A week ago at Otakon, FUNimation announced that they had licensed and would be streaming the episodes of Shukufuku no Campanella, an adult video game to anime adaptation currently airing in Japan. Re-christened "Blessing of the Campanella," it makes its streaming debut today on FUNimation.com.
What They Say
In a busy trade city, Leicester Maycraft's band of adventurers "Oasis" gathers to watch a meteor shower. They get more than they bargained for when one of the meteors hits, setting off an unusual chain of events. Then, as Oasis adjusts to life with Agnes and Minette, the grand duke of Ert'Aria asks the clan to investigate his treasure chamber, which has been plagued by a mysterious presence ever since the meteor shower.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Unlike a few other notable adult visual novel to anime adaptations which saw longer gaps between their initial creation and translation to "glory," well, at least to anime, Windmill Oasis' "Shukufuku no Campanella - la campanella della benedizione - to give it its full title, has had a quick path, the original game having only been released last year. Marvelous Entertainment is producing the anime adaptation, and now FUNimation Entertainment has licensed the show for both home video and for streaming.
As we open, we get a mysterious conversation between a young girl who is seemingly suspended in time and consciousness, and a mysterious woman who talks to her about waking up. I'm sure it will all lead somewhere, since it's being staged that way, what with the "pay attention! This is important!" atmosphere. After that, we cut to the main location, the city of Ert'Aria, a major trading port in this world. Here, we meet Leicester Mayfair, a craftsman, and the gaggle of girls who surround him, including his superior Carina, who heads the Oasis Clan. Carina drags Leicester out on the town, which is abuzz with activities since a harvest festival is soon to be held. In addition, there is apparently a recurring meteor shower that has everyone excited. While in town, Carina and Leicester see a puppet show given by Agnes, who claims to be the world's greatest puppeteer, and has her own little troop of performing automatons, small puppets that can move on their own. Impressed by the puppet show, Carina and Leicester agree to take Agnes in, since she is a foreigner to Ert'Aria and in need of lodging.
Once back home, Leicester is greeting over-familiarly by a very forward and provocative, as well as overly well-endowed, young woman who actually turns out to be his mother Shelley (don't worry, even though this show is based on an adult visual novel, there is no hint of incest or anything else that would raise the squick meter to "Get me out of here!"). She's just very...loving. And clingy. As if we don't have enough girls (after all, Leicester has Carina, the clan's maid Nina, and now Agnes), his mother invites to the clan house yet another obviously available and quite attractive young woman named Chelsea, who is a Sacred Knight, part of an elite squad of fighters who are in town to guard some sacred objects or whatever which are going to be displayed during the harvest festival. The person one begins to feel slightly for is Carina, since it's obvious that she's head over heels for Leicester, but the competition just keeps on getting larger and larger in number.
As if things could not get worse for Carina, out come two more rivals for Leicester's heart (though the young lad hasn't shown the slightest interest in girls at all so far), Salsa and Ritos Tortilla, who work for the rival Tortilla Company. The two are twins, but of very different temperament, with Salsa being high strung, energetic and spastic, while Ritos is restrained and very laid-back. They too express their feelings for Leicester. As we've now had the introductions of all of the major females vying for Leicester's hand in marriage, it must be time for the meteor shower. The Oasis group gathers on the rooftop of the cathedral to watch the meteors. One meteor, however, looks a little larger than the others. It seems to be heading to earth...straight at the group on the cathedral roof. It does not hit them however, it skips over them and hits one of the church spires behind them. Leicester, curious as to why this one came down, gives chase to it and goes into the spire. There, lying asleep in a room is a young girl, who suddenly wakes up and calls Leicester "Papa."
Yes. Even though she looks far too old to be Leicester's child (and Leicester doesn't seem like he's shed his "purity" just yet), that is what she calls him. Of course, Carina and the others followed Leicester, and her reaction to the young girl calling Leicester "Papa" was, simply, priceless. At this point, in walks Leicester's father, Nagan Maycraft, who is the High Priest of the city. He and Shelley explain that this young girl, whose name is Minette, is actually an automaton made by Mizeh Altworth, the world's greatest puppeteer. They had been waiting to see if she would ever wake up, and now she has. It also turns out that Agnes' teacher was this very same Mizeh Altworth, but unfortunately, no one knows her current whereabouts at the moment. (And by now it's obvious that the two having a conversation at the very beginning of the show were Mizeh and Minette).
With that last introduction over, we can get down to the meat of the show. Sure. Must be time for Minette to climb into bed with Leicester, causing Carina to go nuts with jealousy, even though it's pretty clear that Leicester doesn't have any feelings of that sort towards Minette. And then we get a little bumping and grinding in bed early in the morning, with Nina the maid having to make an embarrassed retreat after trying to get them to all come down for breakfast. (No, that was not a sex scene. It was just three girls, Agnes joined them, fighting to hug Leicester, who seems as passive as a stuffed animal). After breakfast, they get a rather important visitor: Carina's father Fabious Verritti, the Grand Duke of Ert'Aria. He has come because he has a slight problem: one of the meteors the night before (the meteors aren't rock meteors, but instead are balls of something call "El" energy, some sort of magical energy) plunged into his treasure chamber, and ever since, something has not quite been right. Therefore, he is charging the Oasis Clan with investigating the chamber. As they are an adventuring troop, so they claim, they take up the quest and off they go. Ritos and Salsa were listening in, and so off they go, perhaps to sneak in and see what is up.
The adventuring gang, plus Sacred Knight Chelsea and Minette, goes into the treasure chamber (more like a warehouse and showroom), to investigate, and it turns out that there is a strange presence in the chamber, behind a door that apparently leads to the realm of the dragons. Once inside, they come across a giant shade monster in the form of a dragon. Regular attacks seem to have little effect on it. We get a comic interlude as the Tortilla Sisters and their Golem interrupt, only to be swatted away like a fly (though Ritos is smart enough to jump off before the golem and Salsa are sent flying). When all seems lost, or at least really difficult, a mysterious floating girl appears, and tells Minette to talk to the dragon shade. Minette does so, calming the monster, which was caused by an excess absorption of El energy by a type of crystal that naturally absorbs such energy. Minette then absorbs the excess energy. Problem solved. As for the mysterious girl, she calls herself Garnet and claims that she is a member of the race of Dragons. And the monster they had to deal with was a dragon in shape. Yes, Garnet apparently was responsible for the monster, as it was an emanation of a part of her that got out of control. In order to make up for the trouble she caused, she gives Minette a magic gem through which Minette can summon her in case she needs help.
Now that the problem is solved and there is literally about 2 minutes of run time left, what should we do? How about go to the beach and show off all of the girls in swimsuits? Of course! And that's what they do, along with slipping in an introduction to the final member of the Oasis Adventuring Clan, Nick, who had been away before on another quest. To end, all of the girls, including the Tortilla Sisters, come up to Leicester and demand that he state which girl looks the best in her swimsuit. We never do hear what the final Judgment of Leicester was.
Blessing of the Campanella clearly shows its roots in everything it does. The humor is slightly funny, but uneven. The action scenes are derivative and largely an afterthought. The female designs are fairly attractive, and there is much use made of showing them off. If you had not been told beforehand, it would have been pretty obvious that this was an adaptation from a visual novel of the sort where one male protagonist attempts to sleep with all of the girls, who fit fairly cliched personality and physical stereotypes. There's nothing particularly wrong with Campanella. It does nothing that makes one uneasy, and it is not tedious. It also does not make a terribly strong impression on the positive side, as much of its humor is quite stale, following the oft-tred tropes of harem comedies, with misunderstandings surrounding who is sleeping in the lead male's bed and jealous female characters vying with each other for the lead male's attention. It does not help that Leicester, the lead male, is little more than a cypher, with no personality of his own other than smiling at whichever girl is looking at him and nodding his head in a kind manner. Of course, the lead male should be a cypher, since he is standing in for the original player of the game. While that works well in a game format, it does not do much to interest a passive audience that cannot directly interact with the girls. We shall see whether the writers will attempt to overcome this limitation or ignore it.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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