In an attempt to watch things that I don’t usually do yet again, I was in search of a romance anime because I haven’t watched one a direct one while. Especially since there has been a drought of them in the seasonal scene, besides maybe Fruits Basket, for a while now. Or, in the very least, I haven’t been looking for them as hard as I could be. I haven’t had the largest net sweeping for them in recent years either so it could be my fault. With these true facts, I feel like I have been able to watch some good ones seasonally a couple years ago so I wanted a little more then Fruits Basket. Considering that Waiting in the Summer, or Ano Natsu de Matteru for people who don’t like going for the English names for anime, had some science fiction in it, this felt like a reasonable halfway point? Perhaps.
Waiting in the Summer stars a certain young protagonist named Kaito Kirishima who is very intrigued by cameras and filming things. One could say he might be an amateur videographer. One night when testing his new 8 mm hand held camera at a peculiar hillside, an alien ship crashes around where he is. Or it could be right on top of him. No matter the case, he is functionally dead. The alien in question named Ichika Takatsuki, which is a very Japanese name for an alien, brought him back to life through nano machines she transfers through kissing him. Of course, he’s unconscious during that time. One day, she shows up as a transfer student at Kaito’s school. So suddenly, it’s a normal high school anime.
Of course, it’s more complicated than that. Kaito’s friends heavily plot into the anime too. For instance, Kaito has a new camera that he shows off to his friends. One is a tall and attractive guy for his age named Tetsuro, another one is the shy girl named Mio who likes Tetsuro, and a girl who is deeply in love with Kaito named Kanna. Poor girl. With Kaito’s larger interest into Ichika and the idea of asking Ichika to film something with them in the summer with Remon, the older and mysterious senpai, inviting herself into the film situation with her own ideas, the drama starts. It’s all continued a little further with Ichika staying alone at Kaito’s house during the summer because his sister is traveling for business all summer. You can see why.
On a lot of basic levels besides some mystery things in the background that build to the finale and the finale itself which involved Ichika’s background, this is a pretty classic sort of romance anime. Almost annoyingly so. You know about the whole romance triangle stuff, the “why don’t you tell them you like them already” character drama, and all sorts of things like that? All there. Sigh. That can be a good or bad thing depending on who you are and what interests you when watching anime. The anime is even self-aware with it because the amateur film that is “written” by Remon is obviously what the story is about. Even with some science fiction things thrown into the film itself, the goal of the film is clear as a secondary framing device for the anime. All done in a way that is kind of goofy, honestly.
In between those non character forming romance moments, there is at least enough interesting character relationships and drama going on other then will he or she say something to each other already? For instance, there is Ichika and her lack of normal understanding of human activities or food types? Her weird food combinations are always fascinating to see on screen? Or just her attempt to live in a tent before Kaito invited her to stay at his home. Fruits Basket really was an influence there I see. Somehow despite all that, Remon is still the weirder one with the always over them all sense of awareness and way to get people to do what she wants them through mysterious drinks. She’s powerful.
I think that the relationship Mio and Tetsuro was interesting because of how subversive their character types are. Tetsuro is really tall, attractive, and could be seen to be a lady’s man. Yet when encountered with some horny girl for days on end, we see how that isn’t the case at all. Same with Mio and her nudist habits affecting her daily life. There is a lot of anxiety in her due to her being raised with the nudist life style. She could just be an exhibitionist, but she’s not. They are a really cute couple when they get together. Of course, Kanna is in that mix making a side character love triangle that is there I suppose. Poor Kanna creating confused feelings between the three that eventually get resolved. At least there is something there though.
I’m just going to go up and admit the fact that the well they, wont they kind of relationship between Ichika and Kaito isn’t that interesting because it was never interesting despite the science around it. It kind of happens between Mio and Tetsuro, but there are more layers to their romance then will they wont they. Even the “love triangle” other Kanna who gets constantly dunked on for her own actual interest in Kaito besides just existing and forced to be attached to him got boring. At least Kanna has a reason to like him, seeing his passion for filming. I never felt like the two have any chemistry with each other because every character thing about them gets dropped during their moments together. Despite the show wanting them to, they don’t mesh.
I’m just writing this paragraph to remind people to pour one out for Kanna. I’ve said it before, but it needs to be said again. Kanna’s definitive role in Waiting in The Summer is being the third part of love triangles and always getting burned for one reason or another. She’s a really cute and energetic, but she’s always dealing with things that are beyond her. Remon, the mystery girl of all of this has way too much fun with her to add to her constant sadness between characters. She’s the real victim of all of this, not Kaito. Her romance was taken and now she’s forced to get drunk and dress in random cosplay or being navigated apart. If she wasn’t a part of this show, what would Remon do with her time? Just spy on Ichika and Kato more I suppose. A lot less drama would happen though. Sigh.
To me, the best part of this show is the visuals of it all. Just from the vibrant colors alone, Waiting in the Summer just shouts and screams somewhere before a beach comes into view or anything else. All of that is carried over to the wonderful and colorful character designs. Each character feels like they have their own designated color which adds to the atmosphere and feeling of the show itself. We could add to the backgrounds of it all which still look great. I suppose this show isn’t that old so I shouldn’t say things like that. It’s 8 years old after all and digitally coloring techniques were fully realized, so everything looked great. It probably also helped that the show had some well-done direction and focused on great character animation instead of action until the last couple episodes. That’s not a bad thing considering what the show is.
This show is a good one in my eyes. Nothing exceptional or amazing, but something very strong and much more then watchable. Especially for those who aren’t as involved with the romance seen like me. There are romance stories that I enjoy, but straight up ones can be really tiring sometimes because there isn’t anything else going on even with the characters besides what I mentioned before. Even in this one, where the characters are well defined at first, don’t feel like anything anymore during those moments. Still, there are a lot of good intrigue, comedy, and character moments when the group is together though and that’s more then another half of the show. The science fiction does add a little bit of enjoyment for me as well. It’s just that not all of this drama is going to work. Romance attached to something else is much more interesting. As for this trying something else project, it’s not a failure. I may need to try again at some point. Here’s my anilist before people give me suggestions.
This series is treated in some circles as a part of the Please Teacher/Please Twins franchise, which had the same writer and character designer and a similar premise (teen boy meets alien girl). I have no idea if that’s actually official, though. Personally, I tend to associate it more with Toradora and Anohana, which all had the same studio, same director, same character designer (again), and same general visual style, and came out much closer together. Different writer, though, since Toradora/Anohana were Mari Okada joints. I don’t think this one’s on the same level as Toradora/Anohana either, especially the former which is one of my personal top five anime all-time, but it’s still enjoyable.
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I didn’t know it’s connection to other series, but I’m with you that Toradora is better. 😁
I remember watching this when it simulcasted and I loved it. It felt wholesome, but as you said, in a goofy sort of way and I enjoyed it very much. It felt like an excellent summer anime because of it. I even ended up buying it and I think I have a t-shirt of the alien girl lying around somewhere. This post makes me want to re-watch it. Great write-up!
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It is a pretty good summer series :). I think I started simulcast watching the season after this show came out?
Thank you so much!
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