Why the Arifureta Anime Reviews Are Negative, But the Light Novels Were Praised

Novel adaptations are second only to video game adaptations in terms of scrutinization from fans. Translating text into a visual format is difficult sometimes, but it is doable. Unfortunately, things tend to get left out and some portions are rushed in order to fit everything that happens. This is especially true when there are only 12 to 24 episodes to fit either an entire arc or even an entire story. However, Arifureta fans are upset because it's not just the story that is the problem.

The past few years have seen an increase in adaptations of light novels, a type of young adult novel that usually runs about 50,000 words and is aimed at middle and high schoolers. Arifureta is one such novel, falling into the popular isekai genre where the protagonist, in this case, Hajime, is transported to another world. The novel version of the story is highly praised for its world-building and characterization. The anime, not so much.

Yue, Hajime and Shea in Arifureta anime

As recounted by Christopher Farris of Anime News Network, the first episode forgoes important information about the setting and the characters and just puts Hajime in the middle of the action without telling the viewer what's going on. Reviewers on MyAnimeList also cite the poor pacing as one of the biggest problems with the adaptation. Many commenters call it a hilarious train-wreck of bad animation and poor writing that's great to watch for its "so bad it's good" quality. Another criticism is that Hajime's character is completely trashed from being traumatized to just being an "edgelord" as one comment calls him. One of the only praises it has received is for its sound design. Otherwise, the reviews are extremely negative. The phrase "dumpster fire" is seen several times when referencing the anime series.

This is in stark contrast to how the light novels were received. The books were highly praised for their world-building and character relationships, ranking 27th of 2017's best-selling light novel series in the first half of the year with over 84,000 copies sold in Japan. The idea of the protagonist having to work for their powers instead of instantly being a powerhouse as soon as they entered a new world is one of the most cited reasons for people enjoying the series. With the source material being so informative and well-written, why did the anime turn out so highly criticized?

RELATED: Arifureta: How to Get Started With the Light Novels, Manga & Anime

Hajime Nagumo looking worried, before transformation

The reason could lie in the fact the staff changed since the initial announcement of an anime adaptation. Originally, it was set to be directed by Jun Kamiya, but this was changed in 2018 to Kinji Yoshimoto. The character designer was also changed from Atsuo Tobe to Chika Kojima. The script was originally supposed to be written by Kazuyuki Fudeyasu, but he left his position and Kinji Yoshimoto and Shoichi Sato took over the job. The series was also supposed to be released in April of 2018, but was postponed due to unknown "various circumstances."

These production issues plagued the series and seemingly left a low turnaround time for the series to actually be completed. With such a negative start, only time will tell if  Season 2 improves where Season 1 fell short.

Zenitsu Fan art by HP Parker
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