The first Shoujo I ever knowingly watched or read (and I have encountered a lot of shoujo anime that were advertised as something totally different) was ‘A Silent Voice’.
It was a manga (there might be an anime adaptation, am not quite certain) and it was brilliant. That was just a few months back. And in that regard, calling Soredomo Sekai Wa Utsukushii the second best Shoujo I have ever read wouldn’t mean much, seeing as I haven’t exactly watched or read many Shoujo.Edit:
Scratch that, ‘A Silent Voice’ was technically Slice of Life, which is something completely different, making the manga only the second best slice of life anime/manga I have ever encountered, the first being ‘Bunny Drop’.+THE PLOT:
Nike, the fourth princess of the Rain Dukedom and one who holds the power to call forth the rain, travels to the Sun Kingdom to marry Sun King Livius for her country, despite her own reluctance.
She soon discovers that the King, who conquered the world in only three years after his ascendance to the throne, is still a child! Furthermore, for trivial reasons, he has demanded that Nike call forth the rain...?!+MY REVIEW:
Okay, now I can’t tell if Soredomo Sekai is Shoujo or Slice of Life.
Wikipedia lists the anime as Supernatural/Romance, but I have watched numerous anime that could be listed under that category and they were nothing like Soredomo Sekai.
If it is Shoujo, then it would be my third, the second being Kokoro Connect…
Which is actually Slice of Life, Right?
I give up on trying to make sense of this.
Shoujo, Slice of Life, Romance whatever, Soredomo Sekai Wa Utsukushii (roughly translating as ‘The World is Still Beautiful’) is an anime worth respecting for stringing together what not only attempts to warm the heart but actually entertains. And in that regard I would throw it into the same category as Bunny Drop.
The anime avoids the trappings that tend to irritate me about so many Shoujo and Slice of life titles: the cyclical, often repetitive conversations, cliché and often overly dramatic characters, silly stakes that are over exaggerated for the sake drama, pointless conflicts driven by very convenient miscommunication…
The list is quite long. Any anime whose plot is driven by the fact that, for some unexplained reason, two people couldn’t seat down long enough to exchange one or two critical pieces of information irks me.
Soredomo Sekai is focused; right off the Bat, you understand who character ‘A’ is, why he or she was introduced to the story and the role they will play in relation to a character ‘B’ whose role in the story is also clearly defined.
The result is a tightly written story, where every episode attempts to somewhat achieve a modicum of character development, even while pushing the story forward.
The lack of filler material helps (and by filler material I mean those Beach/camp/birthday party episodes whose relevance I simply cannot compute).
No one could call this anime perfect; yet it is refreshing to watch 12 episodes of a series that understands its destination and strives to reach it from the beginning, without any unnecessary detours.
And if there are any particular elements that deserve special attention for transforming Soredomo Sekai into a truly praise worthy series, it would have to be the two primary protagonists:-Nike
My initial definition of a great female character was an individual of significant power, and one who played a significant role in the progression of a given anime, an example here being Erza from Fairy Tail.
After reconsidering this issue though, I came to relate the title of ‘great female character’ with relevance rather than power; and the perfect pictures of this argument would be Lucy from Fairy Tail and Elizabeth from Seven Deadly Sins.
The fact that I almost detest Lucy in comparison to my more favorable opinion of Elizabeth comes down to the fact that Lucy is so much stronger than Elizabeth, and yet could be referred to as being largely irrelevant to her manga’s story.
It is one thing for Elizabeth to continuously play the damsel in distress role; she has no discernable offensive abilities; not so with someone like Lucy whose relevance to the story is often shelved in favor of providing Natsu with an object to run after and save.
Nike is great as a female character; not particularly powerful in any noteworthy sense or even clever, yet playing an essential role to the show’s progression with each and every appearance.
Nike often shines best when juxtaposed against Livius, the primary male protagonist, and yet she could easily carry her own show. Her exploits, often driven by her curiosity, are that amusing to follow.
More importantly, at no point in time is she reduced to the object of Livius protection, a wimpy figure that he must defend and continuously save from unending dangers. Her role in solving her own predicaments is clear and difficult to ignore.
Simply put, she’s relevant, energetic and humorous, this despite the fact that she spends a considerable portion of the series singing this one song that quickly begun to irritate me.-Livius
Livius is essentially Ciel from Black Butler; a young man that, following the difficulties and tragedies of his younger days, steels his soul and transforms into a ruthless yet highly resourceful individual, boasting an intelligent mind capable of contending with and overwhelming much older foes.
In essence, Ciel and Livius, both smarter than their elders and unmoved by cries of mercy, mirror each other perfectly; the difference, however, lies in the fact that Livius is a child.
That isn’t to say that Black Butler's Ciel is particularly aged in comparison with Livius; yet he is constructed to present an image far different from his years, a child with the wisdom and will of an ancient man.
Not so with Livius; and it was refreshing to watch the character periodically break his visage of all knowing king to reveal the child beneath, barely in his teens, unable to cope with the vast world outside his cruel walls.
Livius’ character stands on far more stable ground than Ciel, though; from the very first episode, his superiority is never in doubt. And neither is the fact that, even with a never ending horde of enemies, covert and overt, at his door, Livius would always triumph.
Given time, his reign over the entire world would have lasted until his old age; in that regard, Nike isn’t the rain witch whose role it is to save him and his kingdom from certain doom.
Rather Nike strives to show Livius the gentler side of life, and to open the doorway to a rule that doesn’t rely on fear and force to impose order, within which mercy and grace can do more to wound an enemy than any sword.
In that regard the primary attraction of the anime is the transformation the series allows its audience to witness in its male protagonist, specifically the manner in which Nike shows the little boy that a light touch can avail victory every bit as effectively as a heavy hand.
It’s all basically heartwarming stuff; and the fact that it never forces you to sympathize with its heroes is commendable. Too many shows spend way too much time beating audiences over the head with how sad their characters lives are. It can get annoying.
Soredomo Sekai uses a lighter and vastly superior approach to deliver the tragedies of its characters, enough for you to empathize with Livius, but without losing patience.
-It would be unfair to credit the success of this anime solely to Livius and Nike; true, the majority of Soredomo Sekai’s supporting cast has a tendency to disappear into the background, only ever proving worth watching in the presence of either Nike or Livius.
Yet a few stood out, like Niel and (especially) Nike’s sisters and parents. It wouldn’t be an over exaggeration to say that Soredomo Sekai had so much more to offer than its 12 episodes. Though, maybe its short run was for the best. The longer most series run, the greater the chances that they will spiral out of control onto a path that is less than attractive.+Verdict
The one negative aspect of Soredomo Sekai, at least in my eyes, has to be the relationship that eventually bloomed between Livius and Nike; specifically their age differences.
It could argued that Nike is hardly old enough for their relationship to be referred to as creepy. And it is true that their age difference is no more than a few years but…
The exact age gap between them isn’t exactly the point; large or small, the one fact you cannot get away from is that Livius is a child, no more than 12 or 13, this in comparison to Nike who has to be approaching 17 or even 18.
The entire situation is…well, odd. But this is Japan we are talking about, so, maybe it makes sense in that particular part of the world.
Soredomo Sekai isn’t the sort of anime you take seriously, and that isn’t a bad thing. It’s the sort of series that not only passes a few pleasant hours but which shall most likely make you smile.
The show’s entire run is almost perfectly consistent, with a steady pace, noticeable character development, decent thrills…
Until the end. I don’t think I have ever encountered a season finale in anime as clichéd and dumb as the 12th episode of Soredomo Sekai.
And It wasn’t just boring; that final scene, no, those final 60 seconds were, to an extent, horrible. And while it doesn’t quite ruin the series for me, it is difficult to believe how terribly the anime’s finale was handled.
And that whole horse thing…cheesy doesn’t even begin to cover it.+RATING: 7/10
. Soredomo Sekai Wa Utsukushii is actually based on an ongoing Japanese manga by Dai Shiina; beginning publication in 2012, the manga only has seven volumes published. I have no intention of actually reading the manga but I wouldn’t mind a second season.
Soredomo Sekai Wa Utsukushi isn’t Hajime no Ippo; Hajime no Ippo changed my outlook on sports anime and convinced me to give the genre a decent chance. I would be lying if I said Soredomo Sekai changed my mind on shoujo/slice of life anime.
If I wasn’t in a place where I preferred to go into anime blind, simply watching a series without looking at any images, trailers or first reading the synopsis/story premise, it is doubtful I would have taken a chance on Soredomo Sekai. That doesn’t make it any less impressive, though.