Ano Natsu de Matteru EP 05 – Sempai is the Heroine

That’s three points for Kuroda Yousuke for employing yet another perfectly-timed and captivating cliffhanger. I’ve really developed a taste for screenwriter Yousuke’s remarkable sense of narrative pace, which has established a subtle, but significant pattern to the story—climactic conclusions in 1, 3, 5 and softer ones in 2 and 4—that has already proven it’s success between episode transitions. As for a solution to the “fifth wheel” dilemma, I’m beginning to believe the only way for things to end peaceably is to end the series as a harem with two boys and three girls. Why not? Although unlikely, it’s the only way to ensure the happiness of everyone considering how things are currently headed. If not that, then we need to see a lot less concealing of feelings and more active deepening of relationships if anyone is to come off happy in the end. Ichika certainly has the right idea, but the same might not be said of Kanna as her backwards digression is hinting at the unfortunate possibility that she might be destined to be alone. It’s a disheartening sight indeed, especially for a “Girl C” fan like myself, though I can’t blame her for succumbing to insecurity around Kaito and Ichika and inadvertently deepening an already sensitive wound when lashing out at Tetsuro. From an objective perspective, this series is quite depressing and much more complex than it had originally let on, but I can’t help but continue to feel for those characters who are understandably unable to express their feelings. Not to say any one of them are dripping with ignorance—just the opposite—they all understand (at least to a certain extent) the fragility of the difficult situation at play and are all too quick to suppress their own feelings for the sake of preserving another’s. That is, except for Remon, who has taken trolling to yet another level by toying with emotions and insecurities—especially those of Ichika—using the very film originally intended to bring the group closer together.

That’s definitely not to say I’m not reveling in every minute of Remon’s unique “directing” style, as her omniscient perceptiveness and constant meddling makes me feel as if her “catalyst” role has just escalated to “saving grace” with her unyielding efforts to make sure the characters’ feelings don’t amount to nothing (of course, at some level of humorous expense to the others). To return again to praise Yousuke’s talent, the genius of the script is the key to the show’s success—never shying away from an opportunity to make an impression by forcing characters into the spotlight, unlike many within the romantic comedy genre today which often steer clear of bold moves that could interrupt the show’s premise. To that effect, I’ve been impressed by the adaptability of both the story and its characters, while simultaneously remaining faithful to the focus on film and the camera that appears to possess the ability to expose the truth. This latest episode was certainly one of the most significant from a standpoint of meaningful sequences, but the part that makes Ano Natsu one of my favorites is that the humor kept pouring in as well, from the timely one-liners to the hilarious M.I.B. stunts that seem to have become an ongoing gag. And best of all is the surprising writing style, which can be quite caustic for the cast, but fantastic for us viewers in terms of prodding the characters to show their hand, as it were, demonstrated recently when Kanna’s words finally pop the cap on Tetsuro’s feelings.

Of course, Tetsuro’s actions may have been driven purely by envy, but my feeling is that he simply couldn’t stand to see Kanna suffer any longer without a proper response on Kaito’s end. Either way, I’m glad he did end up intervening, because no one is going to benefit from dodging the “big question” forever, not even Ichika. What will really be interesting is to see how she will react after hearing how Kanna feels, especially since none of the others are aware that she knows, thus eliminating many of the outside pressures and making it more of a personal decision—and a pretty weighty one at that. Speaking of revealing secrets, it appears the one concerning Ichika’s alien background is now being put on the spot thanks to Remon, which most likely means we’ll see a well-executed reveal soon—probably related in some way to the premise of the movie. Now if Mio would just muster the courage to confess her feelings as well; it looks like her panda bear is in dire need of some competition.