Anime Blu-ray Review: The World is Still Beautiful Complete Collection

The World is Still Beautiful Complete Collection has one Blu-ray disc that includes all 12 episodes of the series and the bonus features. The set only has the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.

The World is Still Beautiful Complete Collection
English Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: October 6, 2015

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.

When Nike arrives at the capital and meets the Sun King 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. She also tells him 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 when it was streaming as a simulcast in 2014, 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. There was one spot where the series wasn’t sweet, and that was when Livius became upset when he saw Nike and Bard together and made assumptions. 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. All in all, I thought The World is Still Beautiful was an enjoyable viewing experience.

The Blu-ray video for this set has 1080p High Definition / 16×9, and the audio includes Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. I had no complaints about either the audio or the video quality of this release.

There are only three bonus features included on this release, which is par for the course for Sentai Filmworks releases.  The bonus features include all the versions of the clean opening animation, all the versions of the closing animation, and trailers for other Sentai Filmworks releases.

If you’ve watched The World is Still Beautiful on streaming services and enjoyed the series, this Blu-ray release of the series is worth adding to your anime home video library.

List: My Favorite Fantasy Anime

Well, for this list, I’m moving away from the animal theme. This time around, I’ll be taking a look at five of my favorite fantasy anime. However, rather than being a Top 5 list, this list will be presented in alphabetical order.

Log Horizon

While the main thrust of this series focuses on characters suddenly finding themselves inside the world of a game, the game in question happens to be in the fantasy genre. The writing of this series really captures the feel and essence of fantasy storytelling. One of the things that really attracted me to this series is seeing how our characters from the real world adapt to the fantastical elements that they find themselves having to rely on in order to make it through the world of the game; over the course of the series we see magic potions, magic spells, griffons, and other elements traditionally associated with the fantasy genre.

But this series’ ultimate strength is in its characters, and their relationships. The writing and story were also strong, and I was always left wanting more at the end of each episode. I also have to give the series some credit for including gaming elements with explanations that don’t bog down the story terribly much. The only drawback is the fact that second season of the series still had a lot of loose ends left. There was obviously an attempt to leave the door open for a future season, which still hasn’t materialized yet. But even with this drawback, I still enjoy Log Horizon for its storytelling and its fantastical elements.

The Seven Deadly Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins is set in a medieval style world, specifically in a region known as Britannia. The Seven Deadly Sins is a band of knights that disbanded after being accused of plotting to overthrow the Liones Kingdom. Ten years have passed since the disbanding of the Seven Deadly Sins, and the Holy Knights have staged a coup, captured the king, and are now tyrannical rulers of the kingdom. Elizabeth, the third princess, embarks on a journey to find the Seven Deadly Sins so she can ask for their help to take back the kingdom.

Right from the description, you can tell that this a fantasy series: royalty, knights, and a medieval style world. But it’s not a simple story being presented here; it’s got compelling storytelling with twists, turns, and surprises that keep the audience interested in what’s going to happen next. This fantasy series also has characters who the audience becomes interested in from the time they’re introduced, but many of them have character development moments that make the audience care about them even more. And the animation in this series really captures the look and feel of a medieval world.

As of this writing, I have seen both The Seven Deadly Sins and The Seven Deadly Sins: Signs of Holy War. And with the relatively recent announcement of another season of the anime, as well as an anime film, coming out in 2018, I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen to the characters and to the fantasy world that they inhabit.

Slayers

Slayers features a 16-year-old sorceress named Lina Inverse, who loves money, treasure, and food, and uses her magic in a reckless, yet comedic manner. She is accompanied on her adventures by Gourry Gabriev, a wandering swordsman with a powerful sword. Unfortunately, Gourry isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. Their party also includes Princess Amelia, a character named Zelgadis who is a mixture of human and demon, and Gourry’s friend Sylphiel.

Of the five anime that I included on this list, Slayers is definitely the most comical. Our sorceress heroine has a ridiculously powerful spell that she seems to keep forgetting just how powerful it is, Princess Amelia is a self-proclaimed Lady of Justice, and Gourry the swordsman is a brave, yet dumb, knight. But to me, the charm of this series is the fact that it’s a fantasy series that takes its tropes and exaggerates them for comic effect. While the other series I included in this list have occasional humor in them, Slayers is meant to be a comedy through and through.

Snow White with the Red Hair

The protagonist of this series is Shirayuki, a red-haired herbalist in a small medieval village. She becomes the target of Prince Raj, due to the fact that her red hair is very unusual in the world that they inhabit, and he wants to make her his concubine. Shirayuki is rightly offended and runs away. When she enters the neighboring kingdom of Clarines, she encounters Prince Zen. The two of them forge a friendship that blossoms into something more as the series continues. After Zen saves Shirayuki from Raj, she stays in Clarines and works at becoming an apprentice court herbalist.

The first thing that grabbed me about Snow White with the Red Hair was the animation, especially the lush backgrounds. The next thing that attracted me to this series was Shirayuki. I love how much agency she has. While she’s sweet, helpful, and beautiful, she’s not going to let people with sexist ideas push her around. She’s also very independent. Yes, Shirayuki ultimately finds herself dealing with potential romance, but this part of the story doesn’t dull her as a character as much as it could have.

The writing for Snow White with the Red Hair also helps to make it one of my favorite series. The characters are relatable and go through some development over the course of the series, and the story progresses in a logical way.


The World is Still Beautiful

The main character is a girl named Nike, who is the fourth sovereign daughter of the Rain Dukedom and 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 she meets the Sun King, she learns he is named Livius and that he is younger than her. At first, they don’t like each other, but as they get to know each other, their feelings change. Of course, there are various obstacles that get in the way of their budding relationship.

Much like Shirayuki in Snow White with the Red Hair, Nike is another female character with agency. However, their stories are very different. The World is Still Beautiful utilizes its fantasy setting and elements effectively, and it combines these elements with strong storytelling. There were one or two spots where the story kind of stumbles a little, but for the most part, the episodes were well written.

Sentai Filmworks Licenses The World is Still Beautiful

Sentai Filmworks has announced that it has acquired the license for The World is Still Beautiful television anime series. The anime is based on a manga by Dai Shiina, and was animated by Studio Pierrot. Hajime Kamegaki directed the series, Shinzo Fujita was in charge of series composition, and Ichiro Uno designed the characters.

The World is Still Beautiful will be available through select digital outlets soon, with a home video release to follow.

Source: Crunchyroll

2014 In Review: Spring 2014 Season

Yesterday, I took a look back at the shows I was watching during the Winter 2014 anime season. Today’s post is taking a look back at the anime series I started watching during the Spring 2014 season.

The World Is Still Beautiful: 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. 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.

One Week Friends: After watching the first episode, I thought that One Week Friends was a sweet series. As the series continued, it remained a sweet series; however, the sweetness never got to the point of being so sickly sweet that it was saccharine. It’s a light-hearted show, but it’s not so light-hearted that it’s simply a barrage of jokes. Throughout the series, there was a good mix of humor and drama. The characters are accessible to the audience; as you meet each character, you’re able to get a good sense of who they are through their interactions with each other. The characters I came to care about the most were Kaori and Yuki, and I came to care about them at the end of the first episode. However, I also came to like Shogo and Saki later on. At the end of the first episode, I was worried that the concept would hold up for the series’ 12 episode run. But I’m happy to say that the series succeeded in maintaining its concept throughout all of the episodes and succeeded in keeping the concept, story, and characters interesting the entire time. I also thought that the series was brought to a realistic end. And since there are still loose ends in regards to the potential relationships, there’s fodder for fanfic writers to work with to write their own continuation of the series. While One Week Friends is a good series, I’m really not sure there’s a chance for more episodes; at least, I don’t think there’s enough material to go for another 12 episode series. There might be enough to maybe squeeze an OVA episode or two out, but that’s about it. However, I have a feeling that it was intended to end here. I also really liked the animation style that was used in the series. It has a “soft” feel to it, and it almost looks as if it could have been inspired by paintings made with watercolors. This look and feel is perfect for bringing the story of this series to life.

Captain Earth: After watching the first episode, I found myself thinking that the series had potential. Admittedly, that first episode was a little hard to follow and understand at times, but my hope was that once the major exposition was done to establish Daichi and the world that he inhabited, that the series would become easier to follow. At the end of Episode Two, I was still a little confused, but there was enough interesting ideas being presented that made me want to see more of the series. At the end of Episode Three, I was genuinely interested in the characters and what was going on, especially since some of the questions I still had at the end of Episode Two were answered during Episode Three. At the end of Episode Five, though, I found myself feeling a little frustrated at just how slowly the storyline was progressing, as well as the fact as I thought I was starting to understand the story, new concepts were slowly being thrown out that I had to try to fit into my understanding of the series. It also didn’t help at that point in the series, the antagonists still weren’t very clear. It turned out that the first seven episodes were there to establish the premise and the series’ elements, and that Episode Eight truly started to move the story forward. The next six episodes focused on Amarok and Malkin working at awakening the other designer children and getting them to join their cause. Ultimately, the first half of the series had a rather slow start, and I think that the amount of designer children that were introduced helped to bog this section down. Now that I’ve seen the whole series, I can say with certainty that Liban and Bugbear really didn’t need to be there. Liban did nothing during the series after being introduced, and Bugbear only did a couple of things in the long run; the things that Bugbear did could have been done by another one of the Planetary Gears. I liked Bugbear’s backstory, and perhaps Zimbalt could have been given that backstory. Between Zimbalt’s backstory and Bugbear’s backstory, I thought that Bugbear’s was stronger. The second half of the series felt as if a lot of concepts were being thrown out to the audience and that the story was being hurried along in order to reach the series’ final destination. In the end, Captain Earth had an interesting premise that it was presenting, but the overall execution just wasn’t quite as strong as it could have been. While Captain Earth was an overall stronger mecha show than Aldnoah.Zero was, Captain Earth did still have some issues. And I have one question: Who is the girl with the recorder that appears about three times in the series around Daichi? She’s the one who ultimately leads him to the Livlaster in the first place, and then she shows up a couple more times near the end of the series. The audience is never given an explanation for her, so that’s one aspect of the series that I was dissatisfied with. She’s does some important things in the series, but we never get her name or know anything about her. All I can refer to her as is “the Recorder Girl.”

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior: After watching the first episode, I thought the show had a good combination of comedy and drama to help drive the characters and their story. I also thought the first episode was charming and fun to watch. I enjoyed watching the series for the most part, although I thought Episode Nine was one the weakest episodes in the series. My favorite part of the series was definitely the story of Kazunari and Ritsu. Some of the ensemble stories about the other characters tended to not do much for me for the most part, and with some episodes I found myself wishing that there was more of a focus on Kazunari and Ritsu. My least favorite character was definitely Sayaka. Not only was she the most annoying, she also came across as a character who didn’t really add much to the series. A lot of the times, she was either just “there” or wasn’t even at the dorm for the entirety of an episode. In a lot of ways, I think this series might have been a little stronger if she wasn’t in it. She was probably intended to be a foil for Mayumi, but I thought Shirosaki did a pretty good job of filling that role for both Mayumi and Kazunari.

Brynhildr in the Darkness: After watching the first episode, I thought the series showed a lot of promise, and at the end of episode two, I thought there was a really good setup for the story. By the end of episode four, after both Kazumi and Kotori were introduced, I found myself wondering if the series was setting up Murakami to have a harem. By the end of the series, I think I could safely say that while Brynhildr in the Darkness wasn’t a true “harem anime,” some of the girls surrounding him did act as if they were part of a harem of girls attracted to the main protagonist. I started to become frustrated with the series around Episode Nine, because I felt like the loose thread of the device was left hanging. Unfortunately, it didn’t come back until Episode 12. With Episode 10, it began feeling like the writing started to become sloppier. At the end of Episode 12, I felt like there had been a major and sudden change to the tone and direction of the story. It also felt unnatural, like they were rushing things in order to fit everything into two episodes. I ended up being disappointed with how the series ended. When I reached the end of Episode 13, I found myself thinking, “I devoted 13 weeks of my life to this show, and this is how it ends?”

Haikyu!!: After watching the first episode of Haikyu!!, I thought that the series seemed to be following many of the tropes associated with sports anime. However, the main character of Shoyo, along with his backstory, was intriguing enough that it didn’t feel like “just another sports anime” by the end of the episode. By the end of Episode Three, I found that Haikyu!! was keeping my interest, even though I’m not a fan of volleyball. At that point, I was already looking forward to seeing what was going to happen in the series as it progressed. The two practice matches that appeared during the series helped me to get a better understanding of how to play volleyball, and the matches themselves were exciting to watch. These matches also helped to set the stage for the Inter-High tournaments. When the series hit the Inter-High tournaments, the story was done in such a way that these matches were even more exciting than the practice matches had been. When Karasuno went up against Date Kogyo, I was very impressed by how well Karasuno was able to hold up against them. But much of the Inter-High focused on the hard-fought match between Karasuno and Aoba Johsai; in fact, it was so hard-fought that it extended into a third set. I had anticipated which team would ultimately win the third set, but I still found myself feeling a little disappointed and off-guard when that team actually won. I knew in my heart of hearts that this is how this would have to play out, but the match had been so intense during the episode that I couldn’t help but find myself rooting for the underdog team. While the underdog team takes the loss hard, I think they also learn a lesson in humility as well. When I first started watching Haikyu!!, I never would have imagined enjoying a sports anime about boys’ volleyball as much as I’ve come to enjoy this series. While Haikyu!! may employ a lot of tropes that are associated with shonen series, the characters are engaging enough and interesting enough that the viewer doesn’t necessarily notice the tropes being used.

Riddle Story of Devil: At the end of the first episode, I wondered if the potential promise I had seen for the series would manifest itself as the series progressed. Sadly, I ended up being rather disappointed in that regard. By the end of Episode Two, I had a major issue with just how many characters were being thrown out there at once and I had a hard time keeping their names straight.  At the end of Episode Four, I found myself feeling a little frustrated because characters were being written out just as the audience was getting to know them. I also realized the weakness of knowing the fact that a student has to fail each time they try to assassinate Haru, because the series would come to an end if they didn’t. By the end of Episode Five, the only thing that was keeping my interest to any degree was discovering who the next person who tries to assassinate Haru is and how they’re going to do it. Admittedly, at that point, if I hadn’t been watching the series to write about it for my blog, I would have dropped it after watching Episode Five. The formula that had been developed started being changed with Episode Six, so the series started becoming a little more interesting again. However, after truths are revealed in Episode 11, things become very confusing and crazy in the final episode. In fact, I found myself spending most of Episode 12 feeling rather confused as I watched it. While Riddle Story of Devil wasn’t my least favorite anime I watched during the Spring 2014, it definitely ran a close second.

Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara: After watching the first episode, I found myself thinking that there was an interesting concept that was drawing me into what I was seeing. I also thought the episode had a good mix of drama and humor. Although I was already sensing from the ending credits that a harem could develop around Sota, I thought that the premise was interesting enough that it could potentially keep the harem elements a little bit more in check. After watching the second episode, I thought there was a major tonal shift, and it appeared that the series would simply end up being a harem comedy with gags that would end up getting old fast. After Episode Two, I felt a little disappointed by the series; however, I decided to stick it out and see if perhaps the series would get better as it went along. After seeing Episode Three, I thought it was rather predictable; this hampered my enjoyment of what I saw. And after such a big deal had been made about the flags in Episode One, it was hardly touched on at all in Episode Two or Three. At that point, I was already feeling that it was my least favorite anime of the Spring 2014 season that I was watching. Sadly, my feelings for this series hardly improved for the remainder of its run. And then, near the end of Episode 11, it’s suddenly revealed that Sota is actually in a virtual world, and in a story that feels like it was inspired rather heavily by The Matrix. At this point, the narrative became a confusing and contradicting mess, and those issues with the narrative continued for the remaining two episodes of the series. It also didn’t help that the ending felt rather vague. The main weakness for this series is that it doesn’t truly understand what kind of tone and feel it was going for. It started out with hints of a harem anime with the potential for an interesting story, then it became primarily a light-hearted harem anime with some elements of a fantasy story thrown in, and then it turned into wanting to be a sci-fi story with a setup like The Matrix and suddenly became much darker and serious in tone. The first shift in tone was kind of noticeable, but it wasn’t jarring. However, the change to the darker sci-fi elements ended up being a very jarring transition, and I don’t believe that it worked well. After finishing Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara, I found myself regretting having ever started it. This would also rank up there as one of the worst anime I watched during 2014.

Ping Pong the Animation: First off, I have to say that I have to give credit to Ping Pong The Animation for not being a “typical sports anime.” Unfortunately, I have to say that the pacing for the series ended up being a bit awkward, especially since the series was trying to condense about one year into the course of 11 episodes. This meant that the first seven episodes tended to feel rushed. Then, starting with Episode Eight, the pace slows down and the series spend its final four episodes focusing on one event; this would be the singles qualifiers that takes place for the series’ climax. But then, during the final episode, there’s a timeskip that takes place from the end of the qualifiers match to several years into the future. Unfortunately, with how rushed those first seven episodes were, this didn’t allow for as much character development as there could have been in order to help the audience care more for the characters. I wish there had been some more episodes for the series in order to give the story and the characters a little more room to “breathe” and to develop even more. Now that I’ve finished watching the series, I find myself wondering why Kazama’s cousin Yuri was ever introduced. Honestly, she didn’t truly add much of anything of any real relevance to the series and was quickly written out in Episode 10. When it came to the animation, I have to admit that I did have some issues with the animation style right at first; however, I became accustomed to it around Episode Three. Once the animation style didn’t distract me, I was able to better focus on the storytelling aspect of the series.

Chaika – The Coffin Princess: After watching the first episode, I have to admit that I was a little annoyed by Chaika’s tendency to speak in one, two, or three words phrases; however, as the series progressed, I just got used to this character quirk. But what I saw in that episode made me interested enough to want to continue watching the series. When Fredrica joined the cast and becomes part of Chaika’s party, I thought it added an interesting layer. At that point, not only were they being pursued by the Gillette Corps, they were now also traveling with a party member who is out to kill one of the other members of the party. Overall, I thought that Fredrica was a good addition to the party and its dynamics, and that she was portrayed realistically. When the Red Chaika was introduced in Episode Five, I thought this added an interesting twist as well; unfortunately, Red Chaika seemed to disappear after two episodes. In Episode Seven, it appeared that Chaika had developed feelings for Toru, which ended up adding another layer to the story since it was obvious that Akari liked him. I was thrilled when I learned that there would be a second season of the series in Fall 2014, and I found myself looking forward to what that second season would bring.

Nanana’s Buried Treasure: After watching the first episode, I thought that the concept of Nanana’s Collection was an intriguing one, and the interactions between Juugo and Nanana also kept me interested in continuing to watch the series. I enjoyed the first three episodes or so, but then things started to get a little confusing. Near the end, it was starting to get interesting with the final confrontation between Hiiyo and the Adventure Club in Episode 10. That episode ended on a cliffhanger, and I expected the final episode to be action-packed and focus on the confrontation. Unfortunately, that confrontation ended up being anticlimactic and boring in Episode 11; this is primarily due to the fact that so much time was spent on characters talking to each other and not having much going on in the way of action. And the very end of the final episode didn’t truly resolve anything, and some footage seen both during the ending credits and right after raised more questions than answers. To me, this was an unsatisfying end to the series, and I started to feel as if I’d wasted my time over the 11 weeks that I watched this show. At the end of the series, I didn’t see the promise that I had seen early on manifest itself like I had hoped. As the series went on, it seemed to lose its focus as various characters and concepts were added to the series. While the characters from Matsuri and their organization seemed to be important early on, those characters and the organization basically disappeared by the end. The last time we saw Yukihime and her partner was a brief shot of them in Episode 11 when they were in the mall at the same time as Juugo. Also, Juugo declares early on in the series that he’ll help Nanana locate her killer. Unfortunately, this part of the story is hardly ever touched on, and is not resolved at the end of the final episode. I wouldn’t say that Nanana’s Buried Treasure was the worst anime series that I watched during the Spring 2014 season, but I also can’t say it’s among the best, either. For me, it was ultimately a series that had a lot of potential that was never realized due to decisions that were made in regards to the storytelling. And I have to say that if it turns out that Nanana’s Buried Treasure ends up getting a second season, I would have no desire to watch it due to the various issues I had with the storytelling of this series.

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.

Review: The World is Still Beautiful: Episode 12 – “Homecoming”

The World is Still Beautiful focuses on Nike, he fourth sovereign daughter of the Rain Dukedom, and on King Livius I, the king of the Sun Kingdom. Livius asked for the hand of one of daughters of the ruler of the Principality of Rain, and Nike ended up being chosen to become his bride after losing a game of rock-paper-scissors. It’s not exactly love at first sight when the two of them meet, and it almost looks like nothing will come of their relationship; however, after Nike saves Livius by summoning rain to put out a fire that was set in his room, he decides to keep her around; Nike officially becomes Livius’ fiancee.

At the beginning of Episode 12, Nike tries to talk to her grandmother before she and Livius leave to return to the Sun Kingdom. However, her grandmother won’t give her an audience and tries to keep herself locked behind a door. Nike insists on saying what she has to say through the closed door. Nike leaves, but Livius has a few things to say to Nike’s grandmother before leaving.

When they’re on the boat heading back to the Sun Kingdom, Nike’s grandmother suddenly appears and starts singing the Farewell Rain song in the old language. This is a very emotional moment for Nike, but Livius is understanding and encourages her to cry.

When Nike and Livius return to the Sun Kingdom, they find there’s a lot of chaos that was allowed to happen because Bard had been left in charge. Livius now has a mess to clean up and things to do, and it’s up to Nike to entertain any visitors that come to call. All of this work keeps the two of them away from each other; this is the longest time that the two of them have spent apart. We see Nike looking sad and feeling alone…

I believe that the way the story arc came to an end with Nike’s grandmother was the most realistic way to bring it to an end. While she may not still agree with Nike’s decision, she shows that she still loves her granddaughter.

I did feel bad for Nike when they returned to the Sun Kingdom and she suddenly found herself apart from Livius for an extended time. While the two of them were in the Principality of Rain, they had become a lot closer, so to suddenly be apart after that took its toll on her emotionally. At the end of the episode, though, Livius shows up on a white horse. We see the two of them finally showing true affection to each other. This was a really sweet way to end the series, and it shows how much their relationship evolved over the course of the series.

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 World is Still Beautiful ended, though, I really don’t see that a second season will ever happen. The point of the story was how the relationship between Nike and Livius evolved from being an antagonistic one to one where they truly cared for one another. Since the relationship has finished its evolution, there’s not much else that can be done with the story as it was told in the anime. The only real thing I can think of is the fact that it was mentioned in Episode 11 that Nike has an immense power that could be dangerous, and then this fact was never mentioned or touched on at all in Episode 12. Howevr, if there turns out to ever be a second season of The World is Still Beautiful, I’d definitely watch it; however, at this point, I’m not expecting one.

Review: The World is Still Beautiful: Episode 11 – “A Passing Wind”

The World is Still Beautiful focuses on Nike, he fourth sovereign daughter of the Rain Dukedom, and on King Livius I, the king of the Sun Kingdom. Livius asked for the hand of one of daughters of the ruler of the Principality of Rain, and Nike ended up being chosen to become his bride after losing a game of rock-paper-scissors. It’s not exactly love at first sight when the two of them meet, and it almost looks like nothing will come of their relationship; however, after Nike saves Livius by summoning rain to put out a fire that was set in his room, he decides to keep her around; Nike officially becomes Livius’ fiancee.

At the beginning of Episode 11, Nike is frantically trying to escape from the tower she’s been locked up in. Kitora opens the door and sees that Nike is injured. He doesn’t want to see her injure herself anymore, so he hands her the key and tells her where to go in order to escape. After escaping from the tower, Nike finds Livius after his fight with her Grandmother.

As Livius is healing, Nike, her sisters, and Neil are summoned away. After they leave, Livius is taken by a woman in a cloak and her attendants. It turns out the woman is Nike’s mother, and she has a discussion with him about Nike. When Livius says he wants to be with Nike and will protect her, Nike’s mother presents him with an outfit to wear for an engagement celebration. Looking at both Livius’ and Nike’s outfits for the engagement celebration, they really reminded me of the clothing styles that I’ve seen in the A Bride’s Story manga series.

The engagement celebration is a raucous affair, but we learn that both Nike’s grandmother and Kitora have chosen not to attend. We see Kitora is outside in the rain, watching what’s going on at the celebration. Later, Livius finds Kitora and the two have a confrontation…

One of my favorite parts of this episode was getting to see Nike’s mother, especially since it had been said in Episode 10 that she was in poor health. At first, it appeared that her mother was going to be like some of the others and demand that Livius break things off with Nike, but it was great when she brought out the outfit for him and refer to him as her son-in-law. But during their conversation, we learn that Nike has inherited a secret art that can only be inherited by the greatest singer in the Principality, and that its power defies imagining. With how late this revelation has been made, will it play any part in the next episode? It’s the only chance at this point, since Episode 12 is the last episode of the series.

I’m not surprised that Nike’s grandmother and Kitora chose not to attend the celebration, but I wasn’t surprised to see Kitora watching from a distance. The most surprising part of the episode to me was what happens after the confrontation between Kitora and Livius; it almost seemed like they were bonding as they talked about Nike’s faults!

The preview for Episode 12 doesn’t really show much of anything, except for Nike sitting next to a window in a castle, looking sad as it rains. The only audio we hear is Nike saying “Livi” in a rather sad tone. Are they still in the Principality of Rain in Episode 12, or have they headed back to the Sun Kingdom? And why does Nike look sad? And why is she saying Livius’ name so sadly? I guess I’ll have to watch Episode 12 in order to find out what that preview is hinting at.

Review: The World Is Still Beautiful: Episode 10 – “A Righteous Country”

The World is Still Beautiful focuses on Nike, he fourth sovereign daughter of the Rain Dukedom, and on King Livius I, the king of the Sun Kingdom. Livius asked for the hand of one of daughters of the ruler of the Principality of Rain, and Nike ended up being chosen to become his bride after losing a game of rock-paper-scissors. It’s not exactly love at first sight when the two of them meet, and it almost looks like nothing will come of their relationship; however, after Nike saves Livius by summoning rain to put out a fire that was set in his room, he decides to keep her around; Nike officially becomes Livius’ fiancee.

After the kiss that Nike and Livius shared at the end of Episode Nine, things have gotten a little awkward for Nike. At one point when Nike and Livius are out for a walk together, they encounter Kitora and Nike’s father. When they go to Nike’s father’s office, Livius learns that while Nike’s father holds the title of duke, it’s actually Nike’s grandmother who runs things in the principality. We also learn a little bit about the history of the principality, background on Nike’s grandmother, Nike’s mother, as well as background on Nike and Kitora. We also learn that Nike had been sent to the Sun Kingdom without her grandmother’s knowledge.

Later, Kitora asks Nike to meet him in a remote place and he gets into an argument about Nike being engaged to Livius, and he ends up using an imported incense that he has immunity to in order to knock Nike out. Kitora and the grandmother lock Nike in a tower where her power is suppressed, and Livius is told that Nike has fallen ill and will need to stay in the principality for at least a month in order to recover.

The plan is to hypnotize Livius so that he’ll forget about Nike and leave without her. However, the plot doesn’t go as planned…

Well, I was right when I predicted in my last writeup that the grandmother had some kind of involvement in the plot. However, I hadn’t predicted that she was the mastermind behind it. I had assumed that Kitora was the mastermind and that the grandmother was going along with it.

At this point, I have to say that I don’t care for either Nike’s grandmother or Kitora that much. I’m hoping that something will happen within the next couple of episodes to change my opinion of them. I found myself getting pissed off at both of them and rooting for Nike to find a way to get herself out of her predicament so she could save Livius from her grandmother.

Probably my favorite part of this episode was getting all the background information that was provided. While a lot of was revealed, it was done in such a way that it didn’t feel like “info dumping.”

I also have to say that I came to really like Nike’s sister, Kara. Unlike most of the others in the royal family, she’s willing to think for herself and not simply do whatever the grandmother tells her to do. I’d imagine that Kara is probably the sister that Nike is the closest to.

From what I saw in the preview for Episode 11, it looks like there’s going to be some kind of confrontation between Livius and Kitora. I can’t wait to see not only how this story arc will end, but how the series as a whole will come to an end.

Review: The World is Still Beautiful: Episode 9 – “The Principality of Rain”

The World is Still Beautiful focuses on Nike, he fourth sovereign daughter of the Rain Dukedom, and on King Livius I, the king of the Sun Kingdom. Livius asked for the hand of one of daughters of the ruler of the Principality of Rain, and Nike ended up being chosen to become his bride after losing a game of rock-paper-scissors. It’s not exactly love at first sight when the two of them meet, and it almost looks like nothing will come of their relationship; however, after Nike saves Livius by summoning rain to put out a fire that was set in his room, he decides to keep her around; Nike officially becomes Livius’ fiancee.

At the beginning of Episode Nine, the Sun Kingdom is hosting a big conference, and Livius and Nike are busy having to have audiences with the royalty and prime ministers from the countries that have come to participate. Later, Neil tells Nike that since this is her first time on the international stage, she needs to perform a Rain Summoning at the opening ceremony.

As Nike’s thinking about the Rain Summoning, an attendant comes up to her with an urgent letter from the Principality of Rain. The letter says that her grandmother has collapsed and is bedridden. Nike goes ahead and does the Rain Summoning, but Livius can tell that it’s not up to her usual standard. When he presses Nike, she tells him about the letter and about the fact that it was her grandmother who taught her to sing and was the one who basically raised her. Livius declares that he and Nike will travel to her home country after the conference is over.

When they reach the Principality of Rain and see Nike’s grandmother, they learn that she only had a strained back. Nike’s sisters meet Livius, and they think he’s cute that they drag him away to be a plaything. Nike’s grandma has Nike show Neil around; after they leave, we meet a man named Kitora, and he seems determined to keep Nike in the Principality of Rain and sending Livius home alone.

The air pressure is lower in the Principality of Rain, and Livius, Neil, and Livius’ retainers have headaches and deal with their bodies feeling heavy. Nike takes care of Livius, and near the end of the episode, something happens between Nike and Livius that surprises her…

With what happens near the end of the episode, there’s a major progression in regards to Livius and Nike’s relationship. Nike seems to be starting to come to the realization that she actually does feel something for Livius. I think Livius came to his own realization earlier about his feelings for Nike, and she seems to finally be catching up. While this is a good thing to happen, we already know that this Kitora guy is planning to do something to try to keep them apart. What will Kitora do, and will he somehow succeed?

I also have a suspicion that it may not just be Kitora who’s part of the plot to break up Nike and Livius. Personally, I think the grandmother may be in on it as well, especially since a letter was sent in regard to her condition that made it sound worse than it really was. The grandmother knows that Nike cares for her deeply, and that something bad happening to her would cause Nike to come rushing back to the Principality of Rain.

It appears there’s going to be 12 episodes for The World is Still Beautiful, which means that only three episodes remain. I’m very curious to see what Kitora’s plot is, as well as seeing how this series will ultimately come to an end.

Review: The World is Still Beautiful: Episode 8 – “Shelter From the Rain”

The World is Still Beautiful focuses on Nike, he fourth sovereign daughter of the Rain Dukedom, and on King Livius I, the king of the Sun Kingdom. Livius asked for the hand of one of daughters of the ruler of the Principality of Rain, and Nike ended up being chosen to become his bride after losing a game of rock-paper-scissors. It’s not exactly love at first sight when the two of them meet, and it almost looks like nothing will come of their relationship; however, after Nike saves Livius by summoning rain to put out a fire that was set in his room, he decides to keep her around; Nike officially becomes Livius’ fiancee.

Episode Eight opens with Nike lying face-down on her bed, not looking at Livius. After a few moments of this, Nike acknowledges Livius and starts arguing with him. Now, hold up, wait a minute… at the end of the previous episode, Livius had ordered his guards to take Nike to the dungeon. Why is she still on the bed instead of in the dungeon? I honestly feel like we missed something here. Also, I’m not entirely happy that his ordering her into the dungeon was glossed over in this episode and wasn’t even mentioned.

However, Livius did follow through with his order for Bard to be put into the dungeon. After Livius leaves Nike alone in her quarters, she sneaks out and frees Bard. After freeing him, Nike learns that Bard had feelings for Livius’ mother, Sheila, although his feelings were unrequited. Nike, along with the audience, also learns what kind of relationship Livius and Bard had in the past, and why it was that Bard came back after running off from his Prime Minister duties. Nike tries to convince Bard to stay and be by Livius’ side, but Bard says that Livius would be against the idea.

Nike gets so frustrated with both Livius and Bard that she takes it upon herself to force them into a situation where they would have to talk and air out their feelings…

This episode certainly provided the exposition that was needed to understand why Livius feels the way he does about Bard. Not only did the two of them have feelings for Sheila and both felt like they failed in protecting her, Bard ran off without a word after becoming the Prime Minister.

I have to admit that Livius’ changes in temper are starting to become a little concerning to me. I hope he doesn’t get to a point where he becomes so enraged that he does something without thinking that will somehow unintentionally harm Nike.

From what transpires near the end of the episode, it appears that Bard will be remaining in the Sun Kingdom and that we’ll have opportunities to see more of him in future episodes. Having Bard around will definitely affect the character dynamics for Livius and Nike.

From seeing the preview, it looks like the next episode will have something to do with the Principality of Rain. Unfortunately, the images and narration didn’t divulge much, so I have no idea how the Principality of Rain will end up becoming an important part of the episode.