I Just Can’t Understand What Manaria Friends Is Going For!
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Manaria Friends first impressions is part of my Ultimate Guide for the 2019 Anime Winter Season. A guide with more than 100 pages with a first impressions to every Anime coming out in the Winter Season. You can get your own here (it’s free!).
Title: Manaria Friends (MAL Page)
English Title: Mysteria Friends
MAL Score: 6.52
Genres: Fantasy, School, Slice of Life
Number of Episodes: 10
Broadcast: Mondays (JST)
Duration: 15 min. per ep.
Manaria Friends is inspired in the Mysteria Academy event of the card game, Rage of Bahamut. The story follows the best friends Anne, a human princess, and the half human, half dragon (also a princess) Grea. Both study in the Mysteria Academy, a prestigious magic school that does not discriminate who teaches, being them humans, gods, or demons.
The story goes around their daily lives, being each episode one really different from each other. For example, the first episode is a monster who appears in the library, the second is Grea’s being sick and the third is your friendly shopping trip.
I don’t know if the Anime is just following random events that appear when you play the Mysteria Academy, or if it’s taking its own route. I tried to see if I could find information on that… But I couldn’t find much.
As a stand-alone, I just have to say that it still hasn’t found its feet. If episode 1 seemed that we were going for a fantasy action type of Anime with a lesbian romance on the side, episode 2 changed the pace and just seemed some type of ecchi Anime with fanservice as the main goal. However, when we get to episode 3, it now resembles a slice of life type of Anime with a lesbian romance on the side… Basically, there is just no standing ground for this!
My main problem is with episode 2. Without any kind of notice, the episode starts with Grea moaning like she is right in the middle of sexual intercourse. At the same time, we are able to see her grab the sheets and make some type of movements which, again, makes you believe she is having sex. However, it seems that she is only sick! In fact, Anne ends up the episode going in a huge quest trying to find a medicine to save her, just to find by the end that she is just shedding her tail skin, something normal for dragons. And, of course, this process also makes Grea’s breast and tail to get even bigger.
I’m having an open mind regarding ecchi and fanservice, but this was just too random storywise! And I also think it was a little too much, I actually felt a little uncomfortable at the beginning of the episode and actually stopped to confirm if I was in the right Anime and right episode.
When it comes to the characters, none of them are really that deep or have developed during these 3 episodes. What we get in the first episode is probably what we will get for the rest of the Anime.
Anne is one of those characters that you instantly like. She is one of the strongest students in the academy but is humble at the same time. She is also a cute character and that will do everything to help others! Basically, she is a nice character to follow, and even if she does not develop during the Anime, she just ends up being a nice character to watch.
When it comes to Grea, she is way more into the shyness side. Something that makes a little more difficult to see how she really is. Nevertheless, if that is your type then you will love it since the fanservice is more targeted to her than to Anne. However, from the information that I was able to get from the game, she seemed to be a little more straight forward and not shy at all.
The best thing about Manaria Friends is the World Building. It completely transports you to another world. Everything is very well detailed and I believe the ideas that were implemented are very good. For example, in episode 2, Anne goes to the forbidden part of the library trying to find a way to cure her friend. Something that starts in the library, ends up being a trip through forests, lakes, etc. It actually made me remember a lot of my dreams (when I dream that I am in a fantasy world) which was nice to watch.
When it comes to the fanservice, it’s there and I have to say it’s good! There are many times that you can see that it’s a little bit on your face. However, Grea’s character design is very well made and nice to look to. This way, even if it’s right on your face, the frames are always very beautiful to watch. Something that I’m sure the Anime got from the cards’ design of the game.
There is no intro. At least, if there is one, it was still not added to the episodes.
The soundtrack is very RPG-ish like and it would be something that you would get for a good fantasy RPG. In other words, I like it, a lot! Again, the environment is the best factor of the Anime and the music is something super important to achieve that.
When it comes to the voice acting, I also don’t have anything bad to add. It’s well done, seems smooth enough and works well with the characters.
Although the story is kind of a mess and you can see that they are throwing fanservice all over the place, I have to say that I’m enjoying the ride so far! The world is very well done! In fact, it is so well executed that I don’t mind if the 10 episodes end up being about Anne and Grea walking around and doing nothing major.
This way, if you are a fan of watching Anime just for the animation, environment, audio, etc. you should try to watch this one.
If you like a more sexy type of Anime and you don’t really need a good story to back it up, then you should also watch this.
On the other hand, if the story is what matters the most and you can’t stand Anime shows that don’t really seem to find their feet, then Manaria Friends is not for you!
Final Score: Above Average!