First Impressions – Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii

magical weather, dried-up kingdom, and shotacon romance – what’s not to love in this show? 

Eh, it had a good start, somewhat. Though there are some things missing here and there, at least the first episode was a good way to start the show. I wish I could see the shota king right away though. I demand more shota!

 


So far so good. Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii opens with an encouragingly fun episode. I just hope it gets a convenient shortening soon because that title is a bit of a mouthful.

 

There but Not Quite There Yet

anaaga // Let’s start with the good things of the first episode. Suma will delve into Nike better so I’ll just mention her briefly, but I like how subtle the show describe her personality and attitude perfectly in one episode only without the need of a third-party describing her whatnot. There are no words spoken about her attitude or someone telling another person how she is. Instead, the audience is able to decipher her personality and attitude through her action, from her down-to-earth way to investigate Sun Kingdom and her friendly tone when she talks to a “commoner.” The episode director is aware of the use of story progression as means to describe a character, and he/she did a good job at doing so in Nike’s character. Despite of a great introduction of Nike, I feel as if something is missing from her. It’s as if things are done halfway in showing Nike fully. She’s shown as a perfect shoujo character. In fact, too perfect. There’s no hole in her personality (so far), and that worries me since this means there will be little character development for Nike.

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But it will be a pain to sweep those pieces of paper later

The same goes for Sun Kingdom and the Rain Dukedom themselves. Despite of the narration done by the ojisan, I don’t think it’s enough to show the whole potential Sun Kingdom has for the plot itself. The same thing also happened with the Rain Dukedom. It was only mentioned briefly without any explanation whatsoever, and the brief mention includes bikini still images that have nothing to do with Rain Dukedom itself (that out-of-place gag was pretty awkward too). I mean, the use of the Dukedom is to explain Nike’s ability to produce rain out of nowhere? That’s it? If that’s the case, it’s pretty disappointing since this show has a unique setting that can be used to its fullest with the plot. I just hope that’s not the case since it’s only the first episode.

Off to a Good Start

Sumairii // I stated in our Spring Anime Catalog that I had some reservations about picking something up that’s classified as shoujo. However, the premiere here leaves me with confidence that it wasn’t a mistake to give this show a shot (unlike my very brief stay with Blade and Soul). The first thing Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii does right is it gives us a very likeable lead right off the bat in Nike. The spunky and loud-mouthed heroine is no stranger to the shoujo genre as far as I’m aware; the other main archetype being the quiet and withdrawn girl. But I simply don’t watch so many shows with female leads that these characterizations have become as tiresome as the usual male lead archetypes are to me.

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Every royalty should be Nike

That said, I really do think Nike is fascinating in her own right. She may be royalty, but she doesn’t feel that way at all. Granted, she spent the episode stumbling about a strange, foreign land where her status (and money alike) means nothing. However, the way she interacted with the common-folk really struck me as unique. For royalty to hit the town and mingle with the commoners is nothing new to tropes. Often times this kind of trope is invoked to establish that the person of high status in question has a special respect for commoners (or perhaps a specific commoner) that most others of similar rank do not, but invariably this mingling is done covertly so as not to expose their identity. In that way, there is still an invisible line implicitly drawn between noble and commoner that implies an unconsciously accepted preconception of rank. Nike, on the other hand, casually announces that she’s a princess betrothed to the king of the land and carries on with the conversation as if it’s not a big deal. To me, this is a nice twist on the trope that suggests that Nike genuinely interacts with all the people as equals plain and simple. Which, while a subtle difference, is something that makes her stand out in my eyes.

Overall, this original-only anime had a good start to pique average audience’s interest to the main plot of the manga (that’s why this episode feels different from the author’s style). This episode did a good job at explaining the overall plot and setting of the story while thoroughly describe the main character Nike. However, as I’ve said earlier, somehow the feeling is not quite there yet. It’s a detailed prologue to the story while giving less attention to some aspects that would’ve hooked me right away to the plot. The things that make this shoujo different from other shoujo is being not being explained thoroughly, making this anime looks like a typical cliché fantasy shoujo to me. But since this is just a prologue to the entire show, I can understand. I just hope the things that make this shoujo different – the unique plot, the shota king, and that sexy Sugitan butler voice – will be highlighted later on to keep my interest in this show.

I spent pretty much all of my segment discussing only a very narrow portion of the show, so I think it only appropriate to conclude with a brief overview of all the rest of it. I fully expect there to be many sappy, melodramatic, romantic developments in the near future once we start to focus more on Livius and Nike, but for the time being the light-hearted tone the show sets is highly enjoyable. It’s slightly comedic even while highlighting some of the more unsightly nature of humans, and in fact I think this sort of approach balances out the mood very well. Really, the only thing I can nitpick at is the unapologetically in your face fourth wall break. But I understand most of this episode was an anime original introduction to the story as outlined in the manga, so likely (and hopefully) that sort of thing won’t ever happen again.

Preview: With his whip, it seems that Livius wants Nike do some “play” that involves rain

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Whip, ready.

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9 Responses to “First Impressions – Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii”

  1. skylion says:

    This one is on my list for today, I needs to get to it.

    • skylion says:

      That was very charming. Nike, is as said, very down to earth. I don’t think she’s quite the perfect shoujo figure; she’s a bit rough and tumble; a fine example of a small kingdom fourth princess.

      I may reserve the time to watch this just for Monday’s. It felt right to watch it today for some reason.

  2. MgMaster says:

    I think I’m in the same boat as you Sumairii,in that I rarely watch shoujo animes(this is probably be my 2nd or 3rd tbh). I have tons of issues with them but,the main ones being the female leads as well as every single male character – they seem to fall into stereotypes even more so than some girls in poorly done harem anime. However,this wasn’t the case here.

    The setting is nice & Nike is a fairly likeable & entertaining female lead. Another big test for the show in my eyes will be next week,when they introduce Livius. I pray that he won’t be a brat since I want to like this show.

  3. Highway says:

    I love shoujo shows, but HATE when they tease around the main couple. I’m hoping that this show will get away from that, since Nike seems somewhat upbeat about being the bride of the Sun King, and not totally against it.

    This first episode was pretty enjoyable, tho, not angsty, good plot setup, good characters.

  4. zztop says:

    The source manga has 6 volumes currently, so I wonder how much material they’ll adapt.

    Also, the director chosen for this series has been working in anime since the 70s, and previously directed the animes of Fushigi Yugi and Ceres.

  5. BlackBriar says:

    Not a bad first start at all for this series. I’m kind of baffled, though. Only a few shoujo shows have caught my attention now and again but Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii didn’t give any similar impression like those. If anything, there’s a little Maoyuu Maou Yuusha feel to it. Anyway, the atmosphere’s nice and Nike is likable lead so it’s all good.

    • Highway says:

      If these others hadn’t called it shoujo, I wouldn’t have really thought it was shoujo. I thought it was more adventurish. In fact, it made me think a little of Seiken no Blacksmith. I know that’s not exactly a show that would get anyone’s heart racing, but it seemed like it had the same-ish look to it.

  6. Mexu2d says:

    I really liked the first episode. I can’t wait to see more of this anime. I hope it continues to build to something fantastic. NOTHING COULD GO WRONG! :3 🙂

    • akagami says:

      Don’t jinx it, you never know if it might go the route of Samurai Flamenco.

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