Campione! Review

Anime

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Campione!

Studio: Diomedea
Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
Format: DVD, Blu-ray (Reviewed)
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Price: $69.98 – Available Here

Overview
Often in anime a teenage boy is suddenly given powers or thrust into a situation that will throw his life into turmoil if he was happy and peaceful or provide him with a goal in life if he were simply wasting away. This has become very common but the attitude of the protagonist is a key factor in this regard. Sure there are standard dense protagonists as well as those trying to wish their new found fortunes away for a peaceful life, but occasionally there are those willing to accept their fate and move forward. Now that Campione! has been brought to North America, what type of story and MC will we be in for?

Story
Kusanagi Godou may be a relatively popular and mildly skilled high-school teenager, he has lived a rather basic life compared to his grandfather who seems to have been everywhere on the globe and has given Godou the task of returning an ancient looking stone tablet to an acquaintance in Italy. However when a blonde Italian woman by the name of Erica Brandelli approaches him and questions him about the tablet right when a gigantic creature called a rogue god appears.

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To make things even stranger, after the appearance of this god a strange apparition with the appearance of a child appears in front of him and, satisfied by what he sees, allows Godou to keep the tablet. This child is far more than he appears, as it turns out to be a Persian God of War named Verethragna. After joining forces with Erica and using the tablet in his possession, Godou manages to slay the god but this act of deicide gives him the god’s powers as well, making him Campione that is called everything from a Devil King to a god slayer.

Ranked among only seven Campione in the world, Godou instantly has a target placed on his back as he not only possesses unique abilities thanks to his defeat of Verethragna, but also he is placed right at the forefront of numerous plans amongst both gods and men. However Godou is far from alone as not only has the cold and manipulative Erica become a devout lover, but the Committee for the Compilation of True History is eager to lend him a hand as he may be their only hope for putting an end to a prophecy of destruction.

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While Godou attempts to deal with his newfound status of being a Campione, handling the overflowing affection of Erica, and dealing with a number of new girls moving into his life the goddess Athena begins to make her move while other Campione and gods seek out Godou in an effort to gain their powers for themselves or find themselves a true challenge.

While most harem anime are romantic comedies, Campione! finds itself solidly placed in the action-harem section thanks to the fact that whenever Godou’s harem isn’t being built and developed there is almost always action in some form, whether it be with swords or with lips. Sure there is some humor here and there, mostly revolving around the harem antics and Goudou’s increasingly jealous little sister, but Godou’s interesting power base and opponents make for an intriguing, albeit formulaic, storyline.

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You see, despite facing off against numerous gods in the series, such as Athena and Perseus and fighting against others who possess powers of already defeated gods, the mythology behind these deities isn’t as simple as one may think. Campione! attempts to blend together numerous mythos and belief structures of gods, meaning that despite what you may know of Athena from lore there may be something more complicated thanks to other beliefs in the deity or their lesser known past.

This complicated blend of various mythos leads to not only some interesting and somewhat informative facts about various deities, but also the source of Godou’s ability to defeat such opponents that blends together action and romance in what may be the most passionate kissing sequences in a normal anime in some time. Whenever the anime manages to blend both romance and action together it is at its best, however when separate only the action sequences manage to shine.

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Thanks to some well-choreographed battles and a variety of interesting powers on display, every fight scene between the various characters in Campione are wonderful to watch and while the various harem building sequences do work nicely on developing a few of the characters, many of these sequences slow down the series and even with the time devoted to the cast, two of the girls are barely developed by the end of the series despite one of them being introduced very early.

By the time things wrap up, it is clear that there is much more Campione! left waiting for viewers to hopefully see one day. The series managed to nicely blend action, mythology, and romance together most of the time with only a few issues here and there in what can easily be seen as an entertaining series that many can enjoy.

Visuals
Campione!’s artwork is like a coin. The reason for that is because on one side there is some amazing animation used for certain segments of the series while other parts suffer from bland basic looking visuals that look third-rate even on Blu-ray.  You see, any time that a battle is fought the animation quality is boosted quite nicely and various special effects are added to create some very amazing looking bouts, especially when Godou uses his special move with thousands of floating swords in a golden field of blades.

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However as mentioned, the various harem building sections of the series often see the animation quality dip as the backgrounds, character details and various animation techniques are lower in quality and often suffer from various visual problems. Of course whenever a deep kiss is shared between Godou and one of the girls close to him or some fan-service is on display the quality of the scene is usually impressive looking and far above the standard fair found in normal scenes. Speaking of fan-service, while there is some mild underwear shots and a classic beach/hot spring episode, it is rarely played as a major part of the show.

Audio
Sentai Filmworks has given Campione! the English dub treatment and it is hit and miss as far as the casting goes. While Monica Rial as Erica and Blake Shebard as Godou are nice fits that work well with one another, there is some odd casting decisions here.  Liliana’s voice actress Genevieve Simmons only occasionally seems fitting for the role while most of the time her voice is out of place with the cast and some minor roles such as Salvatore are completely miscast sounding. It is also worth noting that there are occasional sync problems where the dub does not match the flaps of the characters.

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As far as the anime’s soundtrack is concerned Campione! is actually rather impressive. There are grand orchestral pieces used for fight sequences and fitting dramatic music for tense sequences and of course some mild background music for basic scenes. The opening theme “ Brave Blade!” by Megu Sakuragawa features a nice heavy-rock tone while the ending “Raise” by Yui Ogura is more peaceful and fitting with the romance aspect of the anime.

Extras
As far as bonus features go Campione! is rather barren as far as special features go. There is of course your standard inclusion of a clean opening and ending theme, though it is worth noting that the ending theme, while nice, features still images that are panned over which makes this clean version rather needless.

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Also included are disc credits and some trailers for other Sentai Filmworks releases making Campione! empty of special bonuses unless you count the nice disc art as a bit of a bonus.

Overall
Campione! offers a highly entertaining action-harem with a heavy dose of mythology to help make things interesting. While formulaic at times and a few of the characters suffer from being underdeveloped the intense action and nicely paced storyline keep the viewer interested while also building Godou’s harem and his powers as he faces down other Campiones and deities of legend.

8-0-capsules-out-of-10

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As a big fan of anime and games I'll be quick to cover anything that happens to be of interest.

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