I really liked Ano Natsu de Matteru to begin with. All the essential pieces for a juicy romance is there. It had that spark of directing brilliance that Toradora had in spades, yet it stuck to its cliches. Simplicity at best, if you would put it that way. The thing is though, I still had that inkling where “Hey, isn’t it getting too been there done that?”. The Okinawa trip (probably compulsory for this series) showed lots of cracks in its story though the knack of awesome directing and heavy character development did make up for it. It was averaging out, not becoming better and better which is a bad thing for an Anime. The series hasn’t crossed that line from “Good” to “Great”.
Well of course until episode 9.
Yes I am a sappy romanticist but that doesn’t stop me to still objectively realize how good that episode was. Well at least a scene in that episode which was waiting to happen for a long time. NO IT’S NOT KAITO AND ICHIKA FINALLY KISSING. It’s the assist.
Poor Kanna played the good guy and gave Ichika a lesson. “Just tell him you love him!”. I think the part where she said “that’s an option I will never have” hit me the most. In love and war, especially in high school where hormones is at its peak, we spout things that our head says more often than we should now. Kanna was playing BOLD. The courage Kanna demonstrated, something heavily built up from episodes of frustration, was a blast to see.
After Kanna finishes her speech (complete with a “baka”), she runs away in which then Tetsurou consoles her. Also hiding on the side is Mio, who had the most dramatic change in the most subtle way. There was a shot where all three were in a line, I just found that very artistic and a damn fine directing. It totally encompassed the emotions our side-cast was having.
BUT WAIT IT GETS BETTER!
Episode 10 focused on its side characters. Sure there was some lovey-dovey time with Kaito and Ichika (which is almost sickening to a point), but the main point of this episode was the aftermath. Tetsurou had a lot of focus, whether it was consoling Kanna, clearing it out with Mio, getting a lecture from his sister, he had it hard. Kanna thought it was a love triangle but it was much MUCH MUCH bigger than that. Once Tetsurou indirectly says that he loved Kanna for a long long time, we get to see a proper finish to Kanna’s failed love story with her confessing to Kaito (and him turning her down like the alien-stud he is). Tetsurou gets consoled by Mio again (I swear that girl has changed) similar to how Tetsurou consoled Kanna. Again there was a damn fine direction here with how everything worked like a line focusing on one character then going down to another character in the love polygon.
So those two episodes. They were really REALLY close in making it to GOD MODE, but what stops this from doing so. It really is about the few cracks it still has. The main problem is that I don’t like Kaito and Ichika. I appreciate their development (and again a fine direction in their love story) but when both are together, its like eating sugar with more sugar. It’s kind of a big flaw when you don’t like your main characters and compared to Toradora’s main couple, Kaito and Ichika are light years away from making me like them together.
Still that flaw doesn’t stop me from loving this series which will probably go down as one of my favorites this year (right now there’s only Chihayafuru and Nisemonogatari standing against it and those two are godly)