Posted by psgels on 16 March 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

Okay, it’s time to make up the balance. With these two episodes we’re probably done with the heaviest romantic stuff, and it’s time to see whether this series ended up delivering on the things it promised.

Ichika, Mio and Tetsuro: these are for me the strongest characters. Mio is the one who changed the most as a character, and especially came to her right in this episode. Her back-story was really weird and bordering on fanservice, but I can’t deny that I like her growth a lot. Ichika meanwhile rocks in how she subtly gotten used to her life on earth. Her story is no nonsense: she’s not wrapped up in complicated love triangles: she likes Kaitou, it took her a while to confess, but when she did it was great. She finally has someone to confide in. I also like her portrayal as a real character, rather than just another romantic interest. Tetsurou meanwhile mostly rocked for being so direct and eloquent in the first half of the series. I’m not a big fan that he turned this show in something resembling a love tree (Tetsuro has Mio and that beach slut who are into him, he himself is in love with Kanna, Kanna is in love with Kaito, just like Ichika and that random childhood friend; the only exception to this is Kaito liking Ichika back). Still, looking back I like his character development and place in the story here.

Kaito… is a bit of a tough one. He’s got his good points, but also his lesser. On one hand, he actually knows what he wants. Thank GOD, he knows what he wants. As for his portrayal, though… I’ve got to confess something I realized when typing up this entry. I keep confusing his name with Senkawa. Yes, the lead for Birdy the Mighty. I really have to force myself to get his name right. It’s not a matter of the characters being too similar. Heck, Senkawa was far more annoying than Kaito in the first half of Birdy the Mighty Decode, and far more interesting in the second half. However, even in his annoying phase, he stood out. Kaito doesn’t. In the end he just didn’t escape his generic bland stereotype for me.

Then there are Kanna and Remon. Remon is just a walking catalyst: she’s got no character out of her usual snark, just acts there to spark up the romance between the other characters, and provide a light-hearted tune, but I can’t think of any scene where she really caught my attention. Kanna did have those scenes, most notably last episode. However, beyond that she disappointed a bit. In the end, she too isn’t really a character. Her only purpose in this series is to spice up the love triangles. On one side it’s to add tension for Kaito and Ichika, on the other hand it’s for the Mio and Tetsuro story. Beyond that, I don’t think that this series put any effort in giving her an actual character. The rest of the cast of this series can work when you subtract the romance. She can’t. She isn’t the worst character of this series.

The worst character of this series? That honour goes by far to that mascot.

So yeah, it turned out a bit of a mixed bag, but in the end the pros outweigh the cons. Romance series are something bizarre to me. A lot of the romance shows I like have huge flaws and annoyances to counteract some parts that they do incredibly well, and Ano Natsu fits that pretty well. The solid execution doesn’t make it a stand-out and I do feel that it could have tried more to set itself apart from its cliches (especially during that horrid beach arc) but I enjoyed it so far.
Rating: * (Good)

14 Responses

  1. zo says:

    You gave it a one star rating and said it was excellent? Isn’t it just “good”?

    • psgels psgels says:

      That was indeed a mistake. I was really doubting which of the two I should choose and apparently in my absent-mindedness I chose two different things. I think I need some sort of rating inbetween one and two stars.

  2. AidanAK47 says:

    I do really like this series but one thing really annoys me. It’s the amount of “Love at first sight” that’s going on. I always hated that concept because it’s incredibly superficial. It’s really just a lazy plot device. I know it’s supposed to be romantic in the way like finding your soul-mate but to me it’s just doesn’t work that way.
    I agree about Kaitou being a bland character.

    • Oroboros says:

      Oh I agree. Lazy, cliched writing is little more than social mores dressed up in sentimental, melodramatic dross.

    • KANRA says:

      Perhaps this is true for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same for everyone else. I myself have experienced this so called love at first sight, it does happen. Ano Natsu gives different viewers different feelings in relation to their personal experiences. In my case, it feels completely realistic (other than alien shenanigans).

      • Oroboros says:

        That is called falling in love , or infatuation. Everyone experiences that but only few of us have the fortune/misfortune to settle down with that first person.

        Also, falling in love is not true love itself.

        Romantic ideals are exaggerations of cynical pop singers and soap opera pablum.

  3. kero says:

    I’ve stopped watching, but agreed, Ano Natsu has one of the most annoying mascots I have ever seen.

  4. Kaiser Eoghan says:

    While I do think this is a good, well written review, I does surprise me, the lack of comparing/contrasting with Onegai teacher and onegai twins. Perhaps you haven’t seen those though…They are worth looking into given any remote interest in ano natsu.
    Maybe I’m just too easy going or I saw too many romantic comedies and I can overlook it, but the love at first sight thing between Ichika and Kaito doesn’t bother me.
    As for the other characters and their romantic interests I can assume they knew each other long enough before the events of the series to develop attractions to one an other.
    And though it’ll surprise some on here, despite their aesthetic appeal to me I fully agree on Remon and Kanna. One thing I like about this one is that not everyone is nuts over the male lead, yeah Ichika and Kanna like him but Remon and Mio aren’t into him were this a traditional romcom those two probably would have been after him too as well as that, that childhood friend character probably would have stuck around longer too. I also agree that this show treats its characters more as genuine human beings rather than objects.

    • Oroboros says:

      Don’t u call that genre harem (where all female characters are besotted with only the male lead) instead of romcom, which is the modern Hollywood variant of romance?

    • psgels psgels says:

      The reason I didn’
      t mention those is indeed that I haven’t seen Onegai Teacher and Onegai Twins.

      To give a frame of reference: my favorite kinds of romance are (beyond the obvious Maison Ikkoku), True Tears, Aoi Hana, Cross Game, White Album, which definitely aren’t your typical romances.

  5. mulligan says:

    The mascot didn’t bother me as much as the male protagonist, who I felt was the most obvious drawback of the series. His character is so purely reactive and one-dimensional I’m surprised the writers could spin ten episodes with him in the centre of focus.

    I don’t mind the ‘love at first sight’ premise, this is anime afterall. But considering how much the initial momentum of the story was hinged upon ‘the first crush’, try as I might I really don’t feel it. I care nothing for any of the characters, there is negligible emotional impact, easily making AnoNatsu one of the most unmemorable series so far.

  6. KaZuHiRo says:

    And this is why psgels is voted as the best anime blog; it’s analyses like this that makes me want to come back to this site.

    • hoiut says:

      Agreed. I also appreciate the fact that he doesn’t fawn over what’s popular just because it’s popular — or the opposite, tear them apart because of their hype.

      Psgel’s only bias, if he has any, comes only from his own tastes — I really admire how he doesn’t let popular sentiment sway his opinion one way or another.

      That said, I largely agree with everything said here, but I’m still holding out hope that Remon (the catalyst) is still more than she appears. Maybe some kind of alien herself? “Forever 17” highschool student and random teleportation, anyone?

  7. Hm says:

    For whatever reason, I’m just not as invested in this show as I was in Onegai Twins/Teacher when I watched them; while Teacher addressed the relationship of a couple that it established relatively early in the series, Ano Natsu’s taken forever for the confession to take place…which isn’t as rewarding, considering the fact that the two romantic leads are ridiculously bland. Yes, Ichika’s quirk is her alien-ness and difficulty adapting to the world, but…she isn’t that interesting. The same applies to Kaito.

    And while I realize that Kanna’s character development doesn’t exceed much beyond “Third-leg-of-the-love-triangle-but-not-really-because-there’s-no-contest”, she’s still sympathetic, to me. Bubbly, likeable, masks the pain of unrequited love without (too much) self-pity. I realize that Mio’s developed as well, but she’s still a squeaky moe-blob in my eyes. :P

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:42 PM)
    @Bam: There was this bizzaro Joan of arc slide show arthouse erotica anime from the 70s that recently got a re-release, its somewhat tied to Tezuka, really trippy shit, Kanashimi no belladonna.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:35 PM)
    As a book I could see it flowing better. Oshii or Kamiyama could more effectively adapt such density of material to screen.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:32 PM)
    Ultimately I think it got too ambitious and had too much on its plate.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:31 PM)
    I have yet to see genocidal organ, although yes Harmony was pretty below average and that was putting it mildly. I will consider re-evaluating it if it gets dubbed/when the dub comes out.
    Admittedly its a film of big ideas, my problem with it that the movie itself is just so plodding and I found it too overstuffed to properly focus on/fully develop its themes and the exposition was particularly heavy handed.
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:15 PM)
    @Bam: yeah, heard about the Project Itoh, from what I heard they’re not that good thou, with only Empire of Corpses has a slightly favorable reviews. I believe Kaiser watched Harmony alrready and he gave a very negative rating.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:55 PM)
    For those who have somehow managed to miss the hype for Harmony:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC-6U8HCF8c
    The visuals are intriguing, the palette very sharp, and the CGI relatively well integrated. The early reviews been scathing tho, and given my experience with Empire of Corpses I can guess why.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:49 PM)
    Each piece of the trilogy is handled by a different cast and company. Empire of Corpses was done by Wit Studio, Harmony by Studio 4°C, and Genocidal Organ by Manglobe (or Geno Studio as they are called now).
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:43 PM)
    Anybody seen Empie of Corpses? I watched it to get primed for that Harmony feature film anime, which is part of Project Itoh trilogy. Studio Wit went all out here. The animation is great, and the premise has potential, but the delivery was just botched.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 01:07 PM)
    @Mario, you were worried that you would be covering too much slice of life style anime this season, at least with this I will likely be taking one off your hands. I don’t want to cover it but hey if the public says so…guess I will have to suffer.
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 07:15 AM)
    Also it’s nice to see there was heated arguments on EVA even before I start to do any post review. The way I see it thou certain films/ series are classic/ influential for a reason, if they are brilliant I certainly can still see its sparks. Like I can still amazed of Potemkin Battleship on its montahe editing, or It Happens one night fot its influential on romantic comedy. So I really look forward to see how I feel about EVA hahaa

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