Fortune Arterial: Red Promise is a 12 episode anime based off of the eroge Fortune Arterial, which I hear was popular among visual novel fans. The anime is centered around the protagonist, Kouhei, who transfers to a high school located on an island off Japan. There, he rekindles relationships with people he knew in his childhood. He also discovers that the school’s student council vice president, Erika, is a vampire. In order to keep Erika’s secret from spreading, her brother forces Kouhei into the student council in order to keep a watchful eye on him.
As with most visual novels turned anime, Fortune Arterial has the typical high school setting with a twist, the twist being vampires this time. The thing about the vampires here though, is that they lack a lot of vampire qualities like burning in the sun or controlling bats. Instead, they simply drink blood, have superhuman strength and speed, and erase memories. I think the story would have been more interesting if there were full-fledged vampires, but it seems the writers decided to focus on the relationship aspect rather than the cool factor.
One pet peeve I have concerning these so-called “harem” anime is that a lot of times the main character is average in every single way and girls flock to him without so much as lifting a finger. What’s more, the main character usually goes around and “tries out” each of the girls before picking his favourite, undoubtedly catering to the fantasies of all the lonely men in the world. Thankfully, Fortune Arterial doesn’t fall into this trend. Kouhei is an ambitious, hard-working guy that does his best to make everyone smile; how many girls would turn away a guy like that? Fortune Arterial is actually more of an instruction manual than anything, “Wooing Girls for Dummies.” It goes through all of the major steps, including: showing leadership, making a sincere apology, and impressing the family. If you’re in high school and you’ve got your eye on that cute girl that sits in the corner, you may want to try taking some lessons from Fortune Arterial.
While Kouhei seems to be the perfect guy, I can’t say that the girls in this anime were very memorable. Perhaps it was the lack of exposure, or the lack of attention grabbing traits, or a bit of both, but most of the girls were very bland. The two sisters were typical side-characters that you quickly forget about once the plot gets going, the loli didn’t do anything except be a loli, and the vampire servant quickly dropped to the wayside after everyone found out who she was. The only female character with any presence is Erika, mainly because she is a vampire and the main heroine of the series. If you take away her vampire abilities, with no other stand-out qualities, Erika just becomes another face in the crowd.
The story itself, like the girls in it, is also very bland. There is very little conflict in the series and the climax was when Erika basically tells her mother that she wants to be a vegetarian vampire. Really now, how could they make that the climax of the series? Anyone who spends time around a family with teens will see more drama than that. Most of the episodes were spent showing how Japanese high school kids spend their day: chasing rabbits and building festival signs.
Fortune Arterial: Red Promise was less than what I was expecting. With a weak story and unimaginative characters, it fails to stand up to the better anime of 2010. Unless you’re really interested in seeing how to woo a girl anime style, I would not recommend this anime.