Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ano Natsu de Matteru - 07

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Like a typhoon whipped into a frenzy by warm tropical waters, Kaori and Mizusawa blew threw Okinawa and buffeted everything in their wake.

I don’t think you’ll find two minor supporting characters who did more in two episodes that those girls – not only did they make quite an impression in their own right, but they managed to get everyone’s secrets pretty much out in the open and advanced the plot by an order of magnitude.  That was their role in the story of course, but they filled it admirably well – everyone’s dirty laundry (I mean that metaphorically in Mio’s case, of course) is pretty much out in the open now and when the story returns to Nagano, the relationships of the cast are going to look a whole lot different.

Everyone more or less paired off this week, and the respective storylines received equal time.  As always Ano Natsu didn’t milk the cliffhanger it ended the last episode with, but resolved it relatively quickly – and moved on.  True, Ichika did run off not knowing just what she’d seen, but Kaito’s honesty really paid off for him here.  Kaori knew exactly where she stood with him (no chance) and took it upon herself not just to tell Ichika the truth, but to covertly arrange for Ichika and Kaito to meet on the steps of the local temple.  Turns out Kaori was looking at Seaboy as a rebound guy anyway, bur she turned out to be a decent soul who knew when she was beat.  She even came back the next day to finish shooting the movie and gave Ichika a little advice (she who hesitates is lost).

As for Mizusawa, well, she’s a nut job but I never found her less than amusing.  When she regained consciousness (somewhat before Rinon did) she immediately resumed her pursuit of Tetsuro, and rarely in relationship anime will you see the term “pursuit” used more literally than here.  Indoors and out, on the beaches and in the streets, she pursued – finally cornering Tetsuro where he and Mio were sheltering in an alley.  If Kaori was a gracious loser Mizusawa was anything but, and she whipped out every insult she could think of to throw at Mio – but the gist of it was “pervert”.  I hadn’t expected that Mio was a full-on nudist –  from a nudist family – rather than just an exhibitionist, but it makes sense in hindsight.  Tetsuro again earns solid nice guy points by springing to Mio’s defense when she’s devastated by Mizusawa’s charges and comes clean.  Clearly this is a matter of great embarrassment for her, and Tetsuro is definitely decent enough to reassure her in his gruff way that it doesn’t matter to him, or to any of their friends.  He also gives her a much-needed lecture about carrying spare panties in her purse for those days where she “forgets” to wear them.  It’s at this point that Mizusawa finally gets the hint and leaves the two of them in peace, though both of them were certainly fully uncomfortable after Mio’s full-on confession.

The last major venue of the evening was at the house, where Remon was having her way with poor Kanna.  It’s really looking as if Kanna may just end up in the “eating at the counter” crowd when this is all said and done, because her ship appears to be sailing and she’s worried about the wrong port.  Remon knows all, of course, but she’s too much the troll to give Kanna what she wants straight out.  No, she lures the poor girl into performing for her reward, promising to tell her everything about Kaito’s heart if she’ll do a little cosplay for her, and gets her drunk again for good measure.  I’m not sure knowing the truth about Kaito’s affections for Ichika (forget about Kaori, Baka) would really help her, but Remon doesn’t even give Kanna whatever small comfort the truth might have provided – Kanna ends the evening blitzed and stumbling about in a cat suit, interrupting Kaito and Ichika at a very inopportune moment.

Honestly, there really aren’t a whole lot of secrets left – not in the relationship department anyway.  Nagai and Kuroda-sensei have refreshingly gotten the major misunderstandings out of the way by the halfway point, more or less, and left us the rest of the series to actually work on the relationships.  While not everyone has committed (I’m looking at you, Tetsuro) apart from Kanna everyone knows how everyone else feels now, and I lump into that category Kaito knowing that Ichika reciprocates his feelings.  Kanna-nyan may have interrupted their kiss but the message was clear – Ichika wasn’t dodging – and I’ll repeat what I said last week, as MC’s go Kaito doesn’t get enough credit.  He says what he thinks, and he acts on it.  How many male leads wouldn’t even have had the balls to confess by this point, never mind move in for the kiss?  It’s on Tetsuro now to decide what he wants to do, and as for Kanna – perhaps to start picking up the pieces.

Of course things are still complicated, and there are still secrets – but they’re different sorts of secrets.  Even setting aside the fact that Rinon appears to have gone on “tilt” a bit from his rude introduction to Mizusawa’s butt – possibly with disastrous consequences out in space – Kaito and Ichika’s path is still facing the major roadblock that she’s an alien and he doesn’t know it yet (despite Remon’s best efforts).  Some folks call this show “Onegai Sempai” but I don’t make any assumptions about where the story is going from here, either in terms of final pairings and whether or not the series will actually consummate any of them.  I do think watching Ichika and Kaito try and figure out an inter-species relationship and Tetsuro, Mio and Kanna try and navigate a potential love triangle (if Kanna decides she likes Tetsuro, the fireworks could really fly there) is a hell of a lot more interesting that watching a bunch of characters waffle about for 12 episodes and never even tell each other what they feel.  We’re in good hands, and it should be a fun ride.

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17 comments:

  1. "but it makes sense in hindsight"
    Greatest Lol ever.

    Ano natsu is probably the best school romantic comedy since Toradora (Bake isn't really a school one), although I believe the latter has just a bit more than the former. Bah, that's just my taste.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Now that the Okinawa Arc is over, i hope that Ano Natsu spices up its game for the remaining episodes. The producers have done a great job building up all those relationships and deepening them, but its about time for the payoff. Both comedy and general lightheartedness need to withdraw a bit, toning down the silly jokes and the insane amount of cockblocking in favor of a much needed drama, confronting the problems in a straightforward manner rather than flanking them here and there.

    Otherwise, Ano Natsu will end as solid series that, while enjoyable all around, could not provide a strong, memorable climax to make it special.

    That said, it seems that there is more than it meets the eye about Ichika's alien origins. It has been a very obscure topic so far, but her constant worries about her true identity can't be just because she is afraid of prejudice. From the little clues this show has given, something big will happen. Maybe not Level E mindblowing kind of big, but exciting nonetheless.

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  3. Kanna should consider that sometimes when life gives you lemons, you may want to consider eating some Lemon.

    ...wait, thats not quite how it goes. Something like that. Whatever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonaide.

      I like this series but want to see a little more scf-fi origin in the story and not quite so much teen aged angst of this one loves that one but another loves him but he does not know it and....

      Delete
    2. Anyone else hear a distinct whooshing noise?

      Delete
  4. Felt this episode went too well that it was not well. Okay, NOT not well, but not as good as previous. Guess most of the problems solved. Even the alien part, since she won't be going anywhere for a LONG time! Her ship just went into hyperspace...
    Everything solved and most things settled. Too nice for a half way point. Wanted more drama.
    What I can see as a potential problem is the ship is needed to keep lover boy alive.

    Dam this series. I just hate it. Especially when each episode just shouts "Return to Japan! You know you wanna go to Nagano! You will love Okinawa!" Curses! Stop trying to help the economy by showing such nice bg!!

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  5. There's a distinct silence from the usual chorus of JC Staff haters...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good. Most of them are morons anyway.

      Besides, ZnTF is fulfilling the "crappy show animated by JC Staff" niche this season.

      Delete
    2. I disagree Fencedude. For the most part this season has been one of the best. They toned down the fan service alot and put more effort into the storytelling. Season 3 of ZnT was just so-so but could have been alot better. The whole season seemed to be mostly situations designed to drive fan service situations.

      Delete
    3. A "good" season of ZnT is still complete shit by any reasonable standard.

      Granted, I'm watching it, but there you go.

      Delete
  6. Too much ZnT talk in the Ano Natsu comments...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps if you have a place for them to vent their frustration. AKA Blog ZNT

      Delete
    2. There isn't enough yen in the world to persuade me to do that.

      Delete
  7. I noticed the Remon appearing next to Kanna mirroring Ichika’s "teleport" to the filming location at the beginning of this episode. Seems to lend credence to Remon = alien.

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    Replies
    1. That would explain the Dynamite Drink.

      Delete
    2. It doesn't matter what she is - as long as she keeps pushing everyone around, I'm happy.

      Delete
  8. Another great episode.. But too sad it only has 5 remaining episodes left.. T_T

    ReplyDelete