Putting any kind of gimmick into your average action show with romantic comedy has been a staple of tradition for quite some time. Some succeed, and some don’t. Which, in most cases, don’t work because of the fact that it is nothing more than gimmick in hindsight. So what better way than to plaster guns into your generic romantic comedy in the title and artwork and pray that action fanatics might have some slight interest. Look no further than Aria the Scarlett, or Hidan no Aria as I prefer to call it, to fill in another entry in the bad category.
Nevertheless, it is not necessarily the very low point of the spectrum in the category. For all I know, there is some obvious intentions on becoming a straight up action show and it definitely succeeds somewhat in that department. Evidently, there are some impossible logic drops scattered throughout most of the action, but for a show that is this inept plot-wise, there isn’t really any reason to bash it any further for that reason. It wants its action to be flashy and fast-paced, so by those standards there are plenty of interesting conceptual scenarios they put into them.
Like any show that stars Rie Kugimiya as the main heroine, and a tsundere non-surprising, there is bound to be light-hearted comedy thrown in for good measure. Now when I mention “good measure,” I mean that in a haphazard way. When the comedy is good in Hidan no Aria, it is nicely put together and hilarious to watch Aria’s reactions to anything lewd. But man, when the jokes do not work, they fucking die horribly. It’s not the fact the jokes themselves aren’t humorous, but the way they pace it together feels dragged out far too long than it needed to be. There’s even one instance where Aria calls Kinji a baka repeatedly for almost 8 seconds and becomes tedious to experience.
These comedic interactions also falter from the fact that most of the characters are essentially just cardboard cut-out characters of different stereotypes and adds nothing significant to them. All that we can really remember about them is the typical gags that were written for them. Shirayuki is the creepy childhood friend who has an intense crush on Kinji and always gets jealous whenever a girl is close to him. Then there is Riko Mine, who somehow has an attraction towards Kinji that is never given much context as to why she wants him to begin with. Truly no amount of layers upon layers of depth could be seen in any of them because of this fatal flaw. If you want to show these girls in these positions, that is perfectly fine, but don’t expect someone to actually latch onto them for just those assets.
I’d put some forward analysis on our male protagonist, Kinji Tooyama, only because there is something that needs to be said about protagonists that are typically written in these types of shows. We’re all familiar with the general romantic comedy protagonist who gets flustered and becomes idiotic because of it. It is a redundant trope that we have gotten used to over the years; except with Kinji, he is not a character that possesses this trope. You’d think that would lead to him being likable, right? Well, the answer to that is yes and no. In that, there’s nothing really to him that makes him inherently riveting to watch in guiding through the plot, what little there is to begin with. Just like the main female cast, all we’re really shown about him is what his role is to the story and nothing else.
Usually I’d like to start off with talking about a show’s plot in the first paragraph, but for Hidan no Aria’s sake, I won’t even give it a time of day for that honor. Not only that but it almost seemed as though plot was very second nature to the show’s intentions. Even though it seemed like it wanted to based on how it tried to put in a serious tone in what seemed to have been a plot. It provides very few attempts to weave in a story that is not only uninteresting but also difficult to follow because of the bad transitions to mindless comedic moments.
With Rie Kugimiya on board with a main project, it’s always apparent to at least talk about the voice acting in the show she appears in. However, Aria is not one of the big highlights of her career. I say this from someone who may not be a huge fan, but I at least respect her range and energy she puts into her roles. It’s one of her roles where if you absolutely can’t stand her voice, Aria will definitely not turn you into a new convert for her fanbase. Her iconic “baka” is probably the most thrown out in this show more than any other show she’s been in, so that right there should signify whether you want to stomach through that or not.
No expectations were any higher than medium from me when I was going into Hidan no Aria, but I was surprised to say that its negatives don’t overshadow the positives too much. That, however, can’t make it a recommendation by any stretch. It won’t appeal to the people who want to have an insightful anime watching experience, obviously. But for the action loving crowd at large, it’s not going to be an easy sell. If you think you can handle the screaming “baka” lines repeatedly and the other nauseating character interactions, by all means try; just don’t expect much.