When I first learned about the second season of Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto, I really didn’t know what to expect, having never seen the first season. Especially because the stories you heard about said first season ranged from “dull” to “awesome”. What I got was a wonderful short slice of life series that sparkles with originality.
I love it when the creators of an anime go “screw conventions, I want to do things my way!”. Natsu no Sora immediately sets itself apart from nearly all other anime with its visuals. The very simplistic character-designs form a stark contrast with the realistic backgrounds, even though most of them are simply photos with a small filter run over them. It’s a neat way to save budget, and when put into practice, it really works.
But what really stands out (or doesn’t, if you want to be literal) in this series is its specific style of storytelling. Think of Beck, but going even further. The creators have put a lot of subtlety in the storytelling. This series doesn’t care about overblown climaxes, and instead continues to keep a quiet mood, even when the characters themselves are going through some pretty difficult times. In some cases, you really need to be paying attention, because the big moments will be over before you know it. Because of this, the characters have no trouble connecting to the viewer at all. Every single one of them is just charming in his or her own way, and a lot of fun to watch.
My only point of criticism is the way this series starts. The first few episodes feature a few plot twists that make you wonder what the heck the creators were doing back then. The entire series is so subtle and realistic, so what are these Deus ex Machina doing there?
Thankfully, Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu Na Koto – Natsu no Sora is the perfect example of a series that gets better as it progresses. Especially the final bunch of episodes are wonderfully written and convey the characters’ feelings perfectly. Natsu no Sora is an excellent series for those who want something to relax to, and yet characters that they can care about, and those who want something different and are tired of anime’s nasty tendency to be a bit too overdramatic than what’s good for it at times.