Monday, May 14, 2012

Anime Review: Ano Natsu de Matteru (Waiting in the Summer)

One of the winter shows I followed that I wasn't crazy about but gave me something to watch while I was waiting for my laundry to finish up, if it had aired as part of the larger Spring or Fall seasons instead I probably would have had too many other things to watch to dedicate time to follow this. Oh, and a funny bit that doesn't really fit in the review, I've been studying Japanese for three years now and have a very, very basic grasp on it so despite all of that I still rely on subtitles quite a bit while watching most shows. However, the dialogue was so basic here that I could understand over half of each episode without looking at the subtitles which does sum up the show in an odd way, it's nothing inventive or worth getting extra excited over and if you've been watching anime for a few years and have seen your fair share of romantic comedies there's probably nothing here for you.

Ano Natsu de Matteru (Waiting in the Summer)
Summary: Set in the same 'verse as Please Teacher and Onegai Twins, but not requiring knowledge of either, Kirishima Kaito expects to have a quiet summer vacation with his care-taker sister out of town and spending his time making films with his friends. What he doesn't remember however is that one night while shooting his was struck by a small spaceship piloted by alien Ichika who used some of her technology to heal him. She quickly transfers schools and manages to live with him for the summer, both to make sure his recovery goes well but also to look for a place on Earth based on a memory in her mind, a memory implanted by her ancestors that no one knows the meaning too.

The Good: This series can basically be summed up as "a more light-hearted Super 8 with slightly older characters" and I really liked the parts it did differently from Super 8. No giant militaries chasing the characters around and providing a convenient antagonist to move the plot around and causing the plot to forget it started off as a story about kids making a movie, nope Kaito is still filming even when things get heated towards the end. There are a few subtle hints throughout the series, mostly in visual details, that the story isn't set in the modern day and it was fun to see how the kids were making their movie with all the cheesy special effects (and probably much more romantic than watching them sit around a computer and carefully time noises to video sequences). Also happy that the show never forgot that part of it's premise involved an alien and that the resolution to Ichika's problems didn't feel like a hastily slapped together solution, rather it fit in with everything else nicely and cleanly.  

The Bad: The biggest difference from Super 8 however is that what romance there was there was pretty straight-forward, here Ano Natsu has a full-blown love-polygon which wasn't really my cup of tea. I must give them credit for at least making it complicated, there are no simple love triangles or such here, and all of the threads were well resolved by the end (sure some people had their hearts broken but they were starting to move past it by that point which is what I hoped to see). Those parts do get a bit cliched though, the main reason I could follow so much of the dialogue without seeing the subtitles was because I had heard all the conversations a dozen times before, it may have been resolved well but it certainly didn't do anything new.

The Audio: While there were some nice visual details to the opening and closing sequences the music wasn't memorable in the slightest so I don't have anything to say about it. Nothing really to say about the voice acting as well, it worked (well, at least I THINK Remon's voice was supposed to sound a bit odd) and I didn't have any problems with it. Again, see my statements that this show just didn't do anything new, just older stuff well.

The Visuals: While the character designs look a bit different from generic "anime character" designs overall the series isn't hugely inventive visually either. I did like the visuals used for the ending song and for the science-fiction parts, those looked rather cool and I liked that the show had a lot of little details to indicate that it's not set in modern day Japan (it's actually so subtle that I doubt everyone picked up on it but there were actually a lot of hints as the story went along). I do swear that half of the episodes were created just for an excuse to put the girls in bathing suits or yukatas (which I would actually accuse a lot of series doing) but everything looked good, regardless of what the scene actually was.

So, if this does sound interesting to anyone (and I imagine aficionados of romantic anime will try this one out) it is streaming over on crunchyroll and was licensed as part of The Anime Network's big licensing spree last winter (probably won't be out until way later this year or early next year and I think they only got DVD rights for it but it is licensed). Funny enough next week's anime also involves a lot of romance in it, guess it's to make up for the fact that the past five or so shows didn't have a lot of it (well, depending on your interpretation of Fam, Rin-ne, and Chihayafuru certainly had romance, it just more of a minor theme than a major theme over all and I'm sure people would argue with me on that).  

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