Arata Kangatari's opening episode is disappointingly not that interesting.
It pains to see a series I look forward to fail (or not entirely) to impress me with its opening episode. Arata Kangatari's art isn't as good as I expected (or as I have wished), Hinohara Arata isn't a character I care about despite his background and the cliffhanger isn't that strong (okay fine, it wasn't really much of a cliffhanger at all). But despite those complains, this first episode of Arata Kangatari definitely made me pose some questions which would at least keep me watching (aside from the fact that Okamono Nobuhiko's voicing Hinohara Arata).
Arata Kangatari opens with the quick look on Hinohara Arata's (Okamoto Nobuhiko) background. He's a highschool student who's athletic yet bullied. On the other side of the story, there's Arata (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) who's supposed to pretend as a girl and play the role of the next 'Hime-ou'. Unfortunately shit happens so when the ceremony for Arata and Kikuri-hime (Yamamura Hibiku), the current Hime-ou, started, the 12 Shinsho began their revolution. Kannagi (Ono Yuuki), one of the 12 Shinsho attacked Kikuri-hime which put a stopped to the ceremony and blamed it all to the cross-dressing Arata. With Arata accused for the death of Kikuri-hime, he ran towards Kando Forest in panic. In another world, after Hinohara (let's call the HS Arata Hinohara as to avoid confusion) witness his so-called friend say that they were never friends to begin with, he wished himself to disappear. Taking the effect of the Kando Forest, Arata and Hinohara's lives exchanged places, thus Hinohara's adventure begins. But what happens to Arata?
It's a letdown to see how Hinohara's character isn't as sympathizing as he should be. He developed trust problems because of his so-called friend which probably serves as the strength for him to have the guts to face Kannagi. It's no surprise that Hinohara had the ability to use Hime Clan's Hayagami since he's the main character after all but it was quite surprising that even though he's not originally from their world, he was able to do so. I guess it all comes down to the world's acceptance of Hinohara taking the place of Arata.
This first episode may not really be as exciting as the other series that premiered, as I have mentioned, yet Arata Kangatari successfully posed in some interesting events to look forward to in the series. The one thing that came to my mind is what's going to happen to Arata and how he'll face Hinohara's world; add to that the suspicious bully Kadowaki Masato (Kimura Ryouhei). As for Hinohara, this new problem he has in his hands is surely a big one and now that he has successfully materialized a Hayagami, Kannagi will definitely not just let him off the hook.
All in all, Arata Kangatari started off pretty decent. It still has room for improvements and I'll definitely be looking forward to that. I can definitely take on the low quality art but if the story continues to be uninteresting I might stall this and finish it when I feel like it.