Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Posted on January 12th, 2012

Filed under: Reviews — Karl Olson @ 10:00 pm

At the end of the last anime season, I genuinely pondered what I’d be watching next. None the titles really seemed to jump out at until I happened upon a forum thread about Ano Natsu De Matteru. Apparently, it’s from the same person who created the Onegai series, and that fact couldn’t be more obvious. The premise is virtually identical – a buxom, red-haired, alien girl falls right into the middle of a high school boy’s previous droll, pastoral life, much to the dismay of the boy’s childhood friend who happened to have romantic feelings for him.

There are some key differences: in Ano Natsu the high school boy’s parents are dead instead of his sister, the uncontrolled decent of the spaceship’s arrival on Earth kills the high school boy in the opening minute of the show, and now only the alien girl’s kiss can keep him alive. Additionally, the alien girl is only an upperclassman this time, not his school teacher, and it seems that the childhood friend is let in on the alien girl’s secret identity from the start. Those little changes amongst others may have a dramatic impact on the flow of the show, even if many of the other characters in Ano Natsu are near facsimiles of the characters in Onegai Teacher.

That said, while seeing an author who had previously breathed new life into the shonen romantic comedy genre simply phone it in should’ve left me bored, it’s actually really worked so far. The few bread crumbs that are different are so radically different that I genuinely wonder where they might lead. It doesn’t feel setup to reach the same finale either, at least in any obvious sense.

Besides, the series had sold me in it’s first minute before they killed the lead. Much like Onegai Teacher, Ano Natsu’s first episode opens with a monologue from the male lead, and those monologues sold me then and now. It was so simple, so eloquent and clear that from those words that the creative staff have set the show up for a very poignant yet sweet journey. Well, with any luck they should’ve; Onegai Teacher maybe a timeless anime, but Onegai Twins was slightly mediocre. Perhaps that risk makes it compelling as well – it’s a romantic comedy fused with NASCAR.

Anyway, I’m quite glad it’s been pre-licensed by Sentai Filmworks – I’ll probably be catching it on DVD or Blu Ray by the time CrunchyRoll finishes streaming it.

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