Also known as: Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii
Format: 12 Episodes
Allegiance: Studio Pierrot/VAP
Director/Author: Kamegaki Hajime
Intelligence Agency Report by: Kara Turnbull
Princess Nike is a rain summoner from the Principality of Rain, a small island country. She is promised to the Sun King, Livius I, as a bride, and sent to the Sun Kingdom. She begins to get to know her future husband and tries to show him that there is beauty left in the world. The two overcome obstacles as a couple and prove their love for one another while performing their royal duties.
Romance and Fantasy are tricky genres to craft a story into. It takes a lot of finesse to overcome tropes and bring a well-balanced story to the table. I believe Kamegaki is on the right track with The World is Still Beautiful. The characters are engaging and interesting, especially Princess Nike and King Livius. The plot, although mundane on paper, ultimately doesn’t stop me from being engaged.
Of course, there are the usual tropes where the female character and male character are steely to each other at first, then eventually learn to appreciate each other over time. But there’s a reason these tropes are used: they work. Although I may know what the end result may be, the journey is still interesting and engaging. Watching characters progress through a relationship is satisfying. Nike and Livius’ journey from bethrothed strangers to lovers is especially satisfying because of their age difference and the societal expectations placed upon them. In a fantasy/medieval setting, it can be hard to overcome societal expectations and forge your own happiness, so I believe it makes great sense in that universe, as well as a good method of plot progression.
I especially enjoyed Nike’s character. She was a spitfire at times, but loving and curious. There were many facets to her character, and you actually saw her grow and appreciate Livius and even appreciate the world around her more. Livius’ progression from a sad, power-hungry boy-man to a confident, happy king also made the series worthwhile.
The animation was detailed and really brought out the individual characters’ personalities, and often surprised me at just how detailed the environments were. It also reminded me of older anime, but in a good way. Character designs were also fabulous; the settings and clothing really seemed to fit the period and atmosphere the anime was going for.
The music was well-orchestrated and fit the tone of the series like a glove. Nike’s song to summon the rain got a little old and seemed too modern for a fantasy-style setting. However, it wasn’t a bad song and conveyed the mood it was trying to capture.
The World is Still Beautiful is an unexpected treasure of the spring 2014 anime season. Truth be told, I was not expecting much out of this anime besides fluff and some romantic scenes. Instead, I got a fleshed-out universe with an interesting cast of players and some well-paced plot. If a new season ever gets announced, I will be happy to continue where I left off.