toaru Majutsu no Index (anime’s equivalent of a giant wall of text), but I do admit I struggled to keep up at times, which says a lot, since I don’t think myself a slouch at “keeping up”.

The main characters lack depth, and I’d almost argue only Edgar received any meaningful character development, but they are fun to watch. Edgar and Lydia are a natural mismatch, a case of opposites attracting. Edgar is decisively non-Victorian, approaching his romance with Lydia as a game of pitching woo, which he’ll win when she finally surrenders to him and admits her real feelings. Lydia, on the other hand, is very Victorian, taking a reserved, no-nonsense, all-things-proper approach towards romance and is completely distrustful of how open and impulsive Edgar can be towards the all-important matter of love. For that reason, the romance resembles a game which will inevitably end when the two meet each other half way (but we all know who’ll win in the end). Despite this, outside of a romantic context, Lydia is a strong character, approaching most situations with a cool head and never second guessing her own motives. Admittedly she does approach Mary Sue territory, particularly being the target of affection of at least three men, but I’ve always been partial to capable female leads. Mizuki Nana really pulls off this type of character with aplomb; she almost can’t help but sound cute, but she also renders a headstrong character.

On the other hand, the side characters are a bit of bore, with too many of them, such as Raven, coming off as overly stoic. There’s nothing terribly groundbreaking about this anime, and while the main characters are fun, the script falls far short of what it’s aiming for. For what it is, it’s a mildly entertaining series, but a lack of emotional depth and a weak, convoluted plot render it largely forgettable.

The Rating: 5
5/10

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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