Saturday, January 17, 2015

Thermae Romae by Mari Yamazaki

Thermae Romae VIThermae Romae VI by Mari Yamazaki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The idea behind this manga is just quite absurd, but when one read the six volumes, one can't complain about it. Infact, it is for that reason that the story and the characters are just funny and it is a pleasure to read something that could have become deadly boring if written in the wrong way.
Lucius Modestus is definitely too serious and too humble of his own good, but possibly for his devotion to Rome and its empire, he ends up having an incredible role in its development.
He ends up travelling both in time and space reaching modern Japan and discovering incredible things that could improve the experience in the thermae.
I think it makes sense that a Roman citizen who is interested in thermae would end up in a modern Japan where still there is a strong culture around bathing.
The comparison becomes also quite hilarious, although I think the real reaction of a Roman observing our life would be much stronger than Lucius'.
The first two volumes are a bit mechanic and could be described as a collection of short stories with the same pattern. Lucius is troubled, he ends up bathing, while bathing something happens for which he finds himself in Japan. He explores the environment there and he brings back to Rome some new ideas which would be considered revolutionary.
The last two - three volumes instead are difference since Lucius is stuck in Japan and we can see how his life is there and who he meets. The story becomes a bit more interesting and less ripetitive.
Still, everything is described in a very humoristic way, but pity enough there is a lack of explanation on certain events (why can Lucius travel time-space wise?) and there is no big character's development.
Surely, what strucked me the most were the drawings, the care for the details and the historical accuracy. It is an impressive work and it is also very pleasant to read the author's comments between a chapter and another.
Now, it is time to watch the two movies where Lucius is the protagonist!

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