At first glance, this series seemed interesting and fun. The synopsis is what caught my attention.
Art, Animation & Character Designs
Hmmm, it seems below par. Waaaay below par. But honeslty, I think it was intentionally drawn this way because the series was released this year (2009). Now with that said, I'm not saying it's "horrible", but rather, "unique". It takes a bit getting use to for sure. At times however, the backgrounds and scenes are bursting with rich colors and detail... gorgeous. Character designs were lack luster and seem soooo 1990's. But again, I'm thinking it was intentional.
The OP wasn't of my tastes. It sounded like a really cheap broadway piece with a vocalist who's hayday had past long ago. As for the rest of the soundtrack, there were some nice piano pieces that had piqued my interests. The ED wasn't too bad and actually worked for me.
Series and Episode Story
After getting over the initial sub-par artwork, I actually got into this series. It turned out a lot better than I imagined it would. There was some good laughs here and there and the whole concept of time travel had always piqued my interest. It was interesting to note the story takes on the whole concept of the time travel paradox..... if you go back in time, change something, it will effective the future (time traveler's present), but the new present "always" was because it could not have been without the change in the past and prior to the change, the present never was even though you lived it. Did that make any sense at all? That's why they call it a paradox. With all that said, the episodes make it fun to watch.
Episode 8 was just a riot. I was laughing so hard my stomach cramped up from the stupid antics. "My balls are gone!"..... hahaha!! This was by far the best part of the whole series. ALSO, if you're a School Rumble fan, keep an eye out for a "surprise" appearance. I'm a big School Rumble fan so I caught it right away.
Overall, this was a really fun and enjoyable series. Artwork is a bit unusual but at times breathtaking. Story is excellent and there's plenty of laughs.
Last updated Saturday, November 28 2009. Created Saturday, November 28 2009.
Not a bad little episode.
Not as good as School rumble though, so I wonder why the Mangaka stopped SR.
Last updated Thursday, July 09 2009. Created Thursday, July 09 2009.
Final review coming soon
Natsu no Arashi is the latest anime adaptation from manga-ka KOBAYASHI Jin, creator of the popular School Rumble series. Since the anime is produced by SHAFT, we have a classic example of how SHAFT can make things outrageously funny at times and mind numbingly idiotic at others.
The story centers around young junior high school student Hajime and a summer he spends working at a cafe called the Ark -- one of the few places to survive from World War II. Working with him is the ghost Arashi, who was apparently killed during an air raid in 1945 but every summer she somehow has physical form. She forms a mystical connection with Hajime which allows the two to travel back in time, where Arashi is keen on saving people, especially those from World War II. Others in the cast are Jun -- a girl Hajime's age who pretends to be a boy; Kaja -- another ghost from 1945 who was a German transfer student and friend of Arashi; Master -- a con woman who somehow acquired the Ark and conned all of her employees into working for her; Hideo -- a detective initially tasked with getting Arashi; Kanako -- a girl with an agenda and vendetta; and Yayoi -- a girl who experienced a huge trauma in her life that she has to recover from.
SHAFT decides to get things started by skipping to where all characters are already introduced . If you haven't read the manga, a lot of the interactions, characters, and story thus far which are implied mean nothing to us. Then, they go back and decide to introduce the characters properly as they enter the overall story. While the first episode is funny, SHAFT presenting it first basically kills any sense of drama for most of the rest of the series because we already know where everyone will end up -- at the Ark.
There are two types of stories in this anime. The first are the serious stories where time trips to 1945 Japan are taken. I found these to be very impactful for the most part. SHAFT managed to give me the sense of what is must have been like to be caught in an air raid. I've watched many World War II movies and documentaries but in none of them did I get the feeling of fear that must be being experienced by those on the receiving end of the bombs. So I give props to SHAFT for pulling this off.
The only minor negative thing I have against the trips back to World War II is that there is a slight anti-American feel to them. The strongest comes from the incident where a lone American fighter targets a girl in a wheelchair for strafing. The other comes from the actual bombing of the city. I don't know if any of this is in the manga or not, but the anime gives the feeling that the Americans shouldn't have been bombing the crap out of Japan. If that is what SHAFT is saying, I would remind them that Japan attacked the U.S. first. After that, the only way to wage war is to completely defeat your enemy, which is what we eventually did to Japan. After Japan was defeated, we Americans did what we are great at -- helping the less fortunate. Now Japan is a close ally of the U.S. and Japanese comic arts are embraced by the U.S.
Now that the serious stuff is out of the way, the rest (and majority) of the manga is devoted to comedy. Here, SHAFT hits both extremes by creating one of the funniest anime episodes I've watched (episode 8) where Jun and Hajime body-swap. However, they also create some of the biggest comedy bombs imaginable. Further, they run some jokes into the ground and then keep going until they pass through the Earth's core and emerge on the other side. The first one is the salt joke where the same customer episode after episode asks for salt and never gets it. The other is the endless "I've read a book" jokes which describe some manga or anime series. Better have some deep anime and manga knowledge because otherwise you aren't going to get the joke.
SHAFT also attempts to cram episodes full of parodies. I'm a fan of parody stuff even if I don't get it. However, the production team at SHAFT seemed to think that there's no such thing as too many parody references. It starts with the entire OP sequence, where SHAFT has parodies of countless Japanese album covers. This then continues with customers at the Ark, which are actually from other anime or manga titles. Food and beverage packages can have characters from Motsu (Negima!?) to Eri and Tenma from School Rumble. Frankly, this is parody overload and for me, it becomes tedious.
Should this anime ever be licensed in the U.S., I'm hoping that the R1 licensor will take the time to have an extra feature to point out all of the parody references and explain them. If the Japanese provide the notes to explain all this, it shouldn't bee that big a project for the American company to do.
SHAFT also does things very stylized in their presentation of the anime. This really didn't annoy me, but it often stuck out to me and was distracting. As such, I didn't like it. The one time where this stylized approach worked well was when Jun experienced being in an air raid and the stylized presentation helped represent the terror she felt.
Bottom line: This is a typical SHAFT production that runs all over the place, both in highs and lows. The likable characters, mostly good humor, and interesting looks at World War II Japan outweigh the bad jokes, over stylized presentation, and the excessive parody references. Because I could rewatch the series, I'd buy it were it licensed in the U.S.
Last updated Sunday, July 12 2009. Created Sunday, April 12 2009.
Fooly Cooly, but then again the basic theme of Natsu no Arashi is fairly similar. A younger boy falls for an older girl who has weird abilities and then gets caught up in her strange adventure.
Every now and then comes an amazing and bewildering anime series. I think that the last such series might have been
To be honest, like Fooly Cooly, this is story in which you will either love or hate with very little middle ground. If you ‘get it’ then you will love this story. If not, well….. The various characters are silly, strange and at times clueless. The artistry is high art, complex, stylized and at times very abstract. The comedy plays like something from a surreal ↗Theater of the Absurd.
But at all times, the story is both fun and funny.
Hajime Yasaka is 13-year-old boy who has been sent to spend the summer living in the countryside with his grandfather. Having gotten lost on the way, he stumbles into a café and meets a very cute sixteen-year-old girl by the name of ‘Arashi’. One thing leads to another and suddenly Arashi is living with him at his grandfather’s place, they are both working at the café, and the story about their summer adventures begins.
But Arashi is not a ‘local girl’. In fact, it is not clear where she came from, but it’s probably not in same time-frame or perhaps even the same world that they are now living in. She has a strange ability to do things – like time shift and manipulate reality. But Hajime seems to have some hidden gifts too that allow him to do some strange things.
Last updated Wednesday, October 07 2009. Created Wednesday, April 08 2009.
(Rent+ or Buy-)
(All episodes watched):
I knew absolutely nothing about this show going in, except that the character designs suggested that it might be comedy. Lines like "in my time" and "flying off to the past" hinted that some sort of time travel would be involved, and so it was. These people are capable of time travel--but apparently only use it for short distance hops into the past for mundane (or absurd) purposes. An interesting caveat is that running into yourself in the past will supposedly cause you to "cease to exist". I wasn't sure what to make of this show after episode one; it didn't offer up any explanation other than what you could deduce by yourself. As a result, the confusion which I was experiencing seemed to seriously limit the amount of laughing I did; or maybe it just wasn't terribly funny. Hopefully episode two would explain things. One thing I did notice was a sort of fanservice with style; not the usual titanic breasts but rather occasional titilating glimpses--or almost glimpses--of things you're not supposed to see. Work of this sort clearly demands some extra effort and it's infinitely more enjoyable. Despite my lukewarm response to episode one, I was left with my fingers crossed that this would turn out to be a fun show.
Around episode four I finally grasped what was going on and was enjoying myself. Arashi is a friendly ghost who isn't frightening at all. This show has a definite wit to it, the sort that is all too rare in mass produced anime. Episode five was great fun, including the two girls discussing books which one of them has read, which always manage to end in a joke about some well known anime series. In fact, I think this may well be the funniest show of the season.
Natsu seems to manage a neat mix of humor, strangeness and touching character development. The elements fit together well without conflicting with one another and the series as a whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. In episode seven we get our first hint as to the identities of several characters who appear in the OP sequence but have yet to appear within the plot itself. I especially enjoyed the scene in which Kana's 1940s lifestyle impresses a trio of modern-day girls.
I agree with ANB, episode eight was the funniest one yet. Jun needs to keep a certain secret from Hajime, which isn't easy when the two somehow switch bodies. Better yet, instead of a cheap episodic solution, the problem only gets worse (and funnier). It's pretty clear what special ability of Arashi and Kaya will ultimately be used to solve it. The next episode contains clever philosophical discussions of the ethics and physics of time travel. Comments like 'changing history means someone won't be born' make you think.
The series takes a turn away from comedy and into drama in episode ten with a trip back to wartime Japan. The common Japanese belief that the country was the underdog and deserves pity considering the way the war turned out is evident in this episode. Arashi is injured in a feud with two more 1945 teenagers, the same girls who we have seen discussing what books they've been reading lately (the version of the same sequence at the end of this episode was great fun). One is now a frightening spirit who wields a Ghurka kukri, as she is unable to accept her tragic death in a WWII air raid. Yet with the playful way in which they've been treated up 'til now, I suspect everyone will wind up good friends before long. I really liked episode 11; it was both serious and sweet--that doesn't happen often.
Episode 13, the final one, was great fun. This was basically a parody/sequel to the confusing first episode. Everybody is dressed in bathing suits for some reason (more stylish fanservice), then bizarre outfits of every sort replace them. This was a WTF (in a good way)episode. Yes, I'd say that Natsu no Arashi was probably the funniest series of the spring season--definitely the wittiest comedy series. I'm glad to hear that a second season is in the works.
My favorite line: "That's not 'special service'. That's being a dick" --Jun
Last updated Sunday, July 26 2009. Created Wednesday, April 08 2009.
Final review soon...
Ep 13: This ep was weird. It was the "complete version" of ep one topped with cosplay and fan service like you wouldn’t believe. Kaya even dressed up like KOS-MOS from the legendary Xenosaga series (I plead the fifth in regards to my reaction)!!! It had the milk part again and they dragged it out. Hajime and Kaya’s time reversals were hilarious and a great way to end the series. The guy never got his salt. LOL
Ep 12: They all return and save Arashi. Yayoi and Kanako sacrificed a lot of their existence energy and begin to vanish from the plane. Arashi saves them and tells them of a way to remain in this realm as long as they have a partner to connect with. The girls become waitresses as well and all is well. The guy still wants some salt (LOL) and the new girls get to see the hilarious insanity of just what type of business goes on in the cafe. Some guy nearly takes Arashi away from Hajime and he doesn't take it too well (LOL). All is made clear when Arashi explains the story and everyone is back to normal. The "ghost girls" all hanging out together was a very cool scene. Good ep...
Ep 11: Back story - back story - back story. This ep was really good! It was enchanting to see Hajime and the girls go through all that. I didn't notice the clock until the ep was over! Hajime is able to witness first hand all the dramas and chaos of what happened to Yayoi and Kanako during that era 60 years ago. It was truly well done and very interesting to watch (Arashi's song was brilliant). Even Hideo was important in the end for a very funny reason. Finally, we the viewer can come to fully understand Yayoi's pain and Kanako's rage. Now maybe Hajime can figure out a way to make Kanako release Arashi from her suffering. Great ep...
Ep 10: A solid ep! Hajime puts everything on the line for Arashi. Hideo, the detective, saves Hajime from certain death because Hajime couldn’t hold Arashi suffering in front of his eyes any longer. Kanako, the attacker ghost, threatens them and escapes. After securing Arashi's safety and Hajime learning about Hideo's father (!) as well as finally understanding Arashi’s desires to jump in time to save people (he clearly falls in love with her even more), Hajime and Hideo make an assault on Kanako's house to return the favor! (Who could've guessed the story to take this route?) The plan is simple; Hideo draws Kanako's attention while Hajime captures Yayoi, the wheelchair girl. Kanako easily outsmarts Hideo, but Hajime is able to meet Yayoi. He has a talk with her and she tells him a fascinating back story (a very simple yet enlightening tale) that finally gives reason to everyone's personalities. Yayoi, Kanako, Kaya, and Arashi all went to the same school together sixty years ago! Kanako catches up to Hajime and the three of them have a very emotional exchange of thoughts and feelings. Kanako mentions the date - April 29, 1945 and that she will never let anything that bad happen to Yayoi again and attacks Hajime. Hajime falls in Yayoi’s lap and they connect and vanish!!! Kanako panics and lets out a scream that rattles the red moon. An amazing episode...
Ep 9: WTF!!! What the hell is going on here! Arashi is in danger!!! What a shocking twist...
The ep disregards the previous "to be continued..." events and continues like normal so we are forced to just forget about it and to see it as just another comedy routine. The poster in the back brought instant memories of Hinako. They all discuss parallel universes, time paradoxes, and other scientific justifications of their tampering in the past. Hajime goes into a long discussion of trying to explain the penalties of going back to change the past and accidentally contradicts everything that Arashi is and has done so far with her powers (ouch). After all that, he asks for her to take him to the past just for fun and she agrees! </i>What a pair of hypocrites</i>! In the past, they make a gigantic discovery about their prior adventures and Arashi is deeply thankful to Hajime for cheering her up (though Hajime couldn’t return the feeling as he deems himself unworthy of Arashi and he must become stronger to protect her). The big guy gets scolded by his "employer" for not bringing Arashi back home. The employer is Arashi's "relative" and she is in dire need of Arashi’s powers for something. She gets ready to come meet Arashi personally (she mentioned something about the other world not suspecting her)! The relative enters the café (Arashi has no idea that she is in danger) and touches Arashi’s hand and makes her faint! Later, the main couple runs into the relative again in the forest and she attacks (!) Arashi and renders Hajime unable to assist!!! The salt guy was hilarious and they did the real world thing again.
Ep 8: Among the most confusing episodes ever! Jun and Hajime switch faces (like a body transfer) and they are stuck with no way to reverse the switch. Jun's soul in Hajime's body tries everything in her power to stop Hajime's soul in Jun's body (!) from discovering the truth about her gender. Hajime wants to know what happened to Jun's balls (LOL) and Jun evades the question. More laughs of this magnitude pepper the episode. Arashi was asked to bring a customer some salt and she did it right in the other guy's face who has been asking for some salt since the series began and he fliped out (LOL). Another fall jumbles up the pair again but with the master and tough guy there as well. Very confusing indeed...
Ep 7: Great ep!!! Jun and Kaya are the main leads (the focus is really switching over to them but that's okay because Arashi and Hajime can easily take it back when the time is right). Jun admits to his...her secret and ends up hanging out with Kaya for most of the ep. Hajime continues to mistake Jun for a boy and makes her do very manly things. Jun hangs out with her friends from the model agency and despises them for being so mindless. She hates them for being feminine and denies the fact that she will be like them in the future. Kaya easily joins the "band wagon" and shows them an old Japanese dance (Kaya in a new light). Some boys ruin the fun for her though and she runs for it. Jun begins to truly understand just what makes Kaya "tick" mentally and gives her the scolding of her life that encompasses 60 years of mistakes (very emotional)!!! Arashi and Hajime play around with rainbows and act like themselves. The guy who was after Arashi gets a job buying some women's underwear and.... It was too funny for words so I'll leave it at that. To top it all off, the guy in the cafe still wants some salt (LOL). They're going to ride that joke for the rest of the series... I thoroughly enjoyed this ep...
Ep 6: Now that was a crazy ep. Arashi and Hajime continue to return to the past and change things on a whim while Kaya begs them to stop and that their actions have extreme consequences. Not getting through to them at all, Kaya and Jun talk about some things and they both find out that they can connect as well (though Kaya can only connect with females...). They return to Kaya's time 60 years ago and meet one of Kaya's close friends. Jun is engulfed in the traumas and tragedies of war as he experiences the true brutality of the World War II bombings and he begins to lose himself in the utter chaos. Kaya and her friend both love each other, but they never tell each other how they feel. Knowing what will happen in advance; Kaya betrays her own logic and tries to change the past for her love, even at the risk of sacrificing Jun's life that has nothing to do with this!!! Jun racks his brain trying to understand Kaya's emotions and why she is willing to go to such extreme lengths. When death appears imminent, a familiar couple appears and lends them a helping hand. This ep was fantastic and I was completely blown away with the sudden action and drama. The show has turned a new leaf and has become something else. I hope this caliber of story progression continues without losing the excellent comedy. The only funny thing in this ep was the fact that the guy still just wants some salt (LOL). The new end credits is a sign that things are going to continue to get interesting as we cross the halfway point of the series.
Ep 5: (^_^) This ep was ridiculous with lots of "leg and thigh" fanservice. The master kept making Jun dress in feminine clothing to service the customers. We finally get to know the deal with Jun regarding gender (it was hilarious with shower scenes and leaf cover ups). Hajime dressing in the maid outfit was going overboard though. The end of the ep had me laughing really hard. Remember that episode of the Simpsons when Homer was transported to the real world and how ridiculous he looked? Let's just say that this ep had the vice versa occur. The guy still just wants some salt!!! I'm laughing and looking forward to the next ep...
Ep 4: A very slow ep. We meet Kaya and she is as self-absorbed as I thought she was from ep 6 (1) of the series. The movie idea was just a stall tatic and was really boring. The only two things to mention was the boys' interest in finding proof that Arashi really was from 60 years ago. Kaya is in the same boat (how that is going to make sense is still unknown - one impossiblity is fine but to have two?!?!) as Arashi and they are just happy to see each other after all these years. The other thing was how the guy in the cafe still can't get any salt (this joke is still as funny now as it was in the first ep (which was ep 2). Overall, this ep wasn't worth waiting a week for...
Ep 3: Now that's what I'm talking about! This ep was filled with fantastic laughs and intriguing story developments (the story is moving normally now - it felt like an ep 3). The first half of the ep was all laughs. Again, the guy just wants some salt (LOL). Hajime takes Arashi to the arcade and they play the crane game. It turned into a battle to save a casualty of war and it was absolutely hilarious! I replayed it four times with tears in my eyes and the laughs were just as strong with each pass. The other half was extremely interesting. Aside from the fact that we all know what happens when you change the past, Arashi asks for Hajime's help in stopping someone from meeting their inevitable fate. This was a serious mission for her and the end result surely will give people hope for what is to come with title. This title is getting my critically acclaimed "two thumbs up"! Fantastic ep...
Ep 2: Okay, now I see what Jan-Chan was talking about. According to my sources, this title might follow a pattern similar to The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, being that the episode numbers are to be scattered. I don't know if it is confirmed or is only true for the beginning of the series or whatever. I know this ep felt like an episode 6 in the series. It certainly didn't belong as ep 2! I was lost with the new characters that suddenly appeared out of thin air. Thank God I saw the real ep 1 first before I saw this one or I would've been very upset. As for the ep itself: it was funny with a massive abuse of time travel. I don't feel like writing anything else. Let the confusing episode numbers role...
Ep 1: Outstanding first ep. I laughed like I was insane. There were so many funny parts to enjoy. There was the guy in the cafe who just wanted to get some salt (that's all he wanted - LOL). It was hilarious!!! Hajime and Arashi's (male and female lead respectively) first meeting was action packed! Their "connection" was equally as weird. She grabbed his hand and made him jump through time (that isn't a proper way to greet someone, I'm sure - LOL). The cafe owner (how that title fell into her greedy hands is still not clear) was something else entirely. Aside from providing a small amount of fan service, she was also funny as hell and could con the pants off you if you weren't careful (she challenged the muscle bound guy to a race and made him get a ticket for speeding - LOL). He has his reasons for trying to return Arashi to where she belongs and this will be a continuous factor in this story and will provide some solid comedy. Great ep...
First thoughts: OK, that was incredibly interesting. I was not expecting this title to hit me like that in the first episode (or the second episode according to my sources - ep 2 was or should be ep one). I was truly blown away. Where do I begin: the jokes were simple yet funny as hell, the characters all brought something different to the table, the setting was realistic yet nothing like what it seems, and the 13 year old main lead (Hajime) was straightforward and hilarious (already a "G" in my eyes). In the end, it was Arashi's "secret" that wowed me the most and filled me with hope and intrigued for the rest of the series. I loved every minute of it and will commit my time eagerly to this title.
Check out my award list to see some of the best anime titles in the world!
Never forget Xenosaga.
Last updated Thursday, July 02 2009. Created Sunday, November 23 2008.