Everything comes full circle for Natsu no Arashi while teasing about the second season to come.
What They Say:
“Playback Part I - Master”
A particular summer day, when Arashi is finally revived back, Hajime must find a solution to his cherry bomb, summer school project. However, on the way the Ark, Arashi decides to change the name of the bomb to "Cutie Cherry Chan" bomb. Embarrassed by the name, Hajime implicitly opposes it, however Arashi has her way in the end and changes the name. Upon arrival to the Ark, they place the "Cutie Cherry Chan" on a small plate, satisfied with the way it looks. Hearing a female's voice calling out "Akagi Keiichiro," Hajime turns to where the voice came from and comes face to face with...
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I’ll be honest and say that when I saw the episode title for this and saw that it was Part 1, a little part of me cried. Not of joy at the prospect of there being more, which has been confirmed by the official Japanese show site, but at the prospect that it did well enough to merit more. It’s been interesting reading some of the comments in favor of the show as its progressed because this has simply been one of those shows that has not clicked with me outside of some neat character design aspects and a few quirky science moments. The bulk of the series has been largely uninteresting at best and mind numbing at worst. The fact that this episode is a culmination of all of that and very referential to much of the past didn’t help in the slightest.
The end of this season takes us back to the beginning in a way because it revolves partially around the Cutie Cherry bomb he’s created which is very reminiscent of what he did at the start with the exploding strawberry. And that episode was very difficult to get through so the tone for this one wasn’t set all that well for me. The same kind of plot is used here with Hajime has this great exploding cherry bomb that he wants to see how well it will work and he lands a very tempting target with a certain gentleman that he feels is making the moves on Arashi. Of course, the cherry is lost, gets mixed in with hundreds of others and could literally end up in any number of places and cause a whole lot of trouble. Arashi does her best to help out and a bit of time travel is naturally involved to help make sure everything is smoothed over.
What frustrated me even more than this is that they go back to the whole expired milk gag again at length. There is a legitimate reason for using it as a parable for some of the paradoxes of time travel and how funky everything could potentially be messed up with how they flit back and forth as often as they do. But after so much mind numbing stupidity between the characters in discussing it in a previous episode, bringing it up again here really just felt like overkill. Making it worse was that for the bulk of the episode, due to the heat, the cast is running around in a variety of skimpy outfits or very skimpy cosplay costumes. Natsu no Arashi has done a number of these kinds of odd things in previous episodes and it continues to feel forced and out of place a lot of the time, leaving me feeling like they’re really stretching for a particular kind of gag that’s not connecting for me.
At the end of thirteen episodes, outside of the minor skirmish that played out in the last few episodes, I’m really unsure of what the point of all of it is. Of course, there’s more manga out there and obviously more episodes coming in a second season, but what they showed me here didn’t really hold me overall. There are some small moments of greatness here, such as the character designs which are classic and a lot of the opening sequence. The time travel aspects are really intriguing since they’re dealt with seriously at times and it feels out of place in the rest of the show, but it added a wonderful little angle to all of it. As a whole, however, Natsu no Arashi left me unimpressed and uninterested in continuing on past this season.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.