Posted by psgels on 15 March 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

My one big fear for the second season of Emma is that it would be too ambitious. You know, when a formula works in one series, the creators try to do the same, only bigger in the sequel, ruining the subtlety that made the original so wonderful. And indeed: Victorian Romance Emma’s second season is a lot more emotional than the first. But it still works wonderfully. What a great romance series!

And granted, while this season isn’t as subtle as the first, it packs a punch with powerful character-development. It’s all about making difficult and life-changing decision that all have their consequences, inside the uptight English noble culture of a few centuries ago. Emma herself still is a wonderful character, with an excellent combination of strengths and weaknesses. William, the male lead also grows tremendously throughout this season.

The animation quality is also surprisingly good for a slice of life series. The poses are creative and consistently detailed with a great sense of aesthetics. The soundtrack is also even better than the first, with a lot of simple but powerful piano tunes, and other kinds of classical instruments.

In order to tell its story however, this series does pull a few coincidences that might not fall well. The way that the story is continued is a bit questionable, and the climax as well, while closing off the characters wonderfully, does include a few strange accidents, that curiously all happen at the same time.

Nevertheless if you ignore that, then this is a series that’s very well built up. Like the first season, it’s a series in which not a lot happens, but that allows the creators to really explore whatever does happen in great depths. I’ve never really understood the appeal of the maid fetish, or why so many series need to have one for God’s sake, but this is a worthy exception: mature, engaging and heart-warming. A recommendation for everyone who likes history and romance.

Storytelling: 9/10 – A few coincidences don’t stop it from being very well built up and giving everything ample time to develop.
Characters: 9/10 – Wonderful characters with great development.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Very solid.
Setting: 9/10 – Excellent depiction of Victorian England’s upper classes.

5 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    Reminds me of those Mexican and European soap operas, where they have moments of epicness but since they’re so long they have too much filler. Well since Emma is a short series they cut out the filler an left in only the huge story elements and it made the series engaging and the characters lovable —Elanor is such a tragic character =(

  2. Alec says:

    is this anime any good?… il give it an episode or 2..hope i wont drop, but it seems unlikely that il drop this since its been licensed.. i expect good things from this one

  3. Machi says:

    The thing about this rendition is that it lacks the subtlety of the first season big time. Along with that the restraint, which is what I applaud the series for as Emma and William never really give in to their romance entirely making sure that the series never falls entirely into a melodrama. The whole thief scenario in the first episode was totally unecessary and just added drama where there was none. This in turn does lessen the impact of a much more powerful scene which is when Emma cries during the party. The difference with Emma just coldly accepting the new life at the manor was just much weaker with the addition of the drama showing her to stand out, put another way her earning her place rather than quietly working.

    On the otherhand with this rendition its obvious that the animators were more interested in the melodrama and allowed it to dominate much more than it should. The whole Hanz, Emma, and William love triangle was just excessive (part of Hanz’s charm was that you never really saw him entirely fall for Emma leaving him an enigmatic character while here its obvious that he wears his heart on his sleeve). I think the biggest qualm I have about this love triangle is the fact that it does lessen the impact of Emma’s love for William as she actually considers another man. In the original she simply thinks about William and does not consider anyone else.

    My qualm with the direction of this second act is really that it ended up being a watered down version. They added spice to make it more digestable but ended up weakening key scenes which relied on the subtlety of the original. Don’t get me wrong I’m not calling the Second Act bad it is good in its own right just that it could’ve easily been better.

  4. windy says:

    If it’s so well written it’s because it faithfully follows the main storyline of the manga,they’ve just completed the story as it should be , they didn’t sort it out of nowhere because the first season happened to be success.

  5. n3wgrass says:

    Everyone’s looking askance in those pictures. lol

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  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:51 PM)
    Hype kills anything. In regards to the kind of emotional manipulation Clannad and maybe Undertale uses, it’s like a drug. The more you are subjected to it, the less of an effect it has.
    Still there are examples of something which comes close to expectation. People say Muv Luv Alternative gives you PTSD and in a kinda does. Though it’s helped by the connection you build with the characters though the first two games.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:47 PM)
    @Kaiser,I haven’t updated the old entries of my MAL in quite a while. Pretty sure Code Geass is sitting at a 10 on it and I am sure if I give that a rewatch that rating is going to fall harshly.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:59 AM)
    I say this because people often like to hype up the genre or those elements. I bring this up/think about it now because I played a game called undertale lately on my brothers recommendation and he was all like it emotionally destroyed him but I never ended up crying, I mean don’t get me wrong its a good game, there were laughs to be had and there was sentiment but it wasn’t THAT sad/funny.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:44 AM)
    Given how many people cry at some drama, clannad included.
    That reminds me…
    I can’t actually remember the last time in my life where I cried, I draw a blank.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 07:58 AM)
    @Aidan: Something always feels off to me when you criticize clannad, I mean I’m critical enough of key these days too but it seems odd that you rank it as an 8 on MAL when you’ve always made it sound its more of a high 6 or a 7.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.

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