After impressing once again with its blend of modernity and World War II time travelling last episode, Natsu no Arashi anchors itself in the present day for the latest instalment of the series, while keeping its mind firmly affixed on Jun, Kaya and the relationship between them.
For starters, we finally find out how Jun ended up ressing as, and being mistaken for, a boy in the first place, although to be honest the more we see and learn of her the more appropriate her choice of attire becomes in a way. Indeed, much of this episode is once again Jun's struggle with her hatred for women and the way they behave, personified by some modelling friends who she meets out on a shopping trip.
However, it's these feelings which put her at ease with Kaya, a girl who is herself struggling with the modern world she now exists in which has thrown away all of her concepts of purity and "correctness", leaving her feeling frequently uncomfortable. This doubtless explains her connection to Jun, who seems to have a similar desire for purity herself, although it is the latter who now looks to drive Kaya on to admit her true feelings of love towards the man left behind in those fatal World War II air raids.
I'll be the first to confess that Natsu no Arashi is really at its best when it has that time-travelling, war-centric focus to juxtaposition with the more light-hearted troubles of modern life, and this means that when an episode lacks those features it simply becomes harder to really ramp up any enthusiasm towards it. While this episode wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, and worked to extend Jun and Kaya's characters further, it can't draw me into the kind of rapt, horrified fascination that the series trips back to war-torn Japan provided me with. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder though, and it appears that this is true both of the object of Kaya's love and, in terms of Natsu no Arashi, the lack of jumping back to World War II Japan. No doubt when it happens next, I'll be all the more impressed for its lack in this particular instalment.