Fortune Arterial Episode #05 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, November 05, 2010
Release Date: Friday, November 05, 2010

The sports festival is fully underway and almost everyone is happy.

What They Say:
Episode 5: Key

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Kohei fully in the know, or as fully as can be at this point, life is moving on to fairly normal and mundane activities. The sports festival is the big highlight here at the start of the episode with Kohei having worked hard to organize things previously after being thrust into the position as head of it. That act got him to work with and know a lot of the students in a way that most shows don't do and it was very useful for him. With his time prior to this academy having him going from school to school, making friends in this manner is new and he really seemed to take to it. It enhanced his reputation and in all honesty made him a much more likable and interesting character. While he wasn't completely thrilled with it at first, once he decided to change the way he lives his life, he puts his all into it. Something that's very hard for a lot of people to do, breaking out of the box we put ourselves in.

Thankfully, we do get a good bit of payoff from his efforts as the sports festival seems to go off without a hitch and we see lots of activities and everyone having fun. I was even impressed that they provide a really good background noise track of activity with students doing things. Often shows either let the music take center stage or just the main characters, giving the impression they're the only ones in the world. This small bit of attention to detail is yet another little thing that helps to enhance the show, making it more than your typical slice of life series. As much fun as it is, there's a tinge of edginess to it as Kuze watches on with a disinterested look yet still has to participate in pieces of it. She's the cold character of the show at this stage with an underlying story yet to be revealed. And Kohei being the new Kohei that he is, he does what he can to try and draw her out some.

There is something fun about watching the vampires hiding in plain sight doing the sports festival. With it being made clear previously that few of the fables about them are actually true, seeing them continuing to act like normal people and having fun with the festival does manage to work. It's a bit too upbeat at times but that's been part and parcel of sports festival shows since for as long as I can remember. The little ups and downs throughout it are decent and it's a fun way to see the characters dealing with situations that don't happen every day at school and actually having a lot of fun with it. If there's a downside to it, it's that it does feel like it draws out the story with regards to Kuze a bit too much. There are people who want to get closer to her in a simple friendly manner but it's used sparingly. It's actually more realistic this way, but in the context of the episode itself, it feels drawn out.

In Summary:
Some of the silliness here is a bit much, especially when it delves into the costume aspect of it since that pushes it in a direction I'd rather not see, but as a bit of lightness to everything that has gone on before this, it doesn't work badly. And it's a somewhat less than subtle way of forcing Kuze out of her shell a bit with others. A lot of shows do sports festivals, but there's often not the character payoff that we get here when it comes to characters like Kohei. He really shines with these two episodes in becoming more of his own man and not being defined by his own view of who he is. The episode title does fit into things eventually, but in all honesty, I took a lot more away from watching Kohei than that piece of it. This show continues to work very well for me with payoff in surprising ways.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B+
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: Crunchyroll
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Fortune Arterial