Two boys named Arata in different worlds switch places in the first episode of Arata. The real world Arata has to deal with bullying and betrayal by those close to him as the fantasy world Arata has to disguise himself as a princess to save his tribe, then run away after witnessing a coup overthrow the previous ruler. Due to some magical force, the pair switch places and the real world Arata has to run away from pursuers then fight to protect those who trust him.
There is a massive problems with this show from the off and it’s clearly the characters. There’s just a contrast between the two Aratas. On the one hand, there’s the Arata in the fantasy world, who seems like a worthy character trying to do the best he can to save those closest to him. Hinohara, on the other hand, just seems like he whines a lot even though he has family to support him. He’s also done something that makes everyone in his school hate him to some extent. It’s like Daniel in the original Karate Kid movies. You know when he would always have people who wanted to beat him up because he was Daniel. I hope that reference isn’t too dated now.
The problem with the characters kicks in at the end. The whiny kid is able to channel powers so he can protect the people in the Hime Clan. He’s the chosen one even though it doesn’t feel right at all. As for the other Arata, there’s no sign of him at all. He’s probably going to end up becoming extremely popular with everyone and have tons of friends living the life of a high school king because he’s a good person.
As for where the story is going, the guy who hated the Hinohara one is going to end up being transported to the other world. That’s because he hates him so much you know. The whiny kid will end up growing in confidence before he has to face the personal demons inflicted by his enemy when they were in middle school. The good Arata will also come back to lend a hand in the final battle. Before then, it will be interminable.
As for the production quality of this show, the CG flames were pretty awful. Otherwise I don’t really have much in the way of complaints in the visual department. For an episode which featured a man trying to cross-dress as a princess, the fact that it didn’t look awful should be taken as a slight compliment. The special effects aren’t very promising though.
Reasons to Continue Watching: A character learning to trust people again and a decent fantasy setting
Reasons to Drop: Whiny main character who doesn’t deserve what happens to him and comically bad high school characters
My Verdict: This was utter garbage. It’s probably better to watch one of those fish out-of-water bad 80s movies over this.