Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Ano Natsu de Matteru - Episode 2

After a far too predictable opener, Ano Natsu de Matteru's second episode kicks off with an explanation of how Ichika Takatsuki fell out of the sky from her own point of view, thanks to a seemingly frivolous journey to try and find an image she has stuck in her head gone horribly wrong.  Not that anything went particularly right for Kai during the incident either, mind you...

With that out of the way and our new guest's credentials as an alien confirmed (as if it were necessary), Kai and, more specifically, Ichika have some explaining to do about the embrace they were found in with the latter almost naked at the end of last week's instalment.  Although Ichika's attempts to cover up her true origins are clumsy at best, she does enough to pass off any major suspicion - indeed, Kai's sister Nanami seems more than happy to let her stay in the family home to look after her brother while she's away on business, although of course love rival Kanna is a little less happy at the prospect.

Given that unhappiness, it's also no shock that Kanna has quickly blabbed about Kai and Ichika's new living arrangement to the rest of their mutual group of friends - thus, when they both return from seeing off Kai's sister (and some comprehensive shopping for new clothes for Ichika, even female aliens love to shop it seems), it turns out that their meeting regarding Kai's summer film project has been moved slap bang into the middle of his house.  After some discussions about where they should film and what the movie should be about, a mixture of the drink being served and general malaise turns things in a more frivolous and frank direction, leading through to yet another pang of pain and illness from our protagonist that Ichika has to "kiss better".

Compared to my massive disappointment with episode one, things did feel a little sharper this time around for Ano Natsu de Matteru - it's a little less reliant upon fan service, and a little more settled in what it's trying to do now the cat called Ichika is out of the bag, for the viewer at least.  Despite that however, you simply can't shake the feeling that there's nothing special here to lift the show beyond mediocrity right now - its characters are dull and two-dimensional in terms of personality, and their situations do nothing to grab you or make you care about them in the slightest.  There's still time for these things to build, but the early signs still aren't exactly great from a series I expected far, far more from.

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