Soredemo Sekai Wa Utsukushii Episodes 7-8: Jealous?
Let me just put it out there – episodes 7 and 8, while still retaining the biggest problem I had with this series, was quite enjoyable. This is because of the introduction of Bardwin (I’ll be calling him Bard), who is honestly a really great addition to the cast, and has created a unique relationship dynamic between himself and Livi, as well as with Nike (although in Nike’s case it’s more of a strange triangle affair between her and the two boys).
Episode 7 faced the usual Soresekai curse of being too fast paced to certain moments to really hit, and caused tonal shifts to be really jarring – Livi seeing a scene of ‘adultery’ between Nike and Bard felt off as compared to the lighthearted tone of the first half of the episode. There just isn’t enough time for a proper transition, which is a real shame since I think the final moment in episode 7 could have been a real homerun for the series, if done well it could have accurately portrayed Livi’s true nature in a truly commendable manner, that of a young child with trust issues equipped with the brutality of having being alone in the harsh world of politics with no one to rely on, being rash with his actions and whatnot. But eh, I guess at least the inklings of such a moment was there. We don’t get enough shoujo adaptations as it is, so I don’t feel too awful about it.
Bard too, is what really reminds me of Soresekai’s true potential had it been given more air time. Up till the end of his arc (if you would like to call it that) he was never given the time he deserved to be fully fleshed out, but that’s the case with every character so far aside from Livi and Nike maybe, so I won’t complain /too/ much here. For the short amount of time he was in the spotlight he’s defined himself to be a very interesting character, nothing groundbreaking but interesting nonetheless. His relationship with Livi aside (which I’ll talk a bit about later on), the only thing I felt kind of weird was his attempt to ‘test’ or ‘feel out’ Nike to see if she would be a good companion for Livi. That was just really weird. Why’d he have to go so far to test her when he could’ve used a more harmless approach? Then again this plays into his more complicated relationship with Livi.
The two don’t get along well, but they definitely understood each other on a level of their own since they both share deep feelings for Sheila – Livi’s deceased mother. There’s a mixed air of hostility and longing in the two’s relationship that I did really enjoy seeing unfold – Bard knows of how in terms of charm he’s clearly superior to Livi and does sometimes play with his insecurities, unintentional or not (they don’t really get along well as friends after all) but when it comes down to it he wants to protect Livi and help him through whatever means he can, even if that means giving up the throne (which worked in favour of Bard’s own personality anyway, luckily). This course of action of course did strain their relationship even further,as Bard, like that girl introduced as Livi’s childhood friend in episode 6 (sorry I forgot her name) were alienated by what he was becoming – a boy who had the responsibilities a grown man wouldn’t be able to handle, forcefully maturing himself to fit into the world for his revenge, and slowly becoming more and more ruthless to achieve his goals. Livi on the other hand knew what he was slowly becoming, and needed the companionship desperately – but unfortunately Bard didn’t stick with him and now Livi has some ‘abandonment issues’, to put it loosely.
Where Nike came into play as a mediator was less fascinating to watch, mostly because the use of her abilities in the narrative was just so repetitive that I didn’t really feel the significance of the event as much anymore, even if the results of her actions were decisive enough to bring a good enough conclusion to Bard’s arc. It’s not that I don’t like Nike herself either, but I feel that her role as caretaker to Livi can only go so far before it starts getting rather repetitive. I’m not really enjoying the ‘trials and tribulations’ approach to shoujo romances, with one ‘challenge’ for the main couple to overcome before their love is strengthened, only for their relationship to crumble soon after…luckily they didn’t drag out the dramafest with Soresekai and Livi did make attempts at apologies and whatnot and kept that portion short. I do hope the next arc (which I’ve been hearing from manga readers on Twitter to be quite good) remains enjoyable, and also change up the relationship dynamic between Livi and Nike. Hopefully 4 episodes is also enough time to cover this final arc before Soresekai comes to a conclusion.