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.

Suggestions:
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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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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