「時をかけるローマ人／白鳥の湖」 (Toki wo Kakeru Rōmajin / Hakuchō no Mizūmi)
“The Roman Who Leapt Through Time/Swan Lake”
「サンプーハット／皇帝の憂鬱」 (Sanpū Hatto / Kōsei no Yūutsu)
“Shampoo Hat/The Melancholy of the Emperor”
「湯のちから」 (Yu no Chikara)
“The Power of Baths”
Thermae Romae is a historical fiction work set in the 2nd century about a Roman architect. In the beginning of the first episode Lucius is told by his boss that his designs are outdated and that Rome is looking for something new and trendy in the field of architecture. He then goes out to a public (Roman) bathhouse to try and relax his stress away (after being fired) while brainstorming what could be something new and unique to his trade. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) he gets sucked into a mysterious drain only to end up in a foreign place.
Every episode has him traveling to the future where he finds some new inspiration from modern day luxuries. Once he passes out and returns to the past, he implements these new ideas as well as any person can in the 2nd century. Despite the language barrier he still manages in the foreign land of Japan. Most of this is due to his uncanny luck. For example, in the finale episode Lucius ends up at a Japanese spa resort. He is unable to pay for food he was served but was lucky enough to be eating with a pawn shop owner who told the restaurant owner that his silver Roman coin was valuable.
All of the comedy comes from Lucius’ reaction to our modern day inventions/ideas and his 2nd century recreations. It’s hard to explain why the show is funny but seeing him anguish over the novelty of inventions made by people who he first mistakes as slaves is interesting. He becomes a hero in Rome for his originality but secretly anguishes over the fact that the ideas were not his.
This show is done by DLE Inc. (Dream Link Entertainment) which is a studio that focuses on short flash animation series. This marks only the second time I’ve encountered their work. The first time I saw something made by them was when I watched Haiyoru! Nyaruani: Remember My Love(craft-sensei) which is also a short flash animation series based on a light novel.
From what I’ve seen from the manga, the anime stays faithful to the source material while trimming the fat. There isn’t much to be excited over when it comes to the visuals. There isn’t much “animation” in the series per se but it is still good enough for a show made with flash. The cast isn’t something to phone home about either. It is basically filled with unknowns which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For example, Ono Ryo, who is the Chief Creative Officer of DLE, does a fine job voicing Lucius.
In conclusion (TL;DR), this is a nice short series with a relatively original premise. If you haven’t seen it already, you should give it a chance. You might find that you like its quirky humor.
ED: 「テルマエ・ロマン」 (Thermae Roman) by チャットモンチー (Chatmonchy)
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼