Arc the Lad

Title:Arc the Lad
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: R1 License - ADV (Renamed)
TACHIKI Fumihiko
Elk, the youngest member of the Hunters Guild, finds himself propelled into an odyssey across an apocalyptic world in search of the enigmatic outlaw known as Arc the Lad. Together with the mysterious Lieza and the powerful warrior Shu, Elk must defeat a sinister organization that's creating half-human monsters and find his way to Arc, whom Elk believes responsible for the destruction of his village.

[TV series, 1999, 26 episodes, 22 min]
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 8 7 8 9 9 9 Kendo [series:314#697]
First, I must say that this is one of my favorites, and after devoting two years to collecting the whole thing (I don't get out much) I must say I felt like it was worthwhile. Also, it makes much more sense if you play the games as well, even though they left out some great characters in the anime (Sania, Gruga, Diekbeck, Iga reduced to cameo, and Kuruku no longer in her fighting glory) Obviously they couldn't put everything in, but still. So, if you can, play the games, then watch the series.
To summarize the main plot:
Elk, who is blessed by the Spirit of Flame. Namely, that means he has pyrokinetic powers. This power caused him to get taken away to an organization known as White House, but not before he saw his entire family die at their hands. However, one of his only memories of the night his village was destroyed was the image of the airship "Silver Noah".
At White House, he and other gifted children were experimented on, turning them into Chimera, or artificial monsters. Elk and his friends Gene and Meril attempted to escape, but Elk was the only one who made it. Scarring him even more, he had to leave Meril behind, when she fell and injured her leg. Lost and traumatized, he collapsed in the desert surrounding the area, only to be found by a bounty hunter named Shu. Shu took the boy in, and raised him to become a bounty hunter. He was quite a good bounty hunter by the time he turned 15, but his life was changed when he ran across a girl who could talk to monsters while he was chasing a bounty. The bounty turned out to be a Chimera, and the girl an integral part of the future plans of White House. So if Elk is ever to save his friends, and figure out his past, he needs the girl, Leiza.
How Arc figures into all of this is that the "Silver Noah" is his ship. And he's the famous bandit who assassinated the King of Smeria. So it had to have been him who destroyed Elk's village...
Art: The art is pretty, though very shounen. Plenty of blood and burning things. It slips occasionally, such as a memorable shot in the fourth DVD when Arc's face seems to be sliding off his head. Action shots are generally good and smooth, especially shots of ships flying. It's very good for a TV show.
Music: Great music, with a tendency towards epic. The opening is a stirring, march-type affair, with a trumpet fanfare and everything. The first ending is a cheerful, upbeat piece, sung in English. It seems somewhat out of place though... the song is titled 'Happy Tomorrow' and the singers are going on about how wonderful everything will be over pictures of the main cast with the hell beaten out of them. They're smiling, but they all look like they've been through the ringer. The second end song starts with a bunch of talking, then a little bit of singing, then some more talking. Kind of blues/J-pop type stuff.
Characters: Excellent, although characters have a tendency to remain static. The antihero, Clive, is wonderfully complex, and his motivations remain mysterious. Elk is a well-developed angry young man, even his reasons for being angry. Arc is a very sympathetic character, though it would be major spoilers to say why. Most of the characters are likable, or at least interesting. My only problem is that Leiza can be a little flat at times. She's shy and hesitant about her growing feelings for Elk, but every once in awhile, you just get this overwhelming urge to shake her and scream "Get on with it!". But overall, she's very sweet and cute.
Dub: The dub is, honestly, pretty bad. Leiza's voice is an obnoxious approximation of cute and innocent. Arc's voice is nice, but it doesn't come off sounding like he's been through a lot. More like he's just an idealist who doesn't know what he's talking about. Clive's is all right, but doesn't have that edge that lets you know that he's the smartest character, and he knows exactly what's going on. Elk's and Shu's voices do a fine job of it, but the dub has already been killed by Leiza. Get the sub.
DVD extras: Nothing really. There's some previews, and the backgrounds are pretty nice, but the main attraction of the DVD is that it has the sub version, which is very hard to find otherwise.
Overall: Well worth it for shounen action fans. However, if you're in it to see naked women and sex, you've picked the wrong anime. You see one girl naked, in a non-sexual context. There's one sex scene, but it's very easy to miss. As in, you don't even see figures under a blanket. You are just given a hint that it's happening. Romance is handled fairly well in my opinion: it's there, but it's not overbearing. You don't hear any of the three sets of lovers randomly saying each others names and staring off into space, which is a refreshing change after an interlude of shoujo.

Last updated Thursday, May 15 2003. Created Thursday, May 15 2003.
Watch 8 7 7 7 Carrot [series:314#548]
This series is alright. The story was the best thing about it. But then there was hardly any action in it. All it does was just zoom in and zoom out on pictures. But it's watchable anyway.

Last updated Friday, February 21 2003. Created Friday, February 21 2003.
Buy 6 6 8 8 CatWoman [series:314#65]
This is a really good series! I agree with both Panther and Coyote on this one, I have seen it all and it is GREAT. It is certainly not the BEST EVER, but it is very good. Elk is a great charicter whom goes threw some of the most unthinkable things. Also, Ark is realy cool as is his girlfriend...inspit of her name. (twitch twitch). Arks gang is fun and lovable! But Elk and his girl is the real gut of the story here! Its a great series, with a good plot that will just tern your insides, and a main character that isnt your average superman (no affince to superman) but has so much to offer. It is a must see if not a buy!

Last updated Sunday, July 07 2002. Created Tuesday, January 08 2002.
Buy 9 9 8 7 9 9 Black Panther [series:314#142]
I think this is a GREAT series! I love the plot. I am a gamer myself so I can see where it came from a video game! Its twists in the plot and growing sapience just draw a person in. Some parts in it are really hard to take (anyone who has seen this show knows which parts I am talking about). It is pretty violent as far as the science goes in it, and it might make you wonder what the doctors are REALLY doing when they give you a pill to take. But other then the suspicion it may create in your life I am sure you would like it! ;o) Definitely a buy in my book!

Last updated Wednesday, December 12 2001. Created Wednesday, December 12 2001.
Buy 7 7 7 6 9 The Coyote [series:314#64]
This is a pretty good series not one of the best but definatly worth seein. The story is pretty good though it seems hurried. (I never played the game so I can't compare it to the game) the charater development is great Elk is one of the better anime characters out there because of the battles that rage inside him. Arc seems almost too cool though, I found myself wishing almost with anger that he would have to experiance somethig like what Elk has to endure. Elk alone makes this worth seeing what he has to overcome is nothing short of absolutely heart wrenching. Some of these episodes take your breath away with the twists in them. even the ones you see coming. Again I have never played the game and now I'am glad I haven't that would probably give away too much. a definate bye but don't expect to be able to watch to often.

Last updated Thursday, April 25 2002. Created Monday, October 15 2001.
Watch 7 7 5 7 Kaitou Juliet [series:314#137]

This series surprised me a bit. From the previews, I was expecting a lighthearted adventure series along the lines of Tenchi Muyou. Instead, it's quite a bit darker, with hideous shapechanging monsters and horrific secret experiments on children lurking in the background.

The character designs are a little peculiar; I can't decide whether I like them or not. It's as if the artist(s) made a conscious effort to draw every face with the minimum number of lines.

I watched most of the show dubbed. The dub is pretty good as dubs go, but the subtitled version had a more epic feel to me. That may be just because subtitles automatically make anything epic!

The plot is both this show's main strength and its main weakness. On the one hand, it's not your standard fare, and it deserves points for being out of the ordinary. But on the other hand, the storyline is very rambling and unfocused. When the climax finally came, it just didn't have quite the punch that it should have had. I think this would have done better as a shorter, tighter series. I might be more forgiving of the plot if I'd fallen in love with some of the characters, but none of them really grabbed me. I was interested enough to see the whole thing through to its conclusion, but I don't think I'm going to want to revisit it.

Bottom line: Not perfect, but interesting enough to be worth a look.

Last updated Tuesday, September 23 2003. Created Tuesday, August 07 2001.

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