「夏休み」 (Natsu Yasumi)
As the pro-Natsu no Arashi voice in the Fall Preview, it’s probably my place to say a few words about the sequel. So without further ado…
First and foremost, this is an adaptation produced by SHAFT. As such, the stylistic touches seen in the ef series and the recent Bakemonogatari are prevalent throughout. Whether the disjoint scene transitions is something you like or not, it’s hard to deny its uniqueness. Luckily for me, it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment in most cases; in the back of my mind the thought is usually, “well that’s SHAFT for you.” This goes doubly for their opening and ending sequences. Often filled with seemingly low budget, non-sensical, erotic scenes, they’re either hit or miss in a lot of cases. For those familiar with the first season, I think I prefer its opening over the new one, but that may change over time as SHAFT’s stuff tends to hypnotize you the more you watch it. On that note, there was no ending sequence this week, but the theme will feature the key female cast — Shiraishi Ryoko, Nazuka Kaori, Nonaka Ai, and Horie Yui.
As a bit of a disclaimer going forward, this is a direct sequel to first season, so they expect you to know what happened there. You can watch it without the first season, but you probably won’t get as much enjoyment out of it. For those of you still with me, I have to say I’m slightly disapointed with this first episode but am not too concerned at this point. In short, it was pretty much a fan-service type of episode with a trip to the beach. Most of the mild humour came from the girls’ embarrassment over wearing modern day swimsuits (minus Arashi because she’s “with it”) and Jun’s worries about having her gender exposed to Hajime and the others. They did move forward with the plot though, as Arashi discovered Jun’s secret and hinted at the idea that Jun has feelings for Hajime. Nothing earthshattering, but definitely something that gets the ball rolling.
The reason I say I’m not too concerned at this point though is because the first season started off kind of slow too. Things picked up when they started traveling back in time, so I’m expecting the same to happen here. The whole “Time Slip” part of the series along with the humour involved is one of the biggest appeals of the show. It’s also what led to the interesting character developments for Kanako and Yayoi — the driving part of the story in season one. On the surface, it may seem like this is just a quirky series with some time traveling comedy (which it is), but it actually offers a bit more than that. I was content watching the original with the comedy-only mindset but discovered this along the way, which is the main reason why I was looking forward to Akinai-chuu. When I think about it, Natsu no Arashi sure differs from Kobayashi Jin‘s original work in School Rumble.
I hear that a lot of people aren’t huge fans of the character designs and I don’t really blame them. They’re not really high on my preferred list either. However, I don’t like the character designs in most Key anime adapations (e.g. Kanon and CLANNAD) and that hasn’t stopped me from watching them and missing out on some good series. Of course, I’ll draw the line somewhere; Natsu no Arashi is just no where close to being ruled out for that reason. The girls are supposed to be from the World War II era after all, so their appearances kind of suit that context.
From the look of things, this first episode ties directly into the next with everyone staying overnight at an inn. Part of the focus will be on Jun again, as she tries to keep her secret hidden from Hajime while sharing a room with him. In any case, I’m following this with a pretty blank slate again and hoping it surprises me along the way.
* Like the first season, Natsu no Arashi! Akinai-chuu is simulcasted with official subtitles on Crunchyroll.