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Victorian Romance Emma

Grade: B
Genre: Romance, Drama
Reviewed: Sub
Episodes: 12 episodes
Notes: Series covers only part of the manga.


William Jones of the gentry class falls in love with his former governess’ maid, Emma. However, his father has his eyes on making a match with an aristocratic family. Set in Victorian London, are their class differences too great to overcome?

The strongest aspect of this series is in its realistic portrayal of Victorian London. There is great attention to detail and accuracy in the city architecture, landmarks and clothing. But the character designs are rather simple and generic compared to the surroundings. The music is appropriate for the period, the end of the 19th century, and has a gentle music-boxlike quality.

This is a sweet slow paced love story with not only social status as the obstacle, but also Emma’s inability/reluctance to feel love/express emotion. William falls in love with Emma at their first encounter when he visits his former governess/teacher. He appears to be the wishy-washy type as opposed to his friend Hakim, an Indian prince used to getting what he wants. Hakim also falls in love with Emma at first sight, but steps aside for his friend William. It is romantic, but not really believable for these two men to fall in love with Emma so easily. She is not obviously beautiful nor does she have any personality. There is little conflict in this love triangle, but the other obstacle is William’s father who wants William to marry into the aristocracy and pushes for a match with Eleanor. It’s a nice development that Eleanor is not mean or spoiled, but also a sweet and beautiful girl like Emma, who really likes William.

The problem with this series is the very slow pacing and lack of passion and emotion. Though repressed emotions may be realistic for the Victorian period, it makes for a boring story. The characters are likeable enough, though none show much personality except Hakim, whose extravagance is over-the-top-amusing, but he’s underutilized. However, the “dates” are nicely handled as the two main characters slowly develop their friendship. The episodes should be seen in order to follow the relationship, though they are self contained and each can be viewed on its own since there are no cliffhangers.

It’s not until the last episode you learn about Emma’s tragic past. You know she has to have one like all anime main characters. Since the anime covers only part of the manga, the ending is left open. If there were a firm resolution to Emma’s and William’s relationship, this series would be more worth seeing.

Rated G, but there is some minor violence at the end. Recommended for romantics who don’t mind slow paced stories and for those who are Victorian period fanatics.