Do you remember my entry on Shiki, where I discussed how that show took the very popular vampire topic and actually did something fresh with it? Yeah? Yeah? Take that freshness, that eerie mystery, take a look at Fortune Arterial…then throw it all out the window. To really enjoy watching this anime, you’ll have to pause any expectations for the unique and understand that Fortune Arterial takes what’s already been done, and just does it over again.
Fortune Arterial: Akai Yokusoku (trans. red promise) opens up with a short scene hinting at the dark nature of the anime. A hooded figure with red eyes (original, much?) turns and tries to take a bite straight toward the screen. Next thing we know, we’re following protagonist Hasekura Kouhei as he transfers in to Tamatsu Island’s six-year boarding school. His first encounter on campus is with vice-president Sendou Erika, and everything is fine until their hands touch for a welcome shake. Erika screams and bolts for it, and both Kouhei and the audience are left wondering what the hell went wrong.
Kouhei is saved from complete bewilderment by side-character Hachimandaira Tsukasa, later nicknamed “Heiji,” and we follow the two to the campus dorm. Conveniently, this dorm is the only dorm and thus, coed. Male and female floors are separated by floors, but as the audience may already suspect, floor separation doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of predictable anime shows. Upon entering the dorm, Kouhei reunites with two old friends, from when he lived on Tamatsu Island as a child. Coincidentally, the friends are sisters, and very pretty sisters at that. We are obviously watching a harem.
I’ll refrain from spoiling you of the details for this already spoiled show and jump right to the crux of Fortune Arterial‘s story. As is blatantly shown in the OP credits, the main love interest is Sendou Erika, who also happens to be a vampire. Following the successful vampire love genre, Fortune Arterial is an anime about infatuation and blood lust. As mentioned previously, the OP uses an image of a red ribbon to symbolize the tie that connects our two protagonists. Greatly overused in anime romance, the red string of fate invisibly connects two people, typically male and female, to each other as soulmates. As the red ribbon from the opening starts off wrapped around a naked Erika, we’re obviously meant to assume that she is the prime love interest. Once we know that she’s a vampire, we can also assume that this red ribbon also represents the ties of blood that bind her.
The characters in Fortune Arterial are such cardboard-type archetypes that I keep mistaking them for girls from other shows.
Girl A: Sendou Erika
We already talked about her at quite a length in my summary of the plot, but to more accurately describe her, she is the beloved vice-president of the school. Everyone looks up to her and find her breathtakingly pretty. Her character probably annoyed me the most as her reasonings for not wanting to suck blood were completely stupid. Watching her torture herself was a torture in itself and I found myself walking off to get a drink whenever her self-pity scenes came up.
Girl B: Yuuki Haruna
She fulfills the most popular childhood friend slot. Haruna is sweet, smart, sexy….yeah, your basic dream girl next-door. She also fills the whole lost memory plot line. I don’t know how amnesia became so popular in anime, but it is, and it’s gotten old. However, I would rather pick her over Erika since Haruna doesn’t agonize over shit she can’t change.
Girl C: Yuuki Kanade
Kanade sorta fits the loli girl role, though this show has another who more accurately calls that title. Despite being older than her sister Haruna, she looks the younger of the two, and acts like it, too. Because of her immaturity, I have no idea how she obtained the job of Dorm Head. Popularity? Even that seems kind of far fetched as I know I would never re-nominate her to position if she ever slapped one of her discipline stickers on me. She has a cute little arc with Haruna, where their relationship to each other, to Kouhei, and surprisingly to Erika, is revealed.
Girl D: Tougi Shiro
Loli girl, number 2! Shiro comes in with her own adorable little rabbit-chasing scene. Probably non-coincidentally, she looks much like her pet rabbit, Yukimaru: white hair, twin tails, little, and innocent-looking. Don’t you want to either pet her or cook her in a stew? She doesn’t really add much to the show, but she does have another predictable element to her, that of the little sister. Her brother, Tougi Seiichirou, has some sort of siscon and constantly overprotects her.
Girl E: Kuze Kiriha
I wouldn’t exactly call Kiriha a tsundere as she exhibits tsun~ about 99% of the time. She’s that tough, quiet girl who doesn’t seem to want close relations with anyone. I also find her to be the prettiest girl of the group, with her long dark hair and athletic abilities. I find her tie to Sendou Kaya very, very odd, but don’t care enough to really investigate it further. Oh, and Kiriha seems to have a weakness for cats, take that where you will.
Little shown, but more interesting: Amaike Shizuko
Amaike walks elegantly around the screen in nun garb as the caretaker of the nearby church, until she enters her job as the female dorm manager and takes on the scary, frying pan-wielding face. We get brief images and supposed memories of past encounters between her and Iori. Were they lovers? Is she his blood packet?
The animation of Fortune Arterial is well done and in the styling of other anime like Clannad and Kanon (2006). Too bad the story isn’t as up to par.
I gave this show a 6/10 (fine) since it executed animation nicely and fulfilled basic galge characters and storyline to perfection, but failed utterly in capturing my interest with any unique addition. Instead of watching this show, I suggest you go watch another that does it better: Rosario + Vampire.