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Spring Anime 2014 Impressions: The World is Still Beautiful, Haikyuu!!

Posted on the 07 April 2014 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG

The World is Still Beautiful

The World is Still Beautiful

AnimeEmily: I’ll admit going into The World is Still Beautiful, I was a bit apprehensive; the synopsis on the chart sounded a bit silly and neither the studio or director were really standing out to me as markers of a potentially great work. Sitting down to watch the first episode with that mindset, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up liking it by the end. Though it wasn’t anything too spectacular or great, it was pleasantly entertaining with a relatively “cheery” atmosphere and a lead who was pretty fun to watch.

Though the set-up is, as I mentioned a bit silly, it actually doesn’t play out too badly on screen. The basic storyline for the episode is that the fourth princess of the Principality of Rain, Nike, has come to the Sun Kingdom to marry its king in order to maintain the autonomy of her peaceful Dukedom. Surprisingly, she doesn’t actually meet her husband-to-be until the episode’s last couple of minutes, spending the majority of her time with a nice family in town who teaches her a bit about her new home.

In the end, my two biggest criticisms in terms of the episode are that essentially nothing really happened and that there is a certain amount of predictability and cliché-ness when it comes to what ends up happening. The introduction of who I imagine will be the show’s main villains actually made me giggle a bit because of how obvious it was they were up to no good: they were sitting in a darkened room and their faces remained out of view or half shaded the entire episode. Nike’s host family was also a bit lacking in the originality department, being unbelievably kind and informative regarding the look they gave us at how great a guy the Sun King is supposed to be. Heck, Nike, herself, and (probably) Livius look like they won’t be breaking any molds either.

However, I wouldn’t say that those things really hindered my enjoyment of the show. I liked watching Nike run around and often laughed during her interactions with others (although I’ll admit I’m interested to see the explanation behind her control of the wind considering I was under the impression she was going to have some sort of rain/water powers if any). Though we didn’t get too big a glimpse at Livius, that smug smile of his (not to mention that image of him crying at the very end) leads me to believe he’ll be the type of shoujo hero that I tend to like: y’know the one that tends to act all high and mighty but actually be a really kind and a bit sensitive…? Ah, shoujo.

Another relatively pleasant surprise was the show’s humor. I love that Nike is only marrying Livius because she lost in a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors to her sisters and how she immediately gets into a fight with the palace guards upon her arrival at the castle, not to mention the show’s surprising awareness of fanservice was actually kind of funny. I say tentatively say “kind of” because the minor villains’ comments near the end of the show about having “a scene with a ton of service shots” and how they “gotta please the male viewers. Give it up.” left me with some mixed feelings. The “scene” they’re alluding to would have been, I’m guessing, some sort of sexual harassment or assault of a girl they had accidentally kidnapped, and I’ll admit that though I initially laughed a bit, the idea that they brushing off such a potentially dark act with a simple “fanservice~” is mildly disturbing in the sense that their justification is no justification at all and that such a thing would even be seen as fanservice. Thankfully the rest of the episode goes back down a sweet and funny road with Nike’s departure and her arrival at the castle.

The World is Still Beautiful

In terms of visuals, The World is Still Beautiful, in a shocking twist of fate, isn’t all that beautiful. …My pitiful attempt at a joke aside, the episode looked pretty okay. Again, nothing too spectacular or great, but the designs are nice and there’s nothing too fanservice-y thus far which I appreciate.

Though I doubt it’ll be a hit for many people and it has an unfortunately high potential for going downhill rather quickly, I think that The World is Still Beautiful has potential to be a relatively fun watch that may or may not have a decent romance (see: age gap and on-going source material). I’d definitely recommend that shoujo fans give the episode a shot since it had a very shoujo feel to it without the sparkles and high school setting, and, as for everyone else, I’d say don’t brush it off as crap just yet. I’d say check it out if you’re curious or this season is looking particularly barren for you, though it’d be completely understandable if you find this show to not be your particular cup of tea.


haikyuu hinata shoyo

Kuuki: I hate volleyball.

Now that I have said that you have probably guessed that Haikyuu!! is an anime about volleyball. Our cute and persistent protagonist is named Shoyo and his dream has always been to play in a tournament. However he is the sole member of his middle school volleyball team. Thankfully, Shoyo doesn’t give up and one day he gathers a team and play! While yearning desperately for victory and trying their best, they still lost against the King of the Court, Tobio Kageyama. However, this is definitely not enough to crush his determination!

I think I accidentally just told the whole story of the first episode. I also think it is not such a bad thing. At least you know what to expect, and it’s great when you get the feeling that a first episode can work as a summary for the whole anime. You see, I had no knowledge of Haikyuu!! before jumping into it aside from the regular fangirling attacks some of my friends got on Twitter. I didn’t think I’d get out of it having a fangirling attack of my own.

In truth, there is nothing too special about it. It’s a regular sports anime, it tells the struggles of training, the joy of victory, the pain of loss, without forgetting the fun factor that’s somehow always there. You see, nothing ground breaking. And I hate volleyball, I shouldn’t like this. If there is one thing I have to give credit to the anime it is that it introduced things slowly, there hasn’t been a single hint of any rule being taught there, we barely know how many people there are in a team. I didn’t even mind. A match can be the most annoying thing when you don’t know what happens but Haikyuu showed rather than told and I appreciated that.

haikyuu hinata shoyou

To be honest though, the highlight of Haikyuu is its characters. They only introduced two main ones, Shoyo Hinata, our token persistent character whose main trait is to never give up and fully live his passions. Second main character to be introduced, Tobio Kageyama, our token dark character and King of the Court, the one who never looses. As you can see, they’re pretty typical characters, they’re bound to have some problems getting along and yet you cannot do anything but cheer for them to be friends. (And I’m not even in fujoshi mode regarding those two.)

kageyama tobio haikyuu

There isn’t a lot more to tell about Haikyuu but have a quick glance at the cast. Kaito Ishikawa voices Kageyama, you should recognize his name by now, he comes up often in my Go for Broke columns. He’s great, I like him. Shoyo is voiced by Ayumu Murase, a rather unknown seiyuu who will definitely get more roles after staring in Haikyuu. He isn’t quite bad, I am looking forward to hear him more often. The rest of the cast you will have to discover yourself. (Spoiler: there’s Kamiya Hiroshi in it! You shouldn’t miss that!)

To sum it up: is it next week yet?

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