Weekly Digest 5/11/14 – Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii, Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou

Soredemo Sekai - 06-9 Soredemo Sekai - 06-16 Kawaisou - 06-1 Kawaisou - 06-5

The most damning of all faint praise – “it could have been worse”…

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii – 06

Soredemo Sekai - 06-1 Soredemo Sekai - 06-2 Soredemo Sekai - 06-3
Soredemo Sekai - 06-4 Soredemo Sekai - 06-5 Soredemo Sekai - 06-6
Soredemo Sekai - 06-7 Soredemo Sekai - 06-8 Soredemo Sekai - 06-10
Soredemo Sekai - 06-11 Soredemo Sekai - 06-12 Soredemo Sekai - 06-13
Soredemo Sekai - 06-14 Soredemo Sekai - 06-15 Soredemo Sekai - 06-17
Soredemo Sekai - 06-18 Soredemo Sekai - 06-19 Soredemo Sekai - 06-20
Soredemo Sekai - 06-21 Soredemo Sekai - 06-22 Soredemo Sekai - 06-23

I was tempted to limit my review of Soredemo Sekai to a single sentence this week – “The less I say about this episode the better.”  But the truth is by the time it was all said and done, there were some good moments, and taken collectively the ep wasn’t the unmitigated disaster I feared it might be.

Make no mistake – Princess Luna of the Ocean Kingdom was every bit the disaster I feared she might be.  A classic moeblob loli character, cliche from start to finish including the resolution of her personal part of the story.  Every minute she was on-screen was torture, but she wasn’t on-screen every minute – and thankfully, it seems as if this was – for now – a one-shot appearance.

More importantly, Luna serves as a catalyst for the Nike-Livi relationship (which is effectively the entire appeal of the series) to progress. Soredemo Sekai is really two shows, the one when these two are on-screen together and the one when they’re not – and the first one is much better than the other.  Their chemistry is off the charts, and even if the “Ring of Tales” arc accelerated its development too much, it’s still very natural to watch them progress.

Even if the plot-heavy material is mediocre and a character like Luna is an atrocity, I can’t dismiss a show that has a central romantic relationship this superb.  These two are equally strong-willed, they’re brutally honest with each other, and the bond of affection between them is entirely believable and winning.  I totally get what Livi sees in Nike and vice-versa, and scenes like the “lava cider” encounter in the gardens are off-the-charts on the charm scale.  Keep showing us these two and I’ll keep coming back – but please, no more Luna.

Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou – 06

Kawaisou - 06-2 Kawaisou - 06-3 Kawaisou - 06-4

The less I say about that episode the better.

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33 comments

  1. R

    I laughed a lot harder than I should have at the second part of that 'review'

  2. Z

    Spring is the season that keeps on delivering.

  3. K

    You will be delivered; Luna is a one time character. It was smart of Pierrot to move that ep to #6 rather than #2 (where it is in the manga) because it would have ruined potential viewers for them.

  4. Agreed, glad they did that. But it does beg the question – if they knew she was so awful that they needed to avoid scaring off viewers with her, why not just cut her out altogether?

  5. K

    Beats me. Maybe the mangaka insisted they leave her in? :/

  6. t

    I doubt.
    maybe they wanted to adapt as faithfully as possible for its readers too.
    not to mention they didn't want to cut it out because it has meaning of enhancing Livi-Nike relationship. instead of staying with an extra episode and fill it with filler (further episode might start a new "arc" or chain of events that can't be adapted). and maybe she will show up next somewhere in further events (maybe not this season…)

    so..there might be some reasons for it.
    even if it's better without her..she is still a character.
    it's like in silver spoon they didn't cut Ayame (the blonde girl)…

  7. E

    Except Ayame is at least likable. She might be pure comic relief, but Arakawa is great with comic relief.

  8. I wouldn't say I find Ayame likeable, but she does at least pack a decent comedic punch. And she seems somewhat integrated with the story rather than being a straight-up device.

  9. E

    Well, I mean "likeable as a character", not "I'd like someone like her in real life".

  10. m

    Ayame grows on you. Seriously, she does.

  11. I

    Actually, I think Luna indeed did show a purpose into coming into episode 6 instead of episode 2 (a great choice I might add). Luna clearly showed the flaws that Nike has as a princess in the olden time context of the show.

    Most princess are able to dance well, play instruments and etc, and Luna brings out a good point in that marriages at the point were political business, with benefits and no signs of love in sight.

    Although she makes that point (which is true), it also highlights that Livius could barely care about that point even if Nike brings to table little benefits at all, politically. It also shows a little more how Livius is becoming emotionally invested in having Nike and no one else. That's the development for Livius, for Nike, her flaws are pointed out by Luna, but that's not all. It brings to the table the frustration she feels to not be able to match up to Livius, her insecurities at not being a proper kind of princess people have in mind too. Oh and the fact that Luna's presence became a catalyst for her to work harder in her princess training to become a better princess and future queen of the world and…. She shows the acceptance that Nike has to Livius being who he is currently, with his slight twistedness (that we had glimpses of) which no normal princess would have done so in the first place.

    All in all I would say the character development was pretty subtle in this one, just my penny's worth.

  12. t

    Soredemo Sekai got into weekly digest? :O
    well there isn't something new or much to say about this episode. apart from the fact that in the manga, this chapter came before "ring of tales" chapters. but never mind, it still the same show – both Nike and Livi are strong and assertive characters and we keep seeing their characterization and their relationship is getting stronger. this time it thanks to Luna. even though she might be annoying character, it was still good episode that stick to the show's spirit – combination of life of royalty in an amusing way along with its great MC and their developed relationship. it's just great and lovely.

    I haven't seen Kawaisou yet, but so far I enjoyed the show.
    I wonder what's in it made you not writing about it. because I believe this show stays in its own range and all.

  13. Z

    Kawaisou–it could've been worse. I've been following your posts thus far on the show, and while I'm far away from the fence in contrast, I think we can agree on this episode very much so. It really could've been worse.

  14. To be honest, Zani, that comment really only applies to Soredemo from my perspective. I don't really see how the Bokura ep could have been all that much worse.

  15. t

    seriously, I don't think this episode is much different than previous ones.
    yeah, previously we had much more focus on Usa and Ritsu. and this time it wasn't like that. but the general spirit of Kawaiso has remained the same in this ep.

    it was really funny this time. if I need to sum it up I'd say "LOL" episode (though not necessary only a "LOL"). maybe it is not the best of Kawaiso, but it's not falling among the others because it was simply a long..some sort of skit – mixing lots of cliche and a funny occasion. really, I laughed throughout the episode with its funny moments – the girl's facial expressions and her comments, Mayumi's idiotic side…it's not that different than other eps of Kawaiso.
    even though not really from real-life, it was an amusing scenario with the changing atmosphere from time to time that Kawaiso knows to do so well. maybe I am going to far but…for a moment it was just like one of "friends" scenarios, just a bit more bizarre, never mind that.

    and in the end?it had a nice tone of not only parody or Mayumi crazy jokes. I guess that's what I love in this show. so even if we didn't have our normal focus of Usa and Ritsu, still it had the regular amusing atmosphere combined with colorful visuals and Shiro's specialty (this time of this..bamboo-whatever) that makes it feel fun and refreshing for me.

  16. R

    I think this is going to squarely fall into a personal opinions matter.

    I'm really just not a big fan off the sort of episode Kawaiisou did this week (I'm not a fan of it in other series either), but I also was really attached to the series as much as Enzou (and I don't think he was THAT attached either) so as a result I didn't dislike the episode as much either XD It was very….meh.

    There's a distinct problem for me personally about certain cliches/archetypes/characters/scenarios whatever you want to call them that are ok once in a while but recently in the past few years seem to have latched on to every series and its mother. I'm convinced that I'm just not the sort of audience these shows are looking for.

    And Enzou, I'm going to agree with Zani here. It could have been worse. Never say it couldn't have been worse XD (not to say that makes this episode good in contrast….but I had a few worst case scenarios I was half expecting the show to take and it at least didn't happen)

  17. S

    Luna may be an annoying little brat, she also was of importance. Her past signifies how much Livius character has changed for the better under the influence of Nike. And it’s good to see she realized it herself and accepts defeat in romance.
    I don’t need to see her again, but she definitely left with a good impression by being more than just a "shallow loli moeblob". She made her point.

  18. w

    It feels like a lot of the series I was enjoying are slipping. Soredemo just isn't turning into the series I'd hoped it would be, and I think I'm just shy of whatever boat you're in for Kawaiisou.

  19. This happens a lot – it's a dangerous part of the season. If it weren't for sports anime the pickings would be pretty slim overall, but I still love the main couple in Soredemo enough to keep me solidly hooked in.

  20. w

    I've also found this point is also where some of the weaker series start to gain momentum to help mitigate the ones that meander.

    I actually don't think I've enjoyed any episode of Soredemo as much as the first one, but Nike and Livi are by far the best thing about it right now. I think I was just expecting something less mundane and more inherently fantastical from it.

  21. R

    I think what you're seeing shining (muddling?) through here is what I like to somewhat affectionately somewhat murderously call shoujo standard. In which a lot of the really great potential gets trampled over for a while by cliches. I'm not sure what it is with romantic rivals in shoujo but all of them, bar almost none, have the ability to make me want to throttle them and drop the series.

    I mean, I know it's a romance story so yes rivals but I don't get the obsessions with either alpha bitches or very needed moe characters. @_@

    That being said, while Soredemo has a fantasy setting, it's first and foremost a shoujo manga. I can kinda see where some people would have hoped for a stronger emphasis on the fantasy side.

  22. Well, I don't really think I'm very attached either in that I've pretty much been on the fence about dropping Kawaisou since the first week. And one more clunker (we've had two in a row) will be the last straw for me. So it's not expectations that's my problem, it's execution. Could it have been worse? Yeah – I mean, it could have been the imouto ep of Sakurasou. But broadly speaking, it was pretty grisly.

  23. M

    I guess you're finally catching on. Pays not to throw your cynicism out the door so readily – you'll get burned.

  24. m

    I agree that the relationship between Livi and Nike is very engrossing and done well within it's episode restraints. That being said I still can't fully get passed this idea that she's falling in love with a child. I guess the fact that the kid is male is making it not seem like as big of an issue as it should be for some people, but it still grosses me out a bit. Thankfully it has been very innocent, or I would have dropped this show immediately. It reminds me of how when female teachers have been caught sleeping with male students people act like it isn't as big of a problem as it would be if the teacher were male and the student female. That idea is so absurd to me. I think the show would work a lot better if he was a few years older. Not her age, but at least not at a statutory rape age. Livi acts a lot older than he is so sometimes I forget about the age difference and get engrossed in the story, but when they kiss it's super creepy.

  25. I find just the opposite to be true – massive complaining about the age difference from people who are fans of loli and imouto incest series.

    I just don't see the issue here. Historically this kind of marriage is totally normal. Would people feel better if they disliked each other? The age difference is three or four years ; Livi is mature for his age. Nike is coming to love the person he is, irrespective of age, and it's not like we're seeing anything physical. To each their own, but I just don't have a problem here.

  26. m

    Is it three or four years? If that's the case I retract my previous statement. Maybe its the height difference the emphasize so much in the show, but I thought he was 11-12 and she was 17-18. Which would be creepy. Though I don't necessarily agree with it being ok bc it's happened in history. People were married at 13 a long time ago, but they also only lived to be 35-45. When you were a junior or senior in high school, could you imagine yourself falling in love with a middle schooler? Or having anyone find that socially acceptable? In the context of the world of the show it makes more sense. Seeing as how it portrays what appears to be a world similar to our older world, and add in that they are both royalty which makes it a lot more common. But I mean from my perspective of having thought she was 5-7 years older than him and that he was not even a teenager it weirded me out a bit. Though offset by how well their interactions have been written.

    Haha are people really complaining about the age diff when they like lolli and imouto incest series? That's hilarious. On like a lot of levels. At least here the younger character is mature (prob more so than the older one is many ways) unlike the lolli/imouto characters. That nonsense it was made me drop black bullet before the end of the first ep. It makes me wonder why that's such a huge part of anime. Is it a Japanese culture thing (not liking little girls, but the type of women that sterotype would fit)? I have that same issue with villains always being so rapey. In captain earth why does that Salty Dog guy have to give off such a rapist vibe. He reminds me of that character from hey Arnold that always just appeared behind Helga standing there breathing all weird. Can't villains be bad without giving off that "I want to own you and tie you down and make you my possession etc" vibe? I can't figure out if it's anime creators/fans strange fascination with rape or if that's what Japan thinks being a rapist is the absolute worst thing you can be and so it shows up in anime.

  27. Well, I have to say it didn't even occur to me that the baddie in Captain Earth was rapey. Maybe the TV Game of Thrones – which for me is undisputed king of exploiting sexual violence for dramatic purposes – has dulled my senses.

    It's not just a question of the time period but also the context. Royals always ended up in arranged marriages, and age was irrelevant – they were strategic and political matches. And yes, there's plenty of "Ewww!" coming from the same people who drool over Ro-Kyu-Bu and Papakiki (though not here, thankfully).

  28. m

    The way that guy was acting in regards to Hana before being booted out of the compound definitely gave off an air of "I get joy from dominating you. you are my possession" and gave me the impression that he held sexual desire for her. It could be that too many anime characters being that way makes me jump to conclusions on that, but I thought it seemed obvious he was a bit lecherous. Haha I realize rapey is a ridiculous word, well not a real word, but I couldn't think of one word to describe that guy better than that. Maybe because I watched Kawaisou right before that I got the whole S&M dominating someone idea in my head when he showed up again. He was controlling over Teppei too, but it seemed like it was way more intense with Hana.

  29. K

    The guy from Kyaputain Easu is definitely on the creeper scale. This coming from a woman.

  30. t

    he reminds me the idiot-bad-guy from SAO. same shitty character.

    it's hard to find likeable bad-guys nowadays….thanks god for HxH "bad-guys" (Hisoka, king, phantom troupe guys, zoldyck family)

  31. Z

    The guy was taken out by a child's boomerang. – 15 respect points.

  32. m

    @Zeta hahaha yeah that took away all remaining respect from him

    @thedarktower Holy shit! I didn't think of that, but as soon as I read that it hit me: That is 100% the exact same character. And that is NOT a good thing at all. At least the other villain (whose name I forget) is actually a villain without being a pervert. Villainy does not have to mean inherently rapey.

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