Posted by psgels on 29 March 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews

Amongst the studios that focus too much on moe, I find JC Staff among the better ones. Sure, they have their bad shows, but you can see that they put more effort into their series, compared to the likes of AIC, Xebec or ARMS and their lazy recycled premises. Ano Natsu de Matteru is a great example of this. Yes, it unfortunately has all the cliches: the main character living together with a hot girl, a childhood crush who is in love with him, him being the bland likable guy, spiced up with the deadpan snarker and the ladies’ man. It’s a very bland romance, but ultimately surprisingly well executed.

The best praise that I can give this series: the romance actually goes somewhere. Yes, in a genre that thrives on indecisive characters and pointless and annoying drama, here for once we have a romance that actually develops naturally. The main characters actually realizes what he wants, and rather than waiting for the final episode to get to some sort of confession, this show deals with that stuff slightly earlier than usual in order to actually give everyone the opportunity to sort out their feelings. The result is a surprisingly good drama.

In the character department this series also demonstrates that you can go an end with cliches when they’re well developed. It unfortunately doesn’t apply to every single character, but half of the cast here is actually pretty interestingly developed. To contrast with unfortunately, there are a number of uninteresting characters that drag this show down a bit. The main character ultimately is too bland to really carry this series. The childhood friend also completely gets caught up in her role as childhood friend, without having much else to offer, and the deadpan snarker also has just one gimmick that gets old fast. There also is this horrid beach arc in the middle that shoehorns two very annoying side-characters into the picture who end up doing nothing other than turn this show into a harem.

With the director of Ano Hana behind this series, Ano Natsu is definitely a step down in comparison. Yeah, it’s probably a bit more realistic due to its slower pacing, but I dislike how this show uses half of its cast as walking plot devices, rather than actual characters, when it on the other hand tries to deliver a somewhat realistic romance. More than anything, this feels like watching a mellow version of the first season of Birdy the Mighty Decode with a lot less emphasis on action and its setting.

Yet, I liked this show, and you can definitely see that a lot of attention went into making it work. The romance that works really works here, and it’s got a healthy amount of character development. The animation is also consistently vibrant, successfully bringing these characters to life.

Storytelling: 8/10 – A romance that actually goes somewhere and that doesn’t drag on. Finally!
Characters: 8,5/10 – Half the cast is bland, but the other half is great and well developed. Does that make them worth watching? Yes, actually.
Production-Values: 8,5/10 – Not the best of this season, but that animation still remains very expressive.
Setting: 7,5/10 – The backstory of this show is nice, but it does have its very flimsy sides that are hard to buy at times.

Introducing the rating of 81/100 back again (rounded down from 81,25, which would be way too specific). When I scraped this rating I did this because I couldn’t really explain the difference between 81/100 and 80/100. Now I can, though: these are very good series, who have a few highlights here and there that make them enjoyable and worth watching.
Birdy the Mighty Decode
Aoi Hana
Ano Hana

2 Responses

  1. moochi2000 says:

    I found myself really enjoying the series in the beginning but couldn’t pinpoint why it was not my favourite. For this show, I’d probably give it 83/100 though that’s quite similar to your own rating. After reading your review, I agree that Kaito is TOO bland/boring. My favourite characters are lemon senpai and rinon (that pink thing). You forgot to mention that the music was very well used throughout the series and that the ending “movie” in the last episode was a great wrap-up. I think the series would have delivered more if it was longer (e.g. 24 episodes) but it might have fallen short in terms of storyline/plot development. Overall, it’s an enjoyable show but didn’t make as great as an impact that I originally anticipated.

  2. nrad says:

    Dear psgels, i think you should give Onegai Teacher a try too if you haven’t watch. Ano Natsu has its settings & chara imitate that of OT.
    When I hear the mysterious voice at the last episode, I realized this series is a sequel to the Onegai series (a decade later).

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  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:51 PM)
    Hype kills anything. In regards to the kind of emotional manipulation Clannad and maybe Undertale uses, it’s like a drug. The more you are subjected to it, the less of an effect it has.
    Still there are examples of something which comes close to expectation. People say Muv Luv Alternative gives you PTSD and in a kinda does. Though it’s helped by the connection you build with the characters though the first two games.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:47 PM)
    @Kaiser,I haven’t updated the old entries of my MAL in quite a while. Pretty sure Code Geass is sitting at a 10 on it and I am sure if I give that a rewatch that rating is going to fall harshly.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:59 AM)
    I say this because people often like to hype up the genre or those elements. I bring this up/think about it now because I played a game called undertale lately on my brothers recommendation and he was all like it emotionally destroyed him but I never ended up crying, I mean don’t get me wrong its a good game, there were laughs to be had and there was sentiment but it wasn’t THAT sad/funny.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:44 AM)
    Given how many people cry at some drama, clannad included.
    That reminds me…
    I can’t actually remember the last time in my life where I cried, I draw a blank.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 07:58 AM)
    @Aidan: Something always feels off to me when you criticize clannad, I mean I’m critical enough of key these days too but it seems odd that you rank it as an 8 on MAL when you’ve always made it sound its more of a high 6 or a 7.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.

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