After all these loot posts, let’s talk anime for a change.
Winter season 2013 is upon us and the shows I was thinking of checking out have slowly started started to emerge. In all this, after checking out the first episodes of about 3 new shows, I felt a sudden craving for more.
Because I could skip the first few episodes, I was able to marathon it yesterday after work.
Turns out what I wrote back then still holds up to how I felt watching it now.
I think I’ve managed to pinpoint exactly what it is that I had against the show when watching it last time – Ano Natsu often is incredibly awkward. Well, romance shows all tend to be a bit like that but Ano Natsu manages to create some very embarrasing scenes in too few episodes. That’s one thing that really put me off when watching this.
The other thing was the pretty the vague connection to the Onegai-series, as I mentioned in my old post. I just can’t put my finger on who this show really is for. Is it for those who’ve seen Onegai Teacher/Twins or is it intended as a stand alone piece of work? The problem is, in my opinion, it manages to be neither of those things and once again, ends up feeling odd, slightly out of place and again, awkward.
To be fair, Ano Natsu de Matteru is actually a pretty decent/good romance show. After all, I rather liked it, despite some issues I’ll discuss below.
Characters are pretty decent, production quality is good and it never gets too sappy or depressing – So, all criticism aside it’s probably worth a watch.
But that’s not what I want to get at. No, more like, what is the purpose of Ano Natsu’s existence?
Here’s the problematic bit. It’s exactly not a secret that this show bother heavily from the Onegai-saga. The story about the girl who crashes her spaceship on earth and gets involved with a spectacled boy and his friends in the progress, should feel very familiar to anyone who has ever read the plot description of Onegai Teacher. The characters also feel familiar, though not everyone is represented this time. They are not really carbon copies, but they are playing a similar role. Add to that a lush, laid back rural scenery and the fact that the overall “sound” of the music score would feel right at home in both Onegai Teacher and it’s follow up. The “feel” and mood is pretty similar as well.
Not to mention all the moments of “hey, does this sound familiar to you?” *hint hint* *nudge nudge*
It doesn’t go all the way, however. At any second, I was expecting Ichika to blurt out that she’s a relative/descendant of Mizuho/Kei and Lemon to reveal that she’s actually Ichigo and hasn’t aged a bit. In fact, that was Ichigo’s “schtick”, if I remember correctly.
But the ending was pretty vague (i.e. they didn’t make it super obvious), so for an airhead like me, the connection is still pretty much up for discussion.
I guess for me, Ano Natsu doesn’t feel so much like a sequel as a semi-reboot. I do not mean a total reboot. More like, the staff wanted to tell the story again but with a new cast.
….aaaand, I’m not really sure how I feel about that.
See, I quite liked the old cast. Let’s be honest here. Onegai Teacher is far from the best romance show ever made and certainly not without it’s flaws. But something about it catches me every time.
I really liked seeing the couples form during it’s run and in my eyes, the best thing that ever happened to Onegai Teacher was Onegai Twins. I mean, yeah, the new cast was pretty good I guess (okay, I quite like them) but what I enjoyed the most was that because the setting remained the same, you sort of got like an epilogue to the original show as well. I always thought that was kinda neat.
Probably was something like that I was hoping for this time around too. I didn’t at first, I just thought Ano Natsu would have a similar feel thanks to the screenplay writer and character designer being involved was the same as in Onegai. But when the first episode turned out the way it did, the comparisons (and the expectations) were most likely inevitable.
In the end, now, I can’t help but to wonder if we ever will get any more Onegai-related releases, be it anime, manga, drama CDs or novels, or if this served as the staff’s final hurrah with this IP.
I sure know I could take another entry. 🙂
Actually, looking over at the wiki, Ano Natsu has been adapted to both manga, light novels and a book, but you know what I mean! 😉
Lastly, I’m left with a few personal gripes with Ano Natsu:
* Lemon, despite all the badassery in the end, feels rather flat as a character this time ’round. She’s mostly just played for comedic relief and plot convenience. Not that Ichigo didn’t play a similar role in Onegai Twins, but she was a tad deeper in Teacher.
* Despite being aired early 2012, no one seems to have a cell phone. Is this some kind of alternative future? Are they really teenage students? I can’t go outside the door without seeing young kids having a smarter phone than me. They’re pretty much everywhere and I have no reason to believe Japan would be any different, not even in the countryside. Except if like…the reception is really bad or something retarded like that. There were a couple of times where they all went “oh man, did you know where he/she went? I’ve gotta look for him/her!!”, and the fact that nobody seemed to start off by making a phone call just seemed…unreal. 😀
* Which brings me to the point of, that old camera is fine for filming for fun, but when making the darn movie, just use a normal camera. Waugh! D:
Allright, that’s quite enough of me ranting.
This post was something I thought to myself I should do once I’d seen 2 episodes of each show I was interested in. That was what? 2 weeks ago? You’re probably already seen all of these now. Small wonder why my old animeblog didn’t go all that well…
Out of all shows that started this season, I only checked out three. I’ve also been following these three since. None is bad enough for me to stop watching but they aren’t exactly the most exciting things I’ve seen either. Though, some are still quite good. Enough of that, let’s give them a rough impression, one by one.
Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou
(Daily Lives of Highschool Boys)
I thought this was going to become my sleeper hit of the season. It wasn’t something I picked from those anime charts but rather something I seeked out after reading some other blog’s impressions, including ANN’s own winter 2012 coverage. It sounded like every other manga-based slice of life comedy and while I usually don’t mind that kind of thing, I was initially going to pass this one up.
Turns out people was surprised by it though, so I had to check it out and sure enough, episode 1 had me laughing as well. Even though I can’t say it was very original, it was the way it delivered that made it interesting and made it feel fresh. The second episode was just as fun, if not more. But sadly, the latest two episodes haven’t been reaching the same level as those before them, with jokes feeling strangely drawn out, forced or needlessly repeated. I really hope it picks up again though.
Visually, it’s nothing special at all. A quick google search suggests it being true to the source material but it really is a bland looking show. It’s pretty much the opposite of where KyoAni takes some cookie-cutter 4koma and totally maxes that shit out.
One last thing though, it feels good to hear Kyon…sorry, Sugita Tomozaki again, doing what he does best.
(Bodacious Space Pirates)
Classical ingredients space, sci-fi & girls are the order of the day in this modern pirating tale. Except there really haven’t been a whole lot of pirating going on so far. And that’s actually a good thing. The main character, Marika, lives a quite ordinary life and it would really feel jarring if they forced her down into the pirate outfit right away. The show manages to be interesting while having quite the laid back pacing and this is probably necessary in order to properly build upon Marika’s character (and everyone else’s) so that the situation hinted in the opening actually makes sense and doesn’t feel forced.
That said, there have been enough happenings every episode to keep things interesting. All negative things I can come up with lies with somewhat lacking, and sometimes quite odd, visual design and presentation. But that’s just what I think. However, the weapons are downright weird. What looks like an oversized sub machine-gun, using a proper magazine for ammo and all, actually acts like a laser cannon – with a ridiculously long charge time before firing (possibly for effect).
Visually, there is too much bland 3D graphics used and while the style is kinda nice, the overall look is still very generic.
But the story is interesting and I want to find out what happens next.
Ano Natsu de Matteru
Waiting in the Summer
This one, I was actually really looking forward to. Not sure since when but probably when I saw the promo art the first time. Then I became even more excited when I read that both the screenplay writer and character designer were involved in 2002’s Onegai Teacher.
This connection is so strong that AnoNatsu proves a bit difficult to judge. On it’s own, it’s a well made albeit sort of slow paced romance comedy, plagued by some less good design decisions – like, for example, the look of the main character :p The graphical style they went for feels a bit more like Ano Hana than Onegai but that’s probably because JC Staff is responsible for the animation. It’s really a good looking show, stylistic preferences aside.
When viewed as a part of the Onegai-series, however, I feel that both the setting and the characters aren’t as interesting, even though they are very much the same, technically. I don’t have easy access to either Onegai Teacher or Twins right now, and this might just be my nostalgia acting up but that’s how I feel about AnoNatsu.
Actually, I think the most magical thing for me with Onegai wasn’t so much the characters (certainly wasn’t Kei) but the location and they way it was presented. Both Onegai & AnoNatsu takes place in rural areas, with both Teacher & Twins using Lake Kizaki in Nagano as their backdrop. I like to think the fact that we get to know this place and it’s surroundings through a total of 26 episodes really helps explain why I don’t harbour the same feelings for the setting in AnoNatsu, even though it seems similar. Still, only 4 episodes in, we haven’t seen that much of it yet. Also, it would certainly not be too surprising should it too be based on another real location somewhere…
But returning to topic, so far, Ano Natsu feels like someone played it safe. It does take certain liberties such as a new (but similar) setting, new (but similar) characters and features a new (but similar) spin on the story from Onegai Teacher. Ultimately, Remon might be the new Ichigo but Ichika is not the new Mizuho ; )
And there we have it. Vague and non-helpful ramblings as per usual : )