Kouhei Inuzuka is a teacher who has been caring for his little daughter on his own since his wife's death. He's no good at cooking, so he and his daughter Tsumugi have been eating packaged meals from the convenience store. A series of events lead him one evening to a restaurant run by the mother of one of his students, Kotori. Her mother isn't there, but Kotori does her best to feed them both. It turns out Kotori is often alone since her parents are divorced and her mother is frequently not around. The three of them begin to meet and cook tasty food together.
Looking at all the other reviews, most people are going to disagree with my opinion, but it is my opinion and I have a right to share it.
I have to admit, i did enjoy the first few episodes. The most captivating part the show was Tsumugi's. Her adorableness pretty much drove that show, but it could only drive it so far. For me it was two episodes. By episode 3 she lost her flair and by episode 4, the show started to get boring. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy shows with cutesy but for a cutesy show to be good, it needs to be coupled with something else like a good story or comedy. The story is quite repetitive and eventually gets boring. Every episode, the characters decide to cook something, then they cook it. The End. As for Comedy, their is nothing in this show that made me laugh.
So, should you watch Sweetness and Lightning. Well, I think you should try it. People obviously like it. I don't know if the high rating are just the initial hype or if there is something about this show that I'm not seeing. If it is the latter, then I don't want to take the enjoyment away from you, but know that there is a chance you will not like this show, like me.read more
Should you watch this anime? Short answer: yes. Long answer: not if you're into mecha anime.
I really, really, really like Amaama To Inazuma. It's called 'Sweetness And Lightning' for a reason- in an industry where, even with slice-of-life, apparently it's escalate the stakes or get cancelled, this anime is refreshingly low-conflict and heartwarming. Sometimes I don't want to watch the fate of the world be decided by three gigantic robots in an hour-long mega battle to the death, or see a bunch of high-school age kids beating the (physical or mental) shit out of each other in some competition to stay in their uber-competitive school. (That being said, if you're looking for action, you're in the wrong place. Sorry.) Sometimes I want to watch a (cute) single dad despair over how to get his (cute) daughter to eat green peppers.
Definitely one of the elements I love most about this anime. In my opinion, it's emotionally engaging, though a little slow at times- but in my opinion, that pace adds to its charm. It's basically what it says in the description, so I won't draw it out for you- one thing I will say is that when I started watching, I was worried it was gonna turn into a teacher/student romantic relationship, but that's not the case at all. (Actually, the dad deals with the whole 'contact w a female student in his personal time outside of school' thing very appropriately.) (Conversely, if that's the kind of thing you're looking for, you're probably out of luck.)
Definitely no complaints. Art is beautiful, realistic, and fits the tone of the story- plus, all the characters are cute.
Same as the art- fits the overall tone of the anime, well-selected.
Probably the biggest strength of the anime, imo. The characters and their relationships and motivations are- wait for it- believable and easy to care about. I know. Crazy, huh.
Plus, there aren't too many side characters introduced- i think the cast is mostly three mains and a handful of sides, which makes it easy to follow and focuses enough on the mains to really flesh out their characters. None of that 'well, these ten are the mcs, and these thirty are the side characters, and those other twenty pop up sometimes just for fun and to confuse the shit out of you.'
I think the only thing holding me back from giving Amaama To Inazuma a full 10/10 rating is that the pacing can be a little slow sometimes- as of now, it's been four episodes, and one of the (i assume) mcs shown in the opening hasn't been introduced yet- but I would highly recommend this anime to anyone looking for something sweet, low-conflict, and heartwarming.read more
Growing up, I'm sure many of us have consumed one too many sugary sweets during our childhoods. We gouge down, smacking our lips, lapping up the remaining sticky stains that pepper our face, slurping the sweet syrup that coats our fingertips, savoring every last drop like sweet-tooth extraordinaires. But after awhile, that sugary delight leads to an unwelcome stomach ache, where we're left bloated and forced to endure the rightfully earned scorning from our parents:
"I told you not to eat all those sweets at once!"
as they march us off to the restrooms to brush away the very thought of any potential cavity taking refuge between the crevices of our underdeveloped molars. It's the right of passage for us kids. For us mischievous sweet-tooth extraordinaires. Without the guidance of our parents to keep us within our bounds, however, we'd more than likely been sporting a smile with teeth weathered by decay.
Sweets are good, but overindulging in it often lead to this expected end result. And as you've undoubtedly figured out what I'm alluding to by now, Sweetness and Lightning suffers a similar fate. A show that barrages you with all the cuteness that the namesake would imply, and on that end, it certainly delivers, but doesn't offer enough levity to let it settle in. It's all dessert without dinner, every child's wildest dream in theory, but in practice, a very tiresome endeavor that turns our sweet-tooth rotten and our palates too soaked to ask for more. Sweetness and Lightning share in our delight for all things sweet, but unlike the reprimanding we received as kids growing up, when this show overindulges, there aren't any parents around to scold it. And for a show that centers around parenting, this becomes an issue that even the smile of a bubbly little girl couldn't dissuade you from taking notice of.
There really isn't much here to talk about, despite what the premise would have you believe. A man who's wife died having to cope with that pain of losing a loved one, while also raising a daughter, taking on all the motherly duties that he took for granted. All the while with food being used as a catalyst to show his parental growth, as well as a common means for both parent and child to bond, the story was practically gift wrapped to the creators. And yet, even with this hand-delivered theme of parental bonding and coping with lost being right in their grasp, very little of it went beyond the occasional reminder of a motherless home and dishes reminiscent of happier times in the father and daughter's life. Parenting is placed on the backburner for cooking lessons and food montages. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing if that's all you came looking for.
But there's also something else that the show's premise alluded to. Something that isn't as important as the themes it skipped over but still wanted nonetheless. And that was a cute mascot. And boy, did this anime ever deliver. Tsumugi is, with little dispute, one of the most adorable kid characters to have ever been conceived since the likes of Naru from Barakamon. Cuteness that transcends regulatory standards. Cuteness that hurts. Cuteness that bursts past the stratosphere. Tsumugi is cuteness incarnate. And dear I say it, the sole reason for this show's existence. Without Tsumugi, there wouldn't be a Sweetness and Lightning worth discussing. Which, quite frankly, is a double-edged sword if you were watching the show for something beyond its flagship character. For when it comes to everything else the show presents, the act of slouching in disinterest becomes far too common of a practice.
As far as the rest if the cast goes, there's really no other characters worth mentioning beside Tsumugi. Everyone else is simply introduced to feed off her energy. To say she's the star attraction would be an understatement. The very foundation of this show's existences is made impossible without her inclusion. She's the poster-child of Sweetness and Lightning. The very thing people will remember the show for, long after they forget the events of the show itself. It's the kind of character who's reputation would outlast the source material it's attached to. She's the Yuno Gasai. The Haruhi Suzumiya. The Holo. The Major Kusanagi. She's the very legacy that the source material will leave behind.
This isn't to say that the cooking the show presents each episode isn't interesting. Just that in the backdrop of a show that's taking things slow and steady, it's lost in translation to the little girl twerking on the floor, practicing her cooking dance charms to make the food delicious. And when you pair that with a mild-mannered man lost behind the frame of his glasses and unkempt bushy top that hides his soft-spoken expression... well, what you have here is a recipe for amnesia-inducing content.
If I was placed on the spot to recall the events of any given episode, the best I could sum up would be "they cooked food, Tsumugi acted cute, they ate and went back home." Not really the lasting legacy any creator would want now, is it? Whether premeditated or not, the show becomes one big blur when it repeats the same exact scenario every episode. Which brings us back to the pestering question, why is there no focus on parenting?
It's an aspect the show seems to hint at on several occasions, but whenever it gets too close to crossing that line between happy-go-lucky to something sobering, it skittishly pulls back and retreats to the kitchen to avoid confronting the elephant in the room. For what I could only surmise as the creator wanting to keep the same bubbly tone throughout, we're forced to only stand at the edge looking down at the canyon of parental responsibility and struggles of living life as a single parent. And as we as the audience step further away from the edge to resume the same routine that we've encountered throughout every episode since, it becomes apparent that we'll never take that plunge in the show's brief 12-episode lifetime.
But I guess for those that do love this carefree disposition, that isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. And if you're one who likes this more syrupy type of lifestyle, then Sweetness and Lightning will certainly deliver.
This routine cycle I spoke of sees Kouhei, the soft-spoken father and full-time teacher, befriend one of his pupils named Kotori, a girl who's constantly on pins and needles with a mannerism that's best described as a series of micro personality ticks and perpetual flustering. Together these two form a mutual friendship centered around their need to cook different kinds of dishes and keeping each other company. And the source of influence that they both gravitate towards is, of course, our poster-child Tsumugi. And as the synopsis states, the rest of their time is spent cooking tasty treats while Tsumugi entrances the viewer with a barrage of cute antics.
And as if the point wasn't made clear already, even the moments that don't focus on her just ends up surrounding her anyways. The creative team behind Sweetness and Lightning are simply obsessed over their gooey gumdrop of a mascot. And by the looks of it, so am I at this point.
Tsumugi is adorable and isn't even sexualized, which to any outsider of anime may seem like an odd thing to say about a child, but let's face it, Japan's obsession with sexualized lolis isn't something that just magically disappears when we don't pay attention to it. So in that sense, Tsumugi is a HUGE breath of fresh air when the only other option for kid characters tend to be morphing them into moe blobs or letting a gust of wind expose their pantsu for purposes I think Jared from Subway would take far too much satisfaction in seeing. So until the current social norm for child anime characters change,Tsumugi stands as an example of one done right.
And I'm sorry if I'm droning on and on about Tsumugi, but that's literally all the show leaves you to talk about. What was initially described by many as "Barakamon meet Usagi Drop", simply became one facet of that idea when all aspects of parenting, or progression for that matter, abandoned ship. And so, with nothing else worth addressing, it's time for us to part ways as well, as I bring this review to its final stop.
"Too much of a good thing" is the phrase that comes to mind when I reflect on this show. With a cute tyrant running rampant and a timid father trailing behind her, Sweetness and Lightning mostly became Sweetness and Murmur. Despite wanting the anime to take a leap into the parental aspect that it kept hinting at, I can't say I was displeased with what I got in return. If I had known that parenting wouldn't be an important aspect beforehand, I would have still watched the show for the sheer enjoyment of its meditative programming. Yes, it got a bit underwhelming and tedious at times. Yes, it could have done more to change up the formula. But, when all things were said and done, I still walked away with an adorable pint-sized bundle of joy that left me with a smile on my face. And at the end of the day, that's more than enough for me. read more
Imagine the most important person in your life, the one you love unconditionally, who takes care of you or your family, suddenly ceases to exist. In the grieving wake of the unexpected you cling to whatever is comforting, dreading beginning the next day without them. I have a friend who lost her fiancé to a car accident a few years back, and although I couldn't empathize appropriately, I provided the support that I could for the disaster that rocked her world. She was left to take care of her then three year daughter and pick up the pieces along the way. In light of the initial struggle, life stumbles on and we learn that we can be happy again, even after something as devastating as this. When I heard about Amaama to Inazuma's story, I instantly felt a sinking in my stomach. It reminded me so much of her situation and I knew i had to watch it.
I want to take a minute to reset the somber tone I probably just created. While Amaama to Inazuma has its share of sad moments, this is a very endearing anime. The writers do a decent job of attaching us to the character's internal struggles through the medium of cooking. An added bonus is how much I personally enjoy the art of food... something I feel gets less serious attention in anime than it deserves. The average person will spend over four entire years of their lives cooking and eating, so it's only natural that it can be used to convey and heal our many issues in life. The relatively small cast bonds quite well over the course of the show and creates an enjoyable, episodic approach to everyday problems like socializing, raising children and managing loss.
The plot of Amaama is simple. A widower (Kouhei) taking care of his daughter is motivated to start cooking better when she questions why she never has a home cooked meal. This motivation, coupled with the use of one of his student's family restaurants helps Kouhei grow in both his cooking skills and relationship with his own daughter. That's pretty much it. This is not an anime you go into expecting a riveting or revolutionary story, or even a super engaging episode structure. It's best described as "charming", and you stay for the lighthearted atmosphere and Tsumugi's cute and cheeky personality. It's nothing to write home about, but its positivity and focus on food is what kept it afloat for me.
I was delighted by Tsumugi's adorable demeanor in the first few episodes. She reminded me a lot of Naru from Barakamon or Rin from Usagi Drop, and embodied the actions of a six year old girl perfectly. She isn't written to be more mature than her age, and responds appropriately to the various situations she's placed in throughout the series. This is something I've noticed anime directors having problems with in the past. She's naturally innocent, and even throws tantrums from time to time... something I would truly expect from a six year old. Turns out she also doesn't care for green peppers. Yep, sounds like a typical six year old.
However, as Tsumugi's charm began to fade (around episode 5 or so), the series began to trip over itself and become boring. The episodes began to become soothing and I actually found myself dozing off in the expanded cooking segments. Don't get me wrong, I love food and these segments were quite technically accurate, but it just didn't translate well into entertainment value. I actually thought I had watched the same episode a few times in a row due to their repetitive nature. I eventually found I enjoyed the non-cooking snippets more as the series went on, because they allowed the writers to focus on the relationship between Kouhei and Tsumugi more. It was for this reason I realized why shows like Usagi Drop are superior to Amaama to Inazuma. It's all about focus. While relationships were the focal point of the former, the cooking centered approach from the latter just didn't satisfy as much.
Aside from a few internal monologues and flashbacks, Kouhei is a rather bland protagonist. I guess it's only fitting, as Kotori's friend Shinobu pointed him out as "plain" near the beginning of the series. I feel Tsumugi's importance completely overshadowed him, and it would've been nice to get some development here as well. His relationship with Kotori was just as strange. I might be wrong in this assumption, but is it normal for a single, male teacher to be texting one of his high school students every day? There were even subtle instances of Kotori appearing to have feelings for him (which apparently are furthered in the manga). Subtle, but still there. A rather unnecessary addition to the show, and one I'm still confused about. Maybe I'm just overthinking it, since Amaama is otherwise as innocent a show as you'll ever watch. Zero fan service, and zero cursing. A nice change of pace for sure.
I didn't care for the rest of the cast in Amaama either. Kotori had a constant blush emblazoned on her cheeks, a testament to her nervous demeanor. She just didn't work as a character for me, but her strife was understood in regards to her parent's divorce and social anxiety. It's honestly more of a preference issue than actual character development. I'd actually argue that she receives the most out of any character in the show. Yagi and Shinobu are both rather one-dimensional characters that exist to propel the series forward. Both add slight comedic value, but ultimately aren't that important.
As I mentioned previously, the characters look to correct both their internal struggles and awful cooking skills by focusing on food. The writers absolutely nailed this aspect of the show. I only learned to properly cook a few years ago, and every bad tendency I had when I initially started was explored here. Overcooking meals, screwing up recipes and the like were handled well, and the actual dish preparations were quite accurate. It really made me hungry at times. The scene with Kouhei filleting the fresh caught fish was a great example of Japanese culture, since they basically devoured the fish raw O_o At any rate, I wish the same amount of effort would've been spent on other aspects of the series as well.
Since it is 2016, I would hesitate to call the art in Amaama "good". It's relatively below average compared to most of the shows being released today. Even though the scenes are mostly still and not animation heavy, there were still instances of lazily drawn character models from time to time. I did appreciate the amount of life drawn into Tsumugi's character, and the artists did a great job adapting from the manga. The OP was a real toe-tapper, with an upbeat, cute melody that welcomed you to the show. The ED also fit nicely with the tone of the series, with the rest of the background music emphasizing the current scene appropriately. Nothing flashy or over composed here. Tsumugi's VA (Rina Endou) ironically voiced the overly shy Hina from Barakamon and excelled in Amaama as well. I like to see younger characters actually voiced by kids.
If you love food as much as I do, then Amaama to Izuma is an anime you cannot miss based on premise alone. Throw in an endearing girl rivaling only Naru from Barakamon in terms of cuteness and you've got a casual, feel-good show that engages your heart more and your mind less. It's definitely got its share of issues, but it makes for a great time passer, an anime best enjoyed occasionally. I'd recommend it to fans of Usagi Drop and Barakamon, or someone looking for something lighthearted to cheer them up. I did enjoy Amaama to Inazuma, but it isn't my favorite of the season. If for no other reason, watch it to learn a thing or two about cooking... I know I sure did!read more
Crunchyroll announced at Anime Expo that they will be releasing anime on Blu-Ray and DVD -- that inevitably means they'll be releasing more titles than what's been announced so far. Here's a list of some anime we think they should release!