Sunday, April 20, 2014

Anime Review: Tears to Tiara

How are you guys doing this Easter... Wait, it's Easter? Huh, you know after growing too old for Easter Egg hunts, I don't really care about this holiday. Like at all. Well, maybe after buying a few discount chocolate and jelly beans after the fact. Anyway, It's time for a new Anime review, and this time we have a series based on a game made by a company called Aquaplus. I've had experience with this weird association of anime and this particular game company when I saw Utawarerumono (and can you believe that I spelt that correctly on my first try) which was a great series up until it lost it's mind at around episode 22 or so. Does the bizarrely titled "Tears to Tiara" fair better? Let's find out.

Meet the Demon King Arawn. Anyone this good looking can't possibly be evil, right?
Ages of prosperity and ruin have come and gone in this land, as the Kingdoms of Dragons, Giants, and Elves all collapse to divine judgment. Now the Age of Man teeters on the same knife edge as the Divine Empire seeks to conquer and subjugate all the nations around them. That is when a religious sect of the Empire seeks to resurrect the Demon King Arawn by sacrificing a young girl, a fortune teller from barbarian Gael clan named Riannon. However, things do not go the way these fanatics planned, and Arawn not only saves the Riannon and kills the priest that resurrected him, but also, due to having saved her life, Riannon declares Arawn her husband and by the clan's laws making him the new chieftain. Despite protests from Riannon's warrior brother Arthur, Arawn uses his new position to lead the Gael clan to the mystical and legendary castle of Avalon and head long into war with the Divine Empire. What lies at Avalon Castle? Will the Gael clan win their war with the Empire? And is Arawn really the Demon King when he is so helpless when it comes to the women who surround him?

"Just move a little to the side!"
Tears to Tiara is a great action/adventure fantasy series with heavy comedy elements, namely with Arawn though various misadventures collecting a small harem of girls who claim to be his wife. If this all sounds familiar than that's not too surprising as many of these elements are found in another Aquaplus series, Utawarerumono; however, unlike Utawarerumono, Tears to Tiara never lost it's mind towards the end. Sure there where plot developments regarding the ancient past, much like Utawarerumono, but those where well foreshadowed, helped informed the events that where going on in present day, fit with the lore that the series built up, and rather than come across as being lifted from a completely different anime (all of which where missing in Utawarerumono's revelations). Also the series is really fun to watch, helped immensely by Sentai Filmworks fantastic voice acting. Every member of the Gael clan all speak with a thick Scottish ascent, but rather than come across as annoying or insulting, it comes across as genuine and leads to amazing moments of brilliant writing when a character says something like "It was a piss-poor idea."

A hot female officer of the enemy forces who has a strong sense of honor? Yep, she joins the party.
However, the series does have it's faults. One of them being that the whole harem angle really doesn't go anywhere. Not that I want to see another harem anime, but, with the exception of Riannon, none of Arawn's other "wives" really seem interested in Arawn after they proclaimed their marriage. In fact, one of them goes on to have a far more involved relationship with another character, and the other just kind of fades into the background of many of the fights. In fact, beyond the initial gag the harem element is so underplayed that it might as well not be there. The other problem with the series is it's last few episodes. While it never went to Utawarerumono territory, the pacing of these few episodes where wacked. Not only did we lose one of the most interesting villains in the series and got him replaced with a "Hahahaha! I'M EVIL!" villain, but every event from then on when at a rapid pace of "Cutscene- Fight- Villain we forgot about nor even care about appears for no reason- Fight" and that continues until the final fight. It really felt like the series could have used a few more episodes to work with to space out the last few events, because it really becomes too much too quickly at the end.

Tears to Tiara (despite the weird name that I STILL don't know what it refers to) is a good series. It's not amazing in any regard when you get down to it, and there are a few problems that rear up towards the end that I wish where dealt with, but overall it is a fun action/adventure fantasy romp with a fun cast of characters, excellent writing (especially in the localization department), and good action. Tears to Tiara is a recommended series from me.

Until Next Time.

-Crescent, "Avalon." "Avalon." "Avalon." "It's only a model." "SHHH!"

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