US Distributor: The Right Stuf International
Production Studio: AIC
Was this provided by the publisher? Yes
More Info: Anime News Network

Blessing of the Campanella BoxartThe Blessing of the Campanella is an adaptation of the eroge of the same name. It follows the adventures of Leicester and his fellow guild members after, during a meteor shower, a little girl automaton wakes up and imprints on Leicester as her “papa”. Cue potential lolicon jokes that never came into fruition.

The series takes place in the world of Ert’ Aria, filled with magic, knights, automatons, and guilds. In this world, everything uses El, a sort of mana-like substance that powers both machines and magic, and can turn fluffy animals into crazy monsters. The whole setting seems right out of an RPG, but the series never gives you enough detail to really feel immersed in the world.

The characters are all extremely flat. And while I would love to describe their cliché personalities, I can’t bring myself to even call them that. At the forefront of the harem is a childhood friend, who is the Duke’s daughter, that pouts whenever Leicester so much as looks at another girl. Behind her are a female knight with a terrible sense of direction and puppeteer who seems to be good friends with all of the bad guys. The antics of a duo from a rival guild, the over-emotional Salsa and the emotionless Ritos are mildly entertaining the first time. Not as much so after the same gag is repeated over again every single episode.

The viewer never gets any background on exactly what Leicester’s guild actually does, other than the fact that it completes peoples’ quests (assumedly for monetary compensation, but this is never explicitly mentioned) and all of its members are in love with Leicester. The guild actually contains another guy who, in order to make it absolutely clear that Blessing of the Campanella is going for the harem route, gets minimal screen time to the point that he quips in the last episode, in one of the few funny lines of the entire series, that nobody even remembers his name.

Of course, the fellow stands no chance against Leicester, who seems to be God’s great gift to women, in that he obeys and agrees to everything the girls say to him. He simply nods when they fight over him, and lets his mother dictate his major decisions. The amount of times in the entire series that Leicester actually gets mad at someone, or even simply disagrees, can be counted on one hand.

Leicester’s mother, it should be mentioned, is not only a cookie-cutter example of of a young and teasing mother, but is also a rather prominent plot point that the story basically just forgets about and  leaves unaddressed.

In fact, out of the five parents that appear in the series, not one of them actually takes the time to help out. Instead, they resort to dropping hints and tidbits of advice, and generally being pretty much useless. Their actions are almost as if they were trying turn everything into a learning experience – which is okay sometimes, but not really too practical when the welfare of the world is at stake.

The Blessing of the Campanella lacks antagonists. It portrays the closest, and really, the only, thing it has to bad guys in the most accepting light possible, even when they’re trying to kill Minette. Other than them, the enemies of the show are comprised of cute animals that lose control when they are possessed by magical energy gems.

The bulk of the series could be most accurately described as filler material, if there were any plot to fill in the first place. After kind of pandering around for a while, the show takes a few episodes to focus a bit on the individual girls. It’s only after this that Blessing of the Campanella finds a sorry excuse for a driving plot, which it introduces, develops, and concludes – all in the last four episodes. Even then, it leaves plenty of loose ends behind.

The Blessing of the Campanella is most assuredly a harem series. However, it doesn’t even feel up to par with the mindless fanservice shows that have been flooding the market. It tries to be something it most certainly is not, and falls short. It doesn’t even possess the decency to make fun of itself, which can make even some of the worst series bearable.

It has fight scenes, kind of, but the biggest battles are decided in the most docile ways. The big climatic final battle is (in an effort to prevent spoiling too terribly much) most certainly not big nor is it in any way climatic.

Even slapping a slice-of-life label on it doesn’t make up for nearly enough of its flaws. It’s not particularly funny, nor is it cute, nor is it charming.

There’s no question that Blessing of the Campanella is a low-budget title. The visuals definitely leave something to be desired. The sad thing is, I think that it could have actually worked if it focused entirely on Minette and completely dropped the harem and fanservice tags. Then, I would be able to show it to kids, who I think might enjoy its cheap comedy and childish (but possibly heartwarming) lessons. Unfortunately, that’s not really viable with the exposed nipples and panty shots.

The Blessing of Campanella is a perfect example of when a series shouldn’t just slap sex onto something in an effort to make it sell. It’s also the result of a series that to be something it’s not. Combining that with its disappointing production values, the Blessing of the Campanella is stuck as a sub par adaptation of a likely mediocre visual novel.

And the fanservice wasn’t even that good.