Arte – 1st Episode Review
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Synopsis: Born into an aristocratic family in Florence, Italy, during the 16th century Renaissance era, Arte has dreams of becoming an artist. In an age of social classes, Arte is willing to cast aside her aristocratic lifestyle and stops at nothing to achieve her dreams. She finds apprenticeship in a painting studio owned by Leo, an artist who is strict but prioritizes ability over gender. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Arte follows its titular character in her journey to become an artist and escape the expectations of her noble birth. Shows like this often hinge entirely on the likability of the lead. In Arte’s case that’s the one thing the series gets right beyond a shadow of a doubt. Arte herself is immensely likable and charming. She’s not some stereotypical bubbly girl. She has drive, ambition, and is where the comic relief comes from when things get a little too heavy in her quest to become an artist. It’s hard to get depressed about her struggle when Arte has such a “buck up, can do” attitude and that stalwart optimism, coupled with her more charming comedic reactions, make her the lynch pin of the series and the number one reason to watch.
Linny: The other, secondary, reason to watch Arte would be its art. The animation and character designs are pretty solid, never dipping hard in quality. And given that this is a show about art and artists, it’s paramount that the art hold up under scrutiny.
Tom: But this is where the problems start. For as charming as Arte is, and as good as the show looks right now, everything else is very predictable. Arte’s narrative isn’t original in the slightest, hitting such generic, common beats that you’ve worked out where the episode ends long before we get there. It’s not a bad story mind, and the pacing keeps it watchable, but it’s very unlikely to surprise anyone but the youngest of viewers.
Linny: It’s a story about bravery and dreams in the face of overwhelming opposition. That’s a good kind of story, but that’s also all it is. It hits all the familiar beats you’d expect in a story about a girl facing off against gender discrimination and societal demands. If you’ve watched or read even one period piece in your life, you’ll be able to predict everything that happens in Arte and it doesn’t look like the show is injecting any unique character or plot developments. You can even predict right off the bat that Arte is likely going to fall for Leo, her rugged and strict but fair teacher. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t like Arte is mucking up these tropes. There will definitely be those who find the show extremely appealing and shows concerning hardy and ambitious female protagonists are always a welcome addition to media. But if you’re hoping for a well spun unique tale, Arte might not be up to the mark.
Tom: Ultimately Arte isn’t bad. Not at all. It’s watchable and if you don’t mind how predictable it is then Arte herself is a real treat. It’s a naturally compelling story too; a young woman desperate to push back on the cage keeping her from her dreams and ultimately succeeding. But if you’ve seen that kind of story then you know where Arte is headed and this first episode doesn’t offer even a hint that it’ll be taking this kind of tale in any new or surprising directions. This makes Arte a solid, yet unremarkable Spring offering.
Linny: Truly one could laud Arte for helping to bring more stories about women pushing back against the mountain of hurdles thrown their way and that alone is enough to land it on anyone’s watch list. How much they will enjoy it though is another matter. Arte’s surface level info dump about its setting, the Renaissance period of Italy, feels bland because it is so thin and basic, likely something most people already know. However, it does seem poised to be educational on the artistic methods being used back then but again, your enjoyment of that content will highly depend on your interest in that specific subject. As someone with no interest or knowledge in that field, I found the content boring but enlightening . But I also have no idea if it too was just surface level information that anyone already interested in the subject already knew. If you’re always happy to check out and encourage more educational and motivational stories set in the real world, you will likely have a soft spot for Arte. However, if art is of absolutely no interest to you, Arte doesn’t offer enough entertainment or ingenuity through its other elements to be a must watch.
Arte is available for streaming via Funimation.com