When was the last time we had a memorable shojo anime? Some I can think of off the top of my head are Nana and Nodame Cantabile. The summer season has got a few that are somewhat decent– Ao Haru Ride which is filled with drama that goes back and forth each episode of a competition between Futaba and Yuki over Ko, and then there is Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun an anime that is trying way too hard at being funny and the romance just gets sidelined. I almost feel sorry for Sakura’s failed attempts at getting her point across to Nozaki. Those are the only two that stick out of the summer season and they aren’t even that good. Back in the Spring season we had this show and Kawai Complex, while that show was a lot prettier to look at and more humorous it lacked in authentic romance. Soredemo rocks at the dramatic love scenes! The writers pulled off a fairly simple and tasteful love story between Livius and Nike. There were no panty or breast shots of Nike, and she did not suffer at all from a tsundere, which is very prevalent in shojo series with a character sways to the extremes of love and hatred towards the boy she likes. Come to think of it the best at this trope has got to be Kyoko Mogami of Skip Beat!. Nike grew pretty realistic with her affections towards Livius as this series progressed, nice work here!
The author, Daii Shina does a good job at setting up a romantic atmosphere for its characters, but the problem is however a lot of the details remain sidelined. What’s going on with neighboring countries and how are they affected by the situation that one of the most powerful men in all the land is getting married. Soredemo might have achieved a decent love story between a king and princess but the big picture left me not very impressed with little to no structure around the surrounding areas that this story is set in. This feels a little rushed in a few places as it’s only got 12 episodes to work with in adapting an ongoing manga. Wonder if there will be another season of this, as this ending left it completely open.
Now onto the director of this show- Hajime Kamegaki. This is a guy who directed the aggressive skating series Air Gear, which got to hand it to the animation team at Satelight for creating some very cool looking OVAs. He’s known for directing anime that aren’t too heavy and typically aren’t obscure in terms of story and animation. I’d probably rank this not as high as some of his other works due to how formulaic it is the situations Livius gets thrown into are all fairly similar. He wasn’t given as much freedom as he had on Air Gear with this series, and it really shows with the villains.
Now with the voices by far my favorite has got to be Nike’s Rena Maeda. She provided a very good balance between her courageous acts and heartfelt scenes with Livius and without a doubt the most realistic character of the entire show. I am curious how well she will do in Kiseijuu this fall.
So Nike controls the rain with her singing and it has been passed down from generation to generation, where it is her destiny to marry the Sun King Livius. At the start this romance series keeps up at being faithful to the manga in developing the bond between the two main characters, and this is the big part of the show that made it so engaging to me. Neil was a nice balance between Livius controlling behavior and Nike’s temper– he’s a butler that provides calm resolutions to Livius’s problems throughout this show. Bard, a womanizer just adds more depth to how much Nike loves Livius, and vice-versa. The big problem that this series suffers from is its villains. Lani Aristes wanted to take control of the throne and the soon-to-be marriage with Nike only fueled this a lot more. But the result is he’s forgiven and completely leaves the scene after 6 episodes. We break this with Bard’s introduction and possibility of him being a villain but once again the story treats him as wanting to protect Livius just as Nike does. Same thing with Nike’s home with Kitora and Tohara. As interesting as these characters were the story arrives at the same conclusion, and we are left with a formulaic anime that doesn’t even have other kingdoms introduced and fighting for land. That would have made this show a lot more well-grounded in the time that it is set in.
I hope with this new Fall season ahead we will actually get some series that use the shojo genre in various ways that take risks– looking at you Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 75/100
If you like this you might also enjoy:
– Lovely Complex
– Kaichou wa Maid-sama
– Onegai Teacher
At the conclusion this episode tries to bring everything full circle, as it shows most of the people throughout this series. Let me start off by saying I wasn’t all that overly impressed with this ending but it was satisfactory.
Now that Livius and Nike are married this adds a different dynamic to the other people within the kingdom. The grandmother sings her old language song passed down for people leaving the country as the ship sails back home– this was a fitting conclusion for Nike growing up and accepting her destiny as Queen of the Sun kingdom. The emotions Nike had were very genuine here as this was her place she grew up and was now leaving it for good. Great development!
Though why did the writers have to run the opening song again while running a slideshow of what the side-cast of this show were up to? Entirely unnecessary and very odd to put this in here right after we had a huge scene with Nike. Transitioning into its second half was very weird and out of place– even Livius’ discovery of Bard’s court of women while he was away. It was funny but the direction with the amount of comedy here after so many episodes of drama was strange.
Good thing it only was a few minutes and the story jumps right back into having a classical soundtrack and well-developed light-hearted scenes between Nike and Livius.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 6/10
So Nike saves Livius life after he drowns trying to save the key, it was predictable but this does strengthen the bond they share as King and princess. The mother is so much like Nike she even looks exactly like her, loved Livius reaction to his wedding ceremonial clothes! Nike and Livius they actually get married here, and the festivities were pretty fun, as there wasn’t a whole lot of writing put behind it.
I do have to say what ruined this episode once again was Kitora as he tries to push Livius off the cliff only to what– help him back up? Also why the heck would Livius want to leave Nike alone with that crazy guy, he might just steal her again. They could have ended this episode here, but it will be nice to return to the Sun kingdom in the finale! I sure hope this final episode decides to return to its roots and not have so much melodrama poured into like these last few episodes have had!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 4/10
When was the last time we had a shojo series that didn’t have the family try to disrupt their daughter or son’s marriage? It adds drama but this was ridiculous, where Nike’s father and mother sat idly by while this was going on behind the scenes. What in the world was this? A positive however, would be how much the sisters, were just like Nike they even helped Livius, which was a great use of family relationships, and how similar sisters can truly be.
The grandmother and Kitora being upset that Livius will take advantage of Nike’s rain power to overcome other kingdoms, their reasoning was pretty poor here– Nike get’s locked up by her childhood friend who supposedly has romantic feelings for her,, this just doesn’t make sense at all! It’s predictable how this series will end, and yet the writers or rather the manga author chose to not development a different kingdom as the final villain here!? Kitora is the worst character in this series, as he sees her love locked up and crying wanting to help Livius, he has this look of regret on his face. Even Skip Beat! being serialized in the same magazine [Hana to Yume] as Soredemo had much better drama than this!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 3/10
We could have done without the summary from Nike here, as we’ve already got an understanding of her role in all of this. Not only that but this first half! The writers should have written in some new material because this is all stuff we’ve seen before in some form or another!
This episode crammed so much into its first half it was rather tough to watch- the pacing was a bit all over the place too! Jumps from a meeting with different countries to Livius discussing with Nike about a vacation to the Rain Dukedome to check up on her sick grandmother all the while adding in the comedy routines. Just a bit much here.
The second half however, was great as we get a good look at her family and the kingdom. It makes tons of sense to place their development here! With the sick grandmother and having the chemistry of Livius and Nike stronger than it has ever been before I clearly see how much of an impact this episode will have on the final episodes that remain, not to mention the big kiss scene towards the end. That was awesome, and their reaction added so much depth in their love for each other! If it were not for the first half this episode this would have been the best we’ve had so far, it’s just the pacing in the beginning felt off.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 6/10
How clever that the opening sequence adds in the characters of this series as they are introduced into the plot! Very neat to see here! So we get an understanding of Shiela the woman Livius loved and from how different the ending left us last time, it was a good idea for the writers to have Bard not hate Livius but feel incapable of helping him get over his loss of Shiela. Nike and Bard are two sides of the same coin here– they both love and want to protect Livius but for different reasons. Nike is slowly starting to love him more and more while Bard wanted to protect him out of respect of Livius’ hatred that filled his heart. He needed to cope somehow, and Bard believe this was the way to do by giving him the throne. It was interesting how Bard he said to Livius couldn’t see the beauty in flowers anymore when Nike said something somewhat similar to him quite a few episodes ago– love the similarities between the prince and princess. It’s also intriguing to note how much of an impact Nike’s rain power affects the people of this show as well– it overturned Reines
I am liking the direction this show is going as it has changed what I had initially thought– the series should be 2-cour. With the light pacing these episodes have had a 1-cour is very suitable for this kind of show. Too many episodes might have derailed what Kamegaki was wanting to do an adapting the manga and being somewhat faithful to it.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 7/10
I am a sucker for shojo series and over the last few years we haven’t had a lot of solid anime that portrayed romance well. Series that tend to sideline passionate emotions for overly used fan service sequences that have little to no relevance to the plot.
Now here’s a show I haven’t talked about in quite some time, Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii. I’m still trying to backlog a lot of series I had neglected from the spring season due to real life activities, so with a little bit of time on my hands I figured I can at least give some attention to this show as well as Mushishi.
Here is where Nike’s finally getting acclimated into her duties as a princess and traveling throughout the town to understand the people of this nation just a bit more. The introduction of Prince Bard here was very nicely woven in– he’s a pretty boy with women fawning all over him and as we know how strong Livius’ is at opening up to people, this was a nice contrast between the two of them. They’ve set this guy up as the next villain in line for this show and it was in a very gentle way by having them competing against each other and it looks like for Nike’s affections. It’s a shame not more episodes could have had the pacing this one achieved, because the amount of buildup the writers used in developing Bard was fantastic. He’s this womanizer who yearns for Nike and he will do anything to get what he wants, even seducing her. This just added to the cliffhanger here– a complete reversal in not just Livius character, but the overall dynamic between the two main lovers of this show!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10
This reminded me why I really like shojo series, in that there is drama overlapped with comedy and a bit of romance. I am thoroughly enjoying Nike’s character very much. It’s not just her charm but she is establishing a charisma I believe she hadn’t had before. Thanks to Livius’ efforts.
Here we have another love interest in the form of a fiancee to Livius. Nike did not take this too well. Now that Soredemo has added in a love rival, where will this series end up? When I saw the preview for this episode I was not too excited about it, considering how in the manga we’re introduced to this theme much much earlier. Chapter 2 I believe is where Luna makes her appearance and with the anime pushing it further back I think it couldn’t have worked out better. The first 5 episodes allowed so much development for Livius and Nike that the interactions the anime adapted from the manga were a lot stronger. In the manga, the scenes here were nothing but thrown in for the sake of having drama. The anime on the other hand gradually developed this and built it up. Nice work!
As childish as Luna may seem for her affections. Nothing felt out of place, aside from the short scene in the courtyard. The majority of the scenes where Luna continually pushed Livius’ feelings onto her own ultimately shaped a bigger bond in Livius’ relationship with Nike. The kiss towards the end may have been foreshadowed earlier on, Studio Pierrot managed to pull it off quite nicely here. The animation isn’t super flashy, there are not very many action sequences if any, yet everything here came together smoothly . The soundtrack to this series is fantastic, this can help make or break a series both plot wise and in its creative style.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10
This episode was definitely better than the last one. I really enjoyed how well they kept up with the previous episode. There was not a single bit of recap here. It literally picked up right where we left off! This section of the story solely focused on Nike and how much she really cares for Livius now. It was however a bit of a cop out that Livius had been there to save her. Come on now! It would have been very neat to see her do this all herself. Yet I can understand why the creators here chose this for a resolution. It allowed for Nike to understand Livius actions. The comedy was much better here! That balance between the child Livius and the adult Nike is incredibly well written. Certainly spot on and from the sections of the manga I’ve read I can tell its influence is pulled from that. The music is what really shined here. Aristes is the type of villain that isn’t usually over the top from what we had seen in previous episodes, yet his actions with his subordinate were a bit much. Slap in the face right in front of everyone. If that doesn’t speak louder than words I don’t know what does. How cliche that Nike would forgive Aristes there could have been another way to do this part.
This show has a very good and well rounded soundtrack. It may not be varied in the compositions it delivers, but that scene where the ritual took place was strong. I’ve been very impressed with how much the music plays on the story in this series so far. Has a calm sound to it when it needs to be. The dialogue was fantastic too! This is right where you notice the strength he displays to his people as King with his words. Nike was a wonderful counter of that with her magic! Creating a ring around the sun was a bit far fetched but it certainly got the point across. This is something this series excels in. Delivery.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10
Here is where this series gets interesting. We finally learned a lot more about Livius’ past. I had a feeling his mother was a foreigner just like Nike. I really enjoyed how this episode pushed Livius further with his protection of Nike. This had a more serious side to the episode than all the other ones that have aired so far.
Livius doesn’t make all the decisions here. There are some real people aiding in the personal affairs of the King’s final decision making. Nice detail there! What was strange was how rushed this episode felt. We went from a slow-paced shoujo into a fantasy series within 20 minutes. Nike was supposed to gather information under a disguise and not even a full minute later she has blown her cover. It was to be expected for her character.
We do get introduced to an antagonist to this series. Only catch here was we find out its really one person that sets this up. Rani Aristes. I really don’t like flashbacks told in this manner. Someone else other than who experienced it first hand is giving the background. Sometimes flashbacks are necessary like this, but for this scene it was stale. It felt completely rushed having all the details in a couple of minutes. He’s going to make the rite of passage for Nike incredibly tough. Which in a sense he did towards the end there. I was really hope they would have shown more of the Rite of Illumination. She can’t use her rain and wind powers yet she managed to get through what was supposed to be a tough underground cave. Few scenes actually showed her having trouble with this quest.
What happened here? Don’t get me wrong I still like the characters and the romance between them. The shoujo aspect of this series is great, its just that the story they developed into this episode was rather weak, and forced. After watching this episode, I went ahead and read more of the manga chapters and they left a whole chapter out! Such a shame. This was a pretty big step down from the first three episodes especially episode 3. I really do hope it redeems itself next week.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 4/10