Emma: A Victorian Romance is a sweet, languid romantic story of class-crossed lovers in London. In Victorian England the idea of a maid and an heir to a business fortune falling in love was just not allowed. For Emma and William Jones, they have to figure out if they are willing to go against society in order to be together.
Emma is a maid-of-all in the household of Kelly Stowner who used to be the Governess for the Jones’ family. When William Jones comes to visit his old Governess, he quickly falls for Emma despite their class difference. As their relationship grows they encounter a lot of resistance from the outside world as well as the people they are closest to.
Emma is a sweet story but it can be quite slow, especially in the beginning. One possibility for this may be that the writers were trying to emulate the flow of the society during that time period. The problem with this is that it makes the show hard to get through for the first three or so episodes. Once the characters finally start to encounter problems, the story begins to take shape and you are brought into the drama. So don’t get too frustrated if it seems a little too slow for you in the beginning, it takes hold.
In terms of being an anime based in a historical time period, the writers and art directors did a pretty good job of making it historically accurate. The one thing I noticed right away was the fact that the maids wore the same black and white uniforms all day. This is not how it was during the Victorian Era; the black and white uniforms were worn later in the day while more ‘work-friendly’ dresses would have been worn in the morning when the cleaning was being done. From an anime stand point it is much easier to have the maids wear the same outfits all day long to make the animation easier to produce. If this is the only thing I feel was wrong with the historical accuracy, they did just fine.
One of the scenes which I found to be particularly interesting takes place at the Crystal Gardens. Today, whilst beautiful, the Crystal Gardens have lost a little of their wonder because of further advancements in architecture and conservatories. Emma manages to show how much cultural emphasis would have been placed on a location like this during the Victorian Era. Not only was it the idea of Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert but it was also a collection of plants and art from around the world. This essentially allowed the British people to feel as if they are visiting the rest of the world without leaving their own city. A sentiment that would have been quite popular then and perhaps still today.