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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  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:54 AM)
    The episode was alright and felt dense as I watched it, but in hindsight only really moved the plot forward incrementally. Lancer not untying Tohsaka as soon as he killed Kirei and then not killing Shinji when he clearly had the chance left a bad taste in my mouth. That and Shirou’s heavy plot armor at this point is becoming reminiscent of another famous anime dual-wielder. Not a compliment.
  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:46 AM)
    UBW 20 felt like another rendition of Eva 26 (Take care of yourself), complete with character analysis, battle with one’s Jungian Shadow, and loosely Buddhist ideas of self-actualization. It even featured the repetitive monologue shots that fade to black (with “I saw Hell” instead of Rei’s “Sky. Red, red sky”). It never went as far as Eva with “which way is up?” type of Soliloquy, but that’s probably a good thing.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.

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