Natsuiro Kiseki

Title:Natsuiro Kiseki
A Summer-Colored Miracle
Natsu-iro Kiseki
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: KOTOBUKI Minako
Natsumi, Saki, Yuka, and Ringo are best friends. They've grown up in an old agricultural town, experiencing everything together, both happy and sad. But one summer, they are visited by a miracle.
(Synopsis courtesy of ANN)

A Spring 2012 series

12 episodes

"夏" ("natsu") = "summer"; "色" ("iro") = "color", "キセキ" ("kiseki") = "miracle".
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(All episodes watched):

I went into this show knowing nothing, and as episode one neared its end it was looking like this would be a slice-of-life show about four middle school aged girls who attempt to form an idol singing group. Then something very strange happens--basically, an offhand wish is granted. All of a sudden the label slice-of-life is no longer appropriate, because there's no way this could really take place. But what now? Won't this have to be about the girls trying to make sense of what has happened, rather than becoming idols? I decided that I would definitely have to watch episode two, since the carpet was yanked out from under me at the very end of episode one. One thing that bothered me is that after a mind-blowing experience, the girls seem to take an attitude of 'That was wild. I wonder what's for dinner'?

In episode two, why was half of the episode spent on a nonsensical chase scene? About all we learn is that apparently a wish doesn't have to be made by all four of the girls in order to come true. And again the girls seems to shrug these impossible events off almost without a second thought. As the title implied, they really are miracles, after all. I am impatient for this series to get on with the story rather than try to make itself into a goofy comedy. As of episode four, a series of strange wishes come true (sometimes by accident), never exactly what the girls had hoped for, but I still don't detect a long-term plot forming. The modest humor makes the show modestly entertaining, but I don't see much of a message yet, and the characters are still relatively undeveloped. I wish more had been done to exploit the odd situations which the girls sometimes find themselves in, even if it is only for the sake of laughs. Episode five does carry out a bit of modest character development, and no wish takes place (unless that business with a cloud counts as one). Maybe the ultimate goal is to prevent the group from losing Yuka (IIRC), who is scheduled to move to Tokyo, rather than form a singing group; or maybe creating the singing group will be what keeps Yuka from leaving. I'm just guessing. The show seemed unfocused but modestly entertaining.

I found myself getting impatient for something big to happen around episode seven. The pace at which this show was moving made me think that it would have to be 24 episodes long, but I read above that it would only be twelve. The friends goof around, but nothing moving or significant--or particularly funny--seems to happen. What was this all about, again? Oh yeah, Yuka's going to move away, and there's some sort of wish-granting stone. The show opens with the magical stone, but then sometimes drifts away from it without any explanation. I had almost forgotten. Who cares if the community Yuka's moving to really needs her father as a doctor? What I want to know is, what's the deal with the stone? Or, if there never will be any explanation, how are the girls going to use it to fix their problems? In some episodes the girls neither make any wishes nor even mention the stone.

Finally, in episodes eleven and twelve, the wish granting stone and we-want-to-be-idols threads come together. This two-episode climax has a sort of sci-fi feel to it, and was interesting. All of the fooling around in past episodes wasn't entirely for nothing, since I found that I had taken a definite liking to the girls. The way things work out is restrained and believable (given the stone), and while not highly moving is agreeable and seems appropriate. So, watching this series to the end was worthwhile after all. Natsuiro Kiseki strikes me as an interesting premise which wasn't exploited to its full potential. I wish the plot had been more focused rather than wobbling about in a confusing manner before coming together at the end. That is, I wish it had been easier for the viewer to deduce the ultimate goal on his or her own, rather than waiting until episode 11 or so. But the characters were likeable, the jokes were OK, and the conclusion was fairly good. The ultimate theme was more about friendship than magic.

Last updated Saturday, February 28 2015. Created Sunday, April 15 2012.

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