Blessing of the Campanella Episodes #03-04 (Mania.com)

By:G.B. Smith
Review Date: Sunday, August 15, 2010
Release Date: Thursday, July 15, 2010

Now that the main cast is set, it looks like it's time to go on a quest. They are supposed to be an adventuring company, after all. So, what will they search for this time?

What They Say
After Leicester and Agnes propose a quest to gather mysterious Black Rainbow Flowers, Chelsea gets lost and Carin and Leicester are attacked by a shadow-dwelling monster! Then, when the gang sets out in search of hot-springs crystite, their quest leads them into an abandoned mine. Deep within a hidden shaft, they find a mysterious gemstone that may shed light on recent rumors.

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
At the very start of episode 3, we learn that Carina and Leicester have known each other for a very long time. The standard "childhood friends" thing. Back in the present now, we see the gang engaged in...nothing special. But it seems that Carina is very interested in Agnes' automatons, especially Tango's ability to talk, which gives Leicester an idea. While Carina has to go off and attend to her official duties (as the Duke's daughter, she has things to do), Leicester and Agnes hatch a little plan.

So, the entire group is off on a quest, a quest to find Black Rainbow Flowers, which are special flowers that soak up the light around them and glow with the colors of the rainbow. Because of their ability to soak up light, they also seem to attract crystite monsters, who prefer to stay in the shadows, so there is danger along with the beauty. Off they go by train, apparently the first time Minette has ever been on one (obviously). Once they reach the woods where they expect to find the flowers, Carina and Leicester take to the air, since Carina can use magic to fly, while the others go along on the ground. Of course, it must be time for a quick joke. Does one of the party members have a bad sense of direction? Why yes. Chelsea, who was already noted as having poor ability to read maps and find places, gets lost and separated from the rest of the group. The joke is double-played when the Tortilla Sisters, who have been tagging along spying on the Oasis group ever since they all got on the train, are themselves wandering around and Chelsea walks right behind them without even noticing.

As the others try to find Chelsea, Leicester and Carina go on ahead to the area where they spotted Black Rainbow Flowers. Leicester pulls one out, but they are not alone there. A small and fast crystite monster attacks Leicester and Carina, though Leicester comes up with a surefire tactic to defeat it, using his blade and Carina's magic. They succeed, and manage to get a crystite gem as well. Except that when Carina flies to retrieve the gem, which is stuck up on a branch, her magic suddenly loses power, causing her to plummet towards the ground. Leicester rushes to catch her, and he does get under her. The point being that he gets under her, with his head perfectly wedged between her breasts. To top things off, a bunch of vines from the trees wrap themselves around the pair, holding them in place, and in that exact position. Hilarity ensues, I guess.

Back home, they look on their haul: a good load of flowers and a large crystite. Leicester asks for the gem, as he plans to use it to upgrade Carina's montecchia, her magic staff...paddle...uh...wooden thing. He plans to give it the ability to make it speak, so it could warn Carina when her magic is running low and also provide advice. Leicester experiments with trying to infuse the montecchia with El (that magical stuff) from the crystite. While it takes a while, it finally works after much effort from both Leicester and Carina. Now that the Montecchia can speak, it lets Leicester and Carina know about its condition and everything is fine. Not only that, the Montecchia asks something: why didn't Carina carry through on last night's mood? Mood? Yes, apparently the Montecchia sensed that Leicester and Carina were in the right mood for, well, carnal relations, and the Montecchia wonders why they didn't go all the way. As you can imagine, this was not exactly what Leicester and Carina were expecting. I don't remember Raging Heart saying anything like that.

With the fourth episode, Agnes takes center stage, as she brings a quest to the Oasis Clan. One of Agnes' favored fans of her juggling puppet show is in need of some hot-springs crystite. Therefore, she plans to hire Oasis to go and get her some more. So, the group is off in search of hot-springs crystite, going to a mine where it is located. The trip there is peaceful enough, with no dangers. Once in the mine, Nick, the other guy in the group, seems to know what he's doing, and finds a small vein of hot-springs crystite. Apparently, this form of crystite is rather low in El, but it melts in hot water releasing that El, which presumably has a beneficial impact on people. It's slow going, as the mine they are in was abandoned some time ago, as there is little left in the way of mineral riches. Agnes, however, has a map, and finds a better area that is rich in good quality hot-springs crystite.

But all is not as calm and simple as it appears. There is an area where a false wall was put in place, hiding something. Curious, the group takes down the false wall and explores the hidden chamber. Inside, there is a giant glowing crystal of some sort, which gives off energy (all of the automatons, from Minette and Tango to the ones that don't speak all bask in the glow of the crystal. At this point, however, Carina's montecchia gives a warning that there is a tremor coming, and the gang have to race out of the chamber and tunnel, escaping before they are buried and trapped inside. They all make it outside, but a second tremor and roof collapse separates the group, with Leicester and Agnes on one side, and the rest on the other. The groups are forced to remain apart, since there is too much rock between them. So, Agnes and Leicester have to try to make their way out separately, since the others wound up on the side that leads back to the way they came.

As this show has its origins in an adult visual novel, this was obviously the point at which Agnes and Leicester "advanced their friendship," or something like that. Since this is an anime, however, the two simply make their way out, with Agnes finding an opening that leads to the light. Once back home, it must be bath time. After all, they dug up all of that hot-spring crystite, it would be strange if they didn't use some of it themselves. Shelley, Leicester's mom, tells him to take a bath first, and who wouldn't want a nice long soak after a hard day like that? Of course, right as he's coming out of the bath, who should appear but Agnes, who was told by Shelley to go on ahead first. The two act a little embarrassed, but laugh it off as Shelley being mischievous as usual. The problem comes when they hear the voices of the other girls about to come in, and Agnes grabs Leicester and hides in the corner, with nothing but a towel between them. The other girls come in and undress, but do not notice them. After the girls are in the bath, Leicester and Agnes leave their hiding spot, and Agnes notes how they probably didn't have to hide. She also notes how she did not hate having to cling to Leicester while naked. Leicester then leaves to yell at his mom, who, of course, planned for it to happen, which in some other shows would have lead to violence, but in this one just leads to embarrassed smiles and Leicester yelling at his mother.

In the bath, of course, it must be time for girls to grope each other, which has become something of a cliche in anime. Agnes is the intiator, but Minette follows her lead quite giddily. Here, there is plenty of steam and bright lights to go around, all the better to make the perverted among the audience look forward to the home video version in future.

In Summary:
In these two episodes, we see what is fairly likely to be the pattern for the show. As the Oasis Clan is nominally an adventuring company, we will see them undertake a quest of some sort or another, often related to gathering crystite, rocks infused with the magical substance called El. Either during or after the quest, we will see Leicester separated from the main group, with only one of the girls alone with him. There will be some sort of hint of carnal desire from one or both, though no actual follow through as this is a broadcast anime. To end it all, they will return home and again be presented with an opportunity to be alone, though again nothing beyond a little clinging or embarrassed smiles will occur. The show has a decent balance of light action, light romance, and light comedy, though it tends to be very much of the cliched type. It can occasionally be surprising (who would have imagined a talking magical stick would wonder why its master and her beloved didn't get it on the night before?), but more often than not is very predictable (the bath-time grope and the now established comic relief of the Tortilla sisters, who will undoubtedly show up every episode to have Salsa act foolishly while Ritos comments in a wry manner). If the writers can come up with more surprising moments of humor or inventiveness with what is a fairly stereotypical cast of characters, this could be a much more interesting show. If they just stick close to the formula, it will be a modestly entertaining fanservice title which one can sample, but not feel any need to revisit once it's on home video, unless you are really that interested in seeing what was covered up with steam during the bath scene.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Apple Mac Mini with 1GB RAM, Mac OS 10.5 Leopard



Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 50
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Blessing of the Campanella