I’ll admit that I tend to have a very optimistic perspective on a lot of things, so saying that I like this or love that seems pretty meaningless. This is part of the reason I don’t give ratings for things I review, because I am aware that my bias is always skewed toward the higher than most other people.
However, it is impossible to fully appreciate the good things about life when ignoring the bad things. And for a series that is consistently “good” in my point of view, this idea is shown quite beautifully in the lives of Nike and Livius, who share a comedic, yet meaningful love for each other.
The World is Still Beautiful (Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii) takes place in a Western European-style Sun Kingdom, where Princess Nike Remercier (sounds like “knee-kay re-mercy-eh”) is sent off to marry the ironically cold King Livius Orvinus Ifrikia. Nike is already going to meet this king reluctantly as the last daughter of the Rain Principality (making her the last choice), and meeting this king is of even less comfort. Look at this guy! He’s a boy!
Just a side note: Nike is actually close to Livius in age; they’re both teenagers. Livius apparently just never had a growth spurt. That’s all.
Throughout the series, Nike has to put up with this kid’s governing shenanigans, all because he has already conquered much of the known world! But regardless of his power or his annoyances, “Livi” has a dark past that Nike has been trying to help him overcome.
Livi is quite the mommy’s boy, and holds on dearly to the late Queen Sheila in his memory. To him, nothing is more beautiful than his mother, and with her passing, everything in this world is bleak. That is, until Nike came to turn his world upside down.
Nike has the power to summon the rain when she sings. And while you’ll be acquainted with the insert song many times over, having the rain contains two meanings for this series. As the name suggests, the Sun Kingdom doesn’t get very much rain as it is. Rain in its physical form offsets the sun, allowing for things like fertility. Still, rain can also be torrential and cause all kinds of problems such as floods.
Okay, that’s probably not covered in the anime version of this series, but what’s more important is this proverbial “marriage” of the sun and the rain. These two opposing forces are both cataclysmic and tranquil in nature: too much sun is overbearing just as too much rain is disastrous; but we still need both. But despite their negative aspects, both of these things are still beautiful, especially when they come together.
Nike is quite the tom boy, to say the least, and she is also not afraid to say or do things without any remorse.
Livi, likewise, is also quite the character. While he often comes across as absolutely mean and otherwise a total brat, there are also times when he’s extremely bold!
But as more conflict ensues between them, from government authorities, to previous love rivals, to the Elder of the Rain Principality herself, Nike’s and Livi’s marriage continues to be put off over and over again before they can conduct actual Sun Kingdom business. But that’s okay. We probably didn’t need to see any of that political stuff (or do we?).
Even when the going gets rough, even when their love is in question, even when everything goes against them in the most existentially pessimistic of ways, Nike and Livi are reminded that the world is still beautiful. And when it comes to their love, love includes everything about them, both the good and the bad. And when they can accept everything about each other, that’s true love right there.
So if you’re looking for a heartwarming, yet funny romance worthy of kings and queens, check out The World is Still Beautiful. And when it comes to valuing things, we can’t always accept the good without accepting the bad as well.