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« Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii – 08, 09

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii – 10, 11, 12 (END)

Episode 10

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   01 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   02 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   03
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   04 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   05 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   06
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   07 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   08 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   09
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   10 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   11 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   12
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   13 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   14 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   15
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   16 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   17 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   18
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   19 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   20 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   21
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   22 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   23 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   24
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   25 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   26 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   27
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   28 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   29 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   30
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   31 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   32 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   33
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   34 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   35 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   10   36

「正しい国」 (Tadashī Kuni)
“A Proper Country”

It’s always nice to see a romance get to the point where it’s obvious to the couple that their feelings are evolving, but not many stories manage to pull it off as naturally as Soreseka does. In fact, the magic probably lies in the fact that those feelings actually evolve. Livi and Nike did not fall in love when they first met, nor did they do so in the early days of their engagement. They got along and then became fond of one another, but they were still getting to know each other. It isn’t until now when Nike initiated the first kiss between them, that she’s beginning to see Livi as her husband rather than the boy she initially had motherly/sisterly feelings for. Livi has always seen Nike as his wife, but he nevertheless begins to act awkwardly and shyly toward Nike’s blossoming feelings. The relationship is becoming less arranged and more willing, but unfortunately Nike’s family doesn’t wish to see this.

To Nike’s grandmother, Livi is a dangerous element in more than one way. Not only does she see him as unworthy of Nike on a personal level, but she also believes that Livi would abuse Nike’s powers for his own tyrannical gain. Even if he proved trustworthy, it is true that any descendants of theirs may posses Nike’s powers and thus further endanger the world, at least in Tohara’s eyes. But most of all, I think Tohara simply does not wish to give her granddaughter up. Having raised Nike, Tohara must feel like Nike is her own daughter, more so than Nike’s sisters, who were presumably raised by their proper mother. She feels loathe to part with Nike, and much less to hand her over to a boy who may not be able to make her happy.

Her methods, however, are selfish though she may not see it this way. She refuses to listen to Nike’s feelings about the matter, nor does she care to really see what Livi is like. She assumes he is not right for her granddaughter and that Nike’s place is in the Rain Duchy no matter what. She throws Nike in prison with help from her besotted cousin Kitora and tests Livi with the intent of proving his lack of affection for Nike. Instead, Tohara ends up highlighting what makes this series great; Nike and Livi’s chemistry. Even when not together, they care and fight for one another. Though they are still exploring their new feelings, they are not afraid to admit they love one another in their own way. Nike doesn’t sit in prison and wait, just as Livi doesn’t give up looking for the key even up until he begins to drown. They believe in one another but still want to protect the other. That is a bond formed by getting to know one another, by growing together and learning to love. In some ways, that’s more powerful than what you’d call love at first sight.

 

Episode 11

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   01 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   02 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   03
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   04 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   05 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   06
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   07 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   08 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   09
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   10 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   11 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   12
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   13 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   14 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   15
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   16 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   17 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   18
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   19 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   20 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   21
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   22 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   23 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   24
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   25 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   26 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   27
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   28 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   29 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   30
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   31 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   32 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   33
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   34 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   35 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   11   36

「通り過ぎる風」 (Tōrisugiru Kaze)
“The Passing Wind”

Yeah, I really don’t know at what point these two are supposed to be legally married anymore. They definitely use the words “husband,” “wife,” and “queen” liberally, but then it seems like the two or three “weddings” we’ve seen haven’t quite tied the knot for some reason. Nevertheless, I like to think of the two as married, and they certainly act like it. CPR aside.

In any case, having proved their devotion to a grudging and sulking Tohara, Nike’s family decides to accept the union and apologize for their behavior by throwing Livi and Nike a party/wedding/engagement. Nike’s sickly mother kidnaps Livi and gets him dressed up while Nike gets dolled up by her family, which leads to a truly pleasant scene of a wedding in the tradition of the Rain Duchy. Not only are the costumes pretty to look at, but the scene has a genuine family party feeling and helps give color to Nike’s family. Livi’s speech and stolen kiss are sweet and good fun, but more than anything it’s heartwarming for the couple to move into a more public and comfortable place in their relationship, even if Nike’s cousin and grandmother are unhappy about losing her.

I suppose in a way there’s a message about letting go and letting young people seek their own happiness, but Tohara’s determined isolation also feels wrong even if it was originally a plan to stay out of war. Staying cooped up denied the people of the Rain Duchy experiences to see more of the world and build strong ties to other countries. It seems almost like a rebellion that Nike’s father offered a daughter in marriage and allowed her a way out of Tohara’s strict control. Tohara as a matriarch isn’t that different from an overly strict parent too afraid of the outside world and potential consequences to allow any freedom to spread one’s wings. In Nike, however, she’s finally being forced to face the truth. even if she and Kitora are not ready to let go.

While Tohara is a different story, however, Livi sets things right with Kitora on his own terms. Nike doesn’t belong to anyone even if she’s marrying Livi, and her affections are hers to give; that being said, love from afar is not the same as acting upon it (properly and in a healthy manner, of course), and in that sense Livi makes Kitora see that he can’t patronize his cousin no matter how much he cares for her. That doesn’t mean the boy king doesn’t have some fun in doing so though.

 

Episode 12

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   01 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   02 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   03
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   04 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   05 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   06
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   07 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   08 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   09
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   10 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   11 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   12
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   13 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   14 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   15
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   16 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   17 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   18
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   19 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   20 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   21
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   22 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   23 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   24
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   25 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   26 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   27
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   28 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   29 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   30
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   31 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   32 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   33
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   34 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   35 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   36
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   37 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   38 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   39

「帰還」 (Kikan)
“Return”

I’m so happy to see a good ending in an anime; it feels like it’s been so long since I’ve seen one. Everything of importance gets wrapped up, we get good romance, and we get good nostalgia and happy fluffy feelings at seeing everyone for the last time.

The finale is obviously split into two halves: the emotional resolution to Tohara’s relationship with Nike and the romantic end for the married pair. The first half is really rather beautiful in its emotional sincerity. Tohara avoids Nike in her anger and grief, but not out of any deep seated hatred. She merely wants to keep her beloved granddaughter safe at her side, and she’s upset at seeing her grown up and making her own decisions against her grandmother’s will. Nike in turn loves Tohara deeply as her mother figure, and she hates disappointing her even though she refuses to leave Livi’s side. That hurts Tohara, but she’s too proud to face her granddaughter and her own feelings about the matter until the last possible second. Her beautiful sendoff is touching and hard to watch as Nike breaks down with the pain of leaving home and her grandmother behind. Personally, I loved this half, and I loved the stark emotions between the characters, whether it was between Nike and Tohara or in the gentle consoling hand Livi offered his partner as she cried.

The second half is good too, though in a different way. We get to see some old faces and some nice wrap up for the kingdom, and we get a good laugh at seeing Livi’s reaction to the way Bard kept things running in his absence (Note: You probably shouldn’t hold an extended orgy/harem while the King is out). Unfortunately for Nike, that means Livi has to go back to work, and she needs to return to a life of audiences and the court. As a result, Nike begins to yearn for her husband, and to come to terms with her newly developed feelings while in isolation. The lonelier she feels, the more she comes to love him, and the sadder she becomes.

It’s a really poignant thing, wanting to see a loved one who is far away, and the series perfectly catches that melancholy we all feel at some point in our love lives. The finale definitely plays with romance tropes, but it executes it so well that even Livi on his princely white horse feels like a wonderfully nice reunion at the end. And who would argue with such a lovely epilogue, kiss and all?

“You bring the world to me.” Wow. Just, wow.

 

Epilogue:

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   40 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   41 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   42
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   43 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   44 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii   12   45

Final Impressions:

As a female involved in the anime world, I’ve found it difficult to find a place in terms of the kinds of shows that are produced for me. Female-oriented shows are small in number, and those that make it tend to make it because they are pandering shows that appeal to the female sex drive (which it would seem, people only notice when all those girls go rabid for Free! and buy tons of merchandise, even though we’ve always had it). There’s precious little else made for us anymore, and little that explores the nuances of emotions and characters (*cough*cagegirl*cough*) to my taste. That doesn’t mean shows like Free! are bad, there’s just not a whole lot of variation in terms of material overall. So when I saw that one of my favorite shoujo manga was being adapted, I jumped at the chance to cover it.

Though flawed, I think Soreseka has been exactly what we’ve needed in the “shoujo” department. The demographic itself has a pretty negative connotation nowadays, but it’s really not all sappy unhealthy romances and pretty boys, just like the shounen demographic isn’t all big breasted women and battle tropes (though in both cases these things do exist). In fact, I hesitate to say that Soreseka is a pure shoujo, because it’s not. It’s really just a romance, which happens to be told well and through the eyes of the female lead. You get the occasional cliche, but there’s more frankness, more starkness and depth to the simple feelings between Livi and Nike as their relationship changes and grows. We understand Nike’s motherly instinct for Livi, and Livi’s need to seem older than he is. We watch them grow into friends and partners, and from there into lovers. Lovers on equal terms too, because for all of Livi’s original intentions, Nike is not the kind of person one can keep tied down.

There are downturns in the quality of the show, more than anything through rushing material and the romantic rival arcs, but overall there’s not a whole lot to complain about. The animation is nice, the music good (even the rain song grows on you if you weren’t originally a fan), direction well done, and the romance captivating. I know there are still people who feel it weird that Livi is younger than Nike, but again, three years is not much and marriages at those ages happened all the time in history (though it’s not often you find microphones and amps in a world that still uses wooden galley ships). It really does nothing to change the chemistry of the characters, and it even adds complexity to their relationship. The kiss at the end, though anime original, is the way you expect a series like this to end, but knowing that lessens nothing about the impact of it. The final lines, in which Nike explains how Livi affects her life, are a beautiful way to describe love. Love is what makes the world bright, what makes it still beautiful when things seem dark. It’s a simple message, a simple depiction, but profound nonetheless.

As you all know, I will be taking a hiatus during the summer season, but I will be returning in the Fall. I have been posting late because of personal circumstances within my family, and feel like I need to take a break to set those things in order and avoid ruining the blogging experience for all the wonderful readers at RC. It has been my pleasure to write for you this season, and I hope to bring you something more timely and fun to read in three month’s time. Happy summer everyone!

Note: Many thanks to Stilts-senpai for helping me out with caps this post; I know I drive you crazy with my crappy internet, gomen!

June 30, 2014 at 7:29 pm
22 comments »
  • June 30, 2014 at 8:09 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    I can definitely say that this has been one of the best anime of the season.

    A few bumps in the road, sure, but nothing that would make me question still watching it. There was actual development in the characters, and the pacing felt good overall whereas most other anime I’ve been seeing this past season has been rushing or jumping all over it feels like, trying to cram in a dozen chapters per episode or something while feeling like they’re trying to just finish it and get it out of the way as soon as possible.

    And “Amefurashi no Uta ~Beautiful Rain~” also one of the best anime songs too.

    • July 1, 2014 at 3:04 pmL002

      I know, can someone give me more anime recommendations that has to do with the age gap with an older women and younger boy? The Garden of Words is one anime I like, along with this one. So any more would be great XD.

  • June 30, 2014 at 8:29 pmSkinsthunderbomb

    Wonderful job with your blogging of this series :) See you in Autumn ^^

  • June 30, 2014 at 9:14 pmKerensa

    I finished this series with a slight ache in my heart because I really wanted to watch their relationship grow. I know the story continues on in the manga, and I have heard the manga is a very wonderful story to read (I’ve read a few chapters myself) but I really enjoyed this version of the story. I feel as though this story wouldn’t have done well as an on-going anime, and maybe even a second season would be pushing it (if it went that route) but it’s not very often I feel I’m not ready to say goodbye to the characters of a story. It was certainly one of my ways to relax after work. :)

  • June 30, 2014 at 9:52 pmstarss

    This hasn’t been the especially smoothest blog coverage of this show- I had forgotten you skipped TWO episodes instead of one this time- so I forget my reactions to the previous ones. I’ll just say that overall, this show SURPRISED me! It is more beautiful an anime than I ever expected it to be! The romance between the two leads is believable and they’re backed by strong characters! I’ll miss this show for its warm, enjoyable entertainment.

    • June 30, 2014 at 10:30 pmchaoslimits

      Good luck with your personal circumstances Kairi.
      Shocked that I loved this show from beginning to end (One Week Friends too). My only complaint is that it’s ended so quickly; I’m going to every single character (and Tender Rain).

  • June 30, 2014 at 10:42 pmewok40k

    Anime almost devoid of fanservice (save few shota manservice shots courtesy of Livi himself), but with extremely likeable characters, and charming romantic story. We could really have more of those!
    Especially Nike caught my attention – she is so unlike average shoujo anime heroine – brave, self-reliant, a bit (but not too much) tsun, yet quick to dere… She doesn’t ever hesitate to do the right thing, whatever the others may think or say.

  • July 1, 2014 at 12:19 amExperticia

    Thank you for your work, I agree with you in all you have said… Soreseka is one of the best romantic shows I have seen. I enjoy it and suffer it a lot. Sometimes I forgot Livi´s age, he was so manly, more than other older characters. Nike was a fantastic heroine, she was joyful, brave and kind. I think they are a perfect tandem. I´ll miss your posts…

    See you in Autumn :)

  • July 1, 2014 at 3:24 amdytianquin

    We’ll definitely miss you, and the awesome content you put out for us. When you come back in the fall, we’ll all definitely be greeting you with an “O-Kairi!” :P (Sorry, I just had to do it.) Hopefully, you’ll be with us for years to come! ^-^

  • July 1, 2014 at 3:40 amTassadar

    That was a lovely series to watch and read about. Thanks for all your effort Kairi, see you after summer!

  • July 1, 2014 at 4:20 amzztop

    The anime covered the 1st 4 volumes of the manga, and 7 volumes are out in Japan presently. The final scene in the field is from vol 4, although the kiss is anime-original.

  • July 1, 2014 at 4:28 amleatherhead333

    Thank goodness an ending episode I can be happy with. Internal family conflicts are some of the hardest to overcome. Even with all the bad things her Grandma did she was still trying to look out for Nike. We are always more forgiving when it comes to those who have helped shape our lives into what it is in the present. I do like how the anime doesn’t try to make these situations as gritty and dark as it could. Even the the most dramatic of moments are usually followed by some comedic gag or touching sendoff.

    Overall even if the romance isn’t naturally paced (to me) it still has an odd charm on me. If i had my way EVERY romance heavy anime would be 2 cours because you simply cannot make two people fall as quickly in love that Nike and Livi have so fast. It just doesn’t feel natural to me.

    There is a great amount of cheesy lines thrown around constantly but I think that’s what i like about it. The show has that little dash of fantasy that somehow makes the scenario magically magnificent. The soundtrack has a lot to do with that too (seriously this composer should do work for Disney!). It’s pretty sad to see it end but I’m just glad everything was given the closure that it deserved =).

  • July 1, 2014 at 7:29 amBROOKLYN otaku

    Eh, not bad…….only major problem i had with it was the way my body would instinctively cringe everytime “tender rain” was sung…yikes!

  • July 1, 2014 at 7:48 amMgMaster

    I have close to no experience with shoujo anime and usually when I tried,I stumbled on the bad to terrible ones and gave up completely. However this…man,if more of them were like this,I’d jump on them in a heartbeat. But then again,I guess it’s like Kairi said: “In fact, I hesitate to say that Soreseka is a pure shoujo, because it’s not. It’s really just a romance, which happens to be told well and through the eyes of the female lead.” This is what I like – whether you tell it from the eyes of a male or female lead,treat both equally and give them them equally important roles,as little to no pandering(and I said little because I know that help’s them sell better and if it’s kept to a minimum to not hurt the show much,I’m fine with it).

  • July 1, 2014 at 8:24 amzztop

    Do any manga readers know what further adventures Nike and Livius will have?

  • July 1, 2014 at 9:00 amzztop

    Bard’s government style has a certain…allure to it. ;)

  • July 1, 2014 at 12:10 pmlivevoid

    I really liked how Tohara never apologizes for what she did because she truly believes that what she did was the right thing to do for the sake of her favorite grandchild and her country. Too often in these types of shows do non-evil antagonists give in and admit they were wrong as a way of tying up loose ends. Tohara’s stubborn attitude mixed with her genuine desire to see Nike happy gives her a refreshing amount of depth as a character, IMO at least.

  • July 1, 2014 at 3:35 pmori

    The ending is surprisingly good. I wasn’t sure what to expect since the manga hasn’t ended. But the whole anime only second half of the last episode is actually really well done.

    It’s nicely emotional and it gives hope that everything will eventually work out. :)

  • July 1, 2014 at 6:43 pmNaoya

    And that’s how you animate a manga adaptation.

  • July 1, 2014 at 6:47 pmc2710

    This is one of the shows that I lookforward to every Sunday and helps to start the day. Truly a romantic and amazing love story between 2 people. Nike’s definitely one of my favourite, if not more memorable anime princesses.

    Thanks for blogging this Kairi and see you in fall.

  • July 2, 2014 at 6:14 amSherylfan

    Awesome show, this is how we wrap things up. Too many shows this season had rushed sloppy endings so it was rather nice this show pulled through. Nike is definitely been one of the best female leads in a long time for me.

    I can only hope that they finish volume 8 soon so we can get a potential second season. Will miss the show and thanks to KAIRI for blogging it.

  • July 2, 2014 at 8:13 amTopboy

    After Kabocha Wine (1984,yes 1984),I waited for… 30 years to had a chance to watched Shota anime again (Short/little boy with slender/big girl).

    It’s that long.Why animation studio don’t produced more Shota anime? I like it and wanna see more of this. (Yes,I am short guy)

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