I've been following Japanese Entertainment for the past 12 years. I have passions in Travel and Films.
The first Thermae Romae film was released in 2012. It earned 6 billion yen at the box-office, so it's not surprising when Fujitv decided to do a follow-up film. Simply titled Thermae Romae II, it was released in Japan 26th April 2014.
And recently, I have a chance to watch it.
The film is about Lucius, who faces various challenges as he tried to build Roman baths based on specific requirements (eg; a bath for Roman children). He travels to modern-day Japan via time-slip, especially when he's fallen unconscious in the bath. This is when he met Mami, an inspiring mangaka who has a crush on him. The wayback to his original timeline is via tears. At the same time, in Roman time, Emperor Hadrian received oppositions from his Senate when he decided to stop Rome's expansions through warfare.
Most of the cast from the first film are also back:-
- Abe Hiroshi as Lucius, the Roman architect responsible for building the Romans bath
- Ueto Aya as Yamakoshi Mami , the Japanese girl aiming to become a mangaka.
- Kitamura Kazuki as Caenius, the successor to the Emperror's throne and
- Masachika Ichimura as Emperor Hadrian, who wanted to steer Rome towards peace.
Part II still keeps the wackiness from Part I. The Opera singer who performed whenever Lucius travel in time is still around. The Roman vs Japanese culture clash is there, as Lucius tries to convince the Emperor to allow mixed-bath in ancient Rome. The time-clash is also there too, as Lucius assumed automated systems in the modern world was performed by slaves.
I'm not too invested in Roman politics. The most interesting part of this film (and the first one too) is seeing Lucius adapting the Japanese/modern apparatus to the Ancient Roman time. Instead of using the standard bath powder, Lucius has to use local mixed herbs to be put into the bath. This wasn't by choice, as he's still wanted to replicate the exact formula found in the bath powder. But lack of modern equipments prevent him to achieve just that.
I wish Ueto Aya was given more chance to shine. At least her character in the first film has become the guide for Lucius in the modern world. This time around however, Lucius seems to do just fine in navigating the modern world on his own. He's not a damsel in distress alright. Her chance arrives towards the end of the film, but by this time, the audience might wonder why he's still around. Lucius can refer to the History of Roman Empire book in his own without her help anyway.
Another aspect I have to highlight is how the film look at the male body. The female characters dressed modestly, except while they're in the bath, but the camera never linger on them or shoot them based on male gaze. The males meanwhile, oh dear, if it's time to swoon, it's now. Abe Hiroshi spent most of his time half-naked, and the film also allocated a few seconds camera-time lingering on Kitamura Kazuki and his glorious hair.
Seriously, you need to appreciate the hair especially in slow-motion.
It's light, fun comedy film. A film where you can spent a couple of hours being entertained. Or a couple of hours spent ogling at those bodies.
Thermae Romae II: Trailer
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