Arriving on Netflix in March 2022, Thermae Romae Novae — translated to New Roman Baths from Latin — follows architect Lucius Modestus in his quest to design Rome’s finest bathhouses. The anime will be produced by Studio NAZ who are known best for the romantic comedy My First Girlfriend is a Gal and sci-fi series Id:Invaded.
Based on Mari Yamazaki’s manga, Thermae Romae, the story’s protagonist Lucius nearly loses his job as an architect when his firm fires him for producing antiquated designs. After finding a surprise portal to another world, however, Lucius is transported to a modern-day Japanese bathhouse where his exposure to new advancements in bathing technology give him the inspiration needed to improve his own designs.
In 2012, a collaboration between Gonzo and DLE brought Thermae Romae’s first anime adaptation. Although only three episodes long (not counting the many collaboration shorts with chain stores and toothbrush brands), the time-travel anime and its goofy humor came to life.
That wasn’t the first time Thermae Romae saw a big screen adaptation either. Back in 2011, the manga was made into a live-action film shot at Cinecittà Studios in Italy, the same studio used by the 2005 TV series Rome. Following three awards, including the 36th Japan Academy Film Prize for Best Actor to Hiroshi Abe for his portrayal as Lucius, the film also received a sequel titled Thermae Romae II in 2014.
Mari Yamazaki, who moved to Italy in 1984, attended the National Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. With a background in art history and oil painting, she used her skills to marry Renaissance-inspired pieces with manga. This love of Japanese and Italian culture ultimately culminated in the creation of Thermae Romae along with other manga set in Italy such as Olympia Kyklos and Plinivs.
In 2010, Thermae Romae won the annual Manga Taisho award, beating out tough competitors like Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s Bakuman and Akiko Higashimura’s Princess Jellyfish. The manga also won the short story category of the 2010 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.
Despite the story taking place in Rome and Japan, the idea first came to Yamazaki while she was living in Lisbon, Portugal. In an interview with Nippon.com, she explained:
We lived in a draughty old wooden house that was about 80 years old and starting to show its age. And there was no bath in the bathroom! Like all manga artists, I spend hours hunched over my desk every day. Problems with stiff shoulders and back pain sort of go with the territory. I longed to soak in a nice hot bath.
And while not have access to time travel, Yamazaki was able to experience the reactions of Italians first-hand while working as a tour guide:
I once led a tour group of ten quite feisty and gung-ho Italian women on a tour of Japan. And the thing they enjoyed more than anything was their stay in a traditional hot-spring inn. They loved the simplicity and harmony of the traditional Japanese inn, as well as the wonderful service and attention to detail at mealtimes and throughout their stay.
Available worldwide on March 28th, Thermae Romae Novae will stream on Netflix. Tsuda Kenjirou, known for his portrayal as Ogata Hyakunosuke in Golden Kamuy and Hannes in Attack on Titan, will voice Lucius Modestus. As for the rest of the voice cast, stay posted for new developments.
While it has not been confirmed whether Thermae Romae Novae will receive additional translations beyond the English sub, dubs of other popular recent anime on Netflix such as Fall 2021’s Komi Can’t Communicate hopefully stand as a model for future releases.
Currently, there is no confirmation that the anime will be coming to other streaming services such as Crunchyroll, but seeing as the 2012 anime adaption, Thermae Romae, is on the Crunchyroll platform, there is always a possibility!