[Review] Thermae Romae: Naked Encounters

Thermae Romae is as charming as it is peculiar. The episode structure of this anime follows a simple formula, much of it’s time is spent on Lucius’ expeditions in the modern world and a lot of it’s humor relies on his amazement at the most seemingly mundane aspects of Japanese bath houses. By the end of the episode, he returns to his time and tries to recreate what he’s experienced with fellow Romans.

Being animated in Flash, this series doesn’t have the breadth of traditional animation in terms of movement and variety. However, this works in favor or the series. The limited range facial expressions adds a caricaturesque quality to its characters. There’s nothing outstanding about the show’s humor, but what makes it so charming is how it serves as a reminder that we need to slow down and appreciate life a bit more. We live in a fast paced world where people are constantly looking for instant gratification. Hot baths are a miracle of the universe, honed and perfected by years of innovation. But we hardly have the time to enjoy that, not anymore.

Thermae Romae is a light hearted series that expresses this sentiment by showing us why we deserve a pat on the back for how our world has advanced. These short segments are relaxing to watch, and I daresay– cute (in that funny old wrinkly man kind of way). Need something to watch to kill time? Thermae Romae is one of the better options out there.

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  1. Not to mention it often serves as a window to some lesser-known facets of Japanese culture, and is sprinkled with historical tidbits. Although I didn’t bother fact-checking any of it.

    • Although I didn’t bother fact-checking any of it.

      Same here. I didn’t bother with the facts, but the series does make it fascinating enough that I didn’t feel like I had to check…

  2. I agree. It’s really just a bit of fun. I enjoyed this series and I’m glad they chose to air it before BRS starts. I’m a fan of the manga so I knew I would like the story, but I was worried about the Flash animation. At first I was pretty disappointed – not just at the crappy animation but also the fact they chose to make it more of a comedy by throwing in lots of visual gags (where the manga plays it straight), but by the third episode I’d gotten used to the style and it became “charming” (like you say). I also loved the public domain soundtrack.

    This series does make me crave a Historie anime even more though! (I know the mangas not finished yet, but I don’t think it ever will…) I guess I can look forward to the upcoming Kingdom anime which seems to be a historical piece as well.

    • The public domain soundtrack is awesome. I understand there’s going to be a movie? So I guess Flash animation is the cheaper option so they can promote the film before it premieres. It took some time getting used to but the style eventually grew on me.

      I’ve never heard of Kingdom but now I’m interested. There should be more history anime, not only is it more economical but it’ll definitely be a breath of fresh air for most of us.

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