Natsuiro Kiseki Review

Hello there. This is review number thirty eight. I’m reviewing Natsuiro Kiseki. I saw this on the Spring lineup and I just vomited a little. It’s another K-on rip off. I apologize if my review had a lot of K-on bashing. I hate that anime. I hate it because a lot of lackluster anime came after it like Hyakko and A-channel.

It’s created by Sunrise and SquareEnix that also created Danshi Nichijou though. They try to cater to the crowd KyoAni used to have so I am intrigued how they’ll put a twist to this anime. Its twelve episodes about girls spending summer vacation. Let’s read on.

Story

Natsuiko Kiseki is about four close friends about to spend their last summer together as a whole. One of their friends is about to move away. It even caused some tension between their friendships. Natsumi and Saki are fighting over small things. The other two was concerned that they decided to have the two meet in the big rock where they made a promise four years ago.

However, the two just kept fighting. In a moment of silence, they all looked up the sky and thought “how nice it’d be to fly”. Their wish was granted. They then knew that this summer would be the best summer of their lives.

Taking the Pants Off

Oh look here. There are four girls spending time together in a slice of a life anime. I’ve seen this before. Isn’t this K-on? Ever since that anime appeared, countless clone came crawling with it attempting to cash in on the audience K-on created. The anime reeks of this K-on effect. Even the girls oddly look the same with different colored hair. I pegged this as another moe blob anime with very little story. Once again, this pantless anime blogger has been proven wrong.

The anime is indeed about four friends in a slice of life setting. A majority of the anime involves the girls just spending time together and bonding. The characters even had their share of “cute” moments that reminds me of that dreaded moe blob KyoAni created. The anime is similar on the outside but very different on the inside. First of all, this one has a plot. The anime opened with an introduction to the girls and a conflict right off the bat.

Saki Mizukoshi is leaving soon and she started to give cold shoulders to her friends. This made Natsumi Aizawa very mad. Saki broke a promise she made awhile back about attending tennis practice. Saki didn’t care and just left without a care. The other two, Yuka Hanaki and Rinko Tamaki, was left on the sidelines just seeing the two fights. They decided to hatch a plan to bring the two back together. They had them meet each other in a rock behind the shrine they used to play in. They once made a wish on this rock and Yuka tried her best to make the two make up by reminding them of the wish. One thing leads to another and they then thought of how nice it’d be to fly. The rock mysteriously granted the wish. They literally flew.

The first episode was pretty powerful and immediately, the anime managed to shake off the K-on appeal it had. It had conflict, magic and it still managed to be true to its slice of life appeal. I honestly thought the anime wouldn’t work because with the introduction of magic, the anime might become muddled and confusing. It managed to balance all of the plot elements though making it unique but still very slice of life. It is still very down to earth.

Yes, the anime isn’t like K-on where cute girls do cute things and awkwardly enter the realm of yuri in a moment’s notice. Natsuiro Kiseki had the girls fight on some small details, they would try to escape their chores and they would be yelled at by their parents. It was very easy to relate to and to understand their situation. These girls would randomly do things together that any of us has probably done with our friends but not glamorizing themselves like in K-on. While I do believe that Azunyan wearing cat ears and going “meow” is unbelievably cute, it was the very reason why we only watch the girls live their lives and not fell it or experience it.

I’ll drop the K-on comparison now. I’m just shaken up because it has a very low review on MAL. F*cking moe blob zombies. The first half of the anime isn’t very serious on the plot. Each episode isn’t connected to each other in terms of story. The girls would just find themselves in supernatural situations caused by a wish by one of their friends. Some wishes were truly hilarious like having the girls be stuck to the hip or having them disappear. It brightens up the anime as we are slowly introduced to the characters. The anime actually have some “normal” episodes where they would just hang out and it feels hollow because the rock wasn’t involved. Some of the wishes are canceled out when the girls would realize why the wish was granted din the first place.

The rock is actually very mysterious. There was very little explanation on its origin and why it can grant wishes. The girls also didn’t question it as much as they are too busy enjoying the wishes that comes true. Some of the wishes don’t come true though and the anime didn’t explain why. It was left to the viewer’s imagination. There were wishes that came true because all the girls thought of it but sometimes only two girls can make a wish. There were no rules and I think the anime tried to avoid any technical babble to keep the anime down to earth and still slice of life.

The rock just grants wishes though and it doesn’t have any personality. The true bread and butter of the anime are the characters. They are slightly generic characters but because of how easy it is to relate to them, the characters become unique and endearing. It doesn’t take long to enjoy Yuka’s loud personality or Rin’s quiet and caring nature. I love the chemistry Saki and Natsumi had throughout the series. The anime dedicates some episode to a certain character so they are given time to develop and become likeable. There are no flat characters. The mere interactions between the characters are enough to make them very well rounded. Again though, the main attraction of the characters is how the viewers can relate to them. Why? The characters fight, the say selfish things that another character will catch and they have been together for so long that their interactions seems very natural. There aren’t any “Oh, I didn’t know that” from the characters because they already know each other. They are that close.

The anime also smartly used flashbacks to develop the characters. Since one of them is leaving, there were a lot of talks about the good old days of when they were young. The scenes were cute and honest. It made the characters that much more special.

The second half of the anime downplayed the magic a bit. They finally tackled the impending moment of when Saki would leave them. There were a lot of serious moments on the second half and it brilliantly builds the anime up to its exciting ending. There were some tension in their relationship and it really makes you look forward to the heart felt good bye the anime is greatly teasing.

The anime took a different road though. On the final episodes of the anime, the girls decided to make one of their wish come true. They want their wish of becoming pop idols come true. They grew up loving this group called Four Seasons, a girl pop idol group that loosely looks like the characters. The anime decided to make the girls sing and dance. It was a bit odd since they already built a wonderful set up for the finale. It didn’t hamper the enjoyment though. It just delayed the finale a bit. There was a lot of things done right past this point so I just sat back and enjoy the characters realize their dreams of becoming Jpop idols.

The anime crumbled on the finale though. Sometimes cliché is there for a reason and the anime decided to be unique until the end. It gave us a truly special ending. The magic was suddenly brought back and the girl’s faced one final conflict before the anime ended. I was eager to see an Ano Hana-esque tear jerking moment but they took a different approach. Don’t get me wrong, the ending was amazing with all conflicts and tensions smartly resolved. I just didn’t expect it. The anime did an amazing job to separate it from the other cutesy anime out there though so I appreciate it up until the end.

Sight and Sound

The animation is very plain. The character design is generic but it didn’t ruin any enjoyment the anime had. It didn’t stand out though unlike the moe blob that preceded it. The anime also cut corners on detailing the characters when they are in a distance. When the characters are so far away, you could hardly make them out.

The facial expressions are nicely animated and the movements where natural though. The anime has some cute scenes like when they focus on the character’s face. On normal episodes, the characters would be all out cute. It had some share of fan service too. There were some scenes where the characters take off their shirt. I find it the best scenes in terms of animation. There were no details though when the characters are naked.

The dance scenes are great and by far, the best animation sequences in the anime. They were very alive and it didn’t feel robotic. It was choreographed but each character has some personality as they dance.

The OP and ED songs where performed by a Jpop group called Sphere that was heavily advertised in the anime. It was upbeat and very nice to the ears. At first, they sound generic though and I was only able to appreciate it after seeing the characters do their own number. It makes sense to have a Jpop idol group sing the songs about an anime where the characters aspire to be Jpop idols.

Overall Score

5/10 “An amazing story of friendship with a sprinkle of magic and the promise of adventure”

The anime isn’t perfect but its elements works so well that the anime stands out so beautifully. It’s a slice of life anime with hints of supernatural, a handful of drama and a touching story about friendship. I recommend it.

6 thoughts on “Natsuiro Kiseki Review

  1. I agree with you that Natsuiro Kiseki proved to be better than we first speculated. I will need to watch it again after the BD are released. 😀

  2. I was sure I’m going to feel like “meh” if I just stopped at the first few episodes, but I watched it very late, I think when there were around 9 episodes, and I had already seen bloggers praising it non-stop, so I knew I wouldn’t get disappointed with my expectations 😀

    • the anime was great, but i’m not gonna lie, i think i oversold this review. i think people started to praise it because they were expecting another moe blob like me got something much more satisfying.
      but it has flaws, major ones. like the ending.
      i like it but…XD

  3. Funny that NatsuKiseki never struck me as being in the K-ON category, but maybe being something of a fan of slice of life means I’m more sensitive to differences in the styles and nuances of such shows. Personally I felt like NatsuKiseki was pretty let down by Sunrise’s production values, though that’s probaby because I was watching it coming off NatsuMachi, on which JC appeared to have practically showered money. The production values weren’t terrible, but this is the sort of show that would really benefit from being really pretty.

    Oh, and shouldn’t the blame for the n-number of 4-girl-doing-nothing-moeblob anime lie with Lucky Star all that way back instead of K-ON? When K-ON first came out it itself felt like it was following the Lucky Star formula 😛

    • i meant that at firt glance, it looks like a K-on rip off. and yes, the animation wasn’t that great. the plot was great though and i find that the most important thing. XD

      Lucky Star started it but it was K-on that added the final nail on the coffin. and Kon has a bigger moe following that i think the other companies tried to make quick cash at.

  4. On the surface it didn’t look like much but when I was convinced to look more carefully, I saw something special in this one. The wishes all had simple, yet effective life lessons. The atmosphere was surprisingly calm. Once the squabble between Saki and Natsumi ended, the show got better. Yuka and Rinko were an adorable team and they looked better together than Natsumi and Saki, though they definitely had their moments.

Thoughts~

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s