In the faraway village of Haworth, a new chapter in Emma's life has begun. Now employed by the wealthy Molders family, Emma has resolved to put the past behind her. She'll have to adjust to a new house, a charming (but eccentric) new mistress, and a host of fellow servants, some with buried pasts of their own.
Meanwhile, back in London, William is doing his best to uphold his father's wishes as the Jones family heir, but try as he might, he can't forget Emma. Yet, whenever he feels at his worst, Eleanor is always there to comfort him with a warm, shy smile. Could the answer to his broken heart be right before his eyes?
Anime: This season, the production was done by a different studio, Aija-do Animation Works (famous for work on The End of Evangelion and Here is Greenwood), but still directed by Tsuneo Kobayashi. It aired from April 16th to July 2nd, 2007, and has been licensed Stateside by The Right Stuf International (a release date has yet to be announced).
Story: The Second Act picks up a few months after the end of the first season; Emma's working as a maid at a mansion, and trying to forget William. William's going about his business and trying to forget about
Emma, even though he pines over her. In the meantime, there's a butler at the mansion that Emma's working at that's interested in her, and Eleanor's getting ready to make her move.
I'm really happy with this second season. It's lived up to the first season's standard in every way. I'm not going to respell out everything here, so go see my review for the first season if you want to know what it is about this story that makes me go GAH.
There are a few coincidences I'm not all that happy with, and William acts like an insensitive ass at times, but hey, you can't have everything.
Also, I've finally been able to read through the manga, and this corresponds to Volumes Three to the final Volume (Seven (the first season covered everything in volumes One and Two)). This didn't stick so well to the manga source, but trust me, that was a good thing, especially towards the end of the series (the manga had a fairly unbelievable plot line towards its end).
Oh, and the main thing that I can tell you about the ending without spoiling things too much is that it's a happy one this time around, and you'll be thinking "IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME!" when it comes around.
Art: You will notice a slight change in the art style since the studios changed between the first season and the second one. But you stop paying attention to it after a while, really. And really, it's just as good as Pierrot's animation, so you won't see me complaining.
Music: I thought they couldn't improve the OP. And then I heard this season's Celtic Version of "Silhouette of a Breeze", and I died. I died again when I heard the new ED, "Rondo of Lily Bell", which pwns the "Minuet for EMMA", hands down.
The background music for this season isn't quite as understated as it was last season, but it's still good.
Seiyuu: For me, one of the real standouts is Eleanor's seiyuu, who also did the role of both Lucy and Nyuu in Elfen Lied. Otherwise, no miserable performances, and an excellent job overall.
Length: This isn't quite the same pacing as last season. It goes at the slower pace at some points, but then it speeds up in other parts. It gets a little jerky, but it works out just fine in the end.
Overall: This is the sequel that most everyone who watched last season wanted.
Eikoku Koi Monogatari Emma: Molders Hen or Emma: A Victorian Romance Second Act continues the story of Emma, a maid in Victorian England who has attracted the attention of William, a young member of the aristocracy who have fallen in love each other, but the complications of a strict social order work to keep them apart and threaten to destroy them and those they hold dear.
The story of Emma is simple but a classic that has been done in virtually every form of media for hundreds of years, from stories like Jane Eyre to James Cameron’s Titanic, while predictable its still a classic that has a
timeless feel to it that prevent it from becoming stale no matter how often its done. Anyway at its core this is very much a tale of two people dived by class who are in love but because of the very strict social order in Victorian London are forbidden from being together, the peasant girl falling in love with the Knight in shinning armour sort of thing which while may sound cliché I can assure that Emma is anything but because this series manages to re-invigorate this theme of love transcending social barriers through its memorable characters and fantastic settings.
Emma: A Victorian Romance Second Act steps on the gas a little from the first season and really brings much more drama and emotion to the stage while introducing heaps of new characters all the while giving some much needed development to older characters, such as Williams Father and Eleanor Campbell. While this is obviously an improvement from the first season it does however create a few problems, for example the faster pace and increasing stakes bring out the blandness of Emma`s character some what, its not a serious issue but compared to the energy and passion of some of the other characters she can come off as a bit boring and bland at times. Its true that she is a very subtle character and a reserved person but it makes scenes that involve her feel very slow and can make the melodrama almost unbearable at times when you just want the plot to advance to the obvious conclusion.
But overall these problems don’t take away much from the series which is a very enjoyable watch because of two main reasons, one is the setting which while not unique among anime is certainly done in the most extraordinary detail of any anime if ever seen. The creators really did their homework on Victorian England and the detail is just amazing, no expense was spared to make this series feel authentic and the passion of the the original author who is a admitted Anglophile shines through in the detailed settings. The other thing is the themes present in Emma: a Victorian romance, in all romance stories there is always problems to overcome but one thing that many anime`s overlook is the idea of class conflicts, these class conflicts add an element to the story that is so often missing from anime romances, a realisticly insurmountable obstacle that the characters have to overcome in order to achieve their happiness that in many ways is still present in today’s world.
As I mentioned before this second series gives more time for the characters to develop, especially William who we see to have grown so much by the end of the show. I was pleased to see that other side characters such as his father were also given much needed development and it goes into great detail about why he opposes William and Emmas love so much, this sort of development goes along way to creating memorable characters and not just cardboard cut outs.
The art for this series was equally as good as the first season with the detail being just extraordinary, it obvious that the animators tried to bring the amazing detail from the manga over too the anime as best they could and for the most part they succeeded. This series is as accurate as feasible to the time period, with as many sights of the era as possible, be they, horse-drawn carriages or steam trains, furniture, clothing, or buildings. The art in the manga does give off a more artistic feel though but if this series had been made with a larger budget now then im sure it could have even outdone the manga.
Overall Eikoku Koi Monogatari Emma: Molders Hen or Emma: A Victorian Romance Second Act is a great continuation of the story of Emma and William and will not disappoint fans of the first season despite some problems here and there. However if weren't a fan of the first season then you probably wont like this any more than that one. The story is good, the characters enjoyable and memorable while the detailed setting is just a pleasure to watch, overall a very good end to a very good series.
I will not write a whole lot as I think the top rated review by Venneh oh so long ago encapsulates everything I feel.
However I will add a few things that are pertinent to me. I began watching this because the concept (manga) is by the same person who does Otoyomegatari (which by god I hope gets an anime in the future). I watched it in rapid succession and it is truly a great show, In my opinion.
Both seasons re great and the trials faced feel real and are enforced by it actually being real not that long ago, as a viewer you can feel
the pain and heartache. However, that does not mean it is an overly complicated story, it is just romeo and juliet in a sense. But I'd watch this again before going to R/J. I don't know, there is just something about Anime that gets the classic West (ie Europe).
It is quiet, 95% of the time, even when the heavy drama is going on, as this sticks to the old upper class rules so tightly it makes it hurt. Do not get (show yourself being) upset, do not raise your voice, stay inside your caste, and marry for power.
The story does pan out as you would hope but that does not make it any less enjoyable. The only thing I can complain about is that there is not more, as the manga ends its intended story at volume 7 or 10, but the last 3 are extras... well a couple of the last chapters in volume 10 actually show their wedding and I would have loved to see that in an OVA. Unfortunately we get a decent sized time skip where they have 4 kids, cute end but again the wedding in the manga is nice.
The second season was actually better than the first. It had a few new characters, and although they weren't elaborated upon, I think they gave the show some extra flavor. However, little else changed. The problem remains the same and the romance moves just as slowly. However, I did like how they emphasized more on the class distinctions and the problems that they face or would face. In the first season, it seemed like empty words when they talked about low and high class, in this season, that problem is further defined.
The beginning theme, I'm disappointed to say, was pretty bad. They simply got the
old one and added some worse sounding instruments. I don't think it sounded or fitted to well.
There's little else to say, since I don't care to repeat myself. Any thing else has already been said in my review of the first season.
It's entirely possible that anime in 2016 might seem perfectly healthy to you. But there are a lot of folks in the industry who are worried for its creative future, and I would argue with good reason. Is it too late to do anything about it?