Posted by psgels on 6 October 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



In the nineties, there was some kind of war going on between Nippon animation and Fuji TV, regarding the broadcast of the World Masterpiece Theatre. This seemed to have started with Little Prince Cedie, and while I’m not sure what exactly happened, the amount of episodes for each series shrunk with every year. Imagine the following: Romeo’s Blue Skies is only has 33 episodes, and yet it aired over a full year. It’s hard to imagine how often this series went on a hiatus sometimes even for an entire month.

In any case the World Masterpiece Theatre was in trouble, Nippon Animation could also get less and less funding for each series, until things eventually imploded with Ie Naki Ko Remi. The interesting thing was that Nippon Animation was really trying out new things in order to revitalize the genre, like adapting a fantasy novel (Peter Pan), revisiting popular installments (Little Women’s sequel), the only anime ever to have been set in Africa (Bush Baby), or Ie Naki Ko Remi’s huge focus on songs and music. The most interesting for me was Romeo’s Blue Skies though, in which the creators tried to be far more action-packed than probably any other installment of the WMT that preceded or followed it.

And really, that resulted in quite an interesting series. Romeo’s Blue Skies is probably the most accessible out of all the World Masterpiece Theatre series, in the way that it tries to have a pacing fitting of your average adventure series, while still grounded in realism, like you’d expect from the WMT franchise. While most World Masterpiece Theatre series are mostly slow-paced (especially in their beginnings), Romeo’s Blue Skies is also very attractive and recommended for the fans of adventure series.

It’s a story that really has this great balance between realism, character development and children’s adventures: all three of those areas receive enough attention in the spotlights. The story is really impressive here, and the creators managed to create an engaging story that keeps changing and evolving, and never tries to focus too much on either the action or building up in order to keep its audience’s attention. The characters are all wonderful, and there hardly is any recurring character who doesn’t develop in some way or another, in true WMT fashion. Romeo himself is a great main character, and he especially works well in combination with every character around him, especially Angeletta and Alfredo.

The themes in this series vary from child abuse to friendship, street gangs, with the most important one being split up from your family: just about every arc in this series involves that in some way or another. And it’s this what really sets Romeo’s Blue Skies apart from most other children’s adventures: instead of creating some sort of epic scenario that tries way too hard, or is way too unbelievable, the action in Romeo tries to stay as grounded and realistic as possible, while it still tries to pack a punch as much as possible. Or at least, this happens much more than with most other adventure series.

I have a lot of praises for this series, but at the same time I also want to stress that Romeo’s Blue Skies is nowhere near the best of the World Masterpiece Theatre: it does not hold a candle to masterpieces such as Anne of Green Gables, Perrine Monogatari or Les Miserables, and that mostly lies with its premise. While it has some points in which this series is definitely realistic, it did need to make a lot of sacrifices here in order to keep its plot action packed.

The most notable is that there are times in which adults become a tad too stupid, weak or short-sighted, but also the important characters are much simpler than you usually expect from the World Masterpiece Theatre, and they’re far less believable and fleshed out than the above-mentioned series. For any other franchise, this would classify as nit-picking, but the standards for this franchise are really high. The World Masterpiece Theatre has produced a number of fantastic, brilliantly written and fleshed out characters, but none of Romeo’s Blue Skies characters stand amongst those. It’s simply a really engaging series, but not more.

But engaging it is! Romeo’s Blue Skies has a wonderful story with an especially great ending. It’s true that the WMT-series of the nineties were less refined than their predecessors (or at least, from what I’ve seen and read about them), but Romeo’s Blue Skies still ends up as a very charming series.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Well balanced, and really tries to give every character and theme the airtime it deserves. Excellent ending, a bit childish at times but makes for a very enjoyable watch.
Characters: 9/10 – Excellent character-development. The characters aren’t as good as some of the other WMT-series, but they’re still very engaging to watch.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Fluid and simple, but works quite well.
Setting: 8/10 – There are some believability issues, but even then the setting around is very lively and realistic for an adventure series.

Suggestions:
Ie Naki Ko Remi
Mysterious Cities of Gold
Perrine Monogatari

13 Responses

  1. Firechick says:

    I saw the first episode of this and I really liked it. I plan on watching it once Takara Subs start working on it after they finish another project they’re working on. It certainly does look like a good series, so I’ll definitely watch it.

  2. Meep says:

    It’s been a long time since I’ve completed this series, but I remember loving it quite a bit. It might have been the first MWT series I ever checked out, actually. Alfredo. x3!!

  3. Firechick says:

    Oh! Psgels, speaking of some of those titles you mentioned, are you ever going to watch titles like Prince Cedie, Little Women, Peter Pan, Meiken Lassie, Bush Baby, Heidi, the original Dog of Flanders TV anime, etc? I noticed you haven’t watched those yet. Just felt like pointing it out.

  4. psgels psgels says:

    The thing is that I decided against putting every single WMT series on my to-watch list, because otherwise it would just become way, way too big: catching up to One Piece would be less of an ordeal. So instead I just chose to watch the few who are widely available subbed and the ones that are really regarded as classics. At the moment, I’ve got one WMT series left on my to-watch-list that I really want to see (Marco), plus Ie Naki Ko (though technically that isn’t part of the World Masterpiece Theatre). I’m also debating about including Little Princess Sara, but I’m still not sure about that one.

    As for the others, I’ve just decided to worry about those once I’ve entirely gotten through my to-watch-list.

  5. Firechick says:

    I see. I just felt like pointing it out is all. Lately I’m interested in watching Little Women and Alps Stories: My Annette even though they’re not subbed. And I think you should add Little Princess Sara to your to-watch-list. It’s absolutely wonderful! I saw up to episode 17 in RAWs and I’m pestering some groups to sub it. It’s very good! I love it!

  6. Sai says:

    Romeo no Aoi Sora the best anime ever made ! I watched it like 15 yrs ago.. even today after watching all those popular animes in these 15 yrs like utena , kenshin, sailormoon, ayashi no ceres,one piece, death note, FMA and many many others u can think of.. I’m still saying that RNAS is the best anime ever! with the best characters that’ll live in ur heart forever and ever.. This anime is something that if u watched it as a kid u’ll never be able to forget ur entire life.. the anime had too much tension and sorrow in it so they need to make a childish ed to make the kids happy.. God knows how sad i was when i was a kid.. I cried and cried even in my bed at night.. Romeo is a flawless anime.. I grew up watching WMT and I can swear that Les Miserables was a failure..it don’t have what it makes to be the anime of WMT. Anne , Heidi and Marco are also one of the best anime series ever made! Remi was a good watch before Vitaris death.. but I still prefer the classic Remi the nobody’s boy more then Remi the nobody’s girl. ;)

  7. Sai says:

    Princess Sara is definitly a good watch. I loved this girl so much !!! she and Angeletta has so many things in common.. and they looks like twins ! Children needs these animes to make them into better persons!! not naruto !!anyway after WMT the 2nd best anime is nodoubt Fantastic Children.. if u haven’t watched it yet. These animes don’t have ecchi or BL or yuri stuff to grab the attention of the otakus.. these animes can’t make toys that’ll sell and make billions profits.. these animes r forced to be buried.. eventho they r the best anime ever.. the treasure of Japanese animation.. tresures…

  8. Firechick says:

    “Children needs these animes to make them into better persons!!”

    I totally agree with you on that 100%, Sai. If I ever have children (which I likely won’t), I actually wouldn’t mind showing them some of these anime.

    “I grew up watching WMT and I can swear that Les Miserables was a failure..it don’t have what it makes to be the anime of WMT”

    I don’t think Les Miserables was that bad. Psgels sure doesn’t think so either. So yeah heavy themes like prostitution and suicide were removed, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good in it’s own right. Gosh, lots of people are bashing Les Mis the anime. Plus it still has a dark atmosphere! I can prove it! Psgels can too! Read his review (and blog entries) of it!

  9. Sai says:

    I haven’t read the original novel .. so don’t know what was removed or added.. :) actually when i started watching this anime I didn’t know that it was a WMT anime.. I can always tell in 1 glance which animes belong to wmt.. but not les mis.. i really liked the story .. but it was too fast.. perhaps they were pressurized to squeeze the whole novel into 52 epi series.. but the artwork isn’t the usual wmt style .. wmt animes use to be more ghibli like expecially Romeo no aoi sora .. this ones not.. i didn’t like the character design at all.. the character design of cosette is like any magical bishoujo with big round sparkling eyes and shiny hair.. that’s not what i expect from WMT. Eventho Romeo a 500 pgs long novel was also squeezed into a 33 epi animeseries it never gave me a feeling that it was going too fast.. heavy theme was also removed from Romeo.. like Angeletta’s death .. kids laying dead on the streets .. they were always starved cuz the chimney were just too narrow and small 4 them to get thru if they got any fatter.. and many kids dieing from TB.. this is what really happend in Milan in those days…

  10. Wyrdwad says:

    “the only anime ever to have been set in Africa (Bush Baby)”

    Wasn’t the Tezuka classic “Jungle Taitei Leo” set in Africa as well?

    -Tom

  11. Firechick says:

    @Wyrdwad: Yes, technically Jungle Emperor Leo is the first anime ever to take place in Africa, but Bush Baby is the first anime to take place in Africa in which humans are the dominant main characters, not animals (which is the case with the former).

    And by the way, Psgels, I convinced a fansubbing group to take up Little Princess Sara and Dog of Flanders as their next projects. They can’t start yet because they need to finish another series, but I’m still happy about it!

  12. Lei says:

    The best WMT anime I have ever watched. Never failed to make me cry every time I watch it.

  13. Firechick says:

    Does anyone know if another grouped subbed this anime beyond episode 11? I’m trying to watch Takara’s subbed version but for some reason it’s acting really weird with me.

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:43 AM)
    @Friend: perfect, I on the other hand am not as fast lol
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:19 AM)
    I should have the rough draft ready by the next 24 hours, so I’ll show it to you then.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:16 AM)
    @Bam :-) “Rome wasn’t built in a single day”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:14 AM)
    @Friend: very pragmatic- I like your style ;)
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:09 AM)
    @Bam Heres what I’m planning to do: I’ll draw the city as it might have looked like pre-industrial revolution and post-columbian. So, maybe the late 17th century. Then, I’ll add in the changes brought in by industry. Afterall, every building isn’t built at the same time, so it’ll give that contrast of old/new, making the city much more authentic.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:07 AM)
    @Friend: hard question … needs some serious thought if we’re trying to feel authentic.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:04 AM)
    What would they use electricity for, if they’ll even accept it?
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:04 AM)
    @Bam I’ve been thinking about that as well. Their irrigation was already a masterpiece, so I think hydraulic piping would only perfect their skill at city planning. Now, energy is what I’ve been stuck on.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:02 AM)
    @Friend: you’re on the right track with the modernization of the culture, but I need to ponder a little bit about what would’ve happened in that scenario. Metals, medicine, energy and irrigation would be the significant advances that they could use without serious industrialization, but I need time to think what these would’ve all meant to them and where they could’ve taken their society with it.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 05:56 AM)
    @Bam Yes, it’s very bright and sentimental. It is a morning prayer/celebration. \.0/

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