「君たちキウイ・パパイア・マンゴーだね。」 (Kimitachi Kiui Papai Mangoo Da ne.)
“You Guys are Kiwis, Papayas, and Mangos.”
It’s the return of Hajime’s spicy food pranks. This time it’s a “Cutie Kiwi-chan” topping out at two million scovilles, which would make it two times hotter than the hottest pepper in the world, the ghost chilli. This isn’t quite the way I imagined them to conclude the second season even though it’s similar to the first’s, but the salt guy did get his salt!
Admittedly, they faked me out for a bit by opening the episode with a scene between Arashi and a five year older Hajime. Unfortunately, that all turned out to be one of the stories Hajime was trying to write, much like in the first episode. While I would’ve preferred seeing more of the drama in his scenario unfold, we have Kaya creating a blatantly obvious kiwi bomb to get back at Hajime for something he didn’t even do instead — getting her to drink something mixed with spoiled milk. Meanwhile, Hajime’s scheming the same thing for Yamashiro after failing to get him with a “Cutie Cherry-chan” at the end of season one, and Arashi gets involved too after discovering what he’s up to.
This leads us to the eventual mix up and traveling back in time to retrieve the dangerous kiwis just so that Kaya can be reassured that the kiwi-filled cream puffs are safe to eat. Despite bringing back two of the three kiwi bombs though, Kaya still ends up eating one that’s extremely spicy, because no one’s aware that Kanako and Yayoi inadvertently spiked Hideo’s kiwi sundae with some extra green colour (i.e. wasabi and jalepenos). Hilarity comes full circle when Hideo gets Hajime back with his concoction, a “Cutie Papaya” that he shoves down his mouth.
This episode was a classic example of the idiom, “you reap what you sow”. Since things were primarily comedic-focused, the two-part mini arc with Hajime traveling back in time and becoming Arashi’s first love ends up being the highlight of the season. Seeing as I rather enjoyed the development in those episodes, I don’t particularly mind that being the case. They also re-emphasized their relationship at the end of the previous episode with Arashi kissing Hajime’s forehead. My only real complaint is how they introduced the whole disappearing at the end of summer bit this season, yet never got around to addressing it. As such, they’ve left the door wide open for a third season should one get greenlit.
On the flip side, I did enjoy how they wrapped things up with a talk between Hajime and Arashi, with the former stressing that everything past, present, and future may not be set in stone. Sure, Hajime’s timeline theory was only thrown out of wack because of a fourth source that he never accounted for, but I like how he hinted at the possibility that they may not be tied down by predetermiend destinies. If anything, this might have something to do with Arashi and the others’ fates down the stretch should a third season be produced. Following that, it was also cute seeing Arashi get an indirect kiss from Hajime by drinking from his cup.
Looking back, this second season has been a lot like the first. We often had completely non-sensical episodes, filled with Kanako and Yayoi’s mini skits about food and movies, and it wasn’t until the latter half of the season did we finally get some good character development. If we assume that was the rough outline they had planned from start to finish, things went according to expectations. In the bigger scope though, the series was pretty average much like the original, simply because the percentage of random episodes heavily outweighed the plot-centric ones. It’s a bit of a shame, since a lot of viewers would probably lose interest before they get to the good stuff. Sometimes, the good parts are things that you’d least expect too, such as Kanako and Yayoi finally getting an order right (and setting up the ultimate trap) and the salt guy finally getting his salt.
Given the unassuming nature of this series, I find it’s rather difficult to recommend based on any set criteria, however I will say that you have to be patient with it to get the most out of it. Saying it’s a story about a time-traveling ghost from 60 years ago only scratches the surface, as there are so many character and story nuances you discover along the way. Natsu no Arashi is definitely not a series to write home about (especially with SHAFT studios’ lackluster animation work this time around), but it’s enjoyable on various inexplicable levels depending on the viewer.