Arion should satisfy fans of Greek mythology and ‘old school’ anime.
And it certainly did for me.
Before starting, I hadn’t realised that Arion was a film by Venus Wars director Yoshikazu Yasuhiko but I see some fun similarities in the scale of the story and in character design too, especially with Athena and Susan/Miranda.
The big budget for the film is clear in the animation and art, especially when you compare the movement of troops in battle scenes to a typical television series. (In the special features included with the Blu-Ray for instance, I saw mention of a pretty huge number of cells. Part of the count was the detail but also the length of the film).
Arion is a big story but it all fits into the running time fairly well – there are a few points I’d have liked a bit of extra background on (even with a general knowledge of Greek mythology) but if I had a main quibble to bring up here, it’s the few jumps in character development.
On one hand, it’s all on screen and clear from context what Arion learns and what he’s thinking, but what is sometimes missing is any emotional reaction or struggle – a few times the narrative presents him having already moved on, going about his business post-reaction, and I would have liked to see those reactions.
There is a bit of lightness throughout the film, such as the little sound effects for Seneca’s movements during the theft, and the dialogue at times, but overall it’s epic, dramatic and somewhat unforgiving to most of its cast, even with what is ultimately ‘good guys win’ ending.
For fans of symbology, I think you’ll find a bit to unpack during the last battle but I don’t want to offer up any specific spoilers here.
Arion wasn’t widely available until recently and so I’m glad I’ve had a chance to see it at last, but I’m torn between rating on personal satisfaction vs artistry in the visuals… and so I guess I’ll stick with 3.5 stars.
*I should note – this is about Greek gods and so their general absence of moral fibre is on full display here, sometimes only thematically but sometimes depicted too.