Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Things No One Cares About: Thermae Romae
A small note: This is my main series and what the blog was named for. I try and get one out every Wednesday but no promises. Original release date: January 6th 2013
Welcome to Ulty reviews things no one cares about, where I do just that. Today we talk about Thermae Romae,the anime about bath houses,please hold in your excitement. It aired in January of last year with 3 episodes divided into 5 parts. It chronicles the story of Lucius the hapless roman time traveler and bath house genius. Every part details him some how coming to modern japan via bath and learning about an aspect of their bath houses and implementing back in Rome with bamboo technology.
If it seems like I glossed over the time travel,it's because while this show loves it self some bath houses the time travel takes the MST3K mantra: It's a show so you should really just relax. The show really embraces this, it's silly and fun while being educational. The characters are sparse: there is our main guy Lucius the bath house architect,some Japanese guys that teach Lucian about bath houses,and Lucius's clients and that's about it. That being said Lucius is a likable guy and all the Romans are portrayed as a little over the top while the Japaneses guys are really friendly and don't seem to mind the random hulking blond in their midst. These little forays help Lucius find relevance again in a Rome that wants new and novel. He gives them just that through again weird tech that probably shouldn't exist but at the same time seems fairly plausible. So in a sense Lucius grows but is still a big lovable guy who really digs bath houses. The shows history on Rome is fairly solid and if you wanted to learn about bath houses then this is the place to do so.
The art is 2-D and the characters are almost like paper cut-outs. Very good looking paper cut-outs but still paper cut-outs. It's almost like a good quality version of High Score which came out around the same time. All the Japanese men look like your typical Japanese men. However it doesn't come off as malicious stereotyping(they look normal) but more as a very sharp contrast to your typical idea of the chiseled roman man. It's very fun to look at and the backgrounds are pretty too.
So it has nice art,fun characters and solid history, the question remains is it worth it? To which I'd say yes, because in addition to the above merits, it's very funny .It doesn't have any stand out jokes that I can remember but watching it will give you a chuckle or two. This show is just fun and you can tell those involved had fun making it. Go check it out.