Ano Natsu de Matteru EP 06 – A Rival for Sempai

I continue to be amazed by the success—both by the story and the flawless implementation of fresh, unadulterated enjoyment—of season frontrunner Rinne no Lagrange, and if there’s a series that could match it perfectly by the following criteria, it would be Ano Natsu de Matteru hands down. Both have undoubtedly made a name for themselves in the short span since their debut, which only attests to their achievement considering how the former was certainly not ahead in the running for upcoming mecha shows before Guilty Crown‘s release and the latter was a mere side-series on many people’s watch list this winter. What it ultimately boils down to after you manage to weave through the generalizations and look past the hype is the simple genius (or lack of in some cases) of the writing of an anime; and both have definitely pulled out all the stops and devoted the time and resources into properly developing and supporting the writing, which I predict will end up setting a new standard within their respective genres. Suffice to say, it’s been a great season for Ano Natsu—made only better by the consistency of the characters in the anime and their respective seiyuu’s, especially Ishihara Kaori, who’s been working equally hard with side-by-side leads as Kanna and Madoka (RnL). The dialogue as well continues to be exceptionally witty and clever, largely thanks to Remon and her mischievous screenwriting, and the brand new talent on the set promises to keep things interesting.

In hindsight, I feel inclined to question whether this series is even capable of suffering a misstep, as the well-timed introduction of Kaito’s childhood friend Kinoshita Kaori not only adds a wonderfully hilarious dimension to the existing love polygon, but it also introduces a contrasting sense of depth with Kaori making a rushed, yet tentative move at Kaito’s still unfilled girlfriend position—a possible result of a raw nerve exposed by a recent break up (just a hunch). Her entrance made for some tense, but still enjoyable comedic friction between Kaito/Ichika/Kanna, while her outgoing friend Arisawa Chiharu really heated things up from the Tetsuro/Mio angle—because it appears she’s now too good for underwear even in public, Teturo’s attention seemed all the more captivated. And while their sudden arrival and swift attachment to the men managed to phase both Ichika, Kanna and Mio, Remon’s adaptability provided her (and me) with even more enjoyment as the “puppet master”. Where I was hesitant to give Remon much acclaim in the first episode, her tenacity to stir up monotony until it becomes exciting has continued to amuse me to no end.

Taking the abruptness of the encounter and the already established integrity of the five-sided love polygon, neither Kaori or Chiharu are destined to steal the hearts of our already endangered male lead population, but that’s not to say that it detracted from the experience in any way whatsoever—in fact, I’m loving the experience of watching just how much they can stir things up, as the group needed some external interference in addition to Remon’s tinkering. The thing that certainly sets Ano Natsu apart from others of the romantic comedy genre is the genius in the way in which it masterfully executes the bare essentials, in this case, the inherent “teasing” aspect that occurs when the characters are caught up in various situations and struggle to convey their feelings to one another. I would say that thus far, this series has done a particularly remarkable job at pulling off great feats, all due to the ingenuity of its writers, who manage each week to intrigue its viewers by staying one step (if not two or three) ahead.

Hats off to Kanna this week for going bold with a sexy blue bikini~