Ano Natsu de Matteru 04 – Confessions, Misunderstandings, and Ichika’s wrath
February 2, 2012 1 Comment
The first three episodes of Ano Natsu de Matteru largely dealt with the group dynamics within the series, focussing on the relationships within this group of friends and how they are subtly changing with the arrival of the beautiful Ichika. This week however dealt with the relationship between Kaito and Ichika in far greater depth than any of the previous episodes, and gave us some indication as to what might happen as the story unfolds.
As with the previous episodes this one explored the characters emotions in often quite subtle ways, although having Kaito drive off with a sexy older woman in this case doesn’t necessarily count as subtle. It was great to watch both Ichika’s and Kaito’s reactions to the sudden confession, with Ichika – not really knowing what to do, or how to respond – simply walking onto the train and going home, only to regret her decision straight away. Seeing both Kaito and Ichika attempting to talk themselves into acting naturally after the events of the day before is great to watch. The expression on Ichika’s face when Kaito says good morning to her while she’s making their lunches is priceless, and is only beaten by the look of Panic on Rinon’s little face when Ichika drops her knife at the same time.
What we then had was a look at the complicated nature of people’s feelings, particularly those of Ichika. It is perfectly clear that Kaito and Ichika share mutual feelings of love, however neither of them seems to have quite noticed this. Kaito ends up talking to Tetsurou, while Ichika talks to Lemon, both using the same examples – Mr A, Ms B, and then added later Ms C – attempting to suggest that this is all hypothetical, and not based in reality at all. Naturally both Tetsurou and Lemon, two immensely smart and intelligent people see through these stories straight away. However, instead of saying that they appear to acknowledge that these questions are important and instead give genuine answers. It was a nice chance to see the relationship dynamics within the group again however. We have Kanna trying to cheer Kaito up by encouraging him to talk to Ichika, mistakenly believing that they are having a fight, rather than avoiding each other because of a slightly tricky confession. Kanna is a great character, and seems genuinely worried that Kaito and Ichika aren’t getting along, showing how kind she is. It does however feel a little bit like the childhood friend character being shafted for the sudden girlfriend again. Kanna is brilliant, she loves Kaito dearly, however she is almost too kind and a isn’t the most perceptive when it comes to peoples feelings – if she was, she would have noticed Tetsurou’s feelings for her long ago.
The situation with Ichika appears to be far more complex, and she provides us with a little answer that alludes to possible events later on in the series. Essentially for her, a relationship will be that much more difficult because she understands that she will have to leave the planet at some point – having likely gone through a lot of trouble to get there in the first place. But it is now certain that she loves Kaito in some way – clearly demonstrated by her jealous rage when she sees him in a car with Tetsurou’s older sister. This entire scene brought back memories of Onegai Teacher for me, when Mizuho, after a fight with Kei stalks him as he goes on a ‘date’ with Herikawa. It’s brilliant to see Ichika threatening to put Rinon into a stew if she/he/it blows her off again; I’ve a feeling that Kaito has a bumpy ride ahead of him, because a jealous Ichika looks like a dangerous Ichika. She gets more and more upset, annoyed and plain jealous as she continues to follow Kaito and Manami around, getting especially frustrated when Manami brings Kaito into a Lingerie shop, happily showing off what she is trying on.
It is clear to Tetsurou, Lemon and Manami – Tetsurou’s older sister who appears to have a bit of a crush on Kaito by the looks of her interactions with him this episode – are fully aware that Kaito and Lemon love each other. Manami suggests that Ichika isn’t very bright since she is making up loads of silly excuses as to why she followed them around town. Lemon, in a similar fashion to how she messed around with Kanna last week, teases Ichika mercilessly in this episode:
Lemon: Kirishima was….
Ichika: Snaps lead on pencil.
Ichika: Lead snaps on pencil again.
Ichika: Lead snaps for a third time.
Lemon as a character is brilliant, she is there to push peoples emotions, tease them, but most important of all, she seems to be the catalyst for the drama to come. We also had a nice bit of fanservice in this episode, courtesy mainly of Manami with her more mature womanly charms, and sexy clothes, long with a rather nice little glimpse of Ichika and Lemon in their swimsuits. The fanservice in this show hasn’t been especially extreme, and has mainly been used for comic effect, rather than merely plastering it everywhere. I have nothing against fanservice, however I am thankful this show has not had all that much so far, since it has a good story and a strong cast to push it forward. And on another note, the alien technology that Ichika possesses didn’t really crop up this episode, apart from Ichika warping around the place to follow Kaito – Kaito hasn’t suffered any problems with whatever it was that Ichika used to save him – although I’m sure it will make an appearance soon enough.
Ano Natsu does use daydreams and crazy fantasies rather well, with both Ichika and Kaito having some pretty entertaining fantasies at the worst possible time. We have Kaito fantasising about Ichika accepting his confession, only to end up hugging Tetsurou and effectively confessing to him by mistake. Ichika’s fantasies are equally as crazy, constantly misreading the situation and coming to the most extreme conclusion possible – ie, Manami seducing Kaito and sleeping with him – with no justification of evidence to back it up. I think this is a nice little plot device to add some drama, rather than having fallouts in the group, have them in their heads instead.
I am glad that this episode didn’t end with Ichika and Kaito officially going out. For me it is too early for that to happen, we know that they both love each other, but are too dense in this area to notice it. Instead what we have is an example of how much Ichika cares – almost obsessively so – for Kaito, giving him a tough regime of studying so that he can pass his finals before summer break. I do like this way of working; much like Onegai Teacher it is taking Kaito and Ichika a while to understand their feelings for each other, along with the rest of the cast. I think the story would have been ruined if Ichika had accepted Kaito’s confession straight away, much like Mizuho accepting the marriage, but not quite knowing what she will do with Kei. The relationships in this series ebb and flow, with different peoples feelings coming to the fore at different times. The episode was mainly about Ichika’s feelings, for example – and her brilliant embarrassed facial expressions whenever Kaito is mentioned. It is also clear how complicated Ichika’s situation is – as alluded to by her comment earlier in the episode – and we do not yet know exactly why she is on Earth, and what she had to do to get here. And next week looks set to be the start of the real drama if the preview is anything to go by. I am also looking forward to finding out why Ichika is so fixated on the earth, there is the potential there for something similar to Onegai Teacher with Ichika being only half alien, or there could be another reason all together.