Romeo is a kindhearted and courageous boy living with his family in a small village in Switzerland. Unfortunately, Romeo becomes the interest of a man named Luini, known as "The God of Death," who is infamous for buying children and selling them as chimney sweeps in Milan. While visiting the village, Luini burns down Romeo's family cornfield in an attempt to have Romeo as his own. With the cornfield gone and his father sustaining a head injury trying to put out the fire, Romeo bravely sells himself to the God of Death in order to help his family afford a doctor.
On his way to Milan, Romeo meets a boy named Alfredo Martini and they quickly become friends. Just as Alfredo is sold to a different master, the two boys swear eternal friendship and vow to meet again. As a chimney sweep, Romeo faces many hardships and abuse, especially from his master's family and a gang known as the Wolf Pack. But after reuniting with Alfredo, the two form a fraternity of chimney sweeps called "The Black Brothers," who will learn to fight against the Wolf Pack and help each other in times of need.
Romeo no Aoi Sora is one of the last World Masterpiece Theater anime that was made before their nearly ten-year hiatus. WMT fans already know what that means about the series, non-fans should be told that it already tells us three things: 1. It is based on a foreign book for a young audience, this one from Switzerland; 2. It may be considered old in modern otaku terms but has aged well; 3. It's awesome.
Like most of these types of anime, Romeo no Aoi Sora begins with a tragedy. In this case, Romeo, an 11-year-old boy, leaves his small village with the God of Death,
a frightful man who buys children to sell as chimney sweeps in the city, in order to support his family. Soon, Romeo meets Alfredo, another chimney sweep who will become his best friend, as well as many other boys who share the same fate as him. As the series goes on, Romeo adjusts to his new life, including a family that is not quite kind and a dangerous job.
For the most part, the pacing of the series is perfect: things happen at a fairly slow rate, but it is always interesting and there is always just the right amount of conflict. Beginning at episode 24, however, the pacing becomes very rushed. Since the TV ratings of this show were quite low, the show was cut short from what was probably set to be about 50 episodes down to 33. The change is awkward and brings the overall quality of the plot down a few notches, but that does not keep the heart of the story from being both sweet and exciting. Sure, it is for kids, and it shows in the blunt narration, and some painfully straightforward episodes. . . but it made me wish that I grew up in Japan just so I could have watched such a wonderful show in my childhood.
If you have not been informed yet, there is one thing you should know about the show visually: the only English-language fansubs out there are VHS rips. This should not, however, hinder you from enjoying a visually stunning show! Even through generations of VHS copies, it is still apparent that it is very pretty, to say the least. The character designs in particular are very nice looking: truer to life than most anime yet very cute; fitting for a show for kids yet functional in the most serious of situations. The backgrounds, something I rarely notice, are equally impressive. They are very immersing and really show the viewer that the setting is a real place and not some made-up cartoon setting. Quite frankly, if you pass over this series just because it is from the 90s or because of the nature of VHS releases, you are missing out on something beautiful.
Sound is another thing I tend not to notice, but I noticed it in this series. And believe me, that is a good thing. The background music is beautifully fitting of the situations it is used in. Meanwhile, the opening theme song, "Sora E...", is gorgeous as a standalone song and even better when paired with the opening animation. Furthermore, the lyrics and the mood fit the series well. Finally, the closing theme song, "Si Si Ciao", is a peppy and happy tune, unusual of EDs and probably the least interesting piece of music in the show, but it is still solid.
The cast, like other elements of the series, is extremely likable. Romeo is one of the sweetest children ever to grace anime, and quickly won my heart. The rest of the cast is similarly sweet and likable, but to a realistic degree. Alfredo is selfless; Angeletta is kind... I could go on and on listing the good qualities of the characters, but I will leave it at this: the only flaw most characters have is that they take their good qualities too far (Romeo, for instance, is honest even when dishonesty would be more logical). While sometimes this is a bit much, it largely gives us a unique and endearing cast.
Romeo no Aoi Sora is frequently overlooked for shows that look better, sound more exciting, seem more mature, or are simply newer. The few fans that do decide the try out this series, however, will be rewarded with an amazing show. No matter how you look at it, the series is marvelous in every way. If you already like adaptations of books for a young audience, older series, or obscure series, Romeo no Aoi Sora is perfect for you. Even if you do not, however, it is still a miraculous series, one that is highly recommended for anyone who wants something with real heart.
I never get tired of watching this anime series even for a hundredth times!!
For me., Romeo no Aoi Sora is one classic series.
Romeo's life was full of hardship and tragedy., that's why I was very keen on watching this. His life was just so heartwarming.
I adore and love all the characters here., and aside from Romeo., Alfred and Bianca are just among my all-time favorite anime characters.,
Gosh! Oh Alfred!! He never failed to make me cry a river of tears!!
This classic tale of love and friendship will always remind me of my childhood memories :DD
Romeo no Aoi Sota is my favorite anime television show of all time (not just my favorite anime of all time) and there’s no quick answer to that. The main reason why I tell people to watch the show is because of the relaxing and simplistic atmosphere that the show has, but while saying that I think that I don’t do justice to my relationship with this show and taking into in consideration that I’ve dedicated most of my latest days to write about my favorite shows and the one I hate the most, I’ve decided to write another essay explaining in detail why I
love this show so fucking much.
Explaining the appeal of something is quite hard for me, not because I don’t find the words to tell that person why Romeo is an amazing show that deserves attention, the appeal of the show has to do with the person which is watching it and what kind of personal relationship the viewer is able to form with the show that he watches. Slice of Life shows more than a medium of entertainment are an experience for the viewer, slice of life shows should display the mundane life of the characters and how much a viewer can relate to those experiences. The most important aspect of
Slice of Life shows or elements beneath the show is that they should portray human experience in a realistic light making the viewer feel what those characters are feeling.
The most ridiculous criticism of Romeo no Aoi Sora that I was able to find (there wasn’t too many critics of the show because I’m quite literally the only person in the internet outside of sites like My Anime List or Hummingbird that writes essays about this show or at least mentions it in his work. Going back on track ì don’t believe in this notion that kid’s shows are necessarily bad and most of them are actually are fun and entertaining another complain that I see against Slice of Life shows in general are that nothing interesting happens in them (most of them called this kind of shows slice of nothing) and the episodic nature of the show could be a turn off for some people but the show is just great at what it does. I get that anime fans watch anime for the continuous narrative that many of the shows have and they’re often turned off by episodic shows, I by the other hand enjoy episodic shows like Mushishi but I don’t see Romeo no Aoi Sora as an episodic show in the same way that Mushishi is an episodic show, Romeo is a cohesive sequence of events that start in and ends at a determinated point. The simplest way to put it out is that the show is great from start to the end.
The first episode of Romeo no Aoi Sora in my opinion perfectly summarizes the appeal of the show and gives the tone for the rest of the show, in the first episode of the show you’re able to take the basis of the show (like every great first good episode, something that many shows don’t do at all after all great first episodes are hard to find in my opinion), the quiet life of a young boy with cheerful music, a vivid color palled and an easygoing atmosphere, but at the same time with an underlying soberness to all with some not-so-obvious-but-not-that-evident foreshadowing. Even the voice acting is very good from the start (people that watch long running series will see that most of the voice actors need a time to stick with their characters) but this could also be accredited to the very experienced voice actress that played the kids in this show.
I very easily was able to buy into the Romeo no Aoi Sora keyfabe. While watching Romeo no Aoi Sora I get lost in the story and characters forgetting that this is a story written by someone else and not just the exact same experiences that someone else could have in that time period, let alone the fact that these are 2D characters. When I see the show I see the city of Milan depicted in a realistic manner with real locations and landmarks that the city has, I see kids wearing clothes that could’ve existed in this time period (XVII century Italy). All of these small details (I’m all about small details) give a deep sense of immersion, which allows me to buy into the idea that these characters actually exist inside of this world.
From this point forward I’ll be giving small spoilers about the show so… watch the dammed thing, it’s fucking good but if you don’t mind some minor spoilers let’s keep going.
Understanding the full appeal of the show in the few first episodes is almost imposible by only watching some few episodes of the show, you may be able to understand what you’ll get by watching the show but the full appeal of this show is only understood by experiencing the whole thing. Form the moment that Romeo sings his contract and decides to go to Milan you don’t know what will happen to him just as Romeo doesn’t know what will happen to him as a chimney sweeper in Milan. We’re only aware of the reason why Romeo decided to go to Milan and that it was his own choice and not from anyone else.
Even if we do enjoy the first couple of episodes of Romeo we need to understand that what we see is all that Romeo experiences and we share his lack of understanding of his own situation. From the moment in which Romeo blames himself for the fire of his father crops he is obligated to make choices that a simple child wouldn’t be able to make and because of his choices (and still behaving like a normal kid would do) Romeo decides to firm a contract that dictates that he will work six months In the city of Milan as a chimney sweeper. Romeo isn’t an audience surrogate but we as I think that is very important that we discover Romeo’s true nature as the series progresses; but the experience of getting to know Romeo and all the characters that inhabit in his world watching how they interact with one-another is the narrative of Romeo no Aoi Sora. That’s why the relationship that the viewer develops with the show is so important when it comes to understand the appeal of the show; it’s only through experiencing first-hand the life of Romeo in his six months in Milan we can completely understand Romeo and his friends as characters- and its because of this that the later episodes of the show become so emotional and meaningful, well at least for me.
We can learn a lot about Romeo in the first episode of the show, there’s this quote from Hayao Miyazaki that I use a lot in my blog and it’s that we learn a lot about characters when we can see them in their calmest, that’s why I think that slice of life elements are important for a show because we need to see our characters breath and get to know something about them. In the first episode we can see the daily routine of Romeo, we see him waking up late and going to the church in order to do his job of bringing the bell while he awkwardly steps into a Virgin statue almost making it fall but he rapidly puts the statue in his place while presenting his respects to the statue of the Virgin Marie, these small acts are the ones that can tell us about a character without the need of giving exposition, not every single character needs to say “I’m Luffruto and I want to be the King of the Soul Society” (excuse me for the terrible joke). Looking at the actions made by Romeo in this opening scene we can tell that Romeo is kind of lackadaisical but a very respectful kid that was raised in a religious family.
Romeo no Aoi Sora is a show that you should experience by yourself, like every single Slice of Life anime you need to get invested in the characters and setting in order to get the full experience and I’d like to write why the show is great in a episode by episode basis and someday in the near future I will once I’ve made enough people watch the show to fully understand my future blogs, but my intention with this blog is to make you want to watch this show and understand why this is my favorite anime of all time.
One of the most important aspects of this show and the main reason of why this show is able to connect so well with me, is for the way in which I’m able to find aspects of my life, I don’t want to imply that I was chimney sweeper in XVIII century Milan is that just in the little slice of life aspects I’m able to find a great amount of relatability in this show, let’s say in the cast of characters or just in the life-lessons that this show gives to you. I spend my early childhood growing up in a farm (family traditions) under the surveillance of my father; the first couple of episodes were able to mimic in some ways the relationship that I had with my dad in the way in which Romeo interacted with his dad. You’ll see that farm is a very special place to me, I’m not a sentimental guy and I’m often a rude person but that place is like the closest thing to a safe haven for me and during my troublesome puberty that place was the only place in which I could feel some sense of comfort and a uplifting feeling, I cannot think of another piece of art that is able to trigger those uplifting memories. The show doesn’t trigger any kind of sense of escapism, it’s just comfort. That somehow makes me feel all emotional and nostalgic at the same time, unlike other of my favorite anime that helped me on having the perspective that I have now Romeo no Aoi Sora makes me reflect on the person that I was, that I’m and that I’ll become.
Power of friendship kind of an overused meme in anime, and as cliché it may seem in Romeo no Aoi Sora; the friendship between Romeo and his gang (The Black Brothers) is one of the most important aspects of the second half of the show. The main purpose of The Black Brothers is to help each other when needed, what makes them move forward is not the simple fact that they have friends, what makes them move forwards are their friends that are pushing their backs and helping one-another to become a better person and always trying to best each other. The friendship between Romeo and the co-protagonist Alfredo is the best example of this, the two of them started not as insta-besties unlike many other anime, Alfredo was kind of a jerk and Romeo was kind of stupid; but the experiences that the two of them spend together make the two of them realize that they needed each other in order to survive and their relationship quickly evolves into my favorite bromace in all of anime. A friendship based of mutual improvement, just like when I my friends in this app started to make bigger and better blogs I felt the need to improve my content, coming to the point that I’m now where every new blog that I made I feel that is better than the last one.
The true central theme of the show is not the one of education and loss of potential; despite having a big importance in the central narrative those themes aren’t the ones that are present in the whole show. The theme of acceptance is the one that plays a central narrative point in the show. Every single character of the show that is troubled in some way or another is for their lack of acceptance of their situation, Romeo himself goes through this situation twice in the show but at the end he accepts what is happening to him without giving up and trying to become a better person and this show made me realize that I needed to get in terms with the situation that I founded myself in, with the things that I’ve done and the person I was and probably I’ll become. Because I don’t love this show for being a consensus masterpiece, for that matter I would’ve give Legend of the Galactic Heroes a 10/10 without hesitation and not the 9/10 that I ended up giving to that anime, I don’t look for my 10/10 shows to be the best of the best, I give that score to shows that have done something useful for me and I love Romeo no Aoi Sora because it’s a consensus masterpiece, I love this show because it makes me feel better about the person that I’ve become.
Romeo's Blue Skies is one of the shorter and more recent additions to the collection of World Masterpiece Theatre series produced and animated by Nippon Animation. Once again it is an adaption of a work of literature originating from Europe, this time based on the novel "Die schwarzen Brüder" written by Lisa Tetzner.
It tells the story of a young boy sold into slavery and bought into a world that he must survive that is far more desolate than that he had ever experienced in the past. It is a look into the life of the poor and oppressed in the face of an unfair
society. Showing us the hardships that children sold into slavery and forced to work in far away cities experience, unaware of the inhabitants they will find; but most of important of all this show elaborates on the repercussions of being forced apart from your family.
This thematic concern is implemented into the story structure of Romeo's Blue Skies. The show is essentially divided into three distinct arcs and are developed with an epic sense of storytelling where the events of one arc ultimately contribute and effect the events of the next until the story reaches its ultimate conclusion. Throughout these arcs, the underlying theme and tone is always about the repercussions of being forced apart from those who you love. To keep this from becoming a thematically repetitive bore-fest the series does the liberty of investigating and exploring different concerns that can directly correlate to that of the main theme and it achieves this with almost perfect fluidity. Concerns for child abuse, theft, justice, gangs, backstabbing and betrayal all carry the show and make it very engaging. These aspects that are shown are given plenty of attention without ever feeling rushed nor feeling painfully slow, also the transitions between events and these concepts do not seem jarring and have without fail received proper explanation and development each and every time.
If there was one particular thing I had to complain about it would be some of the narration which at times can be criticized for not leaving enough to one's own interpretation, falling into the trap of telling rather than showing, but these moments are few and far between and I have seen cases of it elsewhere that are far worst.
The characters for the most part each receive good development and are often realistic character types without any notable genre cliche's dominating a characters personality which works in the shows favor. Building on this, the show makes use of this fact by making the characters varied: some being mature, some being downright brats, other's are just living life finding out how to get another penny in their pockets, this makes for a diverse cast and what makes it splendid is that even if two particular characters share a similar objective they are not just simple copycats of one another, each character has their own personal issues and identifiable traits (aside from appearance) that separate them from the others.
The show adopts a bildungsroman approach to storytelling developing Romeo's own self-awareness as a character supported strongly by surrounding characters especially that of Alfredo and in the mid-section of the series Angeletta. Romeo has a flexible personality and is able to adopt to the conditions of the environment he is in, allowing him to be able to progress around the hardships that take place. This is shown extremely well and is a most noteworthy effort, he is a complex character who has brilliant chemistry with his surroundings and this is established without ever being forceful.
Some complaints can go towards some of the side characters and even some of the older characters for being fairly simple and having only some depth, but nothing too much to complain about here as none of the side characters can be called poorly written and fleshed out as their actions are still grounded and remain reasonable in the context of the situation that the show presents. To give clarification on this without giving away important spoilers, there was one scene in the series that focused on the life of an elderly man and his attitude towards his son receiving a proper education. The son in question wished to become a doctor, much to the disbelief of his father and his father wished to put an end to his son's supposedly foolish aspirations. I thought about this for a bit and whilst it may seem stupid to prevent someone from aspiring to such a career. It can make sense from an economic and social standpoint from the position of the characters. The amount of time that would have to be sacrificed by these individuals who were living in poverty it may seem almost impossible, and the pre-established attitude towards that of doctors for the period would be one thing to consider as well. Doctors cost money to ask for an appointment and that brings about a defeatist pretext to the whole situation where if the man's son were to become a doctor, he would be just like all other doctors, being inaccessible to those who are poor, to those can't afford to have a family member treated for an illness etc etc...
There were some other questionable actions by some characters as well throughout the series but nothing so illogical or stupid that drives the whole series under. Outside of these small complaints the writing is consistently high in quality, with fleshed out characters and considerable attention to the detail of the theme's that the show explores.
Romeo's Blue Skies breaks more of the traditions that are prevalent in many of the WMT series, especially the traditions that were prevalent in the older works of the genre. Probably because of the shortened air time and condensing of the events. Of course some traits still remain, the main characters are young children no older than 12 and are living in a period of struggle (this case slavery and poverty), it is an adventure series despite the location for the most part being the same and last of all there is always a cute little animal on Romeo's shoulder half the time. I want to make a criticism of the last genre trait and how it is used in this particular show, keeping this particular trait is both a detriment and occasionally a strength to the series. It is especially a detriment in the later half. In other WMT series, the animal that usually accompanies the child tends to have a larger role to play and are far more crucial to the operations of the plot. In Romeo's Blue Skies, the fun little side character looses most of his importance early on in the series. Though the animal still come's to aid the plot later on in the series he/she isn't made as effective use of as a plot device. I can appreciate a little animal being there to release some of the tensions seen between characters later in the series because hey this show is for little kids after all, though this may have been the intention it was relatively unsuccessful however as the little animal hardly dampens the mood.
As usual from Nippon Animation, the art is top notch and attractive even by today's standards. The character designs maybe a little flat but that is more of a product of its time, what really shines in the animation depart is the background illustrations. Where the city-scapes are beautiful to be hold. I wish to make mention of a particular scene where you are witnessing a setting sun and this setting sun captures the outline of a church and it's many spires. It is absolutely gorgeous art and can still be appreciated by today's standard of art. As for animation, the series has fluid animation, though some shortcuts were made here and there but for the most part are hard to notice. A couple of complaints can be made though with some notable scenes where the amount of frames per second were seen to be slightly reduced in contrast with some other scenes, but altogether though. It is very well done for hand-drawn animation. With notable attention to background details throughout the most of the series which is a feat considering the time that the show was made.
The soundtrack is definitely commendable as well, with many orchestral pieces setting the scene beautifully and never feeling inappropriate, most especially helping to drive those feelings home when a scene was particular emotional or on the occasion when a scene was frightening. Ranging from calm and serene to exciting and adrenaline-pumping. On top of this, the voice acting was all top-notch and a characters line's were always in sync with the animation.
From a production standpoint, Romeo's Blue Skies is phenomenal the amount of effort that went into the technical aspects of this show is simply awe-inspiring, I couldn't imagine if this was a movie. It would have been better animated then Ghost in the Shell and Akira were.
As a children's show, the show has many excellent moral messages for children showing the importance of education, encouraging and enforcing an understanding and immersion of works of literature and the operations of the way of the world. Teaching how to appreciate the lessons that you learn from your life experiences, be they sad and heartbreaking or pleasant and heartwarming, as one emotion cannot exist without knowledge of the other. To be prepared for your departures from the good and if you aspire to a goal and confront the ways of the world that wish to prevent these goals from ever coming to pass and most of all embracing the warm ending after many turmoils.
This show is a classic series in every sense of the word. Strong storytelling from the first frame to the last and many great, relatable, inspiring characters dominating the screen, it is a great edition to the WMT franchises by Nippon Animation (though for me it is not the best) and Romeo's Blue Skies would be an excellent work for a newcomer to these classic works to experience.