There are countless anime adaptations of video games out there, but Arknights: Prelude to Dawn definitely stood out from the average with how good the first episode was. As an avid player of the mobile game Arknights, I had high hopes for this series, and I’m satisfied with the outcome – it even exceeded my expectations. This series is a good example of how anime adaptations should be made, and here is why.
Storytelling and Lore
One of the major factors that anime adaptations tend to butcher is terrible storytelling and presentation. They often end up skipping the story, as if they are aimed at the experienced player base, or adding too much irrelevant information to try and explain everything. However, Arknights anime adaptation successfully managed to avoid this because of the story’s well-balanced and detailed progression. The story never lacked and I felt like playing the game watching cutscenes instead of reading the text. The series also added additional content that complemented the progression and I am sure this was helpful to those who are only now getting into the franchise.
A common question that people ask when getting into anime adaptations is “should we check out the source of this adaptation?” I took the liberty of doing a case study and had someone who never played the game watch the first episode with me. The participant then summarized the story and the results were outstanding – they understood every bit of the story that they even came up with theories that I never thought of while playing the game. With this, I could say that it is not required to play the Arknights game in order to understand the story of the anime.
Art and Animation – Arknights Anime Captures the Game’s Atmosphere
The visual presentation was also magnificent knowing that the same staff that produced the game trailers i also working on this project. Studio Yostar Pictures is animating the series, with Yuki Watanabe as the director and Masataka Nishikawa as the assistant director. The anime was indeed similar with their previous project just as they mentioned in a video interview.
Out of everything we’ve worked on, the 1st-anniversary animation “Holy Knight Light,” is the most similar to what we’re doing now (Arknights: Prelude to Dawn).– Masataka Nishikawa (Assistant Director)
The visual effects in the first episode were very detailed and the characters’ depictions were quite accurate when compared to the game. You can see how detailed the facial expressions are when it complements the tone and mood of the character in a certain scene. Since the setting of Arknights is somehow dark and miserable, the characters tend to shift their expressions quite a lot. From utter hopelessness to a face of encouragement and confidence, the series was able to emphasize these looks for every character.
The voice acting in the series was exceptionally good and it made me happy to hear supporting characters have their own voice lines. Even the highly loved character Ace finally got the chance to voice his own lines as he did not have any in the game. And most importantly, the Doctor, our character, got to speak! The talent and effort that each voice actor gave for this series complement the quality of the story and the details of the visuals. Extra points for having the game’s cast also voice in the anime.
We got to hear Amiya, who is voiced by Tomoyo Kurosawa, and Dobermann (Atsumi Tanezaki). Other supporting characters that also spoke in the anime for the first time were:
- Medic: Momo Asakura
- Guard: Chiaki Kobayashi
- Ace: Takashi Matsuyama
- Skullshatterer: Risae Matsuda
The production team did not hesitate to go all-out in this project and it was definitely worth it. The storytelling was on-point, the visuals were magnificent, and the voice acting was simply outstanding. Arknights: Prelude to Dawn gave a strong first impression and things will surely get more interesting hoping that the quality will be consistent throughout the series.
Crunchyroll is streaming the anime.
© Yostar, Hypergryph