Manga: Soredemo Sekai Wa Utsukushii

The King of the Sun, and the Princess of the Rain

Oh clouds,
come upon us.
Oh rain,
descend upon us.
Chase away the flames
and convey unto
our thirsty King
that the world is still beautiful.

— Song of the Sun King

The Dukedom of Rain is a small country located far north of the mainland. While poor compared to the countries located on the continent, the country is peaceful, and its ruling family is much beloved by its people. It's a far cry from the turbulent times that the continent had endured over the past few years, before it was finally united under the rule of the Sun Kingdom's monarch, the eponymous Sun King.

The latter soon approaches the Rain Dukedom's sovereign, and much to everyone's surprise, decides not to conquer it and add it to the Sun Kingdom's holdings. However, in exchange for the Rain Dukedom's autonomy, they have to agree to a small deal: to send one of the princesses of the Dukedom's ruling family to become the Sun King's wife. This is because the Sun King had heard of the special talent of the dukedom's royalty, and wanted to witness this miracle himself. For you see, much like the name of their country, its royalty had the ability to call down the rain.

Nike is the fourth princess and, after a spirited match of rock-paper-scissors with her older sisters, was the one "volunteered" to be the wife of the Sun King. She's clearly not happy about being given this responsibility, but she goes out of duty anyway. When she arrives in the Sun Kingdom however, and meets her future husband, King Livius, she quickly realizes that things are definitely not going to be easy.

Literally translated as "Even So, The World is Beautiful", and rendered on the anime's logo as "Still world is Beautiful", but officially released in English as The World is Still Beautiful, Soredemo Sekai Wa Utsukushii (それでも世界は美しい) is a Shoujo manga series by Dai Shiina, and serialized in Hana to Yume magazine since 2011. An anime adaptation of the first eighteen-odd chapters was produced by Studio Pierrot and aired during the Spring 2014 season.

Soredemo includes examples of the following:

  • The Ace:
    • Livius himself. This is the guy who managed to put all the other countries on the continent under his dominion, and his only real weakness is the fact that, as he's barely gone past puberty, any adult would be able to overpower him in tests of strength — see his annoyance at how he's unable to properly draw a bow in chapter 8.
    • Livius' uncle Bardouin, who's not only an accomplished archer and scholar, he's also quite a charmer, all of this on top of being an accomplished statesman — he was the Prime Minister before he went Walking the Earth.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Livius is called Livi by Luna, Bardouin and eventually Nike.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • Bardouin's first and greatest love was Sheila, Livius' mother. Since she was his brother's wife, this didn't go anywhere of course, but part of why Bardouin is so loyal to Livius in the first place is because of this love he held for the young king's mother.
    • Kitra for Nike. He along with Nike had trouble summoning the rain as children, and admires her hard work and determination. He's understandably not happy when he returns from a trip only to find she's betrothed to Livius.
  • Anachronism Stew: Averted for most of the series, which leans toward a vaguely 18th-Century sensibility, particularly with regards to architecture and fashions. However, once the story returns to Nike's home country we're treated to, of all things, a full-blown idol concert, complete with speakers, spotlights, and wireless microphones. And later on, during Nike and Livi's formal engagement ceremony, they bring out what looks like a film projector. An exasperated Neil even comments on how he has no idea what these things are supposed to be.
  • Arranged Marriage:
    • What kickstarts the plot to begin with: the Dukedom of Rain has to send one of its princess for the Sun King to marry. Nike just happens to be it.
    • Later on we meet the princess of the Sea Kingdom, Amaluna Luirasalle, who claims to be Livius' actual fiancee. Livius however just treats her like an annoying Childhood Friend.
    • In Chapter 30 when Luna reunites with Nike and Livius, she reveals she's just been put in an arranged marriage with the much older Duke Fortis.
  • Authority in Name Only: Despite being King, Nike's father doesn't actually hold any power, and even admits as such to Livius. Instead, the power is held by Nike's grandmother.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Nike and Livius are still figuring out what it actually means to be engaged, and are still prone to bickering whenever a misunderstanding happens. At the end of the day though, they're both devoted to each other.
  • Berserk Button: Harming Nike is a sure-fire way to piss off Livius.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall / Take That, Audience!: When Mina is kidnapped by a pair of hoods, the boys intimate that they plan on sexually assaulting her to provide some Fanservice for "the male viewers", who otherwise would not be watching a Shoujo series.
    • There are several instances where Nike reacting to a situation is accompanied with running on-screen comments right out of Nico-Nico video.
  • Canon Foreigner: The council of elders that Livi always consults. Nike's retinue of maids might count as well, as while she was attended by maids in the manga, they were not given distinctive designs, unlike the trio shown in the anime.
  • The Charmer: Bardouin certainly knows his way around the ladies.
  • Chick Magnet: Again, Bardouin who's charming personality has most girls swooning.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: The Sun King, much to Nike's shock.
  • Childhood Friend:
    • Princess Amaluna Luirasalle of the Sea Kingdom has known Livius since childhood.
    • Later on we meet Kitra, who is Nike's cousin that trained a lot with her during their childhood.
  • Corrupt Church: The state religion, which seems to be more concerned with its loss of influence upon Livi's ascension to the throne, and led by clergy that are by and large jerkasses to the flock they're supposed to look after. Livi mostly tolerates their shenanigans to avoid destabilizing the kingdom, but many of the higher-ups of the religion openly dislike him in return, given how his mother was both a commoner and someone who's not native to the Sun Kingdom. However even his patience was tested when some of the church's more ambitious leaders tried to get rid of Nike and discredit him in the process. Needless to say, that didn't go too well.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy:
    • Livius considers Nike his, and his alone, and will go to any length to shoo off any other guy interested in his future queen. Violently. Even if it's his uncle. The threats of violence gradually lessens over time, however.
    • Kitra also shows signs of this, as he's very determined in carrying out his role in his grandmother's plan to end Nike and Livius' engagement, and accuses Nike of not truly loving Livius.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Nike's older sisters find Livius incredibly cute and adorable. It's not the impression he wanted to make to his prospective in-laws, that's for sure.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The death of Livius' mother is pretty much the cause of his negative impression of the world.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy:
    • Livius. When Nike's grandmother wrote her to come home because she was ill only for she and Livius to find out it was just a strained back, Livius immediately smelled a trap. Later he didn't drink the drugged tea that would allow him to be hypnotized.
    • The grandmother was waiting for Livius at the exit of the hidden tunnel to the prison where Nike was being held and only casually noted he moved a bit quicker than anticipated, but clearly expecting him to not fall so easily into her first trap.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Livius is a very snarky young man. Oddly enough, he only seems to be this way with Nike.
  • Declaration of Protection:
    • Livius gives this to Nike when they find out the priests don't approve of their marriage and they have to fight to win it.
    • When finally confronted by Nike's mother, Livius puts his foot down on the matter of whether or not it would be best for Nike to stay in her home country.
      Livius: She should stay by my side forever. And I will protect her forever.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Nike's voice actress, Rena Maeda, sang the ending theme.
  • Dragged into Drag: What Nike had to do to Livi, so that the two of them could enjoy the Sun Festival without being bothered.
    Nike: I've always wanted a little sister.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Bardouin thanks to his long hair and bishonen looks. Livius lampshades this in an argument, saying he should just look in the mirror if he wants to go after pretty girls. Bardouin doesn't react well to that comment.
  • Engagement Challenge:
    • To prove herself to the priest of Livi's kingdom, she must retrieve a ring from a deep crypt to prove herself. It was a trap as there was no ring and the priest had men there ready to detain and kill Nike. Livi saved her and they got around the lack of formal ring with Everything's Better with Rainbows.
    • What gets foisted on Livius by Nike's grandmother after the plan to hypnotize him into forgetting Nike fails. Overlaps with Impossible Task, given the ridiculous conditions he has to face — finding the key to the tower where Nike is held from a muddy swamp, in the middle of a massive thunderstorm summoned by said grandmother. This means that, if he takes too long looking for the key, there's a chance he might drown due to the rising waters. When he is finally pulled out, he had found the key and put it in his vest so he did not drop it.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Nike impresses a lot of people when she makes a rainbow ring in the sky. Using the exact words of her challenge, she presents this to the priest as proof she fulfilled her challenge, which he rigged for her to fail.
  • Evolving Credits:
    • The opening initially just featured Nike wandering around a seemingly empty royal palace. Each episode after that adds more people to the opening — starting with Livius and Neil — after the episode they're introduced.
    • After Bardouin becomes a fixed character, he is also added in the scene where Livius has his Glowing Eyes of Doom, to indicate he too also became a bit more cynical after Sheila's death and the war.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: With titles like the Ruler of the World and the Sun King, Nike's sisters obviously expected someone more... impressive, when Livius finally made a visit to the Dukedom of Rain. It's no wonder he wasn't pleased when they mistook Neil for him.
  • Filler: Not in the manga, but in the anime's first episode; a good fifteen or so minutes of it (the entirety of Nike's arrival and stay at the port town) is anime-original, and it only reaches the material covered in the manga when Nike arrives at the palace in the capital. Said filler has now been adapted into a special prequel chapter in the manga.
  • The Good Chancellor: Duke Bardouin is this.
  • Daddy's Girl: A variant with Nike's grandmother Tohara who is quite fond of Nike and practically raised her herself. She's also the one who trained her in singing, and Nike in return loves and respects her dearly and is devastated when told she's sick.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Given what Nike's capable of doing from the beginning of the manga and anime, you'd think that she was born as an already extremely gifted Rain Singer. However a later manga chapter reveals that, among her sisters, Nike was the only one who couldn't innately influence the weather. It took her years of hard training under her grandmother for her to reach the point of proficiency displays in the series.
  • Ill Girl:
    • Nike's mother, Queen Iraha. Not only is she terribly anemic, even having a casual conversation tires her out severely, as Livi soon finds out.
    • While minor, Livius tends to neglect his health for work, such as pulling all-nighters and not eating his meals. He even used to have to drink medicine in order to get to sleep, before Nike came along.
  • Improbable Age: King Livius, the Sun King, the ruler who conquered the world in a mere three years after ascending the throne... is a twelve-year old boy. Nike is as stunned as anyone when she meets him.
  • Irony: Livius, who has throughout the series declared openly that he likes to be the one playing around with people... gets dragged around helplessly by Nike's older sisters Mira and Nia during his visit to the Rain Dukedom, where he's even forced to become their dress-up doll for the day. He lampshades this himself, complaining that only he's allowed to toy with people.
  • Kissing Cousins: Kitra has feelings for Nike, but she only seems him as a good childhood friend.
  • Lap Pillow: Nike for a tired Livius during chapter 2. Also present in the OP.
  • Luminescent Blush: From both parties in chapter 17 when they see each other all dressed up for their engagement party at the Rain Kingdom.
  • Magic Music: The Dukedom of Rain's royal family has singers who can each control the weather, either summoning rain or banishing it.
  • Meaningful Name: Overlaps with Exactly What It Says on the Tin for the countries involved: the Sun Kingdom is constantly sunny, as if it's trapped in an eternal springtime, while the Dukedom of Rain is either raining, or cloudy. It would take the efforts of the royal family singing to give them even a short time of sunshine. Also the Sand Kingdom, which mostly comprises of deserts and and receives little rain.
  • Mega Twintails: Worn by Princess Amaluna.
  • Modest Royalty: Nike, and indeed the rest of her family, don't dress any different from the people they supposedly rule over. Lampshaded by Kara when she greets Livius and Neil (and Nike in the anime) with a Hawaiian flower necklace and jacket over her normal outfit, pointing out to the embarrassed Nike that it's her most formal attire.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Nike's grandmother offers Livius a deal: Find a key she tossed into a swamp to release Nike from her prison and she will let them be together. However, the swamp can be truly dangerous if the weather is really bad with lots of rain. Livius takes all but five seconds to look at the woman who trained Nike to control the weather and use a profane word against her. So, it's not the goal that is moved but the terrain to the goalposts.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution:
    • While Livius' rule has brought stability to the Sun Kingdom, there are many that would just want to see him out of the way. It's gotten to the point that he's not even surprised anymore when someone is out to get him.
    • As Nike soon discovers, since she's the future queen she's not immune from this, when some ambitious priests try to use an ancient Sun Kingdom engagement ritual as an excuse to get rid of her.
    • When Livius' uncle Duke Bardouin returns after three years, guess what some worried courtiers suggested to be done to him? Yeeeah...
  • Narrator All Along: The narrator in the anime? It's Nike's grandmother.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Parodied with Livius's advisors. On paper they're extremely influential men in their fields of experience — technology, warfare, and politics. In practice? They're just around to give perverted suggestions to Livius about Nike.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Livius and his guards walk in on Nike sitting on the bed with Bardouin and assume adultery. Slightly averted as Bardouin beforehand does intend to seduce Nike to test her loyalty to Livius; she however knows he's not interested in her and calls him out on it. Bardouin expresses his relief that she's different than expected and that he can leave Livius in her hands. It's unfortunately at this moment that Livius walks in on them and assumes the worst.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Neil kicking ass after he and Livius catch a servant trying to drug the latter and all the guards try to go after him, only to be stopped by the former. It cuts to Livius running off and trying to find Nike. Neil is next seen the following day.
    • A sketch in the manga and the preview for episode 9 showed Neil singing karaoke and being really into it. The actual manga and anime never shows it, though he is seen (but not heard) singing in a later event which is Nike and Livius' wedding celebrations held by the Rain Kingdom.
    • In episode 5/chapter 6, only the SFX/sound of Nike punching the hell out of Aristes is given.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Turns out, Nike's grandmother would rather not have anything to do with Livius, and certainly didn't expect Nike to take her engagement to the Sun King so seriously. Indeed, getting her to come back to the Rain Dukedom was just an elaborate excuse to separate them permanently, and keep it that way by all means necessary. No one expected Livius to come after his bride, which in turn forced old woman's hand.
  • Parental Substitute: Nike's cousin Kitra, who has feelings for her, accuses her relationship with Livius to be nothing more than this and not genuine love.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: They don't hit it off at the start but Livius and Nike grow to really love each other.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Believe or not, Nike. As her mother tells Livius, in the past the rain singers of the kingdom had the power to literally bring ruin to entire nations, and in fact was the cause of the destruction of the ancient empire that once united the continent prior to the Sun Kingdom. It is THIS reason why Nike's grandmother wanted to keep Nike away from Livius; as the most talented rainsinger in generations, Nike was taught this most secret and destructive of melodies, and if Livius decided to use it for ill, the consequences would be devastating.
  • Post Humous Character: Livius' mum Sheila died 3 years before the start of the series. Also likely his father, seeing how not a word is spoken about him and Livius is now king.
  • Princess Classic: Averted with Nike, but played straight with Princess Amaluna, the latter of whom rubs into the former's face just how lacking she is in the expected virtues that a princess is supposed to have.
  • The Reliable One: Livius' assistant and close confidant Neil.
  • Retcon: In the manga, Livius is said to be 15 until chapter 40 claims he's 12.
    • The anime clears this up, with Nike's father specifically telling Livius that Nike's grandma ascended the throne when she was "not much older than [him]". This is in contrast to the manga where he says she was 15, "the same age as [Livius] is now". This, the fact he was still a boy when he became king 3 years ago and the fact that Nike herself is young and only a few years older than Livius is evidence that he should be 12. Also if the manga omakes of them as students are to be trusted, Livius/Livita is still in elementary school, leaving him to be 12 at the most.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Although the Sun Kingdom has a well-established bureaucracy, Livius often feels the need to personally contribute at times.
    • Also quite literally in the case of Nike and her family, whose status as royalty does not exempt them from cutting firewood, doing the laundry, or peeling potatoes for a feast.
    • Prince Taishi of the Sand Kingdom does his best to communicate and help his people in person whenever possible because he has a great urge to look after them at all costs.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Due to Nike's somewhat modest upbringing, it's not in her habit to pay attention to her appearance. However, when she does make an effort, she can be quite stunning, as evidenced by the slack-jawed surprise of many ambassadors, some of whom heckled her earlier in the day for being a "bumpkin princess".
  • Spell My Name with an "S": While the names of the characters have fairly straightforward romanizations, this still happens:
    • Livius' uncle, who depending on the media, is translated as Bardouin, Bardwin, and Baldwin. The Crunchyroll translators go with the Bardwin, to better reflect his role as a wandering minstrel prior to his return to the kingdom.
    • Kitora vs Kitra. Kitora is how both names are written and pronounced in Japanese. Most manga scanlators use Kitra while most anime subs use Kitora.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: When Nike's mother Iraha is finally introduced, it's immediately made clear who Nike takes after, appearance-wise. An official profile in the manga also states Livius looks like his father.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: In Chapter 31, Nike goes under disguise as "Vice Captain Kanaris Micaine" of Livius' army to pretend to be Luna's lover so they can stop her unwanted arranged marriage to Duke Fortis.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Because of the danger one of Nike's people could do if they abuse the weather manipulation powers, the dukedom has a Black Tower to nullify their powers when they imprison people there. To keep Nike out of the way as they separate her and Livius, she is put there.
  • Taking the Bullet: Nike does this in the first chapter/episode 2, as she blocks the arrow from hitting Livius.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: A given for Livius and the older Nike. The height difference is even greater in the anime where Nike seems to have aged up.
  • Tonight Someone Kisses: The opening would foreshadow the Official Couple kissing in a certain episode by having their silhouettes kiss at the end of the OP instead of standing side by side like usual for that episode.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The impression of both Princess Amaluna and Duke Bardouin of Livius, from the time he ascended the throne of the Sun Kingdom, three years prior to the start of the story. Take note, before that point Livius was a taciturn and unambitious boy who wanted to find a quiet place in the country to live in with his mother. He becomes less of a jerkass once Nike is in his life.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Livius has become progressively less ruthless, and has gradually become pleasant and even approachable. He's still prone to see the worst in people at times, but thanks to Nike's influence, he now keeps an open mind rather than react to a threat with extreme prejudice.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Nike and Livius share one in episode 10.
  • Unwanted Harem:
    • Neil is anything but pleased when he and Livius visit the Rain Principality and Nike's sisters fawn over him thinking he's Livius.
    • Livius isn't thrilled at all when he, Nike and Neil return home and they discover that the palace is full of women, thanks to Bardouin who's been in charge in Livius' absence.
  • Weather Manipulation: The ability to make it rain, or rather, manipulate the air pressure to make the conditions conducive for rain to fall. It's something unique to the princesses of the Rain Dukedom.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Uluma of Prince Taishi's court is willing to lie to his price about how the people genuinely want Nike to stay (though it likely isn't too much of an exaggeration) in order to convince him to go along with the lie that Nike perished in a sandstorm just to keep Nike there for the Prince's well-being.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? / Heart Is an Awesome Power: The impression by outsiders of Nike's ability is that it's nothing more than a "cute trick", in their words. However the key to the rain is the manipulation of the surrounding air pressure. As Nike ably demonstrates in the first chapter alone, she can make it so that people pass out, and can even use it to cut the steel bars blocking the windows of the cell she was in. Later on, she even uses this to save Ameluna from falling off a cliff during their "duel" (by making the wind blow the princess closer to the cliff, enough for Nike to grab her arm). It is these eminently practical applications of Nike's powers that causes her grandmother to forcefully detain her, as she rightfully fears that it might get weaponized by the Sun King... Or if not by Livius himself, his and Nike's descendants.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Livius is actually a very capable ruler despite being so young. However, the fact that he had to shoulder so much responsibility at his age made him extremely cynical, at least prior to Nike's arrival.
  • Wutai: Nike's home nation, the Rain Dukedom, is quite Asian as far as aesthetics go, mixing Tibetan (see Nike and Vivi's betrothal attire) and Chinese (the common architecture of the houses) influences, with some modern Japanese anachronisms thrown in to muddle things a bit (Kara's bob cut, her zettai ryouiki, the populace's love of idol concerts...).
  • Youngest Child Wins: Nike is the youngest princess, and is chosen to marry the Sun King, the de-facto ruler of the whole world. Averted, in that she's initially not happy about this.

Alternative Title(s):

Even So The World Is Beautiful