Ano Natsu De Matteru Final Review Essay

On By In 1

Misunderstandings are the order of the day to try and get everyone’s personalities explored.

What They Say:
Kaito keeps imagining bad things about what happened with him an Ichika the night before, so he decides to skip school because he’s so embarrassed. Ichika doesn’t understand why he’s staying home so she starts to worry. Meanwhile, Kanna starts to worry about Kaito, as well, and goes to see how he’s doing after school secretly, but ends up being followed and recorded by Remon’s 8mm camera.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Kaito and Ichika having settled into a routine fairly well when it comes to each other, there’s things that crop up that just thrown a spanner in the works. The latest comes with some bad dreams that Kaito has and that causes him to try and put some distance between himself and Ichika. Which is something she can’t quite understand well, though she starts to panic over the way she thinks it comes back to the events of the night prior where she was a bit more forward with him and he may have taken it wrong. And he may want to end up turning her in for what she really is if he’s figured it out. Suffice to say, Ichika runs herself through a couple of minor panic attacks over the whole thing.

Because of this, there’s a good bit of simple fun at school as Ichika talks with others like Remon about it and they all start making it more than it is, or at least it’s intimated that way which Ichika completely misunderstands. Everyone else is just surprised he’s not in school since he was fine the day before and that leads to general concern and people coming to visit to check on him. There’s a pleasant, laid back nature to all of this, but what makes it worse is that Kanna gets to Kaito first and the two head out for a bit. Everyone else sees this and realizes he wasn’t sick and their minds start to run the gamut of what the truth is about the situation. And for Ichika to catch sight of them as well while out, her mind just goes into overdrive.

The strength of the episode is that it gives the supporting cast a chance to shine a bit since they’re all out in the town after school. There are some simmering potential relationships under the surface here and seeing Kaito and Kanna together makes for some additional tension to be revealed, even as the players involved try and play it cool. There’s a lot of little silliness to all of this and it does humanize everyone a bit more, but there’s still a feeling that things are just fairly superficial in general. Which isn’t too bad considering the series and what it wants to do, but it doesn’t really engage you all that well either. When it focuses on both Kaito and Ichika as it does towards the end where they try to figure out what the other is thinking and come to some resolution, it does go back to the old canard of if they’d only talk with each other. And they do, lightly, so it helps to smooth things out a bit so that it can move on. Not that it did all that much here in general.

In Summary:
With the third episode of the series, we get the whole premise revolving around the idea that Ichika and Kaito know each other’s secrets and are in a panic over it. Of course, the secret they think the other knows isn’t what it is, but that doesn’t stop them from avoiding each other and causing all sorts of other little strains and tensions to surface. It’s cute and simple but it doesn’t do much to enamor me to the characters. While Ichika has the basic anime girl personality, something about Kaito keeps me from really connecting with him and liking him as a character. I can’t put my finger on it completely, but it’s a mixture of personality and character design. There are some fun bits to be had throughout with the supporting cast as well, and fans of Remon will like her antics and comments here, but for the most part it’s another episode where it’s just treading water and enjoying doing so.

Grade: B-

Readers Rating: [ratings]

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

Chris has been writing about anime, manga, movies and comics for well on twenty years now. He began AnimeOnDVD.com back in 1998 and has covered nearly every anime release that’s come out in the US ever since.

He likes to write a lot, as you can see.

Chris Beveridge – who has written 47172 posts on The Fandom Post.


    

On a whim, Linda and gendomike decided to review one of the Winter 2012’s best anime, Ano Natsu de Matteru (Waiting in the Summer) together. Here’s the result.

Please note that this review contains major spoilers for Ano Natsu and some for Onegai Teacher. You have been warned.

On Relationships, Idealized and Unfulfilled

Linda: Ano Natsu de Matteru didn’t end the way Onegai Teacher did, and Onegai Teacher had been one of my top titles when I was in college a couple of years ago. But Ano Natsu had a bittersweet ending that made me rethink the romance novels I read with their happy endings. Finding an ideal companion is not easy, but I mentally saluted Kaitou-kun’s bravery for facing up with his feelings. Carpe Diem or Seize the Day!

Shouldn’t it be as easy and straightforward to find an ideal companion as Kaitou did with Ichika? But that is a dream for many seems impossible. Kanna, as much as I try to ignore her character, did fill a role that many people might feel. In trying to find the ideal companion, she found it in Kaitou, but since Kaitou was in love with Ichika, she had to back away. Then the situation with Tetsuro came out very unexpectedly with Mio also liking him. So in the end, Kanna was left alone and how she accepted it, is quite realistic and mature. It is sad for those “happily ever after” fans, but realistically speaking this seems to be a role that I noticed a lot in my own life and of others I observed.

gendomike: While the relationship between Kai and Ichika really is idealized, I think what moved me more was what happened to everyone else. A lot of the emotional heft was really carried by their friends who are left out by the main couple—Kanna especially, to whom I dedicated my Valentine’s Day article. This show does the angst and confusion of first love really well on the whole.

Still, real relationships are definitely more complicated than this show makes it out to be! There’s just enough realism, though, to make the show just a little more bitter as well, as sweet. The pain on their faces and in their suppressed emotions—which eventually do come out—is real. The show respects those feelings as much as it brings the destined pair together in a well-directed way. In that it is following in the footsteps of its great predecessors, Honey and Clover and Toradora! The jilted get their say too.

Finding that ideal companion is not going to be easy, when the world is filled with superficial events. But as for scenes of love fulfilled I feel that this scene on the train is a great one. Trains fill my everyday living, since I live in New York City. When two people sit side by side and you know them, it makes for a good conversation, or just a trip waiting for the final destination. Being stuck in an iron car is just that. The final destination that Kai and Ichika made was to the place in Ichika’s memory of earth. I kept on thinking about was Lake Kizaki in Nagano Prefecture, the place that was the inspiration for Onegai Teacher and Onegai Twins. The part where the tree disintegrated made me think “Oh no!” But still the part also makes me wonder is the animators trying to connect and finally conclude the ending of Onegai Teacher? I think I teared up at that part.

It is Lake Kizaki! That was on purpose, to connect it directly with the earlier series. This is Yousuke Kuroda writing it, after all.

This train scene was the best part of the final episode, which I otherwise found rather odd and somewhat unsatisfying. The sharp genre shift of the last two episodes was, admittedly, not entirely unhinted at, but the show was at its best as an emotionally nuanced teenage love drama, not a sci-fi chase series complete with actual Men In Black. Of course, Ichika’s alien-ness was going to have to come back at some point, given the show’s premise and its connection to the original Onegai Teacher series. I’m not sure they could have done any better in fact without cutting ties to that completely.

But it was nice to see two people who actually love each other and can say so out loud in anime. That happens far too rarely.


On Remon

The character of Remon stood out for me. I think lots of other people like her. The truth of her being MiB seemed kinda fishy for me, but the shot of her in this last episode scene I really liked. She is what I believe to be the conscious adult in a group of teenagers. In spite of her pretending to be the same age as Ichika, I imagine she is the adult that adults aspire to be in real life. Someone of use and has life experiences that can be a role model to others.

Remon was both a very amusing presence and also a problem for the story. She had some of the sharpest one-liners, but she wasn’t really that much of a character than a plot device to help the other characters along. By the end it’s clear she is meant to be the same person as Ichigo from the previous Onegai series: a loli who is much older than she looks, who is sarcastic and clever, and likes to mastermind events behind the scenes. She’s even played by the same voice actress as Ichigo, Yukari Tamura, and does the otaku in-joke of being “forever 17.” (She and Kikuko Inoue—who played the Teacher in Onegai Teacher—have been saying that line for years.) In other words, Remon is basically a gimmick—albeit a very entertaining one. Getting everyone drunk and giving Kai and Ichika a condom were some of the show’s highlights!


On the Ending and the ED

I wasn’t sure when I was watching the ending: did Ichika come back, or did they photoshop her wearing the outfit that Kai’s sister got for her? (Ano Natsu showed off a lot of the older sister characters, for both Kai and Tetsuro, and Mike and I talked in chat about how the older sister is used as a parental substitute in anime a lot lately.) So Ano Natsu might appeal to young adults watching this series the same way that I thought with Onegai Teacher. Certainly in young adult literature, the parent figure is always absent. In real life that is not the case, so one aspect that stood for me in this series as with other anime series is how much friends can be acquired like family members. I see that in real life with my younger friends. I find that as I grow older with personal friends moving into new relationships that it changes dynamics, but Ano Natsu shows a possibility of one summer.

Ichika definitely came back. When Remon is back at MIB HQ, you see her pull up a diagram of Ichika’s ship and start playing with it. She basically hacks the spaceship so it would crash land and come back for Kai—and we know the film shot was after all that happened, because she’s wearing the poncho.

Personally, I felt Ichika’s return was a cop-out. The series had built up a lot of emotional capital by playing upon the idea that this teenage summer romance was a fleeting, though beautiful, experience, filled with bittersweet memories and realizations. The monologues really traded on it. It did a really good job in evoking what the memory of summer flings of that sort are like. I had similar experiences at that age, and I wrote about them earlier. Even the final episode kept you hanging on the idea that it was over. It would have been braver had they left it at that rather than bring her back like that at the very last second.

I really like that insight there—that friends can become like family, especially in their absence. The way the main friends interacted was very family-like, and there were all kinds of allusions to that. Kanna sees Tetsuro as a little brother; Kai calls himself a little brother in relation to his sempai, Ichika, and seems to see Kanna as a sister too. (Unfortunately for her.) But more importantly the show really captured just how the way a group of teenage friends interact will start to change once romance starts getting into the picture—and it can be a wrenching change. All of the main leads have to come to painful emotional resolutions and be honest with themselves and others to move on. That was the most powerful part of the show and the thing I will remember most.

That, and the ED, “Vidro Moyou.” The ED and the leadups to it were a big highlight of the show. Tatsuyuki Nagai, the director, has always had a knack for picking songs that fit the shows he works on thematically, from Honey and Clover II, Toradora! and Ano Hana. And he always chose the right moment to end each episode, so that watching it every week was always an emotionally satisfying experience. At least until the end.

What I liked about the ending was how well the images fit with the song, with Kai and his friends in a circle always seeking together, and with Ichika holding her spaceship out like a toy. With the color outlines, it makes for an interesting visual experience.


Concluding Thoughts

Seeing Mike and MLM enjoy this series as much as they blogged about it on AD encouraged me to watch it, even though I was afraid it was going to fail or not live up to its legacy as an Onegai Teacher follow up. For the most part, I was entertained by this anime series, and definitely liked the ED well enough to put it on repeat at moments. But in comparison to Onegai Teacher, I still feel the earlier title is much more emotionally meaningful to me. Probably in some ways I aspire to have a relationship like Kei and Mizuho or Kai and Ichika. Hence this companionship seeking is something I am realizing I need as I grow older.

The tie-in to Men in Black, with the Men in Black 3 movie coming out soon, makes me wonder just how much of a paradox or cross-industry relevance is there. Cheesy as it might sound, when I hear of “No Borders” by Japanese musicians, perhaps this is a sign for me to watch MiB 3. As of now, I am personally unsure of what anime series to try and watch, but I am seeing the excitement of Mike for Kids on the Slope. Perhaps that is the next series for me to watch.

Onegai Teacher was one of my favorite romance series from the beginning of my fandom. It had an emotional honesty to it that was rare in most anime romance at that time, and I remember saying hyperbolically that “this is the reason I watch anime” when I finished it…so when I heard that Ano Natsu was going to feature the same screenwriter, but with the team of Honey and Clover and Toradora! behind it, I was excited.

And for the most part, I was not disappointed. 80% of this show is very good to excellent, from the smooth directing, the emotionally resonant writing, and what I would say is actually improved character dynamics compared to the old series. The ending was a bit of a letdown and a departure, I felt, from the show’s strengths, but it was hardly enough to ruin everything. From the transition of the last scene to the credits, to the excellent voice acting (especially for newcomer seiyuu Kaori Ishihara as Kanna), to the sense of genuine youth experience animating the story, this was one of the winners of the winter 2012 season.

(BTW: yes, Kids on the Slope is excellent. Give a shot if you like good music and interesting romance. It’s almost effortlessly good.)

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