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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  • Friend
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 08:15 AM)
    :-)
  • Friend
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 08:11 AM)
    @Bam I’ve sent you the rough sketch via Deviantart. Don’t expect too much, It’s only done to show the perspective and lighting.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 06:43 AM)
    @Friend: I’m excited to see it, but unfortunately hadn’t had long access to desktop to draft mine yet :/
    You might wanna leave an indication on yours as to where the shaman goes if you can, that would be great.
  • Friend
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 06:34 AM)
    Woah, that was a long discussion about the Inca O.o
    @Bam I’m nearly done with the rough draft, maybe a few more hours.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 06:20 AM)
    @Vincent: That was pretty much the entirety of it. We were destined to cross Mississippi and inhabit the west, so why not take an active part in manifesting our supposed fate?
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:34 AM)
    @Vincent No shit.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:14 AM)
    @Bam Slightly. Did americans use manifest destiny as an excuse to steal land from the natives?
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:05 AM)
    @Vincent: I guess we were slightly more honest about it. It is funny how we use the fact after the matter as evidence of our divine providence. It’s like holding a gun to somebody and saying “fate wants you to die”, proceed to shoot them, and then say “see! I was right” lol
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Bam But unlike the american concept of manifest destiny, the Japanese used it as an excuse to wage what they were really doing: a war to hoard resources.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:52 AM)
    @Vincent: I see. A similar doctrine to Manifest Destiny.

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