"Despite the gorgeous art style, Blessing of the Campanella suffers from horrid writing and uninteresting characters."
There’s a fantastic 2001 film by Richard Linklater titled Tape which revolves around three high school friends dissecting painful memories of their school years inside a Michigan motel room. The dim monotonous scenery never changes but the actors and superb writing carry the entire narrative with gripping suspense. How is this relevant? A character driven story needs strong characters and a strong script. While Blessing of the Campanella by no means tries to be anything like Tape (or anything remotely similar), it does rely on its characters to engage the audience and deliver the drama and humor.
This may sound like common sense. After all, isn’t that what everyone is trying to achieve whether with film or animation? To an extent yes, but an action movie can still get away with poor acting if the action is explosive and entertaining. In the case of Blessing of the Campanella, there is nothing beside the characters. There are moments of derivative and forgetful action, a cringeworthy story that’ll make your head spin and a soulless world that desperately strives to blend genres and undeservingly prides itself in being satiric fan-service.
Blessing of the Campanella looks stunning and the art direction is the show’s most impressive feat. The backgrounds are beautifully painted and the character designs are varied and charming. But beyond the shiny surface, the show lacks substance and wit. Its frivolous attempts at drama, romance and humor don’t mesh well and it’s all made worse by poor writing and boring characters.
The plot is pretentious and shallow. Blessing of the Campanella takes place in the trading city Ert’Aria where we’re introduced to the clichéd adventurer guild Oasis and its paper-thin heroes. Minette, Boulange, and Arcot are the female leads whose high-pitched banter is nerve wrecking and outright unbearable. Leicester Maycraft, who’s the guild’s only male and expectedly the center of attention for all ladies, has as much personality as a piece of chalk. Of course every other scene consists of female characters drooling over him and wanting to be his wife (sigh…), but none of it is as weird as the sexual innuendos between him and his mother. Yes, you read correctly.
"Every glimpse of hope is squandered by a complete lack of narrative and derivative Anime stereotypes. It can be painful to watch."
During a meteor shower one night, the group decides to climb a chapel roof to observe the event when a mysterious light hits the building and Leicester finds a room with a girl who upon waking calls him father. The show starts on a low note and only gets worse as the story progresses. The main problem is that everything drags out too much. Most episodes feel like empty padding between an already trifling plot and it’s impossible to feel sympathy or connection with any of the characters. There’s no sense of conflict or tensions and the goody-good happy-fun time tone throughout becomes nauseating quickly.
The RPG inspired themes bring an occasional sense of hope for questing and adventuring, but Blessing of the Campanella never delivers on any of its little potential. Instead, you’re following characters around town as they undertake minute tasks and are forced to endure cheap juvenile humor coated with layers of agonizing romance.
Blessing of the Campanella surprised me in all the wrong ways. I expected a charming, humorous action-comedy with heart; instead I endured 300 minutes of boredom. By the time I completed this set, I wasn’t sure whom the show was designed for. It’s not funny, it’s not interesting, there’s no character development and the dialogue will make your ears bleed. Despite the impressive aesthetics, there’s little else positive I can say about this Anime. A real shame.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Review Format: DVD | Running Time: 300 Minutes