Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Impressions - Emma: A Victorian Romance

I have the same post on my own blog, but thought I'd share my thoughts on an anime I've seen recently that I think is extremely awesome.

Okay so I've been wanting to check this anime out for almost a year now. The price-tag was way too intimidating when this series first came out as box sets from Nozomi Entertainment. Thankfully, their online store, RightStuf, FINALLY had both seasons on sale for a ridiculously cheap $26.99 each (plus an additional 10% off from their spring sale). I quickly tossed both seasons of Emma on my virtual shopping cart, looking forward to this "blind" purchase.

The premise seems simple enough: A young man from a wealthy merchant family falls in love with his retired teacher's maid, all set in late 19th century England. I'm a sucker for a good romance story, especially when the romance branches into a "love conquers all" relationship, so my opinion for this show may be a little biased. William and Emma's budding love is truly "love at first sight" and you can't help but cheer the two of them on. William may seem pushy at times, but I'm sure that's how men went about courting women at the time. Emma is also no virgin to attention, since it seems as though she has many admirers who she respectfully turns down. For some reason, she allows William into her life. The main hurdle in their relationship will be the barrier between their social/economical class differences. After watching the first episode, you would swear that you're watching a romance movie with the way Emma JUST misses catching William, in an attempt to return his gloves.

Something that might catch viewers off-guard is how much detail is poured in to really bringing out the backdrop of the show. The cast will often spout out points of interests found in England from time to time, and Emma's maid uniform is authentic(you won't see her in a "French Maid" or "MoƩ maid" outfit). I can honestly say that Studio Pierrot has done their research in order to faithfully recreate Victorian Era England. The music is simple and the way that the opening theme song is laced into the show under different arrangements is splendid. Most likely, I'm going to start searching for a copy of the Soundtrack after I've completed season one. If you're looking for J-Pop influenced openings and endings, look the other way because 19th Century England is all about the instrumentals. I do wish Emma had a more traditional anime opening animation, with Emma and William being juxtaposed upon one another and briefly running through the entire cast of supporting characters.

The only real flaw of this show feels more like a missed opportunity. Nozomi Entertainment was unable to provide a dub for their American release of Emma most likely due to financial reasons. Seeing as this being such a niche title, the expectations on sales for this anime were set relatively low. The current pricetag on this series when I purchased it may reflect how relatively small the sales were for these box sets and the need for RightStuf to push out their surplus of DVD's. If Emma had a tolerable English Dub (with or without British accents) it would have truly enhanced the reality of the series. Dubs like Baccano! expanded the legitimacy of the series, with my hat firmly tipped at Isaac and Miria's English voice actors.

I look forward to finishing this anime and have my fingers duct-taped in a crossed position, hoping for William and Emma to break through whatever obstacles preventing them from being together. Also, please note that Emma's mistress/master, Kelly Stownar, is awesome. She can be snappy and witty, but at the same time extremely caring and heart-warming. The way she pokes fun at Emma about her obvious feelings for William is hilarious, yet supportive.

If you like your romantic relationships to start with tons of blushing, then this anime is for you. For future reference, I will write all my First Impression ratings as if the anime is someone I just met at a school setting because most of our "First Impressions" began in those years.

First Impressions of Emma: A Victorian Romance: She'd be the new girl I immediately develop a crush on, but am too scared to approach her. I'd pray everyday for the teacher to pair us up in a group project together.

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