Ano Natsu de Matteru – 06 Review
Ano Natsu de Matteru – Episode 06
What originally seemed like a standard beach interlude turned out to be a really enjoyable and fairly fast paced episode full of all the good stuff I have come to expect of AnoNatsu – great acting, animation, sound, and lots of charm. Although I still find myself wishing for a little more aliens and a little less angsty awkwardness, with this episode the plot seems to be moving forward and I can only imagine that AnoNatsu will continue to get better from here on out.
The episode opens with Ichika, in the bath, pondering last week’s revelation that Kanna loves Kai. Meanwhile, Tetsuou is at home feeling gloomy, probably thinking about the same thing. Tetsuou’s sister (the cougar from Ep 04) comes home, explaining that she had planned on taking a trip to Okinawa with her friends, but that they have all cancelled. She generously gives the tickets to Tetsuou and suggests that he take his friends on a vacation.
The crew arrives in Okinawa, and a typical slice-of-life-anime beach episode unfolds. The boys get flustered at seeing the girls in bikinis, everyone plays volley ball, goes swimming, and lounges under umbrellas. Fortunately, Remon brings the group’s attention back to the movie project. While filming on the beach, two cute girls approach and ask what is going on. Much to her and everyone else’s surprise, one of the girls (Kinoshita Kaori) recognizes Kai as her childhood friend. As she gushes on excitedly to Kai, the rest of the crew is feeling awkward. With a knowing smirk, Remon asks Kai to introduce Kaori to the group, but before he can finish, Kaori interrupts to declare that Kai is her fiancé. Ichika and Kanna are stunned, Kai bumblingly tries to explain the situation, Kaori is flirtatiously declaring that she and Kai were destined to meet, and Remon is just rolling in it. Amidst the death stares from Kanna and Ichika, the other new girl (Arisawa Chiharu) makes a bee-line for Tetsuou and starts laying it on him pretty thick. Mio is quite put out by this, and Remon grabs the camera, looking like she couldn’t possibly be any more amused.
Back at the beach house, Kanna and Ichika band together and gang up on Kai. Since they are both jealous of Kaori’s relationship with Kai, they fall into an “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” thing, grilling him for more info and making sarcastic remarks. Outside on the porch, Tetsuou and Mio are having a nice moment feeling sympathy for Kai, and Mio is working her way up to asking Tetsuou if he is interested in Arisawa. Suddenly, the new girls show up at the house with Remon and start macking on the boys. All hell breaks loose, but Remon intervenes to explain that she has asked Kaori to guest star in their movie.
The next day, during filming, Kaori is coming on to Kai pretty hard, and Arisawa is doing the same to Tetsuou. Kanna, Ichika, and Mio are obviously pretty unhappy about this. Tetsuou and Kai are both working hard to resist their respective girls’ flirtations, and eventually Tetsuou makes a break for it and returns to the beach house claiming that he left some important tech related equipment behind. While the girls of the crew are bemoaning their situations, they realize that the boys have disappeared along with Kaori and Arisawa. Out of jealousy and fear (fear that the boys might be off doing the wild thing with the new girls), Mio runs off to find Tetsuou, while Kanna and Ichika both go looking for Kai.
The last minutes of the episode switch back and forth between what is happening for Kai and what is going on for Tetsuou. Kaori has called Kai out to the woods and confesses to him, telling him that she still loves him from back when they were kids. Kai rejects Kaori, explaining that although he does not have a girlfriend, he is deeply in love with someone (Ichika). As Kaori is crying and Kai seems to be moving in to give her a sympathetic hug, Ichika stumbles out of the bushes looking horrified to have found the two alone together in the woods. Meanwhile, Tetsuou is back at the house, rummaging through his things, trying to decide what he should claim to have forgotten. Arisawa walks in and jumps on him. She tries to force him down on the bed and kiss him, but suddenly Mio bursts through the door, knocks Arisawa out of the way and lands on Tetsuou. Mio is mortally embarrassed (how many other people noticed that she isn’t wearing underwear?), and she and Tetsuou both turn bright red, blushing at their awkward position. The episode ends with Remon standing alone on a cliff, prophetically announcing, “Nobody is coming back.”
Once again, viewed simply as a high-school romance, AnoNatsu is excellent. When I saw the previews for this episode last week, I was dreading the cheesy and generic “beach episode” that seems to be a requirement of every slice of life anime. AnoNatsu went above and beyond my expectations though – the typical beach scenes were limited to the first five minutes or so – but even during those few minutes, there were quite a few moments that were actually really cute and funny. My favorite part was when Mio built an incredibly elaborate sandcastle on top of Tetsuou, explaining to him that the tide coming in and surrounding the castle would be the finishing touch, totally disregarding the fact that Tetsuou would drown if that were to actually happen. Throughout this episode, the animation was great, the music and sound effects were great, the voice acting was superb, and I really enjoyed watching how the characters interacted with each other.
Despite all that, there were a few things about the episode that bugged me. First of all, I thought it was overly generous of Tetsuou’s sister to give him 6 plane tickets to Okinawa and a free stay at a pimp beach house. I mean that sort of vacation package for 6 people would cost at least a couple thousand dollars, right? Maybe her husband is really rich or something? Who knows. It just seemed like a stretch, and ended up feeling very contrived. Another thing during this episode (and throughout the show) is how Kai’s sister conveniently only happens to own really sexy clothes, so whenever Ichika needs to borrow something it ends up being a nearly see through negligee or a very skimpy bikini. Lucky Kai. Also, I thought it was a little silly how well the boys fended off the two new girls. Come on, they’re teenage boys and they had two really cute girls hanging all over them. No matter how much Kai likes Ichika and Tetsuou likes Kanna, it seemed like the boys should be at least a tiny bit flattered or turned on by the situation, and it would’ve helped give some weight to the girls’ jealousy if the boys had responded to the come-ons a least a little bit.
I suppose at this point it’s useless to mention the complete absence of all the alien stuff. Like, what happened to Kai’s honeycomb-alien-cancer??? Where did it go??? It’s really driving me nuts. And where is the spaceship??? And, for god’s sake, why doesn’t *anyone* say anything about that teletubby? For whatever reason, I just can’t let it go. Maybe I’m too hung up on some insignificant details of an otherwise extremely enjoyable show, but the truth is that it really bothers me that all that seemingly-important alien stuff has been completely dropped. Sure, Ichika has a moment where she is looking wistfully out of the window at the stars and thinking about how she will eventually have to leave. And sure, Remon uses the alien-oriented plot of the movie to troll Ichika for some unknown reason. That’s all fine and dandy, but those are situations that aren’t at all specific to alien-ness – either of those scenarios would work just fine if you substituted “foreign exchange student” for “alien”.
Putting my alien frustrations aside, this was a great episode. Introducing the two new girls worked really well, and it felt very natural and fluid. I was glad about the Tetsuou-Mio action, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with their situation. I’m pretty fond of Mio’s character – she seemed like a generic, big-breasted, and dull (aka bimbo) character at first, but she’s starting to become interesting. I like how she’s a total space cadet but she’s also pretty clued in to everyone else’s relationship dynamics. I don’t really understand why she’s always hanging out naked and why she doesn’t wear any pantsu under such a short skirt, but whatever, to each their own. I also enjoyed seeing Ichika and Kanna on the same side, teamed up against Kai. Some people may have seen this as unrealistic, but I can vouch for truth of this sort of girl behavior. Girls actually do that. It’s nothing to be proud of, but I’ve done it and I’m sure that all of my girlfriends have too at some point.
Remon was great, as always. She’s an awesome character, and I hope we get to see more of her motivations and background soon. I’ve noticed that every other episode I flip-flop on what I think about how clued in she really is – some episodes she seems to know everything about Ichika being an alien and almost acts like her entire purpose in life is to mess with Ichika’s head, but during other episodes it seems more like Remon is simply just not as naïve when it comes to relationships and she is playing with everyone, trying to get them to all hook up for her own entertainment, and that she doesn’t necessarily know anything about Ichika’s “secret”. I really, really hope that Remon gets fleshed out and developed as a character and that she becomes more than just a funny and enigmatic plot-device. Of all the characters, her story and inner workings have the potential to be the most interesting.
So that’s that. This episode was truly a pleasure to watch. AnoNatsu is doing a wonderful job at being a romance anime, and no matter what the creators choose to do with the alien stuff, it’s still an all around great show. The best part about this episode is that it seemed to advance the plot (and the love polygons) quite a bit – I can only assume that from this point onwards, the show will start to move a little faster. Remon even said so – that this is the point of no return. 😉
What about you guys? Do you want to see more alien stuff or are you just fine with things as they are? What do you think will happen next week? Comment away!
Episode Rating: 8.0/10