Ano Natsu de Matteru – 10

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I knew as soon as the first shot after the credits was a shot of Rinon that we were in for a major plot shake-up…

For about 23 minutes it looked as if we were more or less looking at a finale centered around the triangle, with the main pairing having been resolved for all intents and purposes.  I never quite bought into it, but Ano Natsu did a very good job selling it.  Ichika and Kaito seemed very comfortable and happy together, and there was plenty of unresolved conflict to go around the dysfunctional trio.  In fact Ichika and Kaito made about the most at-ease and naturally affectionate anime couple I’ve seen in a while, right down to the utterly kawaii way their glasses clinked together when they were moving in for a kiss.

That’s when Remon moved in, unfortunately, and she she has a way of turning up at the most unlikely time in the most inopportune place (teleport, maybe?).  I’ll give her full credit for playing the troll card, though, and slipping a condom to Kaito right in front of Ichika was pretty hilarious and brazen, even for her.  She’s the most irritating anime troll since Prince Baka from Level E – and let me just point out, he was on Earth posing as a human, too.  I’m just saying…

The meat of the episode was certainly dedicated to our lovelorn Girl A, Girl B and Boy B, and rightly so – compared to the MC pair they’re in a pretty bad place.  The specter of “forever alone” hangs over this little group like the Sword of Damocles, and they’re all aware of it though they dare not speak it openly.  I’ve pretty well been assuming that most of Tetsuro’s actions regarding Kaito and Kanna were a sly way of trying to force the issue to his own benefit, but this was the first time he admitted it openly – though I might add only to Kanna, as he lied about that to Mio only moments earlier.  Tetsuro gets a lot of fan love and I like him too, but he’s been a pretty deceitful guy here.  He got Ichika into the movie specifically hoping she’d hit it off with Kaito (his efforts there were unnecessary in my view, that ship had already left port) and he “confessed” on Kanna’s benefit to force Kaito to reject her (as I said in this space at the time).  At least he has the decency to be ashamed of himself, though it only comes out in the form a disguised confession to Kanna.

Poor Mio.  Of the main five in the cast (I don’t count Remon, who appears unmoved by what we would call human emotion) she’s the only one that nobody loves.  Kaito and Ichika are the only properly matched couple, but even if he rejects Kanna she at least knows Tetsuro loves her – and Tetsuro may not have Kanna, but he at least knows Mio loves him.  That’s why it was so interesting to see events repeat themselves as she pushed Tetsuro to confess – I give Kanna full credit for badgering Ichika into coming clean with Kaito, but it took at least as much courage for Mio to push Tetsuro to do so with Kanna.  It may not be totally realistic to see such emotional selflessness from 16 year-olds (Kanna spending days in bed crying is probably more realistic) but it’s still refreshing to see, and these are such well-developed and complex characters that I can’t help but feel for all of them – even Tetsuro, who’s the closest thing to a jerk in the whole menagerie.  I know what’s he’s done is wrong – right down to the way he caught Kanna on the rebound when she was at her lowest ebb – but he did it for love, and he’s just a kid.

So what now?  I ask that a lot at the end of episodes with this show, which I think is a sign of good pacing.  Kanna going right up to Kaito and confessing was a bit of a shocker – my initial reaction was that it was selfish of her to do that knowing his feelings, but I guess she really just needed to get that confession off her chest before she could move on.  Kaito was, as ever, straight and honest and did her no unkindness by well-meant lies to spare her feelings.  With the arrival of Ichika’s older sister on the scene the love triangle now has some serious competition for prominence in the final arc.  I feel as if there’s too much invested in the Kaito-Ichika pairing for it to be torn asunder by such issues as her alien family now, but you never know – gotta keep playing till the final whistle blows.  My feeling is still Kaito-Ichika, Tetsuro-Mio, Kanna-??? – but I think the possibility that Tetsuro ends up with neither is emerging as a real contender late. Ano Natsu had so far avoided romcom cliché for the most part and shown a willingness to undertake unconventional development, and just because Tetsuro loves Kanna and Mio loves Tetsuro (and baking naked) there’s no guarantee that one of the recipients will suddenly decide to reciprocate, just because it would be convenient for the story.

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9 comments

  1. A

    It's been three months now, and I can safely say that Ano Natsu had been the one (primary) romance show that I thought was genuinely well thought out and directed, and also the number one show I find it hard to emotionally invest in out of all the Winter shows.

    I'll admit it, I walked into this show expecting to like it because of the talent behind (much like how I walked into Un-Go as well, since the duo there was as good as the one here) it and that it looked like it was something that I might enjoy (A romantic comedy gets a pass with me for at least for the first few episodes as long as it doesn't do something idiotic). And yes, I was disappointed about how this seemed to be the spiritual successor to the Onegai-series (never was a fan of those, tbh) though I did like the first episode enough to want to go on with the show. There wasn't anything idiotic or insulting in the show at all, if anything it was charming throughout these 20 minutes, so I figured that there wasn't any harm in going through with it.

    I ended up learning 3 things so far from this show, the first was that someone needs to pay Nagai-sensei more for his effort in rescuing AnoHana from Okadamania, the second was that this was among the best, if not the best, planned, paced and scripted romance anime in recent memory from start to near-finish with a likable, human like cast that addresses their story well in the given time without it going overboard with unnecessary filler, and lastly that I'm just never going to like the Onegai-series.

    I think it's clear that the creators really liked what they did with Onegai, and that series holds a special place in their hearts. You could tell sometimes from their work when a creator has something they are especially passionate about and that feeling gets passed down to the viewer. Symphogear does it pretty well with it's love to Macross, music, Bruce Lee and mecha. For me, I could get into Symphogear despite it being a really stupid (but awesome) show with obvious animation and story problems because aside it from being rather honest and open with itself and the audience, I just really dig Macross, music, mecha and Bruce Lee.

    It's a pity, but I honestly think that the only way I could get swooned into the show completely is to fall for the nostalgia factor that the show is emitting, much like how a show like Symphogear does with. But so far, all what keeps me going with the show is that it pretty great on every other level.

  2. d

    Great show. Really great.
    Question: would ichika give up her friends and family back home for a guy? It all depends on the culture, but from where I come from that is frowned upon. For the Japanese it is normal though. Since the wife follows the husband traditional has been around for ages.

  3. d

    All the weekday shows starting with the Letter A is focusing on giving viewers questions.
    Another- Who is the another?
    Ano Natsu- Pairings? Will Ichika stay behind?
    Aqua Evol- Pairings? And for those who watched the first series who is the reincarnation of who?

  4. S

    Heh, Remon's antics reminded of Prince Baka too. There's definitely more to our loli sempai than her trolling. Alien or MiB? My bet's on the latter.
    Ano Natsu de Matteru has absolutely become one of my favorites this season and to think that I wasn't even planning on watching it initially D:

  5. A

    I think if there had been no anime this season except for Ano Natsu and Another I would still be satisfied.

  6. S

    Tetsuro does get some flack, but he actually played the situation from ep 5 about as best you can.

    Kanna actually made the biggest blunder there. By not realizing Tetsuro's feelings, she put him in a lose-lose situation. There wasn't any way he wouldn't have come out, at least partially, as a "jerk" in the situation. He choose the path with the best likelihood of a positive outcome for himself and the least likely to cause horrific splits among the friends. He started the ball rolling for the group to be honest about their feelings, rather than just hiding them all and letting them explode. He was put in a rough spot, but you can also read the end of his confession to Kanna, specifically the hair-rubbing bit, as his resignation that he knew it wasn't going to work out for him and he could start to move on. This actually points far more closely to a Mio X Tetsuro final conclusion. (That he's also been warming up to the possibility should be noted, as well.)

  7. b

    >Mio baking cake
    Good.
    >Mio naked at home
    Uh okay I can live with that
    >Mio baking cake while naked apron
    Oh God Tetsurou if you wont take this girl then I will :pp

    Mio' stalking skills are like, so good. Appearing right after the confession. Not to mention last episode too.She's close to Yuno's level with that.

    And I curse myself for writing this off on the first episode.
    I just love this show. Truly an amazing one and I will be sad when this is over. But I know I wont regret whatever ending this show offers. Truly the best this season.

  8. I'm fine with Tetsuro x Mio, but I'd also be fine if they all decided it wasn't to be, stayed friends and moved on. That somehow feels more in line with the spirit of the series.

    Re: Ichika, there's another possibility no one is discussing – perhaps she could take Kaito back to her home world with her?

    SQA, I agree Tetsuro was in a tough spot, and his confession by proxy for Kanna did sort of start the honesty ball rolling, but I don't think his intentions were that noble. You could make the case that what he should have done is confessed to Kanna right then and there (or even earlier) and let the chips fall where they may. I truly believe at that time he had no idea of Mio's feelings for him.

  9. q

    I as well feel there's one pairing, then the rest remain odds and ends.

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