Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars – Preview

Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars:

Original Air Dates: Jul 7, 2016 to ???

Or as it is known in other places, the Kingdom of Guard your Rim.

Synopsis: 12 years ago, in the country of Rimguard a major battle took place leaving behind a mystery unsolved that has begun to fade from the people’s memories. Now, sisters Yui and Rena are living peacefully in the Enastria Empire. But one day Rena is confronted by a man who challenges her to a battle. He summons a massive mecha and insists Rena battle him then and there. This incident marks the turning point as both Yui and Rena are caught in a vortex of inescapable fate.

1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow): 

Tom: As a Mecha fan, I’m always hoping for the best. I’m always hoping to find a new mech series to love and cherish. I’m always hoping that by trying near every Mecha that comes along I’ll stumble upon another gem hidden in the rough. This is not one of those times. Visually Regalia is a struggle to enjoy. During the big fight scenes the animation becomes choppy as if a few frames are missing here or there. It’s either a stylistic choice to make battles seem more “dramatic” or a way to keep the budget low but allow for extreme action. Maybe it’d work if what was there was enjoyable to look at. Unfortunately, Regalia has a muted and dull color palette, a problem plaguing quite a few anime this season, that puts a strain on your eyes and leaves the entire show looking bland and dull.

Linny: As someone watching for the story and not the action, Regalia was disappointing. What story there is in the episode is told in such a haphazard manner that there seems to barely be one. After watching the episode, you are left with not only a lot of questions but thanks to the limited introduction and exploration of the characters, you may also find yourself lacking the desire to pursue the answers to those questions. There are a lot of sudden shifts in tone and even a sudden visual transition that feel like it could have all been done in a more subtle and smooth manner. When you transition from a kingdom destroying explosion to two sisters eating breakfast and then to one of them battling for her life while abandoning her younger sister, it all feels rushed and unmoving because you never got enough time to understand or get attached to any of the elements in the story.

Tom: Confusing is a good word to describe this first episode. We start with a flashback. Here we witness two giant robots ducking it out and eventually one is hit with some kind of crazy energy blast and some little girl with white hair, in a laboratory that seems to be away from the crazy battle going on, cries out for help from her sister. The entire sequence doesn’t last all that long, and my description might not even be that accurate as the entire event is quite confusing, with little context to help define what we’re witnessing. From there we shoot to the present day, to an entirely different area with architecture that doesn’t resemble anything we’d seen previously. As the episode continues, characters are introduced, and events unfurl, but you’re still left back at the beginning, trying to rationalize the transition. Let me be clear by saying a cold open like this can indeed work, but Regalia doesn’t properly set the stage, with nowhere near enough subtext and visual clues to make the sequence understandable to the audience. We don’t need to know everything from the get go, but it at least needs to vaguely make sense.

Isn’t she a little too young and a little too ‘your sister’ to go on a date with you?

Linny: When it comes to our two female protagonists, Rena and Yui, we are thrown into the middle of their daily lives. We don’t know who they are except that they are sisters and one of them is still in school. Unless you immediately gravitate to them for their cute looks and moe/loli appeal, it’s hard to then care about them when one of them is then ditching her sister to go and secretly fight someone. All we did was watch them eat breakfast and agree to meet for a ‘date’ after school. Are we really supposed to immediately get attached to them because of that? It seems like the show is banking on viewers finding them cute and worth caring for based mainly on their moe/loli looks and behaviour.

Tom: Later on into the episode we start to get some contextual information filled with terminology and brief explanations. It’s not enough, unfortunately, and does little to aid in the building drama and climax of the episode. The episode ends on a surprise twist as we’re introduced to the ruler of the local kingdom, but it’s just not enough to take away from the choppy and clunky introduction. A first episode’s job is to interest and hook the viewer, but in trying to keep things too mysterious, its more likely to leave the audience feeling confused, dazed and disconnected which is exactly what’s happening here with Regalia’s opening.

Linny: Going back to the sisters, they seem to have a rather strange relationship that’s teaming with questions, some which get answered and some which only end up raising more questions. Right from the get go , the viewer isn’t given the slightest hint about why Rena, the older sister looks like she should be in grade school and a late, vague explanation means that you’re distracted by it for the longest time. Even when we are given answers, they are vague and confusing. And as for the surprise twist, unless you have been intrigued by the show already, it only makes you more certain that the show is terrible at introducing new elements.

The Hunch-Mech of RimGarde?

Tom: The only real characterization we get is for our two leads: Yui, the blonde haired, apparently younger sister to Rena, a little girl with purple who is actually the core for a giant robot? I think. It’s not terribly clear save that Rena is related to the giant robot in some way. Rena is borderline emotionless, making her feel pretty dull and Yui is very peppy and sugar sweet, making her dangerously nauseating for anyone who dislikes the overly girly and peppy characters. That’s just about all we get however, as Regalia would rather shroud itself so deeply in mystery than allow us to have more to grasp onto and understand about our characters or the world they live in.

Linny: If you take immediatey to Rena and/or Yui, or are just into mechas and giant robot battles in general, those two are the main things that will decide if you continue with the show. If neither the girls nor the fights impressed you from what you’ve read and seen in this preview, you can always turn to Kuromukuro for your mech needs this season and about a million other shows for your cute girl addiction.

Tom: Regalia is an original mecha, one of the few anime every season that isn’t based off a Light Novel or a Manga series. It’s unfortunate that Regalia doesn’t come together like it could and while I’m sure there’s a potentially interesting story hidden within, it’s diluted by too much mystery, little context, and limited characterization making it a chore to try and get into the series. Regalia needed a strong first episode as a new property and this wasn’t it. You might still enjoy Regalia if you enjoy overbearing mysteries in spite of exceedingly vague details. I’d argue that’s about the only positive Regalia has going for it: There’s a lot hidden beneath the surface.

Tom Not Recommend Badge

“Not Recommended: Choppy animation, a clunky narrative, and limited characterization make Regalia disappointing and difficult to appreciate.”

Linny Not Recommend Badge

“Not Recommended: Bad transitions and lack of proper set up make for an unengaging watch.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addendum:

Tom: Regalia has a bit of drama behind its airing. Four weeks into its summer run Regalia was cut from the schedule citing a need for “quality improvements.” The series resumed broadcast on September 1st, restarting from Episode 1. Neither I nor Linny had continued to follow the series past its first episode, and are thus unfamiliar with exactly what kind of “quality” issues Regalia began to suffer from, although it doesn’t sound like Episode 4 was terribly horrific. However, we decided to do a side by side comparison of Regalia’s first run 1st episode and the rebroadcast to see what changes we could spot. Ultimately the 1st Episode does include some minor additions: a few extra shots during the opening battle, a couple, brief, inclusions of establishing shots, and an extra/redone line of dialogue here or there. The changes are fairly minor, and ultimately won’t make Regalia worth a rewatch if you’d already written the series off as completely uninteresting. For new viewers, or those perhaps more forgiving from Regalia’s original faults, the revised version of episode one does add a bit more context to the series’ opening, making it a little easier to follow. A crucial line of dialogue has been added to help bridge the confusing time jump ahead in the story, although it doesn’t feel like these changes are enough to bring Regalia around from what was already a sub-par opening.

Linny: When we sat down to rewatch Regalia, I didn’t know what to expect since the show had been pulled for quality issues and that is such a vague term. Having only seen one episode, I couldn’t recall the animation being particularly bad, only that the story had been very confusing and vague so I theorized that they were either planning to improve the animation quality or the storytelling. Unsurprisingly, the animation looked more or less to be of the same quality. There were some added shots, scenes that lingered longer than the original and about 5 new lines of dialogue. From all of those new additions, there was literally ONE sentence of dialogue that gave the show some new clarity and thus, was of actual consequence. There were also a couple of lines from the original that were delivered in a more passionate manner, but once again, everything following it played out the exact same as before. Ultimately, if you weren’t impressed by the first run of Regalia, this new and revised version doesn’t seem to have done much to warrant a rewatch.

 

Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars is available for streaming via Funimation.com.

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