The World is Still Beautiful Review

So, my first venture into the realm of shoujo content…I liked it. Are you listening, rest of the anime world? This, right here…

The World is Still Beautiful

This is how you do romance.

The World is Still Beautiful [Studio Pierrot, 2014] is a pretty atypical show in the current anime market. A unabashedly emotional, romantic and honest story, The World is Still Beautiful does things long-time anime watchers can only dream of in many of their favorite shows (I hear your pain, Chuunibyou fans and Nagi no Asukara fans), and it does them well. This is a different show, a refreshing show that falls upon the arid anime landscape like a refreshing rain. It’s a 6/10 from me (Ranking), and while it isn’t incredible on its own merits, its very presence on the schedule is a hopeful sign. And you see that big picture up above, the one of the two main characters kissing? That’s not even the only time they kiss.

?!?!?!?!?

I know.

Now, The World is Still Beautiful was a long way from being a perfect show. There was bad drama, there were jokes that fell flat, there were moments where the characters were baffling to watch, there was emotional and tonal whiplash. In a show with fewer redeeming qualities, these issues would have had me on the verge of dropping the show (and there were times I considered it in the middle of the season). But The World is Still Beautiful had the proverbial ace-in-the-hole, that one piece of greatness that kept me coming back week after week. And it wasn’t the moments when the jokes were good, and it wasn’t the moments when the music was good (it always was—I liked “Tender Rain,” I don’t care what you say), and it wasn’t the moments when Neil was onscreen, although those were great.

The World is Still Beautiful

The heart of a princess must always be generous.

No, it was the simple authenticity of Nike and Livi’s relationship in one of the most compelling and truthful depictions of developing romantic love that I have seen in anime since I watched Toradora! That’s high praise for this show.

I pretty much said all season long that The World is Still Beautiful, when it focused on the things that it was good at (Nike x Livi), was a great show. The best romantic relationship are built on the compatibility of individuality. Said another way, the best romances are made up of people who maintain their sense of self while simultaneously giving of that self to another. So let’s talk about love.

The genius (although it’s almost sad to call it that) of Nike and Livi’s relationship is that it is entirely based on the condition that both of them have been totally authentic with each other since the moment they met. In the first few episodes of the show, Nike demonstrates to Livi exactly the type of person she is: energetic, independent, stubborn and with a great capacity to care for others. Livi, similarly, reveals a great deal about himself to Nike: brilliant and capable, but also broken and dangerous. As they continue to reveals pieces of themselves to the other, they also accept the pieces of the other. They value each other’s strengths and acknowledge each other’s weaknesses. But we aren’t to love yet. This is just simple relationship building. This is just how you deal with other people.

The World is Still Beautiful

Once the condition of knowing and accepting the other as a unique individual is met, then love can blossom. And that’s exactly what happens with Nike and Livi. At times, it almost seems like a competition between the two of them to see who can sacrifice more for the other—and they keep going in a never-ending spiral of giving to the other and taking from the other. Love is a partnership, a friendship and always a relationship. As fun as it is to watch Witchcraft Works‘ Kagari devote herself to Takamiya-kun and be awesome at it, that’s not love. That’s adoration, obsession, idealization. It’s not seeing the person. Nike and Livi see each other as individuals, accept those identities, and love them.

The sheer cuteness of their encounters in the final episodes, as they flirt and act bashful and act like the lovers they’ve become is something of a far different nature than the cuteness of moe. It’s directly derivative of the relationship, and seeing two people who so obviously love each other…well, you can’t help but love it yourself.

I especially loved the final line of the show, which is the subtitle on the opening picture for this piece: “You bring the world to me.” To fall in love is to continuously discover another person. I’m reminded of the title of the Nintendo DS Game The World Ends With You. The amazing beauty of humanity is that each person is a world unto themselves, with mountains and seas which no one will ever totally know. But when you fall in love, you have a chance to explore those fields and feel those winds. In that, not only are you greeted with newness each moment in that person, but the world around you can take on a new beauty.

The World is Still Beautiful

RECOMMENDATION:

I recommend The World is Still Beautiful to all romance fans, and also to anyone who enjoys watching relationships grow. There are parts of the show on a technical level that are somewhat subpar, but the best parts of the anime by far make up for those flaws.

Reasons to Watch:

  • Nike x Livi is all you really need as a reason.
  • The music is quite good throughout, with several nice insert songs.
  • Neil is a great character; he’s a great addition every time he’s on screen.
  • Nike and Livius.

7 thoughts on “The World is Still Beautiful Review

  1. The World is Still Beautiful does have a great romance. I would even have to rate watching Nike and Livi’s relationship as more fun than watching Lafiel and Jinto’s antics. (I thought that Crest of the Stars had the best couple in anime until this show came around.) But, I also thought that the show had some fun conflicts, particularly the one involving the Church and the final one in Nike’s country.

    And I was also one of the few who enjoyed the music. Hopefully, Rena Maeda, Nike’s voice actress, will get many more roles in the future as she did as splendid job as this show’s heroine.

    Like

    • Oh, yeah, definitely. Rena Maeda was splendid the entire show, in the comedy moments, cute moments and especially during the cell scene in episode 11.

      Romantic chemistry is so often lacking in anime relationships, and it was just awesome to get to watch such a well-written relationship for an entire 12 episodes, instead of just in the last five minutes of a show.

      Like

  2. I loved this anime 🙂 There was good romance, cute moments, and comedy here and there that kept me watching the whole series. 🙂
    I liked the music too–okay, maybe that’s because I like rain–but the person playing NIke had such a good voice.
    Do you think there’s going to be a second season? A lot of people are wondering, and even though I’m not sure what they would put in the second season if they had one, I still have a little hope 😉 Lol

    Like

    • I’d be surprised to see a second season. Fortunately, it ended in a great place, so I’m not left feeling like I absolutely have to have more to be satisfied.

      Good endings are hard to come by in anime. We gotta cherish the ones that come.

      Like

    • Sadly, I doubt it. The discs (at least to my knowledge) haven’t gone on sale yet, so we could be surprised with good sales, but chances are they won’t be great. Shoujo, from what I hear, isn’t a very popular genre among the general anime-buying public in Japan, so, unless the manga sales spike like crazy, they won’t have much motivation to bring us a second season.

      But, as I said in my comment above, we got a really nice last episode. It tied up everything about Nike and Livi’s relationship and we got one last, beautiful kiss. I’m happy with how it ended.

      Would I watch a second season? Absolutely. But I’m not sure the show needs a second season. It’s not as wrapped up as, say, Toradora!, but it concluded nicely.

      Like

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