Nike, the fourth princess of the Principality of Rain, has the ability to summon rain whenever she pleases. After losing a bet with her sisters, Nike must travel to the Sun Kingdom against her wishes. In order for her country to continue being autonomous, she is promised to wed the King of the Sun Kingdom, Livius I. When she arrives at the Sun Kingdom, Nike bids farewell to her escorts and enters the country alone. Soon realizing how different the Sun Kingdom is from her home, Nike passes out due to hunger, and is rescued from thieves by a pair of sisters.
To clarify things right away, The World is Still Beautiful is adapted from the manga of the same name. I have not read the manga, so naturally I will not be comparing the anime’s plot or success in adapting its source material. I will be judging this anime as-is without any preconceived ideas or comparisons to fall back on.
The anime immediately begins with a sense of adventure as the viewer sees Princess Nike, standing confidently on her ship, sailing to a new land. Arriving at the Sun Kingdom, Princess Nike insists on entering the country alone with no escorts. After realizing how crowded, unfriendly, and expensive the harbor city is, Nike also can’t find a place to rest her head. Deceived and robbed by a pair of thieves, Nike passes out from hunger and is rescued by two sisters. They immediately form a friendship and through that friendship you learn more about Nike, how she came to the Sun Kingdom, and what her background is.
Nike, as a character, is so far everything I expect a princess to be – caring, kind, and gentle – but she also has an adventurous and willful spirit. I enjoy that in her and hope that her character develops further, allowing for good conflict and plot points.
This whole episode was beautiful to watch. The backgrounds were subtle, with soft, beautiful colors and muted light. It definitely gave an impression that the world Nike belongs to is a fantasy one. I was also impressed by the character design and how smooth, detailed, and clean the animation was. There was just enough detail, but not too much as to distract from the inner workings of the characters.
I also really enjoyed the musical score. Whether the scene was exciting or thoughtful, the music was grand, adventurous, and quaint. I definitely felt the emotions I was supposed to feel because of the music, and it pushed me more into the setting of Nike’s world.
My only complaints were that the characters so far aside from Nike felt a bit two dimensional, and the sisters’ relationship with each other, as well as their relaying of their past, felt very bland. The comedy moments felt a tad out of place and the style of them jarred me from the overall tone of the rest of the episode. There were also moments that were attempts to instill a sense of dread in the viewer, but only served to confuse me more. The characters in this particular moment were too vague and mysterious, and I had no clue what their purpose was or who they were.
Overall, I enjoyed this episode and plan on continuing with this series. The set up was brilliantly executed and doesn’t give away all the answers to your questions, and adds more as the episode goes on. I do hope that the plot that this episode has set up doesn’t fall short, but only time will tell.