Ano Natsu de Matteru 11 – Lemon and her awesome driving skills
March 23, 2012 Leave a comment
Ano Natsu de Matteru has been a series which focused on friendship and the broader relationships between characters – no matter how painful things got, how often their feelings overlapped, this group of friends have managed to stay together. That is the major draw, and easily the best thing about this show, showing that, no matter who you love, and who they love, there is always the possibility to still be great friends, knowing that you have done your best. It was great last week seeing how this groups friendship kept them together, no matter how much they were hurt, and more importantly, every single character in this series is likable. There are no characters that just come across as selfish, stuck up, or just plain annoying – they all have their moments of immaturity, as befits a group of high school kids, and yet there is a level of maturity which many other romance anime lack. But, it is also a series that never goes overboard with the drama, even when one character says something very important to the story, there are little elements of humor that help to keep the plot dramatic, without being melodramatic.
As was probably obvious from the beginning, Ichika would eventually have to make a decision, and most likely be forced to leave the planet. Her sister Takasuki Emika appeared last week, having taken a paid holiday, and rented the fastest ship to rush to her younger sisters rescue. But, most significantly, she arrived on Earth before the search party that had been sent out by the Galactic Federation in response to the distress signal, along with the loss of the first automated life pod. Her interactions with Ichika were fascinating, showing an incredibly caring, yet quite strict older sister who loves her younger sister dearly. It was quite fascinating that the writers went to such lengths to make it difficult for Ichika to remain with Kaito. Everywhere they turned there was something blocking them, with Emika coming straight to the point and saying that she would be taking Ichika home.
It was interesting to see Kaito immediately suggest that he should go into space with them – anything to be able to stay with Ichika. But, that was shot down, as it is apparently illegal for anyone from a Grade F planet to be taken into space. Emika went to great lengths to demonstrate, not only to Ichika, but also to Kaito, the gravity of the situation that they are in. Seeing her tell Ichika that unless she leaves voluntarily she could face criminal charges from the Galactic Federation, along with causing untold trouble for Kaito, Mio, Tetsurou, Kanna and the population of the area. Emika was being realistic, and in a sense was the bad guy of this episode, yet, like every other character in this series so far, you just couldn’t hate her. It is perfectly clear how much she loves and cares for Ichika, and she is fully aware of the consequences should Ichika attempt to stay with Kaito.
Ichika has been backed into a corner, and seems to have no room to maneuver – seeing her talk about how she loves Kaito and doesn’t want to lave him or her new found friends was beautiful, but also heartbreaking. These sudden revelations force the characters into action, with Mio, Kanna, Tetsurou, and even Emika herself swinging into action. It was fascinating to see Emika take the opportunity that Lemon gave her, and further underlines the idea that there are no bad characters in this series. Emika was initially speaking from her own experience and knowledge of the Galactic Federations laws, not out of spite, so when she is given the opportunity to truly help Ichika, she takes it. And Kanna yet again comes to the rescue – seeing her, for the second time berate Ichika about her own indecisiveness, and clearly showing her how painful the experience of seeing Kaito fall in love with someone else ahs been for her was a wonderful, yet very sad scene. It takes a to of courage to stand up to your rival like that, knowing that you love the same person, but also knowing that without her, Kaito will never smile again.
This series has a habit of playing with your emotions, almost as much as it plays with the characters. When Ichika kissed Kaito and then got up as if to leave, was a dreadful moment – seeing her standing in the sunlight, with that music, and calling on Rinon to teleport her was almost too much to bear. And yet, all that dramatic tension was for naught, since Mio, Tetsurou and Kanna were there to save the day. Yet again, the characters of Ano Natsu de Matteru came together to save someone – and it was as if the feelings that Ichika had been bottling up were released. But, it is never another character that pushes the protagonists forward, although, the others have been there to give them a helpful little push in the right direction. It has been a series that focused on the feelings of love and friendship, and how they can make the characters decide for themselves on what they truly want to do.
It was great to see how they all came together to try and figure out a solution to Ichika’s problem. And more importantly, how they have largely come to terms with their feelings of love and friendship within this group. Tetsurou freely admits to Kaito that he had confessed to Kanna, and more importantly that he had only really been thinking about himself and his own feelings. Tetsurou has matured over the series, being someone who can now freely admit to trying to get Kaito and Kanna together for his own, largely selfish reasons. Mio is another character that has matured over the course of the series, astoundingly so. She has become forceful, and capable of voicing her own opinions, showing Tetsurou that she is quite happy to be alone with him when the rest don’t turn up to film.
Lemon is the only character that hasn’t quite changed, at least in the way that our main protagonists have over the course of the series. She is fascinating, and will likely remain an enigma until the very end, someone who is older and far wiser than she looks. Her ability to grasp the situation, along with dealing out helpful advice, and scolding characters when necessary has been great to watch. Her sudden, and dramatic appearance in aid of our group was great, but only further enhanced the sense of mystery around her. And while she might be a brave, and truly brilliant person, Lemon never misses an opportunity to grab some more footage for this film.
The end of this weeks episode was yet again fascinating, dramatic and wonderfully animated. It was an interesting idea to bring back this special place that Ichika had apparently been after – something that at first came across as quite a flimsy pretext for Ichika to come to earth on. But, bringing it back, and tying it into the story demonstrated yet again, that this show is well written. But more than that, it shows how science fiction can be portrayed in a way that makes it looks less than science fiction, and more like everyday life. It was a dramatic conclusion, with Mio discovering the location of this place just as the search team arrived and Rinon’s teleportation was disabled. Also, even though they are looking for a way to keep Ichika from leaving there are still moments of comedy, such as seeing Ichika and Kaito be all lovey-dovey, only to have Kanna tell them off as if they were naughty children.
Seeing the friends react and how they are prepared to act as decoys in order to get Kaito and Ichika safely to this mysterious place further highlighted their determination. It was however the pairing of Mio and Tetsurou that produced the most astounding part of this entire scene. It was really sweet seeing Tetsurou ask Mio if she wanted to go to the cinema with him when this was all over. He may have acknowledged his feelings for Kanna with the knowledge that they will not be reciprocated, but he has also been getting much closer to Mio over the past couple of episodes. This does demonstrate how far Tetsurou has come, and Mio – she wanted to be with Tetsurou, and for his part, Tetsurou has acknowledged her feelings and is willing to make the effort for her.
It is still not certain that Ano Natsu de Matteru will have a happy ending, the preview is very vague, and there are numerous things that could go wrong, especially when the van has been knocked over. It would be terrible to show us a glimmer of hope, only to cruelly snatch it from our grasp, and yet it seems unlikely to happen. If nothing else, it would make all the effort and pain that these characters put into their confessions and their struggle to stay together mean very little. But, while the ending is getting near, and we al hope that it will be a good one, there is so much more about this show than simply a happy, romantic ending. As I mentioned at the beginning, this show is about feelings and relationships – they may be complex things, but that does not mean you should be scarred of them. Seeing the character embrace their feelings, acknowledge their shortcomings and continue to work together has been great. And yet, it was never too seriously, never overly dramatic – there was always humor, and little breaks so that the drama never became over bearing. A very well made series, and I hope that we get the ending that it deserves.