The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Shukufuku no Campanella

Title: Shukufuku no Campanella aka Blessing of the Campanella
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Company: AIC
Format: 12 episodes
Date: 26 Jun 2010 – 17 Sep 2010

Synopsis: Welcome to Ert’Aria, a magical city that is known as the “World’s Treasure” for its flourishing trading and merchant activities. The people of Ert’Aria are busy preparing for the auspicious meteor shower which comes every seven years, including the Oasis clan which comprises of Leicester Maycraft the item engineer, Carina Verritti the mage, Chelsea Arcot the holy knight, and Agnes Boulange the puppeteer. While watching the meteor shower from a rooftop, they witnessed a mass-less meteor crashing into a church steeple. As Leicester rushes off to see what happened in the church, he stumbles upon a mysterious girl who wakes up and immediately acknowledges him as “Papa”.

The Highlights
Story: Pedestrian and predictable; harem genre but with minor quirks.
Characters: Shallow but hardly irritating, except for Minette and the Tortilla sisters.
Plot: There is one but unfortunately, not intriguing enough to be remotely interesting.
Campanella’s sugar levels: Saccharine.
Lester’s mom: Deserves her own episode.

“Vanilla” seems to be the most befitting word to describe Shukufuku no Campanella. Like the flavoring extract, it’s sweet, it’s nice and it can brighten up anybody’s day. Everything in the show sparkles and everyone in Ert’Aria is nice, even the villains whose agenda involves killing an innocent girl. But on the flip side, the negative definition of “vanilla” also describes the show’s bland story and generic premises. Since everything about the anime is nice and sweet, viewers won’t be getting any intrigue, vicious fights or even shameless fanservice. For those who want a show that is generally “inoffensive” to watch, maybe Campanella fits the bill. However, those who think that the series is too “inoffensive” to be interesting can count me in to the bandwagon.

Being “inoffensive” is not a bad thing per se; in this era where anime is continously bombarded with senseless violence and tasteless fanservice that borders hentai premises, Campanella is a show that no one will find insulting to watch. Although the hackneyed harem genre may turn off some viewers, the girls, who are the dominant fraction of the show’s cast, aren’t blatant sex objects and male lead Lester isn’t the dense lucky loser that’s commonly associated with such genre. In fact, Lester is a noble Mr. Nice Guy who doesn’t get on anybody’s nerves and, judging from his respectable treatment of the ladies around him, it’s quite understandable why they flock to him. But that’s the problem: things get dull quickly because everything and everyone’s so nice. The only two irritating traits about the cast are the Tortilla sisters’ routine gags that lack comedic bite, and Minette’s cutesy loli archetype. In addition, the ambiance can be a little jarring at times: the show feels like one targeting at kids, but the sporadic fanservice makes it inappropriate for such viewers. The contradictory combination is like seeing kids playing doctor suggestively, and it makes one wonder what this show is truly about.

What can also be associated with the whole “play-nice” trait is the show’s pedestrian storytelling and predictable plot development. Because being nice is the rule of the game, viewers don’t stand a chance to see any shocking plot twist, cutthroat villains and exciting action scenes that could’ve made things more engaging. Most of the time, the show decides to play it safe by refusing to push the limits even by an inch and do something original and controversial. The earlier episodes use a mechanical “Girl of the Week” style, and each episodic subplot is nothing more than just a light-hearted hiking trip, especially when there’s an episode where the clan basically picked up a magical flower and fought a possessed squirrel. To top it off, the clan gets out of the most desperate of situations often with the simplest of solutions, eventually diffusing any suspense viewers could’ve appreciated from.

Campanella decides not to follow the footsteps of its ero-game predecessor, and I’m quite pleased to see that this show doesn’t end up being fecal to the point of no return. However, it chooses not to be bold, provocative or even mildly interesting either. The drama is too shallow to empathize and the action is too underwhelming to be riveting. It straddles between several genres and comparatively speaking, it’s similar to K-On! where we see girls being their adorable selfs. Made up of sugar, spice and everything nice, the show isn’t terrible but neither is it terrific, and I would’ve liked it if it had tried to take a step out of its comfort zone.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: AC

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