Fri 17 Feb 2012
Romance is one of my favorite genres to watch. I love watching romantic-comedies, romantic-dramas, and all the little sub-genre labels your mind can imagine. However, I haven’t found any romance anime recently that can satisfy me. Toradora did so, but that was made years ago. Ano Hana had some potential, but it completely fell apart halfway into the series. But this might change with Ano Natsu.
Usually, the drama is caused by some kind of miscommunication and characters receive information without full context. While this creates the conflict, I personally get annoyed when this happens. Since we as viewers can see the “big picture”, I sometimes find myself questioning the actions and motivations of the characters. This is especially frustrating when this conflict is caused by the main characters themselves, simply because they refuse to communicate.
Ano Natsu seems different. In the first couple episodes, we clearly see the relationship developing between Ichika and Kaito. As the show progresses, we can also see the train of love interests that follows: Kanna likes Kaito, Tetsuro likes Kanna, and Mio likes Tetsuro. This setup was established in Episode 1. However, what is fascinating is the fact that characters are aware. Almost everyone knows where they stand in the line. Each character knows who they love, but they don’t necessarily know who loves them.
While Kaito is the only person to confess his love, each character has made their intentions known. They attempt to keep it a secret, but it’s their actions that tip their hands. And yet, not a single person can truly express how they feel. In fact, they do the opposite and end up hurting themselves even more.
In Episode 5, Kanna makes a huge faux pas in this scene. Fully aware of the situation between Kaito and Ichika, she simply asks how long Ichika will remain there. While this question isn’t necessarily insulting, it still rattles a delicate issue: the future between Kaito and Ichika. We see the doubts Ichika has, which explains why she hasn’t responded to Kaito’s confession. We see Kaito reminded of what little time he has left with Ichika. We see Kanna’s frustration of her unrequited love of Kaito.
And then there’s this…
This one scene changes everything. The love pentagon is entirely dependent on the actions on Kaito and Ichika. However this new revelation will force them to act. Kaito now has two possible romantic options: continue to pursue Ichika or redirect his focus on Kanna. Ichika must decide soon whether to develop her relationship or possibly lose Kaito over time.