Thermae Romae Anime Series Review

Lucius with Japanese folks in onsen

Lucius with Japanese folks in onsen

What is a great way to relieve stress and cure all those aches and pains after a long day’s work?  A nice long soak in a Japanese onsen(hot spring bath), that’s what.  Well, the company of a pretty onsen girl washing your back wouldn’t hurt either.  Unfortunately, I can’t have that kind of luxury or money every day, or ever, so I just had to make do with a long, warm soak in my bathtub.  While my head was partly submerged in the water and as I was making bubbles from my mouth like a crab gone mad, I was desperately trying to think of ways of how to increase the visitors to my site. I was thinking about better search engine optimization techniques and a promotional cosplay event or two when the door to the bath opened.  It was then that I saw this pretty girl in nothing more than a skimpy towel.  “Kyaaa!” she shrieked , as she was startled to find someone else there and tried to cover more of her slim figure with her hands and arms.  Suddenly embarrassed, I apologized out loud and averted my gaze.  It was only after a while before she said, “No.  It was my fault for not checking. But I don’t mind being seen naked if it’s you, X-chan.”  Surprised, I suddenly looked at her direction.  For a split second I saw her face blush as she cast her towel aside and jumped into the bathtub with me. She disappeared for a while in the water, then after a few seconds something came out of the warm water and between my legs.  It was Archangel Duriel, in complete mithril battle armor.  “Stop goofing around and finish this anime review already!” he screamed.

“Gah!” was all I could say as i woke up from yet another nightmare. I should have known it wasn’t real because I couldn’t afford a place with a bathtub.  Strangely enough, I was in bed but was wet all over.  So was it all just a dream?  Well, I don’t really want to think about it, though I’m sure you know what follows next.  Oh, yes.  My sixth anime series review:  Thermae Romae.  Whoopee.  I bet my visitor counter is in the millions now.

My verdict and score for this series?  4 out of 5 bars of C.Y. Gabriel Genuine Whitening Beauty Soap, because I swear, it’s as funny as it sounds.  Stick around to find out why it scored so high.

 

Lucius discovers the wonderful Japanese concoction fruits milk!

Lucius discovers the wonderful Japanese concoction fruits milk!

Prelude

Thermae Romae, which is Latin for “Roman baths,” is an anime series based on an award-winning manga of the same name by Mari Yamazaki.  the viewer is introduced to Lucius, a Roman architect from ancient Rome who is fired for being unoriginal and unimaginative.  While trying unsuccessfully to relax in a Roman bath with a friend one day, he gets sucked into a tunnel underneath the establishment.  Lucius then finds himself in a bath house in Japan in the present time.   He is amazed with the strange bathing implements and innovations made by what he thought were a tribe of “flat-faced slaves.”  Just as mysteriously as he got transported to that strange land, he eventually gets back to his own period where he builds Roma Thermae, his own spa, adapting the marvels he had seen.

 

So that's how emperors do it.

So that’s how emperors do it.

Well, it's one way to have a hot shower.

Well, it’s one way to have a hot shower.

 

Strengths

Thermae Romae’s strength is the sheer absurdity of its premise, which delivers a dose of much-welcome hilarity.   The silly levels of Lucius’ culture shock and his extreme reactions to the taste of Japanese food are what makes Thermae Romae a welcome show to watch anytime you’re down.

Supposing all those history trivia are true, Thermae Romae offers the viewer an insight into Ancient Roman life, particularly  how they managed their hygiene. Far from being a mere history lesson, the viewer can be pleasantly surprised how the ancients managed without modern luxuries like a Japanese heated, talking toilet.

Voice acting was adequate, though Lucuis’ voice actor really takes the cake with a deep, dignified voice that enhances the comic effect of certain scenes.

Gyoza, banzai!

Gyoza, banzai!

 

Weaknesses

Though not that important as to overall impact of the work, I would appreciate a full anime rendering of this series.  I mean, they made a live-action movie out of it. The flash animation was serviceable, but I’m pretty sure more viewers would enjoy watching it if it were rendered in the usual Japanese animation nowadays.  But, hey, maybe that’s just me watching too much anime.  Had my share of laughs even without the benefit of pricey CGs.

That being said, the music can use some work too.

 

Does it look I'm lost?

Does it look I’m lost?

Yes, Lucius.  You get a positive review from the gods.  May they take you already.

Yes, Lucius. You get a positive review from the gods. May they take you already.

Conclusion

Thermae Romae is a nice, short and funny anime series that will make you chuckle and learn about the lesser known things of ancient Roman hygiene.  Though severely lacking in production values, the writing and humor will make this series a memorable one even though it’s only six episodes long.

So my verdict and score for this series?  4 out of 5 bars of C.Y. Gabriel Genuine Whitening Beauty Soap, because I swear, it’s as funny as it sounds.  This is something I can definitely recommend watching to anyone so that they can appreciate Japanese writing more.

I suddenly feel dirty and eed to take a bath now.  Hope you’ll visit the site again soon for another review.

It's likely the Romans (and Greeks) invented Yaoi.

It’s likely the Romans (and Greeks) invented Yaoi.

See you again soon.

See you again soon.

Author

Xtian Mack

Xtian Mack

Xtian Mack took up AB English Studies, Major in Creative Writing at UP Diliman. Currently works for a medical transcription company. He is the Creative Director of The Cosplay Cafe: arkadymac.com, doing photography, writing, and reporting for the website. His line of photography specializes in cosplay event coverage, having covered 300 events in a span of 3 years. Loves cute and furry things.