Nanami’s face says it all!
|Well, here we are, the conclusion to Ano Natsu, one of my favorite shows of the season! I’ve had a great time watching it and I’m happy I gave it a chance. Now it’s time to learn the fate of Ichika and Kaito …|
After crashing into the hidden search pod sent by the Federation, Remon’s suped-up van falls onto it’s side. Luckily, before any injuries could be sustained, Rinon manages to puff out his body creating a cushion for everyone inside. Exiting the van, Remon tells Ichika and Kaito to keep moving while she deals with the pod. A little worried (even though this IS Remon we’re talking about!) the duo head out with Rinon. The pod approaches Remon when suddenly her van trasnforms into a full fledged mech, with remote controlled rocket launchers. And yes, that really just happened.
Remon, badass as usual.
Still running from her own chasing pod, Kanna bumps into Manami who pulls up in her car. She tells Kanna that her husband told her to go there, but the chat is short lived when Kanna’s “stalker” flies overhead. Panicked, Manami drives off with the pod still chasing. On another nearby road Mio and Tetsurou continue outrunning their own chaser on their scooter. Kaito helps Ichika, who is worn out from the trek through the woods, when yet another pod attacks. This time however Emika saves the group with a small spacecraft she sent from her ship. Before escaping Rinon decides to stay behind and mounts the spacecraft.
Ichika and Kaito manage to make it to the train, which will take them all the way to their destination. Ichika begins blaming everyone’s current troubles on her own selfishness, but Kaito reminds her that they’re all doing it to fulfill her wish. He comforts her concerns and she rests her head on his shoulder. Kaito then goes on to ask if he can visit her planet once everything is worked out, and she says she wants him to see it. They reminisce over their summer memories and then exchange “I love you”-s, which prompts Kaito to whip out his camera.
They really do make a great couple.
While the pod seemingly gets an upper hand on Remon, a sudden blitz of rockets takes it down. She turns around to see the MiB lined up and ready for action. Meanwhile Tetsuro’s scooter runs out of gas leaving Mio and him open for attack. Thankfully more MiB, including Manami’s husband Satoshi, are hiding in the woods ready to take the enemy out. At the same time the
rapist pod chasing Manami is also defeated by more MiB in cars.
Just your friendly neighborhood MEN IN FREAKING BLACK.
Ichika and Kaito arrive at lake (very similar to the one in Onegai Sensei’s first episode) where a diamond shaped crystal rises from the water and then shatters revealing a vision of the lake locked away in Ichika’s memory. In the vision a large tree stands with carvings etched into it’s bark, but back in the real world the tree is nothing but a stump. Without the tree to prove alien’s past presence of Earth, Ichika and Kaito become dismayed. From the sky a group of pods attack, one of which holds Kaito against the ground while another latches onto Ichika.
Ichika tries to get them to stop, to no avail, when she begins blaming herself again. Kaito once again pushes those blames aside and tells her he never wants to let her go. As she’s pulled into the pod Ichika promises to never forget the feelings she had and the time she experienced with Kaito and everyone. In tears Kaito promises that he’ll see her again as the pod flies off into the distance. Inside, Ichika breaks down. As the pod flies off a voice (what I believe is the voice of Mizuho from Onegai Sensei) thanks Ichika for finding her memories, and tells her the story of the human boy she fell in love with but was forced apart from.
Kanna, Mio, and Tetsurou all think back to that summer, the happiness and the sadness, the fond memories and their new friend, and they all agree it’s a summer they’ll never forget.
I-I can’t handle all these tears! (╥﹏╥)
In present day the group is back in school living their normal lives. Kanna teases Tetsurou about a love note she was supposed to give him, but wonders why he won’t just take Mio as his girlfriend since she’s so willing. Kaito arrives back home to find Nanami, his older sister, back from Bolivia with gifts, including a poncho meant for Ichika. To her surprise, Kaito tells her that Ichika had to leave, but he decides to still keep the poncho.
Nanami is back! <3
Back at school the group learns that Remon is transferring out because of her parents. She leaves them a bag full of reels from their film project, and when they look back up she’s gone. Outside she walks towards a limousine accompanied by a driver and looks back one last time remembering that they still have one last scene to film.
Remon … Ichigo … we may never know!
Later that night all four friends sit back and watch the film clips, and as they do they share tears and smiles over the amazing summer they got to experience thanks to Ichika, Remon, and each other. During the credits Kaito decides to continue filming so that his memories will never be forgotten. Also, Remon gets back to work with the MiB along with Rinon, who never actually left.
Sometime in the future students of Kaito’s school talk about the film passed down from previous years, the film they shot summers ago. A short clip of the film shows Ichika wearing the poncho Nanami had bought for her but never received as she smiles to to the camera.
Thinking back to episode four, “unforgettable summer” feels perfectly accurate when it comes to describing Ano Natsu. (
Even if some of us are still stuck in cruddy winter weather!) Before I ramble on about my thoughts of the show altogether though, let’s take a closer look at the finale!
Agh, this show really knows how to mess with your emotions! For the last 11 weeks I’ve been pretty hard on the destined couple of Ano Natsu, Kai and Ichika. From the early episodes the relationship felt somewhat forced (that’s what happens when you’re the largest part of every promotional art I guess), but the last couple weeks have put them in a much better light. Once their relationship was finally solidified in Okinawa their closeness began to feel more and more touching. That’s why the climax of this week’s episode was so depressingly sad! Watching as the two were literally torn from each other without even a last kiss or hug goodbye really clawed at my heartstrings. By now I’m sure you all know I can be pathetically emotional sometimes, but was I not the only one tearing up at the sight of Ichika breaking down into tears after getting one last word out to the person she loves? The very last scene (of Ichika wearing the poncho) DID make everything a bit better, since she got to see Kai again somewhere along the way.
She’s a star! (A very deadly one …)
There was little time spent on the rest of the cast this week, but they did get their moments to shine. Kanna once again showed her determination to make Kai smile, and Tetsurou/Mio had their cute moments. The most powerful part was definitely their final speech towards the end, it had such a feeling of closure behind it and the film viewing scene between the four friends that followed later on hit me pretty hard, bringing back all the good and bad moments that brought them all together.
The most awesome character this week was no doubt Remon! I guess her hints at being MiB weren’t just a joke afterall! Her scenes just proved how badass she is, and honestly in my opinion she definitely deserves the award for best character of the season. A loli who serves alcoholic beverages, drives a van like a boss, shoots missiles, and is a member of the Men in Black … yeah.
A nice touch for Onegai Sensei fans this week were the parallels to the original series. I’ve only seen the first episode as of now, but I recognized the lake scene and the voice of Mizuho. So in the end this really was like a spiritual successor of the original boy meets alien show, whether or not Ichigo is actually Remon I guess is still up for debate! I have plans to do a full on comparison of the two shows involving the themes, characters, and setting as soon as I finish. ^^
Oh, the similarities!
Overall Ano Natsu has been a VERY entertaining and emotional experience. This is rom com done right, in my opinion at least. Likable characters, some interesting supernatural themes thrown in, a lovable mascot, tons of hilarious moments, and of course romance! The second half I felt was far better then the first since the first half dealt a lot with misunderstandings. Once everything was out in the open I began to fall in love with the interactions between the characters, especially the side cast. Mio was a breakout star, and Kanna was lovable as well. It’s great when you can form a connection with the characters, it really deepens the emotional affect they can have on you. I have lots of praise for this series! As far as weaknesses go, I’d say the biggest is the main couple. As I said, it felt predetermined from the start and there was little room for anything other character having a chance. That led to the side relationships being much more entertaining because it had ACTUAL conflict.
This had to be my favorite series finale of the season (though I haven’t quite gotten to a few just yet), not just for the emotion portrayed by our leads, but for the underlying message it sent that I’m sure we can all relate to, even if your teenage years have passed. How many of us can actually say we’ve had a truly “unforgettable summer”, or unforgettable anything for that matter? I for one, can not, but what I’ve personally taken away from Ano Natsu is that experiencing an “exciting” part of my life isn’t about meeting aliens, running from giant pods, or getting drunk off of dynamite juice, it’s about being with the people you love to be with, experimenting with your emotions, going to the beach, making movies, and really, just being a teenager! I probably sound completely immature with that line of thinking, but to me Ano Natsu was always most importantly about the characters. Their relationships, and feelings, and emotions, and everything else that made them angsty teenagers living their lives day to day, and that’s why Ano Natsu could make me laugh, and smile, and get angry, and upset, all within a single episode. I can relate to that feeling of wanting “to do something”, to making every moment truly unforgettable.
That probably came out really distorted … I had so many things on my mind after watching this episode, and for some reason I had such difficulty getting them all down coherently! Anyway, it’s been a great ride blogging this series, one of my first for Meta, and I’m happy to have met all you commenters out there! Thanks for making the show a blast to blog and hopefully I’ll see you around next season!
Until next time!~