Entry #19: Amaama to Inazuma (SoM/A 2018)

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Y’know, prior to watching this, I always wondered why the girl in the picture above had a giant sandwich/baguette-like thing. Like, it looks so stupid, yet I was under the impression this series was not aiming to be stupid. Kind of dipped my expectations a little bit to fall under either “This is gonna be super silly” or “This is gonna be super cute.” It became both, with a spice of “This is kinda stupid.”

Also, for this piece, I’m gonna write as if I’m talking. Not gonna try and flood the page with super-fanciful words or structured jargon. I’m just gonna talk about this series.

The thing that sticks out the most to me with this series is the huge focus on food, like all of these characters are just super into food. That kinda answered my question earlier, too, about the girl with the big ol’ sandwich. Everybody in this anime loves food—loves eating it, preparing it, talking about it, and turning it into a problems they have to face. If this anime wasn’t so gung-ho about food, I’d probably like it more, because it becomes sort of a formulaic thing that it employs itself with each episode. Some introductory thing happens between the dad and the daughter, then food-addict teen invites ’em over for food, and then they all make up over food because making food together as a “family” is akin to true happiness.

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Though I will say that this “family” aspect is a really strong part of what I liked about it. The dad’s an idiot, but not so much that he can’t really take care of himself. There was one scene where one of the stupid teenagers had to tell him how to parent by telling him to listen to his daughter “carefully.” Like, okay, the first thing that popped into his head wasn’t to get to the root of the problem and listen to what his daughter was complaining/mad about? I may just be armchair-parenting as someone who isn’t a parent, but that seems like a pretty obvious thing. And of course, the scene transformed to some moment of clarity thing where suddenly he becomes world’s number-one dad and they make up and everything’s happy again—like it isn’t the most obviously fake thing ever. The show has nice moments, but it’s also full of situations I like to call “Really obvious writing,” where scenes or situations feel so obviously fake or artificial from just how coincidental everything lines up for the better or worse. Hurts the development of realism, especially important in a slice-of-life-type show.

But damn is Tsumugi cute. This daughter character is absolutely the star of the show, though I won’t go so far as to say she’s a perfect character by any means. Again, hard to really press what is the “perfect” six-year-old and how they’re supposed to act, but the “Really obvious writing” at times makes her seem like she’s clearly a child being written by an adult that needs things to work out for an intent purpose. She’s typically a good girl, BUT OH WAIT WE NEED HER TO ACT OUT TO REMIND THE AUDIENCE SHE’S ACTUALLY SIX! Great grammar on this kid, too. I’m not gonna pretend I know shit about speaking Japanese, but all her lines were smooth and clear. She didn’t stutter or trip over words or anything. Hell, there were barely any words she didn’t know! Just food shit. She listened and understood every word of every “moment of clarity” scene that took place between her and her father, as if she becomes some genius child who’s capable of comprehending the magnitude of his actions or words and what he’s trying to imply. What a smart kid… she’s almost a, dare I say, baby genius.

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And what about that food-addict character? I liked this show a lot, but fuck was she pointless and underdeveloped. I get it, she wants a family because her mom’s never home. So she lures some teacher of hers into her shop and starts begging him to make food with her every possible moment, every waking second, all times manageable, so that she can live happily eating all sorts of shit with her “family.” That is her entire character. She likes food and her family. That’s it. The end. End of character. Why should I care at all? Such a waste. Everything about this show tries to be so carefree and what-not, but it could be more! Not that it’s necessarily a problem with the way it turned out, but I kinda ended it wishing there was something more to its shtick than cute moments between a created family of foodies and food. Everything’s kinda thrown in there like… like a fucking food recipe, GOD DAMN IT!

Something I absolutely love about this series, and every other anime series that does this (which is about six of them), is showcasing physical affection. Hugs, cuddling, kisses, pats on the head; even simple shit like placing a hand on a shoulder or high-fives are something. I live for that shit. I want to see these character be close, I want to see these characters show how close they are. Let them touch one another, letting the subtle intricacies of lowering the guard through contact be the guide to familiarity and empathy. The father-daughter combo have this down amazingly. She’s always laying on his lap or sleeping in bed with him or having him carry her. Like a father and daughter! Yes! Thank you! Thank you! Okay, sure, different cultures see physical contact as icky and immoral and you’ll get pregnant from winking at someone, but L I V E  A  L I T T L E !

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So if we were to make this like a checklist thing, the positives would be good showing of human affection, nice family atmosphere, and a really cute kawaii kid in Tsumugi. The negatives would be that food is everything, the writing can feel super artificial sometimes, and it tends to shy away from anything even remotely complex. I feel like the negatives outweigh the positives, honestly. Even so, I liked this show a lot, and I’d recommend it to someone looking for a sweet kick. The pain(?) lasts, but it’s not like you won’t eventually return to normal, which feels like all Amaama to Inazuma wants to do. It’s a fluffy piece that doesn’t challenge one intellectually, but it’s a great change of pace from the typical screaming, hyperdramatic high school dramas that tend to flood anime stereotypes. And isekai shows. We have more than enough of those.

And y’know, I feel like I always skim past the animation portions of these reviews, which isn’t to say I don’t care, but it always feels super underdeveloped whenever I write about it. I like the design, the animation isn’t always great, it benefited well with the atmosphere. Also Tsumugi’s voice was cute. Sound tracks got a little repetitive, especially ones played during the final product meal of the episode thing whatever. Yeah, run down the list like the robot you are, me.

Final Score: 7/10

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

To see the ratings for all entries in this Summer and all others, check out the Summer of Anime Archive!

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