What’s Wrong with Arifureta?

Hajime, the protagonist of Arifureta

Readers of isekai light novels have been hyping up Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest for several months, and there was considerable excitement for its anime adaptation airing this season. That was, of course, until the first episode aired.

The Arifureta light novels have a score of 8.03 on MAL, which is reasonably high, and the manga isn’t far behind at 7.74. The anime also started off with a similar score, but it went downhill soon after the series started airing.

Most of the reviews are also negative, and it has received critical coverage from several prominent YouTubers in the anime community. General consensus is, it has become the dumpster fire of the Summer 2019 anime season. But what went wrong?

Well, the first episode is incredibly confusing. The episode starts off by introducing the main character Hajime in a cave, with zero explanation as for how he ended up there. The directing is horrific – it relies on flashbacks from completely different times and expects the viewer to piece the events together. But even then, its not entirely clear what’s happening.

The only clear-cut plot point is that Hajime was betrayed by one of the people he was adventuring with after being sent to another world with some of his classmates. If you think that sounds confusing, who could blame you? Since the show begins in the fantasy world, I wasn’t even sure whether or not it was an isekai until around fifteen minutes in!

Now, that brings me to the next point – the horrific CGI. The regular animation for Arifureta is pretty standard, but most of the monsters are ridiculous-looking, low budget CGI creations that do not mesh well with the typical anime art style. They’re not threatening at all and remind me of the special effects in 1970’s Doctor Who, which was fairly poor even for its time – although solid writing and characters often made up for that.

Unfortunately, Arifureta has no such redeeming features. The writing sucks, the episodes are boring and the cast is nothing special. Hajime’s character undergoes a ridiculously fast transformation from level headed high school student to unlikeable edgelord, and while female main character Yue is fairly cute, she’s also a total ripoff of Shinobu from the Monogatari series – both blonde vampires who have lived for hundreds of years. I won’t comment on the other main characters as they haven’t seen enough screen time yet.

I’m told the light novel has a promising start, so I will probably read the first volume in the near future in order to compare it to the anime. It always sucks when adaptations don’t do justice for the source material, and I do feel a little bad for the original author.

I have watched all four episodes of Arifureta to air so far, but it is struggling to keep my interest. I stuck with it because I found some humour value in the dreadful villains, but its getting tedious at this point.

The show fails to portray human emotion with even a hint of realism and almost nothing of note actually happened in the last episode. I may end up dropping it next week, and so far I would only rate it a 2/10 for somewhat decent music and episode title cards.

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