Posted by psgels on 6 June 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Ah, maids. Anime creators often use them to make moe characters even moer; usually with rather… embarrassing results to say the least. And take the well-known subplot, in which our hero has found his true love, but his stubborn parents refuse to allow this marriage because they’re stubborn and want to have an arranged marriage. These are two subplots which reappear in many, many different anime, but never quite like Victorian Romance Emma.

It’s very easy to just ignore this show because it looks boring, but it really turns into a pretty accurate portrayal of what life was for the English upper classes in the Victorian age. There is so much realism in this series and it knows it. This series shows noblemen as regular people, who hardly come into contact with the lower classes, and have to be continuously politically correct in front of their peers.

That’s nice and all, but what really makes this show is the cast of lead characters, and how wonderfully subtle their relationship plays out. This series definitely is a very slow one, and so people without patience are probably not going to enjoy it, but because it’s so slow it’s really able to make the romance between the two lead characters play out very naturally. This series makes excellent use of its 13 episodes and every episode, it pushes the story forward a little bit, until it finishes off with a very good conclusion.

There also seems to be a sequel, but I don’t think that that would have been necessary: on its own, Victorian Romance Emma is already a wonderful series about the bridge between noblemen and your average maids; any more would only ruin it. It’s one of those series which leaves a lot of the dialogue unsaid and the beauty is really watching everything slowly play out. For once, the fathers mentioned above are nothing like the stereotypical evil parents that refuse to let son marry for the sake of just a bit of drama, but Jones actually gives some very plausible reasons as to why he can’t let his son go off and marry a maid. It wouldn’t just be hard on him, but also on Emma herself, because as a noblewoman, she’d constantly be looked down upon by all the other nobles.

There’s just one character that really should have been left out. Thankfully he’s a side-character who doesn’t have much screentime, but whenever he does appear on the screen, he completely distracts from the main point of the episode and most of all is just a very obnoxious brat. I’m talking of course about Collin: the little boy who seems to have lost his balls somewhere (seriously, he has the voice of a girl!) and does nothing other than continuously whining and crying. There seems to be no point for him to be even in the show, so I really wonder why the creators even brought in such an annoying little brat.

Still, Victorian Romance Emma is a must-watch for everyone who is into historical series. It’s a mature romance series with very likable characters that knows exactly how to use its time, and how to subtly develop its characters. Even though in the beginning it may seem a bit boring, it all becomes worthwhile in the end.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 9/10

9 Responses

  1. ogami666 says:

    I completley agree with your review. Absolute wonderful series. But you are slightly wrong about the sequel. The series was planned from the beginning as 24 episodes in 2 Seasons so the sequel is just the second part of the story.You should definitely try it.

  2. Sapphire says:

    Hakim was my favorite character, he was the coolest guy ever. I wouldn’t say the second season is better than the first one, but it does a really nice job developing the characters. It’s worth watching.

  3. Tracer says:

    One of the truly overlooked series.

    You should read the manga too if you have time. It has some of the most detailed and amazing art I have seen in manga.

  4. Machi says:

    I would agree with Tracer, though you don’t like manga, you should definitely continue the series with the manga rather than the second season. Main reason for that divergence is that there is far less subtlety in the romance and certain scenes downplayed, one such incident that comes to mind is Emma’s adjustment away from England (anime added unnecessary flash backs of the thoughts that didn’t need to be shown as Emma’s actions and face said it all.)

    What I especially loved about this series is that the romance between Emma and William just doesn’t feel so forced down your throat. While the two lovers may think about each other whats nice is that they don’t get together that often and even when they do get together there is such a restraint between them, they don’t go overwrought with emotions or show them too much, that it becomes quite a treat to see their romance unfold. In fact one thing that really makes the difference with this series from the rest if you notice is the word ‘love’ isn’t thrown around so casually as many romance anime does, instead it is treated as an unsaid word best understood through actions and restraint. I definitely love this series, I really do suggest you go read the manga (which is finished and easily found on the net) instead of watching season 2.

  5. CherylHew says:

    ..As Machi said, I’d also recommend that you read the manga to continue the story instead of watching the 2nd season. Problem is, well, I know you have problems trying to read manga no matter how awesome they are XD Well it’s just to reinforce the point that the manga excels compared to the 2nd season, which to me felt… extremely different compared to the 1st season. I just can’t point out the reason, but it felt as if all the production staff other than the animators were changed. Ouch

  6. Chris says:

    The second season in my opinion is possibly even better than the first half, but the manga is still stronger, but the 2nd half adds a lot of drama and emotional scenes, plus a lot more “awe” moments.

  7. Potato says:

    First time comment here. ^^

    I totaly agree with your review for this show.

    And I also agree with the other that you should read the manga rather than continue season 2. Although season 2 have a better intro than first season and it may has lot of drama or emotional scenes, it is still bad compare to its manga.
    Season 2 totally ruin the mood which built in season 1(which very well describe the mood in its manga). I just see season 2 like a fairy tale with a very very happy ending for the main characters. It feel like a normal shoujo show no more no less. There are lot of thing happen in its manga, but the producer decided to pass them and create new plot for this series. Season 2 is just disappointed.

  8. windy says:

    The second season is maybe even better than the first one, but I loved them both!

  9. Hysteric Faery Tai-chan says:

    Funny you say that about Colin having the voice of a girl, as he was actually voiced by one, ironically…-lol-

    That said, I would suggest reading the manga first, then watch the second series, and notice the differences. Word of warning, though: the second series is done by a different studio, Ajia-do Animation Works, rather than Pierrot for the first one, hence explaining the different feel. (On the plus though, Ajia-do did co-animate with Pierrot in the first one, so it shouldn’t feel too different.) :)

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  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 10:10 AM)
    I’ve noticed Aidan you’ve had no additional words on rolling girls, yatterman night, Junketsu no Maria. Also I would definitely gladly read your Garo posts.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:59 AM)
    Fumoffu was considerably funnier than the actual show, but it only paid off if you were somewhat invested in the main series.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:50 AM)
    Man, making favourites list is so hard, I needed to fit some shoji Kawamori, Asano Inio and Tsutomu Nihei on the list…
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:47 AM)
    Side question, is anyone still reading black lagoon?
    The new arc isn’t the strongest the series has been at.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:45 AM)
    I ragged on about full metal panic pages back…you know I really wanted to like that I really did but after 6-8 episodes instead of a cool mech show I was bored by an unfunny comedy.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:38 AM)
    @Emma: yeah that was weird. Almost as strange as Alita not getting a long-running OVA series. But I think one day Alita will eventually be readapted as its too much of a goldmine to not be dug into. But you know some staff call Texhnolyze a spiritual successor to Blame!.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:34 AM)
    There’s a megacut of Gargantia that removes all the festival episodes and the sagging middle arc and moves bits and pieces around with reworked dialogue that is far far superior to the original show. It’s crazy how bad implementation ruins shows that have all the essential good parts.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:32 AM)
    @Bam: I feel so dashed that blame only got that 45 minute ova…
    He got a proposed zombie manga which got cancelled before it even got started =<
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:30 AM)
    While Macross zero may not have been the highest point of the franchise I almost felt Gargantia was a confused poor mans version of it.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:28 AM)
    Tsutomu Nihei’s works are criminally underutilized in the anime industry. I remember how hard I fangirled out when I heard the rumors of a Madhouse black&white Biomega anime that they called a ‘moving manga’, but all of that dissipated into thin air unfortunately =/

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