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.