Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Atelier, Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky
Sub.Blu-Ray - Complete Collection
Escha lives in the town of Corseit and dreams of becoming an alchemist in order to explore the mysterious ruins that hover in the sky above her home. Logy is an alchemist and engineer from the city of Central, escaping to Corseit to outrun his memories of the past. Together they join with other people in the town and the R&D branch of the local alchemy department to fulfill their dreams and learn the truth about the ruins Escha has long dreamed of.
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky marks the first time a game in the Atelier franchise of incredibly pretty RPGs has gotten an anime adaptation, and I must say that it feels like an odd choice. The show is based on the fifteenth game in the franchise, which is the middle game of an in-franchise trilogy...something which appears to be relatively important to the plot. Over the course of their adventures, Escha (pronounced “Eska”) and Logy encounter quite a few characters from the previous game, and many references are made to the events of Atelier Ayesha. Sentai Filmworks has tried to clear this up by giving us on-screen notes whenever the previous game is mentioned, but the font is quite small and difficult to read. On the whole, it just feels as if we're missing something.
That's really the end result of watching this show, whether or not you're familiar with the game(s). Mostly this can be attributed to faulty pacing, with each of the missions and “free time” sections of the game compressed into as few minutes as possible so as to fit the whole thing into twelve episodes. This basically makes the anime feel as if we're just watching a compilation of cut-scenes and missing out on all of the gameplay. This doesn't necessarily have to be a weakness for a game adaptation, but in this case the only real idea of “play” we get is when Escha is synthesizing in her alchemy pot; Linca and Logy's battles with monsters are hardly worthy of the name. This could in part be due to the fact that the original game gives you the option to play as either Escha or Logy, and the anime does not settle fully on one viewpoint over the other, trying instead to mix the two together and doing neither justice, although Escha's story feels more developed.
The overall plot of the story is that Escha has long dreamed of being an alchemist like her late mother in her hometown of Corseit. Logy, on the other hand, is basically hiding out in Corseit and licking his wounds after his work in Central went sour. Escha's enthusiasm slowly melts Logy's reserve and the two work together to fulfill their dreams of reaching the floating ruins above the town in a new airship, thus learning that working together is better than alone. (More or less; both of them seem to forget this lesson at the very end.) As the story goes on and more time is devoted to the main characters rather than cute side plots involving the myriad other girls in town, there really is a nice quality to Escha and Logy's relationship and we get a good sense of the history of Corseit and what made Escha who she is. This is unfortunately not quite carried through, and romantics may find the ending wanting, although it is worth mentioning that the ending to the anime is not the “true end” of the game, although it is a possible game ending. Up until the final two episodes, however, the story wanders all over the place, barely hinting at Logy's past or their goals in favor of introducing as many characters as possible and having eating contests and housewarming parties. It's cute, yes, but when the main plot is in maybe half of the series' episodes, there's something a bit off.
On the plus side, the artwork for this show is quite lovely, with little details like beads in Marion's hair or the intricate design of Clone's feet standing out. The series' version of homunculi are adorable, with one of the cutest scenes being Solle scratching one of the rabbit-like creatures under the chin during the opening theme. Also interesting is the fire spirit in the (inevitable) hot springs episode, who has a design somewhere between Sanrio and Junko Mizuno, which stands out against the Goth Loli/steampunk aesthetic of the rest of the characters. Unfortunately the animation can't keep up with the artwork, and it's very stiff, with Escha's legs appearing not to bend when she walks (or at all, unless she's sitting) and a very inconsistent idea of how tall everyone is. The most attention appears to have been given to Escha's tail, which moves fluidly in all of its scenes.
Atelier Escha and Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky is something of a disappointment. Origins in a game do not have to spell doom for an anime series, but this one is so poorly paced with its plodding (and sparing) distribution of the actual plot that it just doesn't work nearly as well as it could have. It's very easy on the eyes in terms of the artwork and when it bothers to develop the characters' relationships with each other and their world it is interesting, but it just doesn't try hard enough to feel like a show rather than a collection of cut-scenes.
Overall (sub) : C-
Story : C-
Animation : C-
Art : B+
Music : C+
+ Very pretty artwork, when Escha and Logy interact and get to know each other, the story is interesting.
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