After arguably spending a little too much time on Jun's gender issues in recent episodes, Natsu no Arashi has clearly decided that it's time for some "serious business". Well, as serious as you can get with Shaft working on a series, which means sneaking in the girls from Hidamari Sketch in a cafe scene and a prolonged and drawn-out mention of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei which still made me laugh and cheer at the same time when the inevitable catchphrase came.
Anyhow, as the episode begins yet again the discussion of taking food beyond its sell-by date back to the past to make it edible arises, and again Kaya tries to explain why this isn't possible. This conversation soon branches out into even more scientific and philosophical territories, with discussions of time paradoxes and parallel universes sprinkled throughout - I love this kind of stuff, so it was most satisfying to see it discussed here in terms of the series time-travelling premise. However, Arashi perhaps isn't so happy to hear this particular discussion, as it raises questions about the consequences of her going back in time to save victims of World War II bombing raids which she'd rather not ponder. However, this particular question does have a poignant and sweet ending, which occurs during a brief jaunt back to the mid-1980s for Hajime and Arashi.
That aside, the end of this episode makes real progress on moving the story forward in some interesting ways, as Yayoi and (more notably) Kanako get some proper screen time beyond mere comic relief to book-end this episode, and leaving us with a proper, full-on cliffhanger for the first time in this series.
For all its variable quality between episodes, this was most definitely another strong instalment for Natsu no Arashi - I've already mentioned how much I appreciate all the talk about the theories behind time travel, but even beyond that I'm fascinated by what Kanako is going to bring to the story and Arashi's heart-warming meeting with a young boy in 1985, and her reaction to it, was a truly sweet little moment. It does make wish that every episode of Natsu no Arashi could be more like this though - If every instalment had blended the elements on show here from its philosophical depths through to its cheeky cross-referencing of other anime, then this could have been quite a classic rather than the hit-and-miss affair it's largely been.