Even though I don’t really watch shoujo that much anymore–I’ve moved on to more shounen type shows–I’m still a sucker for a good romance. However, while that may be the case, I still have some standards. I try not to be too picky I mean something like Kamisama Kiss (Hajimemashita) was kinda meh, but it was ok and it didn’t make me quit in annoyance after the first few episodes. It stuck to the tropes and was a fairly typical shoujo. The World is Still Beautiful (TWSB) was also a fairly typical shoujo, but it annoyed the fuck out of me. Josh and I were actually watching it together and after we finished the clincher episode we both looked at each other and were like, “let’s drop this show”. Here’s the customary synopsis courtesy of MAL: Nike, the fourth princess of the Rain Dukedom and one who holds the power to call forth the rain, travels to the Sun Kingdom to marry Sun King Livius for her country, despite her own reluctance. She soon discovers that the King, who conquered the world in only three years after his ascendance to the throne, is still a child! Furthermore, for trivial reasons, he has demanded that Nike call forth the rain…?!
Ok, so I’ll let you guys explain this to me as I bravely let my anime naiveté shine through, but is the male version of lolicon a thing? Do girls actually like that stuff? Because honestly I found it to be a MAJOR turnoff. Josh accused me of being ageist, but heck I’m sorry I found it weird and creepy that she was betrothed and sleeping in the same bed as a NAKED prepubescent boy. Was that supposed to be attractive/enjoyable to watch?
Anyway what annoys me the most about the show is that for a while it seemed like it was going to be ok. Nike was actually a decent shoujo heroine and Livius was well I mean I never really liked Livius, but Nike was just fine in my book. She had the ability to fend for herself and despite being a princess she wasn’t spoiled or obnoxious or anything. Like I said, Nike was fine–her relatively chill personality was one of the reasons that Josh and I kept watching as long as we did. Although, that stupid rain song she sings almost ruined it for me. In terms of shoujo though, I really can put up with a lot. If you look at my MAL account there’s plenty of proof right there. Not gonna lie I’ve watched some pretty cheesy crap (more than once). So this post got me thinking. Have I changed? Have I become less tolerant of stupidity in shoujo? Or was this show really just horrible? To answer that question, we have to turn our gaze to the kid that Nike’s
babysitting engaged to. King Livius. I don’t know about you, but I’m just REALLY, REALLY, REALLY not attracted to twelve year old boys. Also, I don’t care how mature the show tries to make him seem and how much of a freaky mommy complex he has, there is no way in the seven hells that a kid that age is such a competent and effective ruler. They try to go through this whole sequence where he’s super studious and spends all of his time attending to administrative duties, using the bullshit ‘he was forced to grow up too quickly’ excuse as cover. Yea. Right. I don’t buy it. I also don’t buy his relationship with Nike. See the main reason I watch(ed) shoujo is for the super smushy romance between two consenting people who are BOTH of a respectable age. Livius has not gone through puberty. To me there is something very wrong about this, but hey if it’s your kind of thing who am I to judge?
The thing that really did it for both Josh and I though was when in the weird engagement ceremony where they’r supposed to be exchanging rings, Livius goes all macho and protective on Nike. It was honestly like watching a Chihuahua pretending to be a German Shepard. It was so comically bad that you couldn’t help but shake your head and laugh. And then all of a sudden he and Nike have this magical connection and are in love with each other. Eesh. It was gross. I mean jumping into romance way too quickly is a common enough and annoying trope, but when the characters are terrible together it makes it even worse. Then to add further insult to injury, add in a random little girl who is actually the right age for Livius and make her a romantic rival because why the fuck not? I don’t actually know who she is since Josh and I only saw her in the episode preview and just shook our heads and vomited a little. Seriously TWSB?! Of all the stupid crap to pull you have to pull the only thing that could possibly make the show even worse! My advice: Nike pack your bags and get the hell out of there, let Livius marry the little blonde twerp since she’s actually the right age for him. You can do so much better! I’ve aired my grievances and strongly advise against watching this show, but if anyone has read the manga/actually finished the anime let me know what you think!