Arte: A Wholesome, Historical Anime Series About Passion & Individuality – Anime 1st Impressions

Arte is a seinen, historical, slice-of-life anime about a young noble lady named Arte living in 16th century Florence, Italy. After the loss of a loved one, her mother wants Arte to turn into a proper young woman fit for marriage. However, as a lover of art, that’s not the sort of life that Arte wants for herself. Leaving behind her lavish home and lifestyle, she goes into the city to find someone who’d be willing to be her artistic mentor.

One night when I was having a particularly shitty evening, I went on a search for something that would be feel-good. This anime had been recommended to me over the course of the last year by quite a few different individuals, so when it sprouted up in my random Hulu search, I watched the first episode without hesitation. My very first impressions after the initial twenty some-odd minutes had floated by was, “Well, that seems pretty damn wholesome.” It’s exactly what I need right now and I’m glad y’all have yelled at me enough about this that it remained in the forefront of the otaku-loving portion of my brain.

Arte reminded me a lot of a handful of my favourite anime ladies such as Yona from Yona of the Dawn and Shirayuki from Snow White with the Red Hair. They have the similarities of chopping their hair off as a means of illustrating their strength beyond the formulaic thought of “weakness” that is typically associated with being a woman, which for some reason I’m a big fan of (the symbolism, not the weakness thing), but they also have that awesome passion and determination that doesn’t hold them back. Characters who are willing to work their asses off for the things that drive them or motivate them are so fabulously endearing and relatable to me. So, formulating a connection with Arte because of those things was supremely effortless.

Because of her quirky personality and refusal to give up on herself and what she wants from her life, it causes the anime to exude positivity and a kind spirit, elements that are beautifully comforting. This helped me to understand why so many fans have placed this rather high on their feel-good and “watch when you’re blue” recommendations lists. As a person that was feeling immensely blue and yucky, I went to bed feeling much more hopeful and relaxed after checking out the pilot.

Other things that drew my attention include the mentor guy she ends up finding. He’s such a cranky dude and his frustrations with people who have unrealistic and idealistic perceptions of what it means to be an artist made me laugh out loud multiple times. In many ways, he reminded me of my brother, who vehemently disliked folx that wanted the easy and flamboyant path in life rather than doing something out of effort, respect, and diligence. I knew then that I was going to adore him and his crankiness, and watching how he and Arte formulate a friendship (or even something more) would be rather entertaining and fun.

I also love the artistic style. It’s simple and straightforward, very clean and neat with tons of vibrant colours and soft lines, again quite similar to the style of Snow White with the Red Hair. The shots of Florence and some of the natural expanses of historical Italy are breath-taking. It complements everything else Arte has going for it wonderfully.

In terms of things that I didn’t care for, well, I don’t have any yet, which is a bit surprising. Usually there’s always at least one trait that I can find to nit-pick, but not here. While it was unexpected, and a part of me wants to put Arte under a fine-tooth comb as I continue watching it, I won’t. I’m just going to embrace the soothing, jovial vibes and enjoy the ride.

Overall, my first impressions for Arte are pleasant and happy. I look forward to watching much more of this over the upcoming weekend and week. I have a strong feeling it’s going to be that dose of relaxing, wholesomeness that I’ve been craving without realising it. If you want to check out Arte for yourselves, it’s streaming on Funimation and Hulu (linked below).

Native: アルテ
Source:
Manga by Kei Ohkubo
Demographic: Seinen
Genre: Historical, Slice-of-Life
Season: Spring 2020
Episodes: 12
Studio: Seven Arcs
Director: Takayuki Hamana
Content Warnings: Sexism. Classism. Alcohol and food consumption. Death of a loved one.
Streaming: Funimation, Hulu, Anime Lab (Aus)

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