Anime Spotlight: The World is Still Beautiful

The World is Still Beautiful is an anime based on a manga by Dai Shiina. The series is produced by Studio Pierrot, and is directed by Hajime Kamegaki. The series aired on Japanese television from April 6-June 29, 2014.

As of this writing, Crunchyroll holds the North American streaming rights for The World is Still Beautiful.

The main character of the series is Nike, and she’s the fourth sovereign daughter of the Rain Dukedom; she also has the power to call forth the rain. The Sun King, the ruler of the Sun Kingdom, sends a message to Nike’s father saying that he won’t invade their land if he offers the hand of one of his daughters in marriage. Nike ends up being the one chosen to become the Sun King’s bride because she loses a game of rock-paper-scissors.

When Nike arrives in the harbor town of Lepion, she sends her retinue home so she can explore on her own and get to know the people of the Sun Kingdom. At first, she has a string of bad luck, which culminates with a couple of con men stealing her luggage. Nike collapses out of hunger, and she is taken in by an innkeeper and his two daughters, Mina and Liza.

After they learn who Nike is, they tell her how to get to the capital, how long to get there, and that she’ll basically need a caravan in order to get there. Nike and Liza go out to try to find a caravan, but have no luck.

Meanwhile, the two con men who stole Nike’s luggage are hired to kidnap her; unfortunately, they mess up and kidnap Mina instead. After they realize their mistake, Nike finds them and uses her power to defeat the con men. After getting her luggage back, Nike has the two con men take her to the capital so she can meet the Sun King. When they meet for the first time, they’re not impressed with each other.

Livius insists that Nike make it rain, because he’s grown weary of the sun. Nike becomes upset and raises a hand against the king. She is taken away by the guards and put in the dungeon. Livius tells Nike she can either starve to death there or become his plaything.

Later, after Livius has finished his business with Neil, his advisor, he is faced with Nike, who has escaped from the dungeon. When Livius insists she summon the rain again, she tells him that rain summoning isn’t a parlor trick, and that the feelings of the person seeking the rain must be in concert with those of the person making it, and that he needs to show her the beauty of this world. He doesn’t truly understand what she means, and does things that only infuriate Nike more.

Later, Livius is targeted by a poisoned arrow, but Nike pushes him out of the way and the arrow hits her in the arm. Nike is OK, but runs a fever. After she recovers, Livius orders Neil to take Nike back to the Principality of Rain.

After this incident, Nike ends up staying in the Sun Kingdom. Over the course of the series, the two start to get to know each other better and they develop feelings for each other. However, there are obstacles that get in the way that almost destroy their relationship…

After watching the first episode of the series, I thought that it showed a lot of promise. Not only did the story grab my interest, but so did the look of the animation. The series also managed to find and keep the right combination of drama and humor to tell its story. It became a series I looked forward to watching week after week.

Overall, The World is Still Beautiful is a sweet series, and I enjoyed watching it from week to week. The only real issue I had is when it was glossed over in the episodes that introduced Bard that Nike had been ordered to go to the dungeon, but for whatever reason, she never went. Livius’ temper was definitely out of control, and that was definitely not one of the sweeter moments of the series. I really enjoyed Nike as a character, and Livius’ evolution as a character was pretty decent. With the way the series ended, I suspect there isn’t going to be another season; however, if there turns out to ever be a second season of The World is Still Beautiful, I’d definitely watch it.

The World is Still Beautiful ranked as one my favorite series of the Spring 2014 season. I really hope that one of the North American anime distributors will acquire the right to this series at some point, because I would like to be able to own this series in my anime home video collection.

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