“Gal and Do”
It’s about time we saw some (more) School Rumble cameos in Natsu no Arashi. I was starting to wonder if Tenma, Yakumo, Harima, Eri, and the others were ever going to show up.
While the first half revolved primarily around Hajime trying to strip Jun and drag her to the men’s bath, there were a few unexpected things in the latter half. For those of you who watched Saki, you may enjoy the mahjong bit here where Kanako (“Captain” Horie Yui) absolutely destroys Hideo with ridiculous hands. Yayoi wasn’t too shabby either, pulling off a Saki-trademark-style Tsumo Rinshan Kaihou along with a Kan Dora. As mahjong anime will have us (delusionally) believe, that of course is the “easiest” hand to pull out of nowhere. These scenes had the usual Shinbou Akiyuki comedic flair, minus the ridiculous walls of text à la Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Bakemonogatari I can do without. The usual comedic flair goes for the episode title too, which reads as “Gal and Do” but has connotations of a pubic hair “happy trail”.
Much like the first season, they’ve managed to slip in some more character development and key story aspects when you least expect. After Arashi suggested that Jun might have feelings for Hajime last time, Jun has already returned the favour by asking Arashi exactly what she thinks of Hajime. I’ve actually been quite curious about this as well since Arashi’s been able to dodge the question up until now. Surprisingly, she didn’t deny that she might have feelings for Hajime, but added that she doesn’t really understand love having died before ever falling in love. Quite a perplexing situation to be in indeed. To top it off, Arashi revealed that they (ghosts) only exist during the summer, putting another spin on the title “Natsu no Arashi” — “Arashi of the Summer”.
I liked how they seamlessly changed the mood to a serious one for that scene, but just as easily reverted it back to the comedic one. Based on this revelation, it’ll be interesting to see where this second series goes now. I anticipate that it’ll conclude around the end of summer and what happens when Arashi and the others disappear, which is more than enough to keep me watching until the very end.
The major downside of this episode however was the production quality, which dipped dramatically throughout the episode. Seeing as SHAFT has sent off an incomplete episode for broadcasting, I can’t help but feel that they’re putting out really sub-par work lately. It seems like they’re skimping everywhere and rushing anything semi-acceptable out the door. The only decent scenes here were the close-up shots, but even amongst those, they were still pretty few and far between. The distant shots on the other hand were horrendous, with really messed up looking faces and just overall lack of detail. I seriously hope this doesn’t become a habit with them.
On a separate note, I have to say Omigawa Chiaki‘s acting has improved drastically since her seiyuu debut as Maka Albarn in SOUL EATER. Jun doesn’t sound the least bit hollow like Maka did originally. As some of you may recall, that’s when it sounded like Chiaki was just reading the lines from script and the Japanese anime community trashed her for it. Anyway, this week also features the ending sequene/theme, which is rocking it 8-bit Final Fantasy style.
* While I’m going to watch this series till the end, I’m looking for some shows I can cut back blogging on. I don’t intend to cover 9 shows like I’ve been doing. Due to the lack of reader interest, Natsu no Arashi is likely one (of many) to go. Questions, comments, suggestions are welcome.