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Wednesday, 24 August 2011 00:00

Aria the Scarlet Ammo

Design by committee. Usually results in a whole heap of what would individually be good ideas being lumped together, creating an unholy mess that simply doesn't work. Guess how Aria the Scarlet Ammo seems to have been put together...

Kinji Tohyama is being pursued by a machine-gun-toting Segway, while riding a bike booby-trapped with a bomb of its own, when a girl with long red hair - and frankly awesome fighting skills - drops from the sky to save his sorry ass. Unfortunately for Kinji, he's seen enough anime to know that girls falling from the sky can only mean trouble, and that's exactly what his saviour turns out to be. Her name, as you may have guessed, is Aria: Aria H Kanzaki, to be precise, and she's a descendent of the great Sherlock Holmes. (And tenuous family connections turn out to be a theme here, with Moriarty, Lupin and Joan of Arc's offspring all getting a look-in as well - yes, that's one of those ideas that I'm sure sounded great on paper).

As for Kinji, under normal circumstances he's a fairly ordinary student, albeit of an unusual school: the Tokyo Vocational School of Armed Detectives, usually shortened to Butei. His grades there are below average, it must be said, unless something happens to him to trigger his "Hysteria Savant Syndrome", at which point his IQ shoots through the roof, along with his ability to womanise - no surprise when it's the titillation of a cute girl that usually pushes him over the edge. I think that's meant to invoke shades of James Bond, but in reality, it's another one of those ideas that - you guessed it - sounded great on paper.

Add yandere love interest Shirayuki, who will try to kill Kinji if she sees him with another girl ("the fanboys just love yandere girls, let's put one in there..."), high-grade temptress Riko ("service, service!"), and a convoluted plot involving a Butei Killer and the unreasonably-long prison term that Aria's mom is serving for crimes she didn't commit, and you have, well, a complete and utter mess.

The characters are so stereotypical as to be more caricatures than characters. The story is convoluted, and only makes the barest amount of sense. The way in which the lead girls are all descendants of famous past thieves / detectives is lazy and too convenient. The relationships between the characters barely make any sense. There are single aspects of it that could have played well, if not drowned in a sea of other crap, but there's just so much thrown in here, mixed up, and expected to work that there's no chance that it actually will. The committee, in its efforts to get as much 'good stuff' in here as possible, has effectively snookered any chance the series had of actually being any good.

(Disclaimer: I can't say for certain that the committee referred to actually exists. But it certainly feels like one was responsible for this train wreck.)

You've probably worked out by now that I didn't like Aria the Scarlet Ammo. You'd be right. It wasn't helped by the video quality on FUNimation's simulcast of the series being downright dreadful, either. That, at least, will be corrected with any future physical release - but that can't help save it from being a downright poor show. One to pass on.

Rating - **