Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio -Ars Nova-, DC, and Cadenza Review

Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio -Ars Nova- or perhaps known widely as Arpeggio of Blue Steel -Ars Nova- is an anime adaptation based on manga titled Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio without -Ars Nova-. I have no idea about the manga but I expect the manga have a different plot (whether slightly or significant) than the anime because it has no -Ars Nova- in the title. The anime consists of 12-episode TV Anime followed by 2 movies. The TV anime was aired from October 7, 2013 to December 23, 2013. The first movie titled Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio -Ars Nova- DC was released on January 31, 2015. The second movie was released in October 3, 2015.

Aoki_Hagane_TV12

Story
In 2039, mysterious fleet of warships with unknown technology attack humans and drive them away from the sea. Their technology is so advanced and humans can’t fight them back. The fleet known as Kiri no Kantai (Fleet of Fog). Later in 2056, we meet the main hero in the story, Chihaya Gunzou. Gunzou is a captain of submarine I-401. The submarine is a fog submarine who “defected” to human side but only follow orders from Gunzou. The fog submarine has a mental model named Iona and she is the main heroine of the anime. As only a submarine, I-401 has a more limited combat capabilities compared to Fog Warships. But with Gunzou as her captain, and also Gunzou’s friend as the crew, I-401 capable to defeat other warships with higher combat capabilities than her.

The story in TV anime began when Gunzou, Iona, and the crew of I-401 tasked to deliver “Humanity’s Last Hope” which is a new weapon capable to destroy the fog ships. In this mission, Gunzou and Iona encounters some fog enemies whom later join their side in their main quest. They face challenges and hardships but they manage to overcome everything due to Gunzou’s strategy and tactics. Many mysteries remain mysteries in the end of the TV Anime.

The first movie consists of 1 hour recap of TV Anime and 40 minutes additional contents which is the sequel of the TV Anime. Additional characters are also introduced here. In the end of the first movie, you’ll likely guess why Gunzou was chosen by Iona as her captain.

The second movie is continuation of the first movie and also the closing of this anime. This movie told me that guess about the reason Gunzou was chosen by Iona was wrong. Many mysteries are also unveiled in this movie, including the reason of the disappearance of Gunzou’s dad and Iona’s purpose. And finally, you’ll see the final battle and the great hereafter in this movie. I am just saying what Fuchigami Mai said, Iona will have to make a difficult decision in this film.

My personal opinion about the story, it is good but… It is not something I like, unfortunately. The story progress really slow in the TV anime. However, the timeline seems to be too short but too much event happening in the TV anime. This short timeline according to me (and my logic) is not enough to built relationship between characters and also to see the development of their personality. But we can see them happening! So, it doesn’t make sense. Well… It’s anime after all. You gotta accept that this anime has quite a lot of anime logic.

Animation
From 2013 to 2015 but the animation virtually similar. I see no improvement between TV anime and movie. But from the start, the animation is not bad. It uses CGI and I can see that. Not a bad one. It is very good actually. Noticeably better and more detailed than Kemono Friends (which is already acceptably good).

Music
The music is actually pretty good. You’ll some nice theme songs in this anime from TV Anime to Movie. All of the are good! The opening in The TV anime is “Savior of Song” by Nano feat. MY FIRST STORY while the ending theme songs are “Blue Field” by Trident, “Innocent Blue” by Trident,  and “Our Story” by nano. In the first movie, you’ll get “Blue Snow” by Trident as the opening theme song and “Rock on.” by nano as the ending theme song. While on the second movie, you’ll get “Blue Destiny” by Trident as the ending theme song. Trident is the unit of Fuchigami Mai, Numakura Manami, and Yamamura Hibiku. The unit was created for Aoki Hagane and sadly, it is already disbanded in 2016.

Characters
I am not going detail here. The main characters are Chihaya Gunzou and Iona. Gunzou is the captain of I-401. A young man with great combat tactics and strategies that can overcome many difficult situations. Iona is the mental model of submarine I-401. Iona has no emotion and only follows Gunzou’s command. However, through the story, you’ll see that Iona gains emotion due to her interactions with humans and fogs and also due to the difficult situation that she and her friends have to overcome.

Helping Gunzou and Iona are I-401 crew members. They are Sou the first mate of I-401 who always wears helmet, Kyouhei the weapon officers, Iori the engineer who operates the engine and finally Shizuka the sonar operator.

From the fleet of fog, we have Takao the heavy cruiser, Hyuuga the battleship who was defeated by Iona, Haruna and Kirishima the fast battleship from Kongo-class, Maya the heavy cruiser, Kongo the flagship fleet, and I-400 and I-402 who are the sisters of I-401.

In the movie, we will meet Hiei the student council president followed by Myoko, Nachi, Ashigara, and Haguro as the student council members under Hiei. The highest rank of fleet of fog are held by Yamato and Musashi. The greatest battleship ever exist in our planet (although both of them sank by Aircraft Carrier from United States in World War II).

Voice Acting
I watch this anime because of Fuchigami Mai. Really. Because I suddenly remember her when promoting the Second Movie. I was there, seeing her directly and trying to satisfy my eyes with her beautiful looks. Not quite a reason, eh? But fortunately, that is actually a good reason. Fuchigami Mai never received seiyuu awards but her voice acting here is excellent, or I should say outstanding. She is simply the best seiyuu in Aoki Hagane. The other seiyuu in this anime did a very good job and one of them are disappointing.

Final Thoughts
Complicated is what I can say about this anime. It’s not disappointing. The ending of the second movie is probably satisfying but it isn’t perfect. Not everything is clear in the ending. Perhaps you need to read the manga to learn more about the story. Aside from the story, everything is very good. Nothing disappointing. I can’t say too much. This anime meets my expectation (of not being a “Very Good” anime). I can say that because my expectation of this anime isn’t high from the start. Good thing it didn’t get worse.

Story 7
Animation 8
Sounds & Musics 8
Characters 7
Voice Acting 8
Overall 7
Rated as Good

Pros :
(+) Excellent voice acting from Fuchigami Mai
(+) Very good animation
(+) Very good theme songs
(+) Very good voice acting from the other seiyuus

Cons :
(-) The ending left unanswered questions

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