The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Kagihime Eikyuu Alice Rondo

Title: Kagihime Eikyuu Alice Rondo aka Kagihime Monogatari Eikyuu Alice Rondo aka Key Princess Story: Eternal Alice Rondo
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Trinet Entertainment/Picture Magic
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 4 Jan 2006 – 29 Mar 2006

Synopsis: Kirihara Aruto is a big fan of Alternate L. Takion’s two Alice in Wonderland novels, to the extent that he has an expert knowledge of the works, and has even written fan novels based on the Alice universe. One night he sees a girl flying through the moonlit sky that looks exactly how he imagines Alice. Kirihara chases after the girl, but when he catches up to her, he finds the girl, coincidentally named Arisugawa Arisu, in the middle of a deadly battle.

The Highlights
Premise: Beyond ridiculous.
Plot: Poorly paced; never more than mildly interesting.
Characters: The ones that aren’t flat are nonsensical.

As a guide to the quality of a series, I’ve never found the first episode to be exceptionally reliable. All too often what appears to be an intriguing series at its outset turns out to be a disappointment, or what displays no promise turns into a big, welcome surprise. However, there are some anime that have such ridiculous, mind-numbing first episodes that it’s obvious that the rest of the series is going to be horrendous. Kagihime Eikyuu Alice Rondo is such an anime.

The best way to demonstrate the absurdity of this anime is to describe its premise. The story follows a generic male lead and his two moé-instilled love interests (one of whom is his blood-related sister) as they travel into the customary hidden dimension to fight magically imbued females for their “stories,” which are extracted on the conclusion of the battle by plunging their key-swords betwixt the sizable bosoms of their defeated foes. If that wasn’t absurd enough, most “Seekers of Alice,” as these magical girls are called, experience an enlargement of breasts upon their obligatory transformation sequence before each battle. It is, in other words, a fairly standard mahou shoujo plot-line, infused with some harem, shounen action, and fantasy element stirred together frenetically to make a disgusting mess and an inevitable identity crisis.

If you ignore, momentarily, that a lot of the elements were aimed at the lowest common denominator and many scenes were played out purely for fanservice, then there’s no reason why Kagihime needed to have been such a bad series. Even so, the plot is an absolute chore to get through. After the first few episodes introduce the characters, the focus turns to a succession of episodic fights with throwaway antagonists that make little impact on the story and characters. The characters are flat and when the few that are offered backstories finally have them revealed, some of them are so ridiculous I literally buried my head in my hands in despair. Every now and then an intriguing plot twist transpires, especially towards the end, but it’s rarely enough to even mildly pique my interest in the story. For whatever reason, the main story actually concludes in the penultimate episode, and the series finishes with a filler episode. A good story should climax at its end… but what I’ve described is not a good story.

The aesthetics are poor. Many fight scenes are laughable; comparable to Kannaduki no Miko’s parody-of-what battle sequences, minus the mecha. The animation is rarely crisp and fluid when it needs to be and the music is forgettable and sometimes irritating. The visual experience is further hindered by some rather distracting character designs, though it’s something that becomes less noticeable with time. Overall, Kagihime has very little going for it. Its story is boring, the majority of its cast is lacking in personality, let alone any depth, and the art is unattractive. However, the worst thing about Kagihime is just how ridiculous it can be when it so chooses. Avoid Kagihime. Even as mindless entertainment, this delivers sporadically at best.

The Rating: 3

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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