Upsetting the Balance of the Arcana Famiglia: Episode 1, Part 2

If the two sets of characters explored in the first half of this post fit rather neatly into their roles and set an easy precedent for Arcana Famiglia’s underlying theme, these next two pairs prefer to shake things up quite a bit in comparison. Though they do ultimately fall into place on opposite sides of the list, they do so as outliers and exceptions, in one form or another; in addition, a few of them are somewhat more difficult to connect to their Arcanum (including one who makes that connection simply because he is that ambiguous outlier). Regardless, all four of these characters are poised to be major players in the game that will decide the future of the Arcana Famiglia.

First up in the line of characters to be sorted actually comes in second when ranking them by levels of (rather annoying) ambiguity: Luca, tied to the fourteenth card, Temperance. From his eccentric and oftentimes childish behavior, it’s rather easy to lump him in with Debito and Liberta. Surprisingly enough though, even as loud as he is, his motivations and priorities earn him a spot alongside Pace and Nova. For evidence, all we have to do is look at the list of things that cause his emotional outbursts during the first episode—basically, most anything that doesn’t fit into the category of ‘the way things are supposed to be.’ Because of this, and especially because of his tendency to keep people’s actions in check through his efforts, we can tie him to his Arcanum—the sensible one, even if he is somewhat lacking in the ‘quiet composure’ department.

And to determine which of the remaining characters gets paired off with him, we just have to pay attention to the person he’s most protective of: Felicita. More often than not, when he gets upset, it’s because someone is harassing her; and there’s one certain someone who always manages to get pretty damn close to her because he can be stopped.

I have every intention of calling him ‘Seníor Exposition’ every time he pops up on my screen.

While he doesn’t really cause as much of a commotion as Debito or Liberta when he comes around, Jolly can definitely be considered just as chaotic as either of them. Whenever he’s on screen, in addition to providing quite a few details about the plot as a whole, he has a rather entertaining habit of making most of the characters just the slightest bit uncomfortable—a fact that quickly ties him to the Moon, a card centered around fear, illusions and bewilderment. Though he’s extremely quiet in comparison to Luca, his hobby of observing others and predicting their actions, regardless of the consequences, lends itself to his own form of ‘silent chaos.’

For the last two characters who fall on opposite sides in this first episode, we look all the way up to the two highest-ranking members of the family: Dante and Papa. And as the head of the family, the one who not only follows, but makes the rules, the one whom Nova and Pace stepped in to defend, Papa immediately gets crowned as the King of team order. From there, his Arcanum and the way he matches it adds even more credibility to the placement—he’s the one who can take credit for the success of the family as the whole, he’s the one every other member of the family looks up to, and he’s the one set to ride out his golden years having realized his goals. Although he does come across as somewhat malevolent in the first episode, his decision to host the Arcana Duello is, ultimately, one that serves to uphold the core integrity of the Arcana Famiglia.

At this point, however, we’re faced with a bit of a confusing situation concerning Dante. Looking at his personality and his actions, we can see that he does possess a rather chaotic nature: in addition to being a somewhat loud, boisterous man, he makes terrible puns concerning his baldness, and has a fondness for solving problems with none-too-subtle explosives. The apparent issue, however, arises from two sources: the fact that he does not, at any point during the first episode, step in to oppose Papa’s authority, and the fact that the Emperor Arcanum is usually considered a more ordered, law-abiding card.

Ultimately, however, both of these problems are explained away through lesser aspects of the Emperor card; The first, because Dante’s loyalty to the family, channeled through the card, leaves him with his hands tied, even though he does want to intervene—which we see evidenced in his discussion with Jolly late in the episode. The second issue is actually an even simpler one to solve: one aspect of the Emperor is that, in situations that are already extensively controlled and regulated, it embodies the need to confine those constraints. Hence, a more chaotically-natured Emperor.

Over the coming weeks, Arcana Famiglia is getting a big chance to further develop its characters—to elaborate on their natures, the roles they play, and their ultimate allegiances. What it all leads up to is, supposedly, the Arcana Duello itself, the outcome of which could potentially change the structure of the family as a whole. For now, both sides are equally balanced and keeping each other in check—but it’ll be interesting to see how quickly that ends up changing over the course of this series.

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