Series Review: Ano Natsu de Matteru and the Art of Cinematography

Instant summary: A alien that looks exactly like a human fell from the sky and began a normal life with the human she almost killed.

Let me begin by saying that I'm thoroughly impressed by Ano Natsu. And, without exaggeration, each episode left me with a bit of awe. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the theme of the story, but the cinematography is perhaps the best out of all the series I've ever seen. It's the dialogue and pacing of the story I'm highlighting here, not the screenwork. They've managed to make a huge progress in the story in each episode, without making the story feels rushed or overcomplicated, or simply melodramatic. And they managed to keep this pace throughout the length of the series. And at the end of every episode, the plot thickens and makes you anticipate the next part of the story. I must say that this is a great feat, because I've not seen a series that made use of the story direction and techniques this well.

But what's my problem with this? Being an anime-original production, I really feel that they chose to create an outline of the direction, pacing and timeline of events before they actually have a story. Meaning, it feels like they wrote a story for a series of cinematography techniques, instead of using such techniques to tell a story.

And... so my problem is with the story. The characters aren't too stereotypical, but they aren't very original either. The character of Lemon only exists as a plot device all the way until the end, where her role actually becomes a little absurd. The story itself is waaay too predictable, and relies way too much coincidences for it to work. There are certain times where it become unrealistic because the plotline is too good to be true.

Looking back at the plot as a whole, you won't find any stroke of genius. In fact, it isn't even a very interesting story. It's a series of carefully set-up chain of plot twists and tropes that tries to make full use of the film techniques as a selling point. So, when this hits me, I felt like I'm simply taken for a ride.

But, well, in the end, I don't hate it one bit. It does have a fair bit of entertainment value, and I don't think this affected other people as much as it did for me. I didn't enjoy a good story, but I did enjoy Ano Natsu, and perhaps that's all that matters.

Plot/Concept: Negligible
Story Style: Amazing!
Audio/Visual: Great
Value: 7