Jun 4, 2022
I would like to take this opportunity to first say how much I enjoyed MOST of Natsuiro Kiseki. It was a great blend of small-town SoL summer vibes and supernatural hijinx, with an overarching feeling of melancholy knowing that this summer would be the girls last break together as Saki would be moving by the beginning of the school year. It is a moving show about fleeting youth and adapting to the ever changing reality of growing up.
The show is easily a 8.5/10 for me, however it was a very solid 9 until the last two episodes (and in addition, this 7 minute special).
Here I will briefly explain why I didn't like the ending for an anime that came out 10 years ago that nobody ever talks/talked about in the first place. Pressing stuff, you can imagine.
Natsuiro Kiseki thrived in it's ability to use supernatural elements (the stone) to create a unique problem for one/multiple of the main cast, which is then solved with the girls reflecting and understanding the importance of their relationships with each other. The wishes certainly caused a lot of drama, but the episodic format in MOST of the show means that everything is tied up in a nice little bow by the end of an episode. However, eps 11 and 12 are a 40-minute slog through molasses that concludes with a pretty unsatisfying ending.
I found the setting of Shimoda as an incredible backdrop for Yuka, Saki, Natsumi and Rin to interact with. It's a small town that these girls knew like the back of their hand, and their familiarity with it makes the viewer experience a sense of freedom as we watch them take whatever liberties they choose over their summer break: going to festivals, playing tennis, going on dates, etc. I am sure to some people who work full time, like myself, can feel a sense of nostalgia for those blissful summer days of yester-year. But this wonderful setting starts to play less of a role in the last few eps. Episodes 8 and 9 involve the girls going on a trip to the island Saki will be moving to, which are both great episodes that are emotionally powerful since they make the inevitability of her move all the more real. However, our final two eps involve the girls trying out to be idols in Tokyo with the supernatural catch being that time will keep repeating until they flawlessly perform their audition and thank the rock for the wishes it has granted them. To me, this felt like a flop of an ending.
From the first episode, so much emotion is put into every character processing Saki leaving and what the dynamic of their friendship will look like with her gone. It is the rock in your stomach that only gets deeper with each passing episode, knowing that the summer will end and with it their friend group won't be the same. The last two episodes took all of that emotional tension rising and just tossed it out the window, with way too much emphasis being on the rock & it's mysterious ways and much less on the relationship between the girls themselves (which is the bread and butter of any SoL). What we get in the end is a typical "ahahaha we will always be friends no matter what" after sidetracking the story at the most paramount point in the show and flipping what made the show so good on it's head.
And then we get this special, which is only slightly better than the ending we had before. We get to see how different they look after four years passing, they briefly go into what they are up to now, and then...... thats it. Nothing else happens other than them talking around the rock and reminiscing. I would never want to disrespect any of the writers and animators at Sunrise because I actually do think Natsuiro Kiseki is a great cozy SoL/drama that does nearly everything right (absolutely adored the first 10 episodes), but man that ending really kept the show from being incredible in my opinion.
so thanks for reading if anyone sees this :)
What did you think of this review?