Ano Natsu de Matteru 08 – The Truth, Summer Festivals and Emotional Turmoil
February 29, 2012 Leave a comment
Last week we saw Ichika giving her mutual consent to Kaito, thus acknowledging not only his feelings, but her own, which means that are now officially a couple – albeit one that hasn’t quite gone public yet. It was great seeing how they were both incredibly embarrassed when in each other presence, and even a simple touching of hands sends Ichika currying off to do some laundry blushing. That they are both replaying the kiss that was interrupted by Kanna in the heads also shows how deep their affection for each other is. Unfortunately it does leave Kanna in the middle and left out, and Tetsurou, for all his pushing Kaito about Kanna appears to be developing pretty strong feelings for Mio. Although, thankfully Kanna does not remember the kiss, which would have probably destroyed her, although the way this episode played out there is the suggestion that her emotional state from now on may be less than good.
What’s interesting is that while there has been no seismic shift in any of the relationships because of the Okinawa trip, there has, however, been a significant change in both Kaito and Mio. Tetsurou and Kanna both notice a significant difference in their attitudes and just the way in which they conduct themselves – there is also a drastic change in Mio. Seeing her with short hair, and sexy clothes was brilliant, and also suggests that she has partly gotten over the fear of being a nudist at home, along with accepting that she has a sexy body. Seeing how Tetsurou notices her before he notices Kanna, the girl he is meant to be in love with says an awful lot. I am not suggesting that Tetsurou no longer loves, or at least has feelings for Kanna, but it becomes abundantly clear that he has started to notice Mio far more. Ichika for her part seems incapable of getting that final night on Okinawa from her mind, and starts thinking about cooking Kaito’s favourite foods for dinner. It’s a nice little moment that shows how close the two of them have become, and while there is still a certain distance still, it is a distance created by two people a little embarrassed y knowing the others feelings. None of this escapes Tetsurou of course, and while he now knows that Kaito and Ichika are going out (at least in part) he has yet to give up on getting Kanna and Kaito together. At the moment perhaps it may be that he knows Kanna will not return his feelings for her, but also that he has begun acknowledging his own feelings for Mio, and feels that the best ending is to have Kaito and Kanna together.
What we get from all this is a visit to the local Matsuri (festival), with Kanna seeing it as the perfect chance to get a little closer to Kaito. Seeing all the Ano Natsu girls in their Yukata’s was great, although Ichika seems to trump Kanna in looks and style yet again. While Kaito is clearly looking at Ichika, it appears that even though Tetsurou acknowledges Kanna’s presence, along with complementing her on her beautiful Yukata, his eyes are drawn to Mio yet again. But, what would a Matsuri be without some drama, and the all-important food. Seeing Ichika light up with all the food and getting all bubbly, going from stall to stall to see what they are selling was great. It was like for this short moment Ichika, and everyone else in the group had forgotten their emotional turmoil – be it because of a unrequited love, or because of problems with being an alien – all was forgotten with the joy of the Matsuri.
This episode would not be a true Ano Natsu de Matteru episode without the arch meddling of one Lemon. It has now been confirmed, that Lemon seeming wise beyond her years is because she is certainly older than she appears. Her little meeting with Manami (Tetsurou’s older sister says as much), who knows her, and Lemon also appears to know about Manami’s constant fights with her husband – the line ‘forever seventeen’ says everything really. What this all adds up to is a impromptu test of courage, that has all the actors lining up for Lemon to catch their every last moment of teen angst and heartbreak. That she knows everyone’s relationships and feelings for everyone else in the group just makes her even more devious – rigging the draw so that the aspiring couples are together, leaving Ichika alone.
It was fascinating to see how caring Tetsurou acted towards Mio, who is clearly utterly scared of the situation. This entire sequence is made even better when Manami surprises them, only to have Tetsurou and Mio involuntarily, but what appears to be willingly kiss, all the while being secretly filmed by Lemon. A nice little sequence that further underlines how these two have been growing closer since the Okinawa trip, and importantly how they are both battling with their own feelings, not just for each other, but for others within the group. The other group was Kaito and Kanna, who were apparently manipulated (like everyone in this series) by Lemon into doing the walk together, possibly so she could see how Kanna acted. Having Kaito and Kanna together, but Ichika left alone, did not bode well, and when Kaito rushed off as soon as he heard Ichika’s scream it was heartbreaking. It is admiral that Kaito was willing to rush off to save Ichika from unknown perils, but seeing Kanna’s face when she realised her feelings will never be returned as pure devastation. She has tried her best to get her feelings across, and even Tetsurou has told Kaito as much, but Kaito has always been firmly focussed on Ichika, with little room for Kanna. While Lemon may be manipulator extraordinaire, this week’s fun and games came across as almost evil on her part. The idea filming budding relationships, and even deliberately paring people up in such a way as to split Ichika and Kaito apart came across as quite mean.
The events that happened after this had been foreshadowed for the entire episode, with Rinon looking increasingly worried and disturbed, apparently attempting to control Ichika’s run-away ship. When she does finally tell Ichika about the problem, we also get the arrival of a rescue pod (from an alien alliance apparently), come to rescue Ichika from an apparently hostile world. Kaito has really outdone himself in this series, showing immense bravery and decisiveness, even though at times it is a little stupid. Seeing him attack this pod head on with the purpose of rescuing Ichika was great to watch, and even confessing a second time, only to be killed in the act of saving Ichika. Ichika’s crying face after reviving him yet again says all we need to know about the emotional turmoil going on within her. That she has had to revive the person she loves after he valiantly defends her must be heartbreaking, although I have a suspicion that there may be more to it than that, possibly to do with the issues Kaito had in earlier episodes.
Ano Natsu de Matteru has succeeded throughout to take its viewers on an emotional ride, with complex webs of emotions and relationships. In recent episodes we have seen relationships starting, and others being torn apart, all of which are made ever more complicated when you realise that these budding relationships involve people who themselves are having to deal with a complex set of emotions that keep pulling them in different directions. Seeing Ichika and Kaito finally confess was a wonderful moment, and their mutual feelings are clear to see, it has, however, come at a great cost. Kanna, a spectacular character may be emotionally broken after these weeks’ events, not forever, but possibly for the rest of the summer holidays. Kaito knew about her feelings for him, and yet his decisive act, and single-minded drive to save Ichika has clearly demonstrated to Kanna what words may not. Mio has also come along way since the first episode, her growth has been great to watch, and her current appearance, one of a sexy, and confident girl who has admitted her feelings for Tetsurou, not only to him, but to herself appears to have taken an immense weight off of her chest. Tetsurou has potentially the most troublesome part in all this as he has yet to reconcile his feelings for Kanna, and while she may be emotionally distraught it has become clear that since Mio’s confession, and the sudden revelation that she goes commando from time to time appears to have had a tremendous impact on him.
And yet, hovering over all of this is the fact that Ichika is an alien, and more importantly for the rest of the series, one with a ship that is out of control and with its distress beacon on. It will only be a matter of time before more ships or rescue pods arrive, along with the potential for problems with Kaito. Seeing Ichika break down emotionally and even physically at the sight of Kaito in a pool of blood was terrible to watch and quite distressing. She has finally come to realise how important he is to her, and what she has gotten him mixed up in. That scene in particular, once again demonstrated how well written the script for Ano Natsu de Matteru is, along with excellent directing. Having Ichika seemingly apologize to everyone as the camera pans around to show the entire cast was a wonderful and emotional scene. And while the alien aspect of Ichika’s character hasn’t really been touched upon since about episode two (save for a few references and the presence of Rinon), it seems likely that it will be at the forefront of much of the drama in Ano Natsu de Matteru’s remaining episodes. I look forward to seeing how these different plot arcs and relationships get resolved, although I fear that Kanna will be left out in the cold, unless Ichika is forced to return to her planet with no possibility of coming back to earth again.