From the already large backlog of new series, I recently watched the first episode of Prism Ark, an anime adaptation of the H-Game PRISM ARK ~ PRISM HEART II ~ _by Pajamas Soft (I wonder how some Japanese companies get to choose their names…). It is being directed by Masami Obari, who did _Dancougar Nova the last season.
The first episode is entitled “Kishitachi no Senjo” (the battlefield of the knights) and starts off in medias res by showing two “knights” on patrol at what seems to be a boundary between two countries. Here we get to know the first (and only) male character from the cast, who was probably the player-controlled character in the game.
He and his female companion seem to have a mutual interest in each other, as they move to kiss, but as usual they get interrupted by the arrival of an “enemy”, another girl whose outfit resembles the one of a nun (by reading the credits I learnt her name was “Sister Hell”, so perhaps it’s not really a coincidence).
The two engage into battle and the scene suddenly shifts to the past, depicting a young girl and a boy “on holiday”(?) while they bump into another boy. As far as I know these flashbacks (interspersed throughout the episode) refer to the game’s prequel, PRISM HEARTS, and are supposed to give more information on the setting. Actually, the blonde girl shown is the main female character’s mother.
Back to the present, the two battle with Sister Hell with some difficulty, when more characters (all female, of course) appear on the scene. One looks like a magical girl, while the other is dressed like a miko. Throughout the action there are more flashbacks, showing how the blonde girl got a crush on the boy she met “on holiday”. Nevertheless, the good guys barely handle the enemy, until another woman pops in, wielding two swords.
The direction of the action scenes resembles a lot some of the later _Dancougar Nova _episode, with shots like the one I posted here, or with the faces of the characters overlapping. It’s not a bad idea, as it makes rather standard scenes more interesting, at least from a visual point of view (though it’s nothing like what Akiyuki Shinbo does).
Sister Hell is not pleased with the reinforcements and calls upon a new, mecha-like entity. Meanwhile the flashbacks show the blonde girl going “away” and the boy getting her pocket watch, something which is important according to the opening credits. Years later, she is saddened by the loss of a relative/friend, and decides to become a knight.
And a few scenes later we get a glimpse of this anime’s origins, as the boy from the past (now grown up), unexpectedly catches his old friend when she’s taking a bath in a pond. Back to the present, the group barely manages to destroy the mecha-like entity with a coordinated effort. However, Sister Hell as a whole army of them. Unfazed, they just charge at them.
This is how the first episode ends, and it looks like (from the “next episode” clip) that now a long flasback will start explaining why the characters got there. Visually speaking, Prism Ark is average, with a good character design (but sometimes a little too geometric) and a good animation quality, though I want to see if it holds up in the next episodes.
Story wise there isn’t much to say. Only later episodes will tell if it’s good or not. Certainly it’s not ground breaking, but it may have the potential for being at least fun. I’ll keep on watching and see what happens.
Luca Beltrame ANIME
Anime prism ark series