Arte Ep 1: Aw yeah, empowerment

This show is about a young noble girl named Arte, and how she wants to become an artist. Arte wants to be an artist, huh? Maybe that’s why Crentist became a dentist.

— Unfortunately for Arte, she lives in 16th century Italy where noblewomen are discouraged from being anything but prim and proper. You are to be seen but not heard. Unsurprisingly, her mother never wanted her child to take up art as a hobby. She doesn’t believe that it would help cultivate Arte into the sort of fine, young lady that a man would ever want to marry. Arte’s mother is portrayed in a negative light, but we do have to understand where the matriarch is coming from. She’s been a woman for a whole lot longer than Arte, so she knows firsthand what to expect from their society. No parent wants their kid to go through hardship, and in her eyes, she’s doing everything she can to prevent her child from falling into ruin. Of course, at some point, someone will have to take up the fight. Revolution will never come if we just sit around and wait.

— At one point, her mother tries to torch her sketches to discourage the girl from continuing down this path. I’m just amazed that the sketches are still in such good condition after being set on fire. Crazy, isn’t it?

— For a show about art, the animation here is a bit janky. Well, I don’t know. I don’t really have an eye for this sort of thing. I just feel like Arte’s body looks a bit odd here.

— Our heroine goes from workshop to workshop, begging for anyone to accept her as an apprentice. Naturally, they all reject her. Some are cartoonishly evil enough to even hit her for asking.

— Since everyone is rejecting her for simply being a girl, she decides to cut her long hair short. It’s amazing how her hair still comes out looking beautiful and immaculate.

— The young girl was going to chop her breasts off as well when Leo finally enters the picture and restrains the girl. He’s also the first person to take Arte seriously. No one else even bothered to look at her drawings. But he’s not exactly full of compassion either. When he asks Arte why she wants to become an artist, she replies that she just likes to draw. Personally, I think that’s an okay reason. Just wanting to do something is legitimate enough for me! But Leo doesn’t accept it.

— If he had just rejected her, that’d be one thing. But Leo decides to give Arte an impossible task. You can look at this in two ways. You can argue that perhaps he wants to show the girl that simply liking to draw is not enough. Art, like any craft, takes a lot of hard work and effort, and he doesn’t think that some pampered noble girl who has probably never worked an honest day in her life would have what it takes to become an artist. On the other hand, Leo’s trying to crush her spirit, which is what I don’t approve of.

— So while Arte toils away at her “impossible” task — can’t you at least give the girl some gloves to work with? — Leo goes drinking. And in his drunkenness, he remembers watching his father (I think) beg for food. Like I said, I understand that the path to becoming an artist is not a walk in the park, but I still don’t agree with his tactic.

— Anyways, Leo returns to his workshop in the morning only to discover that the girl did manage to complete her task. So why did he wake her up by pouring water on her? C’mon, man.

— The guy apologizes to the girl for not being forthright, so she decides to “come clean” as well. She finally gives him the actual reason for why she wants to become an artist. It essentially boils down to empowerment. If she accepts the life that her mother wants for her, she’d be a kept woman. Arte would always have to rely on a man to provide for her. So of course, she wants to empower herself, and art is a means to such an end. This answer resonates with Leo, so he finally relents and accepts the girl as his apprentice.

— Hey, hey, hey! If a girl can become an artist, at least let a boy cry! No cry-shaming!

— The rest of the episode isn’t really that interesting. Arte simply goes home and packs her stuff much to her mother’s chagrin. Unfortunately, when she returns to the workshop, the young girl learns that she doesn’t actually get a furnished room or anything like that. Instead, Leo oh-so-generously provides her a dilapidated shack above the workshop.

— So far, the anime seems fine except for one thing: the girl is only 14. Yeah, yeah, I know nobles often married their kids off at a young age for strategic (and gross) reasons. But according to this source, the average age for marriage during the Renaissance was actually a lot older than I expected. I suppose things are always different for the working class. Still, I wonder if the source can be trusted… Either way, I’m balking at Arte’s age mostly because “romance” is listed as one of the show’s genre. Leo seems old enough to be her dad, so if this show does truly have a romantic element to it, I really hope she doesn’t fall for the guy. Look, I just don’t want to see a 14 year old girl get into an adult relationship, alright? If the show starts to go down this path, I’m gonna pull the plug and do so happily.

Please refrain from posting spoilers or using derogatory language. Basically, don't be an asshole.

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