Tentacle-Free Anime: "Arion" (1986) Review
- by Kazekun, 9 June 2014
I love mythology, it’s an area of classic literature and fiction that I find to be one of the most fascinating – and ripe for retelling – mediums out there. The Gods, the Titans, the Man vs. Monster epics, and so much more; it has shaped our way of telling stories forever, and definitely mine as well. I love seeing other interpretations of myth and seeing how writers take on the task of bringing Zeus, Hercules, Hades, and the rest onto the screen or page. Unfortunately, there have been just as many failed attempts as there have been successes. And today’s review is not about one of those successes.
Saint Seiya, this is not. Proto-Percy Jackson, 20 years before Percy Jackson was a thing, now that I can see. But that’s only based off the minimal knowledge I am aware of from the young adult book series. Mostly this movie is like taking Hercules’ 12 labors, cramming them into a movie, only Disney did it better, Hercules is barely in this, and the labors are more like: “Instead of killing monsters, we need you to kill gods.”
And a lot of ground to cover it is, as the story moves at a snails pace. Introducing us to a kid sidekick who holds no barring over the story, we see Arion get captured more often than he should and come up against many different Titans (their not really called Gods in this film, everyone is a Titan): Athena, Ares, Apollo, Poseidon, Hades, and Zeus to name pretty much everyone. His allegiances change at the drop of a hat, he meets the love of his life and the less said about that storyline the better, and on top of all this the big bad is constantly changing.
Now, there are interesting parts in the movie that I probably would’ve preferred to see expanded upon like the history and culture of the Titans, or the backstory involving Prometheus. But sadly, those stories get pushed to the wayside. Most of the characters in this movie that we meet are not heavily involved, and probably get about 5 minutes of total screen time each if you put their scenes together.
The action is fun, and very fluid. I enjoyed watching those scenes because they’re the most interesting. Everything else comes to you in the form of very clumsy exposition. Now, I do think this film would’ve worked better as a trilogy with Arion taking on Hades or Poseidon in the first movie, perhaps Zeus in the second and leaving the two other mystery big bads (I won’t spoil) for the finale.
This movie showed a lot of promise, but due to its over-eager nature, its mishandled use of Arion’s character as well as Lesfeena, and particularly the Titans themselves, I don’t know if I could recommend it for serious story buffs or even Mytheads. Action junkies, and popcorn flickers will probably find this quite enjoyable. I will say though, for the Mytheads, this movie does do one thing that many myth-based stories tend to stray away from: the Titans like to keep it all in the family which makes for some oddly amusing scenes, but also for some less interesting and fully contrived plot points.
Overall, the animation is enormously solid, the action is great, the story should’ve been stretched out more, and the character’s falter under the weight of cramming. I don’t know how good it is, as I haven’t read it, but if you’re even slightly interested in this story I suggest probably checking out the 5-volume manga. Perhaps it does that whole expanding the story thing I want so badly. Or if you want to check out something else this studio has done might I point you to the many Gundam series that have come from Sunrise over the last several decades.
Final Score: 1.5 Incestuous Titans out of 5
In two weeks I’ll have something extra special for you all. Until then, take care!
Have you seen "Arion"? How did you enjoy the movie and the review?
Tagged: Tentacle-Free Anime.