It’s one thing when you are a fan of a video game that all of a sudden has been confirmed to have an anime adaptation and feel nothing but contempt and frustration in the reasoning why they would bother. However, when your game is already in-of-itself a game that already acts like an anime, already you think to yourself that this will already be a slam dunk based on how it was born to become an anime show in the first place. So likewise, I was in the same mindset going into this. What I got in the end for Neptunia the Animation was nothing but partial disappointment that can only be described as wasted potential for a series that had a lot going for it in terms of comedy and parody.
Thinking how this show plays off as your typical moe show with cute girls in suggestive positions, I can understand the general consensus looking at the posters and synopsis of it and just pass it off as another generic moe show. Not knowing that the Neptunia games themselves are parodying the types of moe archetypes that those kinds of people don’t necessarily grow fond of. The parody that is included in this adaptation are just as charming and lovable in how it portrays the girls as consoles of the past generations of consoles from SEGA to Microsoft. However given how the Neptunia games have endless hours of non-stop comedy in its fun dialogue, understandably the show is very limited due to its 13-episode running time. Which points to the show’s main problem: It doesn’t go as far as the games in terms of quality comedy.
Sure it is nice to see the girls in full-animation instead of just slightly animated portraits on-screen in your typical Visual Novel fashion, but sadly it doesn’t really come off as anything but underwhelming and average at best. When you try to compare the art to the show and the original game’s art done masterfully and beautifully by Tsunako, it’s not what you would call an amazing transition. The art in the show can almost be compared to Saturday Morning Cartoon kind of quality where the colors look too bright and hardly has any nice lush drawings like in the games. Calling the art to be “horrendous” or “terrible”, on the other hand, would be a stretch because for what they’re worth, the fighting scenes are done fairly decent and there are definitely some moments where the art truly does add to the humor.
As any fan of Neptunia can all agree on, every single character are funny and charming to look at and listen to their funny dialogues between one another. Neptune is an absolute joy to listen to as always with her really funny and sarcastic personality that originally annoyed me at first but eventually I grew fond of it after a while. The tsundere princess herself Noire has some great laughs in her hilarious attempts at trying to hide her personal side, one scene in particular involving her stalker and showing a bunch of pictures of her alone was enough to send me howling on the ground laughing. Our other main CPU Goddesses Blanc and Vert are in-of-themselves great together in how they constantly squabble over such silly things. The side characters, which are the CPU candidates, have equal enough screen-time to bolster some memorable scenes together, though really could they have at least given us more of Rom and Ram? And finally, Plutia and her rather interesting alter-ego once again never fails to be as sadistically hilarious as usual with her perverted antics. You can’t go wrong with Hanazawa mixed with sadomasochism.
With all the gushing about the characters themselves, there is one essential problem in this department. The fact that there are hardly any other characters in the Neptunia universe that either don’t appear or they aren’t shown very often. One of the best characters in the 2nd Neptunia game was NISA but unfortunately she is nowhere to be found, not even in a cameo appearance which is quite unfair considering that at least 5pb is shown only twice. The only reason for this would obviously be that they wanted to hold them off for a sequel because they haven’t appeared yet chronologically where the show is clearly adapting, right?
Needless to say, the plot for the show follows nearly every single game that has come out. Except they honestly try to put different spins on it by putting characters in different roles that were originally suited for another character, i.e., Neptune doesn’t get transported to a different dimension like in Victory, yet she still falls on Noire amusingly enough, and this time Plutia gets transported into their own world instead of the other way around. At this point it’s clear that the writers didn’t want to put their time and effort to fit all 300+ hours combined of all three of the games and wanted to just make one show that isn’t trying to be a point to point adaptation, but rather represent the entire series as a whole in spirit. So with this in mind a lot of plot points in previous games aren’t shown or bothered with which isn’t too bothersome considering how some of them aren’t needed in the first place. Unfortunately, there are some points in the show where the rushed plots could’ve worked for the better.
What is it that makes the Neptunia series addictive and fun to play and experience? If you ask any of the fans, including myself, it sure isn’t for any of the drama or serious moments in any of the games. Not only did they have the will and power to make a show into anything they want based on the core concept, but they decide to put in their own effort in putting two or three episodes devoted to those two aspects I mentioned before. First off, the drama wasn’t very well-handled anyway in the previous games before Victory, which is by far the least serious of the bunch. Second, if you want to put drama into your moe comedy show at least try to put more effort into making believable and somewhat endearing. Granted the episodes that are devoted to this aren’t that many but it can leave a sour taste in your mouth regardless of the quantity of uninvolved drama that is thrown into you and expects us be invested in it. Hell, there isn’t that many newly added comedic scenes that hasn’t been seen before in any games with only a select few that are only somewhat amusing.
All original voice actresses from the games are here and fill in their respective roles with the same amount of chemistry as in the games thankfully. Amai Isumi, once again, never fails to embark into dangerous territory in becoming the next queen of Tsundere voice acting. Rie Tanaka has an impeccable amount of charisma whenever she acts as Neptune and succeeds tremendously in fulfilling Neptune as a larger-than life character. With our two main ladies gotten out-of-the-way, our supporting cast consisting of Yui Horie, Kana Asumi, Rina Satou, Yui Ogura, Kaori Ishihara, Kana Hanazawa, and Eri Kitamura all make for a wonderful ensemble cast. Trust me, you couldn’t have asked for a better casting than all of them combined.
In an effort to conclude my thoughts, Neptunia the Animation isn’t a terrible show to sit through. It’s definitely one of the better video game adaptations out there whether or not how much you care a lot for the medium in general. It is definitely not something you would recommend to your friend if he wanted to get into the Neptunia universe firsthand. They’ll most likely think of it as nothing but pure moe pandering at its purest, that is if they aren’t into that whole thing to begin with. It is nothing more than pure fan-service to the people who play the games to see the static portraits come to life before their eyes, even if the end result isn’t as mind-blowing as previously expected. If by chance you are a fan like me, you could probably go ahead and give it a try to see what is in store in how it is taken in animation. Other than that, you’re better off just firing off another new game plus my fellow Neptunia brethren.