Thoughts on Natsu no Arashi! (Slightly Explicit & Some Spoilers)

First completed anime of the new year… despite starting it last year.

This anime was interesting. Interesting good? No. Interesting in the sense that it was unlike many anime I view on any given day. The characters were odd, but likable. The plot ran between a time-traveling epic and a slice of life dumpster fest. It contained a lot of inside things that would serve as plot points later on in the series and, most of all, it was incredibly unpredictable, which was nice.

The plot is really something. Wouldn’t it be fun to say that you could time travel with a ghost of a beautiful young woman? Wouldn’t it be fun to say that, despite all of your fun with time traveling, everything you do would have no consequences? This is the only thing I saw incredibly flawed with the plot. It made it seem as though these travels, that were instigated on the most mundane of reasons, would result in changing the entire fabric of reality. But it turns out that the present is the way it is because of their travels. Interesting. So, if they were to go back in time and kill Hitler before he went psycho-crazy and what-not, would the present remain the same? Would they still regard him as the most universally hated human being on the face of the planet? The issue with this anime is that, despite their forewarnings, everything they decide to do in the past is about as controversial to the plot as I’m controversial to Europe. For those of you who wish for me to elaborate, I’m saying that I have no importance to Europe whatsoever. They go into the past to save a boy, meet a lost lover, and to re-live the events of a former unnamed and unimportant character, on top of stupid shit. They don’t want to dive any deeper in order to not create any holes in the plot, to which I applaud them. Why make time travel any more complicated then it already is? They’ve already established their own interpretation, so leave it at that. Don’t challenge it.

I also enjoyed the direction of the episode arrangement. They begin with an episode that will make absolutely no sense to newcomers. The next episode begins as if it were the debut episode, then continues on as such for the next few episodes. These first few episodes (outside of the first) are laced with drama and serious development toward certain characters and shows what this series can do in terms of sentimentality. The only issue with this is that, so early on, it’s hard to really feel for these characters. We’ve only been introduced to these characters a few episodes ago and you expect us to feel for them? How can we feel for someone we just met? This series has determination, that much is certain. The next few episodes are more geared towards filler, then episodes ten through twelve dwell on characters from an on-going ending/opening segment for the series, which really took me by surprise. Episode thirteen is basically the animator’s way of saying “LAWL, WHAT IS WHAT ,LAWL.”

The characters are interesting. I don’t think there was any character in this series I can say that I honestly disliked. They all had their quirks, but they weren’t anywhere near as flawed as I would expect from a slice of life flick, my personal favorite being “the boss.” While I can say that I didn’t dislike them, I can say that they didn’t really have much of an impact on me. There was at no point in the series where I would say to myself, “Yes! They’re on screen!” It’s more along the lines of “Oh. I didn’t think they would become so important to this particular plot event.” What this series excels at is being different, but by being different, they also fall back on showing what some of these characters are capable of. For example, both Kaya and Arashi had so much potential to become more than what they were shown to be. However, the anime was content with the direction they were taking with their laid-back, lazily explained plot devices. I can only wonder what season two will do with this.

The animation is also typical of Shaft productions. All sorts of strange mannerisms and slight feats of fan service are shown all throughout the series in more ways than twelve. Exaggeration aside, this anime partakes in all sorts of things such as scenes involving changing, shower scenes, body swapping, and that last episode. Wow. The animation at first seemed as though they were just experimenting with the flairs and color pallets of the series. I could’ve sworn the series was less vibrant in the earlier episodes, because before I knew it, the series was as colorful as Bakemonogatari. In all honesty, I wasn’t exactly fond of the character designs at first, especially their chins. Fucking chins. But I suppose they either patched up the growing pains or the designs grew on me, because I never felt as frustrated looking at the characters later on in the series. I think Jun looks like a boy. I initially thought she was one. Good work.

It was a fun series. It was entertaining, which is saying something considering anime has recently become second to football and video games in my life as of late. It was different, but not in a good way. It didn’t leave much of an impact. When it ended, I wasn’t moved, I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t anything. I just let it end without giving it another thought. At least it surprised me with some of its quirkiness. Unfortunately, the salt got old after a while.

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