Sunday, 10 May 2009

Natsu no Arashi - Episode 6

After introducing Kaja to the series properly a couple of episodes ago, it's about time she gets her turn at time travel, and so it goes in episode six, albeit in a rather unplanned manner.

Much as per the last episode of Natsu no Arashi, Jun gets herself plenty of screen time, as we begin to build up at least a partial understanding as to why she's pretending to be a boy, holding as she does some rather deep-seated emotional dislikes towards the average female. These emotions really get brought to the fore as Kaya and Jun accidentally and unexpectedly connect, getting whisked off to a World War II Japane adventure of their very own.

This particular jump back in time revolves around the love of Kaya's life from that time, a man destined to die in an air raid. Kaya refuses to save him lest her meddling with the past distort the present in dangerous ways (something which certainly doesn't seem to bother Arashi), but not meddling with time is a rather tricky thing to pull off and she soon realises that this visit with Jun has, in fact, put him in grave danger. Of course, her love for this man blinkers her towards everything else going on around her, not least poor old terrified Jun who is dragged around in the middle of bombing raid, thus proving some of her points about female selfishness while also helping her to understand the reasoning behind them.

In general terms, Natsu no Arashi continues to confound me as it mixes and matches its often somewhat juvenile humour with incredibly deep, dark moments when it comes to Arashi and Kaja jumping back into World War II - Shaft's artistic nuances are perfect for depicting such scenarios, and the confusion, danger and Jun's abject panic during the bombing raid seen in this episode became all the more powerful for their little tricks and animation style.

I have to confess these sections based in World War II Japan are what has gripped me the most about this series, although its juxtaposition with lighter content against those incredibly bleak scenarios of love and loss are entirely necessary lest we reach Grave of the Fireflies levels of depression. If nothing else, that jump from fiery death to Hajime joking around makes for one of the more unique series structures you'll find this season, and while it doesn't work perfectly it certainly proves to be an enigmatically watchable offering which I'm warming to more and more by the week.

1 comment:

ajshepherd said...

Just watched this episode, and I was thinking "Hang on, when did this become Grave of the Fireflies. The bombing sequence was spectacular the way it represented Jun's terror.
Best episode of the series, and it's raised the series considerably in my estimation.