Monday, 27 February 2012

Ano Natsu de Matteru - Episode 8

Thank heavens for alcohol... at least, if you're Kaito that is, as he doesn't have to worry about Kanna remembering bearing witness to his almost-but-not-quite-kiss with Ichika.

Of course, Kaito himself has no chance of forgetting such a thing, and Ichika is struggling to keep her mind from it too having returned from Okinawa.  While there have been no seismic shifts in anyone's relationship status as a result of that break, both Kaito and Mio have clearly changed on account of their encounters and experiences during that period - if they haven't noticed it themselves, then those close to them most certainly have, with Testsurou and Kanna both realising that something has changed with their friends.

Still, such worries are put aside as it's festival night in town, giving everyone within the group a chance to let their hair down and have fun together - that is, until Remon shows up.  Of course, her appearance can only mean one thing - another session of arch manipulation of the emotions of those around her, and this time that comes by challenging the group to a good old-fashioned test of courage.  The entire event proves to be an elaborate, theatrical play, as she carefully matches up her "actors" and then ensures that the scenario develops to show everyone's true feelings.  Surely even Remon hasn't accounted for what eventually transpires however, as Rinon's recent panic proves ultimately to be well-founded as Ichika's secret and recent happiness looks set to come crashing down around her.

Yet again there's an easy, simple joy that comes from watching Ano Natsu de Matteru as it focuses week on week upon bouncing its major characters off one another in their tangled web of love and friendship.  This makes for some beautiful moments and times and heart-rending scenes at others - I think my heart actually broke when Kaito runs off to leave Kanna in the darkness to see to Ichika, while his determination to save Ichika from her fate no matter what was rather beautiful in its own way.  Such is the simple formula of this series - if you love its characters, then you'll be emotionally invested in everything that happens to them, and with that in mind Ano Natsu de Matteru is well and truly doing a number on me each and every week.  From the scheming Remon through to poor, poor Kanna, I adore each and everyone in this series and as a result, just like them, I don't want their summer to end.

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