In the year 128 AD in the reign of Hadrian, known for Hadrian’s Wall and as the third of Rome’s Good Emperors, an architect known as Lucius has his designs criticised as being far too primitive in a time when the people of Rome are beginning to favour innovation and novelty.
An anime partially set in ancient Rome? Picked up.
Following which he talks about this with his friend Marcus at a bathhouse, however amongst the other guests and men offering services or beverages e finds it far too noisy to relax. Plunging his head below the water where he spots and is sucked into a strange drainage pipe, bursting from the water to find himself in an alien bath surrounded by strange people who he can’t understand with clear signs of civilisation. One of which noticing that he looks a little red takes him out to the lobby, where he’s met with posters and baskets for clothes in addition to the mural he saw before. And if that wasn’t enough they guy he met before brings him a fruit drink that tastes out of this world.
After which he finds himself back in Rome with the bottle still in hand, and so in order to meet the people’s tastes he decides to implement the things he saw in his own designs, including a mural of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. However while it’s an instant hit, there are just some things that Rome’s current level of technology can’t imitate.
In the next episode around one year after this Lucius receives a request from Consul Lepidus himself, who seems to be in poor health and would like to commission him to build a bath at his home after being touched by mural in his bathhouse. And as he surveys the land around the Consul’s home he spots Vesuvius not that far in the distance as well as a spring, so deciding to test it by jumping in. But once more he finds himself in a strange world when he emerges, this time met by some Japanese Macaques and an onsen where the same strange people find and direct him to the main bath. Being once more amazed at the sense of beauty that surrounds him, and this time by a strange device used to boil eggs using the water from the hot spring, as well as being offered some sake to go with it.
Following which he finds himself back at the Consul’s home with just the right idea to build. Meeting him some time afterward to find him in good spirits as well as spotting one of the monkeys from before on the other side of the bath.
“Thermae Roman” by Chatmonchy.
For some reason I’ve always wanted to see an anime based on ancient Rome, as something of a history buff I always find myself enjoying historical manga or anime but one centred in Rome would have been great to see. So it was actually quite a shame when the details for this came out, six half episodes and flash animation.
But while these initially had me down they weren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be, if anything there wasn’t really much wrong with it at all. The cheap looking animation doesn’t really hinder it, sure things may look rigid, character designs get reused a lot, and every shot of Lucius is essentially his first one copy and pasted with minor alterations, but it isn’t really that obtrusive at all. If anything it has the same sort of charm that the animation in shows like Sunred had. Leaving only how long it will be as the only real problem with it,without a doubt this show sadly can’t be seen as much else than a three episode advertisement for the drama (which looks interesting so far), the material is surely there but with the episode count it was given we’ll only get a taste of it. That said however, there’s always the hope that it could lead to this getting a proper anime in the future so I’m crossing my fingers.
The concept for this show is also an interesting one as well, it takes two cultures known for their love of bathing however are worlds apart, the ancient Romans and the modern Japanese, and explores the differences in regard to how they went and go about it. Taking a Roman architect known as Lucius and thrusting him into the modern world, where along with wondering just where he is he finds himself amazed at the simplest of conveniences, his reactions are kind of what you would expect if you threw a guy from the past almost two thousand years into the future. All up the combination of these two worlds also results in an interesting clash of sorts,
That said it may have only just been the first episode but things seemed to feel a little uneven. This episode seemed to favour showing just how superior the latter’s bathing habits were a little too much without really presenting a fair argument from the other side, which to be fair was absolutely amazing for its time and would have focussed on different aesthetics. It wasn’t that bad but it just would have been nice if it had focussed on the Roman aspect a bit more, evening it out a little. Despite that though, there’s still something nice about it, as we see Lucius blown away and deciding to implement some of the things he sees, from murals of mountains inside to beverages served afterward. It still makes for an interesting spin on the show.