Soredemo Sekai Wa Utsukushii Episode 2: The Rain Song
It’s confirmed, Soresekai’s a keeper for the season.
Quite a bit happened this week. Upon Nike’s rejection to summon the rain as requested by Livius, he decides to lock her up until she agrees. It fails, since she manages to escape, but Nike explains to Livius the conditions that need to be met for her to summon the rain – she must be able to see the beauty of the world around her, and her emotions need to be in line with the person requesting the rain, Livius himself. He finally gives in and tries to do so, but before long an assasination attempt by enemy factions injures Nike as she rescues Livius from an arrow, causing him to instill martial law to wipe out rebels, while also sending Nike back to her homeland to prevent her from getting hurt again. A final, all-out attempt by the rebels starts a fire in the castle Livius inhabits in attempts to finish him off, but Nike uses her rain-summoning abilities to bring rain to the land, putting out the fire in the process.
This week is an improvement over the first, and remains as one of the most refreshing series I’ve seen from the shoujo genre in a very long time. I thoroughly enjoyed the idea that Nike’s powers really weren’t parlor tricks as Livius (and probably the audience) would believe. A lot needs to be done for such power to be exhibited upon request – and this need for an emotional connection between the summoner and the one requesting the rain really gives space for a lot of development in the relationship between Nike and Livius.
The characters so far are definitely very smartly written – Livius (who kind of reminds me of a certain Black Butler’s Ciel Phantomhive) has basically seen the harsh reality of the world – it is often cruel, bleak and certainly not beautiful. Nike on the other hand, has a strong curiosity for the beauty nature can provide (for her powers, but of course for herself as well), and exhibits a certain free-spiritedness that Livius doesn’t or can’t afford to have with his position as ruler of the world. The two make a perfect match, regardless of how the story is going to develop the nature of their relationship, but right now I can easily buy the sincerity of the care Nike has for Livius – she’s angry at him, but more so than that she’s upset that a boy of such a young age can no longer appreciate the beauty in the world like she can. Livius himself is clearly not completely blind to the beauty he has in his hands as the king, but simply refuses to remove the blinds obstructing his sight. His request to see rain fall in his lands, and her ability to grant that request through specific conditions is clearly testament to how the story is building the foundation of the relationship between these two excellently.
And just what is this beauty he once saw before becoming the person he is at present? It’s told very smartly through the use of Nike’s dreams – a quiet, deep love he and his mother shared before she was assassinated – it further allows Nike to understand Livius better, and is a plot device I really appreciate.
Overall I’d say that Soresekai has been living up to its potential, and its name (literally). It’ll be very interesting to see how they’re going to develop the relationship between Nike and Livius in a world as fascinating as this, I’m happy for more episodes to come.
(NOTE: Eva and I are sharing Soresekai, so next week it’ll be her turn to cover the episode!)