Final Review: Ano Natsu de Matteru

The nostalgia~

Ano Natsu de Matteru, a show that is brought to us by the original character designer of Onegai Teacher from 2002. Furthermore, Toradora and Ano Hana staff members Tatsuyuki Nagai and Masayoshi Tanaka returned for this show. Ano Natsu de Matteru aired during the Winter 2012 anime season, was simulcasted via Crunchyroll, and licensed for US distribution by Sentai Filmworks. So how did this show do?

Well to start the story started off typical “sudden girlfriend appearance” but what made it much more interesting is how she ended up being an extension of a longer love polygon. The love polygon was very big in this series and likely the biggest eye catcher when you actually don’t have much mutual feelings going on between any two parties (obviously except between Kaito and Ichika). The drama that poured out in the middle of the series (starting around 4) and all the way through episode 10 was what really defined the series. Everything after that was primarily rubbish. In those six episodes, we received strong character development and a strong sense of emotion equivalent to that seen in the recent Ano Hana. So what went wrong? The ending…I’m not too strict about Ichika returning, which was definitely expected, but I was very disappointed with the way they handled how everyone made it out of the conflicts…i.e. the whole MIB business. Yes…as big of a troll Lemon is, I was quite disappointed that the show went from what could have been a “relative slice-of-life” title into a completely supernatural one. While the show was supernatural to begin with given the alien premise, it could have easily been overlooked had it not been for all the wacky stuff at the end. I will say, however, the Mizuho-sensei reference at the end was very nicely done and basically revealed that this series is indeed an indirect sequel of Onegai Teacher. While that was hinted at since episode 1, I’m actually kind of glad that they threw in the easter egg anyways.

Art was very nostalgic that made the series feel more retro than present day. This is likely due to Taraku Uon as the original character designer, which certainly was not a bad thing. J.C. Staff as animators wasn’t too bad for this show. Certainly better than some of the stuff they’ve recently done though. Not much to say here.

OP/ED were both very nice and the background music was quite fair too. Seiyuus were the big highlights for this show. A nice mix of long-time veterans, such as Haruka Tomatsu as Ichika, Hideki Ogihara as Tetsurou, Kana Asumi as Mio, and Yukari Tamura as Lemon, and new seiyuus such as Nobunaga Shimazaki as Kaito and Kaori Ishihara as Kanna. For a drama show with much emotion the casting was nicely done and the seiyuus all did a great job in their respective roles. Very nice to also see Yukari Tamura as Lemon given her strong resemblance both physically and behaviorally as Ichigo Morino in Onegai Teacher. Furthermore, recasting Kikuko Inoue as Mizuho in the final few moments of the series was a big plus.

Enjoyment? Well I can’t say I looked forward to this every week after a certain point given how long it took me to finish this after keeping up with it early on.

Overall, the Ano Hana staff got too greedy is what I think what happened. They tried to make another heart-wrenching series like Ano Hana yet decided they had to throw in another supernatural phenomenon. In the case of Ano Hana it was a ghost girl and here it’s an alien. Supernatural is nice and all, but there are times when slice-of-life drama does not mix with it and it’s a very thorny path when you start going down it. The series didn’t fail per say and if anything I’d say it was much more emotional than Ano Hana in various aspects. I can’t help but reiterate “the ending killed it” for this show though and it’s definitely going to haunt this series.

Story and Character:

  • Premise (1/1): Good, but if you didn’t enjoy Onegai Teacher’s or Ano Hana’s premise, this probably won’t intrigue you.
  • Character Personalities (1/1): Loved the character personalities. If there was one thing about this show, it’s the lighthearted comedy. The characters are great for this and really kept the boat floating in the earlier episodes without going completely serious or emo all the way through.
  • Character Development (2/2): Pretty solid here. Each character got their moments highlighted in the middle episodes as the love polygon grew more intense and unfolded, thereby revealing each characters’ true feelings to one another.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (2/2): Cast is relatively small and focused, thereby maintaining memorability. Comedy kept presence for characters like Lemon and the love polygon made it interesting to follow the other 3 outside of Ichika and Kaito.
  • Pacing: (0/1): A show that could have simply ended with the material from Episode 10 yet decided to jump the shark entirely when they realized they had to fill 2 episodes worth of material. Going crazy is not okay given the serious buildup in the past 6 episodes.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (1/2): Setup was very much like Onegai Teacher so nothing really surprised me until the end.
  • Conclusion (0/1): As said earlier in the review, the ending sucked, period. The only thing good here was the Mizuho easter egg for Onegai Teacher fans or those who even remember Onegai Teacher. I doubt many people who watched Ano Natsu de Matteru even fit any of the two mentioned above.
  • Total: 7/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1/2): Nicely drawn but often simple with little details. Color choice is nice.
  • Character Designs (2/2): Nostalgia strikes. Some felt rough, but it actually matched and blended quite well with the background works.
  • Fluidity (1/2): Hair physics made absolutely no sense in this show. Too much stillness and lack of movement aside from facial expressions.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (2/2): Well done overall. OP/ED video animations brought out the nicest visuals of the show and matched well with the show without being too overblown.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (2/2): Considering J.C. Staff was dealing with 6 titles this season, it certainly received the better end of the budget. Furthermore, it is one of J.C. Staff’s better animated titles as of late. On par with Bakuman 2 and far exceed that of the other titles in the same season (Tantei Opera Milky Holmes II, Shakugan no Shana III, Kill Me Baby) except maybe Zero no Tsukaima F, which seemed to have received J.C. Staff’s attention the most.
  • Total: 8/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2/3): A single OP and single ED. Both were good and not to mention that Ray and Nagi Yanagi both have a fantastic voice. KOTOKO composing the lyrics was another big plus. As TV size the two songs are fine as is. The full versions aren’t exactly the most exciting songs to listen to though.
  • Background Music (1.5/2): As expected by I’ve Sound, they continue to make solid background music. They could take some time to change it up though. Most of it was very repetitive and soft, making it difficult to differentiate certain themes from others.
  • Sound Effects (1/2): Nothing particularly memorable.
  • Seiyuu (3/3): Great stuff here. A nice mix of long-time veterans and new seiyuus. Nostalgia strikes again!
  • Total: 7.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (2/2): Early comedy was great. Comedy died down as the show got more serious, but Lemon kept a lot of the series going here.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (1.5/2): Really looked forward to this early on in the season, and of course my delay in finishing this series indicated I didn’t like what was coming in the finale.
  • Presentation: (1/2): Presentation was fine for the most part but could have been better. Coming off the heels of a highly successful title of a similar genre, the series didn’t really present itself properly to grab many people’s attention the same way Ano Hana, let alone Onegai Teacher did.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): No and definitely not after that ridiculous ending.
  • Recommendation (1/2): The only people I can really recommend this to are Onegai Teacher fans and I guess Ano Hana fans. If you’re the latter, I suggest you keep your expectations much lower. It’s not a bad drama show given all the buildup, but could have definitely been much better.
  • Value (0/1): People’s expectation rise when you create something successful before this. Obviously no one is expected to continue to succeed until the end of time, but those moments of failure are what differentiates what has value and what doesn’t. Ano Natsu de Matteru, unfortunately, does not meet that criteria given the other titles in the same season let alone other titles in the same genre.
  • Total: 5.5/10

Preliminary Score: 8/10

Final Score: 7/10

 

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