In the Sun Kingdom, sunshine is part of its citizens' everyday lives, and rain is something that they have never even heard of. However, in a faraway land called the Rain Dukedom, the weather is reversed, and everybody has the power to create rain with their voices.
Livius Ifrikia has conquered the entire world and expanded the Sun Kingdom's influence in the three short years since he was crowned king. Upon learning about the powers to create rain, Livius decides to marry Nike Remercier, one of the princesses of the Rain Dukedom. However, those outside the Sun Kingdom have spread a rumor that Livius is a cruel, ruthless, and tyrannical ruler, and as word reaches the princess, she begins to prepare herself for the worst. But when she finally meets her fiancé, Nike discovers that he is an entirely different person from what she originally expected.
There is something about this show that sets itself apart from other shoujo anime that have been coming out as of late. While Soredemo has its share of shoujo tropes, to me it tonally resides in a sort of genre-free zone. This series isn’t a “typical” shoujo fantasy, or romance – the genre here is simply “really good”. Shortly after the first episode I found that ‘something’, it has ‘charm’. This is what has been missing in a lot of recent shoujo which enrichens the magical and alluring atmosphere of the series. Adapted from Dai Shiina's manga, "Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii" (The World is Still
Beautiful), the story follows a Princess from the Rain Principality in Nike Remercier who was pushed to have an arranged marriage to the person who conquered the world for her country, despite her unwillingness. That person is the Sun King, Livius Orvinus Ifrikia, who she later discovers is not your average King. He has a condescending attitude and not only young for his position but short in height. This is how the charming series begins, these two characters create something special that has an old-school shoujo style and feel to it.
The story is episodic structured though there is an overarching plot which becomes clear early on in the series. Livi has spent all his years as King in conquering the world due to unfortunate events that happened in the past that has made him grow cold and cruel, he began to distrust those around him. Nike is sent to marry Livi so her country can retain its autonomy after he demanded it. Nike who has the power to call forth the rain was the perfect settlement between the two kingdoms. After both starting off with the wrong foot, these two later develop one of the most charming and believable romances in anime. As the story progresses, Nike helps Livi as he slowly begins to realize that there is still good in the world, that it can be a beautiful place. Though only a year or two in age difference, the way the characters are designed seem as if Nike was much older than Livi but don't let that put you off, this series proves that this can be overcome if the writing is tasteful and sensitive, and I give full credit to Shiina Dai.
Setting aside the fact that in historical context this sort of relationship is perfectly normal, what makes it work is that the writing presents us with Livi and Nike as people, not numbers, and all a viewer has to do is look at them the same way. If there was ever a series that was made for a studio, it's Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii and Studio Pierrot with its old-school, fairy-tale, quasi-European look and tone. The visuals and animation are some of their best work. From the colour palette, backgrounds, landscapes and architectures, making it fit well within the fantasy themes. Character designs are creative and distinctive. Something I have found interesting was that the characters in various episodes wore different clothes ranging from formal to casual and they were well designed. Visually a spectacle reminiscent of a classic Disney film.
The score is perhaps one of the biggest strengths in the series. It gives off a real majestic feel, something similar to old Disney classics and really puts a mark on the themes and messages that Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii tries to convey to the audience. The song, "Beautiful Rain" (Tender Rain) by Rena Maeda who is the Voice Actress of Nike becomes a signature musical item that plays when Nike sings to call forth the rain. Her voice is sublime, as soon as the song hits the climax it tends to create a magical moment and leaves you mesmerize. The Opening song, "Beautiful World" by Joanna Koike instantly sets the mood, it is catchy and uplifting. The Ending song that is also done by Rena Maeda, "Promise" showcases her beautiful voice in a very elegant manner, it's the perfect song to end each episode on. They sure did an excellent job on the casting, again, a lot of praise to Rena Maeda on Nike's voice. It really is the heart and soul of show, she really brings her character to life and compliments Nike's personality. Nobunaga Shimazaki had a tough task ahead of him while casting Livi's character, I thought it was an interesting choice as normally a woman would have been cast. Glad to tell you that Nobunaga Shimazaki does great, he works at capturing the dichotomy between Livi’s appearance and his stature because he manages to make him vulnerable without putting on a silly attempt to sound like a child.
The supporting characters compliment Nike and Livi greatly, especially Neil who is Livi's loyal butler and tutor who guides him through his campaign as King. His reactions to bizarre situations and silly antics that he observes or participates in is hilarious. To Highlight once again on Nike and Livi’s relationship on why it’s so amazing. You see two characters that deal with each other on remarkably equal terms. They’re complex, strong-willed and smart people who don’t want to be taken for granted. Because of the premise – Livi being young, yet a preternaturally smart and gifted Head of State – you have the basis of the romance being two characters who each want more than to be protected by the other. It’s a slyly wonderful basis for a romance story where the principals operate on equal terms, and that’s exactly how it played out. Their personalities and traits clash but they make it work, there is definitely an emotional-need type connection between the two, they even look incomplete when not together.
The romance doesn't feel forced despite the arrangement between the two, it feels rather natural and there is a real connection between them. Take Nike's power for example. Her inspiration to calling forth the rain is by seeing the beauty in the world through the one who wishes for the rain. Livi is incapable of seeing such things at first but Nike connects with him emotionally and becomes his saviour, makes him realize how beautiful the world really is despite the trials and tribulations that life throws at you. These two have come to love and respect each other that they want to be sure the moment they choose is the right one. They’re mature enough to understand that they’re still immature and have grown to love each other with patience. Thankfully, while the subject matter is taken seriously, the series itself retains a sense of light fun. The humour is multi-faceted, sometimes it's slapstick, sometimes it's a little more adult. Surprisingly, the series occasionally breaks the fourth wall, which is a delight for fans of meta-humour and this is very much created by Nike and Livi's relationship.
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii throws together a bit of everything. It's an adventure, it's a love story, there is magic, there is monarchy, there is action sequences and comedy. The show does a careful balancing act of entertaining the audience with a bit of each, all the whilst ensuring to never take itself too seriously. There's some good suspense and a lot of heart-felt moments. There is a serenity within the series while also being fun and full of life. It's really one of the most charming series I have seen in a long time for shoujo and this was never more proudly on display than in the finale, which wore its heart on its sleeve in a way few anime do. To put it more precisely, Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii is a ‘Diamond in the rough’.
I really feel like this anime just has a way of getting you sucked into the story. Yes it's shoujo, yes it's romance, but it's an enchanting story being told. And it's not that typical "oh well he's a king & I'm a princess" *automatically falls in love* Not even close! He threw her in jail when Livi first met Nike xD It's a story that takes place in a distant era, but it's definitely not what you expect!
Story: 8/10- What is to really admire about this story is that it's not that shoujo that's all about the romance and overly sweet moments. There's actions,
and things you wouldn't expect a princess to ever do! It has a define plot, though it's pretty simple; but it gets it point across without being too complex. Just seeing the level of character building between the two protagonists and how they change gradually is just great. Nothing seems too sudden, but just right.
Art: 9/10- The art is pretty colorful. Nothing is ever bland, but just a balance of beautiful colors. The animation overall is very nice and neat. But it's nothing over-the-top.
Sound: 10/10- The music for this anime is hands down perfect. Maeda Rena's voice is beautiful. She's the voice actor for Nike & the singer for the opening, closing, and of course the "Tender Rain" song! The lyrics for the songs themselves are in sync for the overall anime.
Character: 10/10- It's not common when I find an anime with nice development without over doing it or not enough. The main characters are a winner in this. Livi's past isn't fully exposed to the point where you know EVERYTHING, but just enough were us as the viewer is satisfied. Nike's past is also like this. But since we meet her family later in the series, hers is more developed in a way. Overall, all the supporting characters are nicely done and aren't a nuisance ^^ But even with that, there are still some questions you might be asking yourself by the last few moments of episode 12 ;)
Enjoyment: 10/10- From episode one to now, I have loved every minute. Maybe it's because I am a sucker for romance, or maybe it's because this anime is a refresher. A lot of anime nowadays is becoming redundant and isn't as unique. But this anime hits home of being a new eye opener. Even with the plot being nothing completely special, just the characters themselves are enjoyable & the music. Music in this anime doesn't go wrong, at all!
Overall: 9/10- Loved it! And I recommend this anime is anyone. :3
Romance is the oldest story in the world. The story of Romance that involving two kingdoms/empire is one of the most classic stories that ever made. Several authors write the story by giving the sweetest moment between the couple that exist in the story. And now, Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii continue the legacy of that classic era. Well, if you look deeply inside the plot, Soredemo Sekai Wa Utsukushi have the same typical romance comedy plot, but it's capable to represents the main feeling of the story itself. Soredemo succeed brings all the emotion on the screen, it has great plot although not the greatest
plot that ever exist.
The animation of Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii is clear and neat. It has well-produced backgrounds, and visual effects. The eye maybe a little bit different from the manga series, but it's fine though since the animation is neat.
As for the sound, Soredemo have decent sound settings. The opening "Beautiful World" is matched with the entire series, while the ending "Promise" sung by Rena Maeda (The seiyuu of Nike) is more forgotten when compared with the opening song. The voice actors did decent jobs while bringing such character to the screen.
The main character in Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii is not flat, they classified in a beautiful way. There are developments between the main characters, as the story running, they learn each other past, and with that past, they can create a beautiful relationship. The other characters besides the main character is a bit flat, there has to be an explanation for this.
Sometimes exciting, sometimes not...., Soredemo has a see-saw enjoyment, I found my brain hard to deciding when I stop or when I continue to watch the series. The main enjoyment is at the edge of the story or should I say the climax. But in general, it entertains me...
It is recommended for the fans of Shoujo genres. Since it's a shoujo, male viewers maybe not recommended to watch this anime, some of them may found this boring. My passion in this anime is an adaptation of a second season..., well just hope that happen
Does rock-paper-scissors determine the fate of everything? Not really but for Nike Lemercier, the fourth and youngest princess of Rain Dukedom, she’s about to find out just how much her life will change with just a game. Despite her reluctance, she is to marry the Sun King Livius, not for an everlasting relationship but for her country’s sake. Facing the problem of annexation, she travels to the Sun Kingdom for a marriage, one she thought was never meant to be. And boy, was she wrong.
First thought regarding the series primarily deals with its adaptation. The anime covers roughly 18 chapters of the fantasy shoujo manga,
written by Dai Shiina. The author’s expertise in the field of shoujo has earned her the 34th Hakusensha Athena grand prize in 2009. Now her current work Soredemo Sekai Wa Utsukushii (This World is Still Beautiful) is a centerpiece to her ideas. Crafted by classic shoujo themes in a fantasy setting, the series tells about a very oddball duo – a young princess and a king of a kingdom.
Despite the show displaying some crass and generic concepts, it is surprisingly light on its feet. The show takes the direction of a fantasy shoujo and transcends it into an elevated atmosphere of energy with its characters. As the king of Sun Kingdom, Livius Orvinus Ifrikia (better known as Livius) is one such character with a huge prowess despite his age and appearance. From what we know, he was able to conquer the world, rid of government corruption, and seize power through conquest in a short span of just three years. But for someone his size and age, it’s hardly believable at first. That is, until we find out more about his inner character. That’s where Nike comes in who brings the best out of him. For starters though, Nike herself is shown to be a curious girl. Her journey to the Sun Kingdom ends up her losing her luggage, getting almost mugged, and treated with dismay by some of the commoners there. Rather than going vengeful at her condition however, Nike displays a more responsible personality when she is helps out some folks out of her kind heart. And from there on, it’s easy to realize that Nike is a selfless girl, one with philanthropic traits and puts others above herself. It’s from these traits that we see a different side between her and Livius as a couple.
Much to Nike’s shock and perhaps some of the audience as well, Livius’ appearance is not much different than those of a child. Standing perhaps at only 5 feet, he is a character who has accomplished unbelievable tasks. We also learn that Livius, as a person, wasn’t always born like this. Through the resourceful flashbacks inserted into the series, it’s shown that Livius’ life wasn’t always as glamourous as his current self. While his father is a king, Livius’ mother is no more than a commoner. And after her death, it seems to awoken something inside of the child. As for that moment, his desire to set about a new world order comes to fruition. Throughout the series, Livius displays leadership traits and rules his kingdom with an iron fist. Although not necessarily violent or power hungry, he has a commanding presence with an ability to lead. Perhaps this could also be a façade though. One could interpret that his ambition to conquer the world is for her mother’s sake or rather for forget about his past and painful memories. Because whenever he thinks of his mother, she really would be dead in his thoughts. Thankfully, we have Nike who plays a princess, savior, and wife all the same time for this young boy.
Taken for granted, there’s much capability between Nike and Livius. They came from different backgrounds, vastly contrasting personalities, and appearance wise makes the duo look like they came from different planets. Although this isn’t initially a good set up for partners, the two progresses throughout the series. They risk lives for each other and develops an attachment that goes from marriage to lovers. In essence, Nike is the light that shines upon Livius’ darkened heart. It’s shown in the series that Livius’ personality can contrast vastly depend on various circumstances. In one instance, he becomes so jealous and angry that an order to send his own uncle to prison simply for a misunderstanding was issued. His actions could be interpreted as those of a child in this way; almost like a metaphor like a toy being taken away from him. But that’s not entirely true at all, because Livius doesn’t treat Nike like a toy. As the series progresses, he shows different sides of him as a person rather than a king and even develops feelings for the princess. In respect, Nike also seemingly holds similar feelings that connects the duo through their very unusual bonding. It’s a fantasy story of two people coming together in all the unbelievable ways. Nike’s ability to summon rain is just one such astonishing way, a technique that even make Livius in awe.
As their relationship progresses, there are also obstacles whether it’s characters such as Livius’ fiancé Luna and Uncle, Nike’s side of her family, or just being with someone with the status of a king itself. The way the show takes direction shows how strong their connection becomes on various circumstances. And responding to these circumstances become pivotal to create a dynamic atmosphere for their relationship. In retrospect, the show crafts this concept with clever development. Although it has cliché ideas, the show portrays it as honest and charming. It’s also delightful to see how the King progresses not as a ruler, but as a person doing normal things thanks to Nike. In fact, Nike display the anti-thesis of a spoiled princess. She is able selfless and kind at heart. Their constant bickering can be interpreted as amusing as they learn what it really means to be ‘engaged’. Such a simple term mean a lot in this this show for it brings out the best out of both of these characters in the end. Don’t believe me? Try laying even a finger on Nike and you’ll feel the wrath of a very pissed off king.
The show has its side of humor that is displayed with tricky bits of execution. For one, the relationship between Nike and Livius can seem a bit substantial given their contrasting appearances. It can give the audience a wrong impression with their appearances as husband and wife in a bedroom. But rather than seeing them from an inappropriate angle, it’s more thoughtful to view the duo as a pair with much more to learn. What we also get from the show is also the amount of energy both appealing and emotional. For the appealing side, there’s the delightful moments between Nike and Livius. The emotional aspects flirts with human nature and instinct such as insecurity, jealousy, and pride. These aren’t just bestowed upon our lovable duo but to other characters such as Livius’ personal butler Neil. His overprotectiveness can be borderline out of control. For Nike’s side, the higher ups in her family has plans of their own to keep Nike as “theirs”. Onto a more childish angle, we also get the oldest trick in the book – childhood crushes. Do understand that the show does also appeal to its more dramatic side. Like mentioned before, the show’s flashbacks aren’t just for show-and-tell but rather as a way to dissect piece by piece of the characters’ image. We learn a lot from childhood pasts especially for Livius that we can also feel pity for.
Artwork is bright and colorful with Studio Pierrot in charge. Known for their habits for adding anime original content (as seen from the first half of the pilot episode), there’s an incentive to make this show’s visuals look credible. And thankfully, I’d say they pulled it out beautifully. As the title “This World is Still Beautiful”, the show’s animation quality is exactly that. The Sun Kingdom has lavish landscapes, natural features, and the castle that Livius resides shows his testimony in power. Character designs are also creative with decorative clothing that characters wear on traditions. Other characters also display credible appearances whether they are soldiers, maids, or even a prime minister. Perhaps the one character that contradict such credibility would be the king himself with his appearance.
While soundtrack doesn’t score the home run for the series, its message does. While the main OP song has a smooth pacing and coordination, it’s the theme song in the show that truly counts. Nike’s singing is an embodiment for symbolizing hope and rebirth. The song “Tender Rain” is a prominent feature throughout the series that is much more than just simple water pouring down on earth. It acts as a symbolic way for Livius’ progress as a character with him undergoing changes. The song itself is also sung with energy and empowerment as Nike’s voice really means it for every word. Otherwise, the OST of the show balances itself well along with characters’ voice mannerisms.
Surprise is a word I would describe my feelings towards this show. What is seemingly a cliché shoujo here is presented with an attractive appeal for its setting, characters, and ideas. Its balance of the show’s story and comedy matches well. It’s insightful to see how much Livius change especially after getting acquainted with Nike. And while the story is predictable with cheesy lines and moments, it’s also honest and innocent. For a story to be bought out this way, it’s also definitely beautiful.
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