If you missed Emma during its original release you'd have to pony up some serious dough to get the series on DVD. People who were lucky enough to pick up copies before it went OOP were asking a lot of money for their copies. That's understandable. It's a great show that passed under the radar of a lot of otaku when it first came out. Luckily, RightStuf and Nozomi have released the touching and gentle series again, and at a very affordable price. I fell in love with the show when I reviewed the first season and I'm happy to say that the second set of shows is just as engaging and charming.
Set in Victorian England, the first season tells the story of Emma, the sole maid in a modest house belonging to Mrs. Stowner, a retired governess. One day Mr. William Jones, the son of a wealth businessman who was taught by Mrs. Stowner, comes to the door to visit his old tutor. William is smitten by Emma and starts spending his time 'accidentally' bumping into her on the street. Soon she falls for him too, but they can't be together. They come from different classes society would never permit it. At the end of season one, Mrs. Stowner dies and Emma runs off to the countryside leaving William in
As the second season opens, Emma has found employment in the large county estate of the Mölders, a family who have emigrated from
Meanwhile back in
The pair's families throw an engagement party, and things are going well until William runs into Emma, who is attending as a favor to a friend of her new boss. Both William and Emma are shocked to run into each other and it makes William realize that he'll never be happy without his true love. The problems that the pair faced in the first season are still there however, and now that he's engaged, there's no way William can stop the marriage without harming the family business.
This was another wonderful season. It's the next chapter of the same love story and the show still has a lot of heart, tender emotion and a meticulous attention to detail. With Emma having a new, more appropriate suitor (another domestic at the new house where she's working) and the repercussions of being snubbed by polite society being more immediate the show manages to do what all sophomore seasons try: to give viewers more of the same, only different this time. They succeed wonderfully.
This collection brings the story to a nice conclusion. It's not perfect in that regard, there is a bit of hand-waving that goes on, but the show is wrapped up in a manner that won't seem hokey.
This release collects the entire 12-episode second season into one compact single-width DVD case. Inside you'll find four discs with three episodes each. In these days where most anime companies are cutting corners wherever they can, it's nice to see this wonderful story spread out across four discs.
The show comes with the original Japanese audio track in stereo and optional English subtitles, and it sounds fine. It is a rather sedate show, with no mecha, space battles, or fight scenes, so there not much going on aurally. The audio suits the show, with a clean and clear dialog and some exceptionally nice piano music for atmosphere that all comes through nicely.
The anamorphic 1.77:1 image looks very good. As one would suspect with only three episodes per DVD, there isn't any compression artifacts. Aliasing, a defect that often plagues animated shows and films, is absent and the same can be said of other flaws that creep in with the encoding. The show uses a warm color palate and that comes through nicely. This is a great looking set.
The bonus material includes character biographies, a clean opening and closing, Japanese TV spots and promos.
This second season is just as heart-warming, fun, and enchanting as the first. If you haven't seen the show, give it a try, chances are you'll be pleasantly surprised. Highly Rrecommended.