Ano de Natsu Matteru Characters and Relationships
The Kaito Love Camp
Here we have our primary male lead, the main character Kaito Kirishima. He isn't your typical clumsy, oblivious, hopeless main character, because he has natural social qualities and assertiveness that give him an everyday feel that is neither special nor bland.
Kaito would very much like to preserve his friends and himself as they are at that moment: young, vibrant, and together - emphasis on together - because, as shown early on, Kaito has lost his parents. The death of his parents is what puts him in this state of thought, and from early on Kaito learns the value of life, a value that he believes comes from the memories you share with the lives around you. However, Kaito maintains that even those memories wane, but even then we see his hopeful optimism; he holds his parent's picture as a symbol of a preservation of what is left over, and goes a step further by filming the loved ones currently around him. This shows an optimistic belief: lives can be preserved. It is endearing and sad at the same time, as we would like to do the same with some of our friends, preserving the good times and the good feelings, so much so that we often forget the pain such relationships may bring along with the happiness; but you wonder if Kaito can truly forget the pain, since his parents died. How much can his happy moments make him forget those things? He actually seems to do a good job at this when he is having fun with the loved ones and people around him.
But we see that Kaito is reflective, values the inherent philosophy of his life and the lives of the others around him, and captures the surface of those lives. His clumsiness and obliviousness is only secondary to these things; and they are understandable, and not extreme, and only lie on the surface of what others see of Kaito.
Along with capturing the lives around him through film, Kaito captures the hearts of multiple girls. He is oblivious to this happening, and it shows that he perhaps has trouble understanding the emotions of others, and perhaps uses his 8mm camera both to preserve their lives and as a way of connecting with them, something unique and personal to Kaito. And although Kaito is oblivious, it is understandable because of his deeper worries and quandaries. Plus, not everyone has the ability to understand the hearts of others.
Kaito is clumsy in his actions. Although his decision to film is a terrific idea and fun, Kaito doesn't have much experience or a great plan, or even technology, and goes into it haphazardly, making the filming process awkward, and the scenes they do have are ungracefully made and put together. This is, however, a non issue since his purpose in making the film is fulfilled; and of course, he is young and without any formal teaching or experience. Additionally, his clumsiness goes along with his obliviousness, making awkward situations for his love camp, and also making him kind of hopeless. But again, we can forgive him since it gives us entertainment, and he also has troubles deep down.
Ichika Takatsuki fits your typical primary heroine role and female lead: she is innocent, has unique traits, stands out for those traits, and garners the attention of the male lead. We see her as rather suspiciously nervous when we are introduced to her, as she is constantly startled by the smallest things, and we come to find out that she is actually has cause for her behavior and is rather out of this world. Of course, who else would our male lead fall for if not for this type? The male lead in anime and manga are often supposed to represent us in some way, and for us males, the girl we fall for is rather "unique" when compared to other girls. They are viewed as awkward, or aliens, in our consistently normal, uneventful lives, thus strongly resembling Ichika. Likewise, you may find that oftentimes both males and females at some point feel as though they are alien to their surroundings and don't fit in; it's typical psychology that Ichika seems to, although extremely, express as we first see her. And as we go on, we find out the reason for her initial awkwardness, giving us an epiphany, while her awkwardness is also come to be understood, although it's a trait that persists. In both cases, we can empathize with her due to her special circumstances, because of the circumstance itself, and because she parallels the weird among us, seemingly a select group.
Although suspicious and awkward, Ichika accepts responsibility for her actions and cares for others. This shows a strong principle of character that can be admired in a world that often seems to be every man for himself, even if someone hurts you. It is a trait that will both hurt and benefit you to have. It can benefit you to care for others, because they will do the same for you and appreciate you. It can harm you since caring for others can be painful at times, and there are some things that just can't be helped, which we will find out Ichika and many of our characters must deal with. Ichika invokes this principle the strongest because she is also sort of reckless, able to break the rules for the ones she cares about, again representing the rulebreakers, and the aliens among us. They are the ones who don't follow the conventions or the norm that society sets, and often don't care. They are the nonconformists, the risk takers. And like Ichika, they often get into the most trouble, although having the most fun. Basically, Ichika's troubles can be traced back to her strong principles, care for others, and recklessness.
Kanna Tanigawa is kind of hopeless, and is the secondary heroine and secondary female lead. Kanna is headstrong, is hot-headed. Beneath that, she has a tender heart and cares for others. She just has a hard time expressing her emotions, and thus must grow as the show progresses. She learns that there is value to expressing yourself even when the result may not be what you want; it gives you peace of mind, and can leave you with no regrets. More importantly, she is there for Kaito and her other group of friends.
Kaori Kinoshita is a force that changes the Kaito camp. She is used as a tool to cause Ichika to think about her feelings, and to also cause Kaito to be more aggressive in his feelings since he doesn't want Ichika to misunderstand the relationship he has with her. Sometimes that's all someone needs, as the saying goes "you don't know you've lost something until you've lost it." Ichika didn't lose it yet, but the thought is enough to cause jealousy.
Also, Kaori's feelings for Kaito may not be completely true. Since she came off a breakup, her feelings are in disarray, so the nostalgia caused by seeing one of her childhood friends could have caused her to mistake a feeling of delight and warmth for a romantic one. It's similar to how when someone is put in a dangerous situation with someone, the rapid heartbeat, adrenaline, and intense emotions can be likened to feelings of love and cause the persons to fall in love with each other, or at least cause them to mistake their feelings for love; a vulnerability is caused that breaks down their defensive emotional wall after being relieved having escaped the dangerous situation.
The Tetsurou Love Camp
Here we have our secondary male lead, Tetsurou Ishigaki. He's the type who will do well in life. He's socially gifted and the ladies love him for his handsomeness and personality, something that goes initially unseen in most male leads, and something opposite of what our male lead Kaito has. Although he is socially savvy, I'll be the one to say that any spectacular personality traits are not actually seen, so I wonder why he is a popular guy. Perhaps we're intentionally supposed to feel this way, or perhaps only we as an audience can see him from this perspective. We know that Tetsurou is a nice guy and cares for his friends. However, other characters have those same personality traits. So we are only left with his handsomeness; but his handsomeness is not of the typical variety. He has messy hair and is not necessarily cool or suave. So what does this mean? Perhaps we're supposed to see his qualities as a normal guy despite his popularity. It relates to how many popular guys and seemingly perfect people have their issues, and this is true for Tetsurou since he isn't necessarily popular in his own clique, just loved, and he struggles with romance from the girl he actually loves. So we could invoke how popularity is based on other people's perception rather than the popular's perception, and how people, especially youths, can be misled to believe that popularity is one of the biggest advantages or highly important. But we see how that isn't the case both in the anime and in real life. Tetsurou's biggest rival is his comparatively unpopular and unsavvy friend. And in real life, the greatest assets tend to be the ability to create something and sell it as a product, to be satisfied or happy(you don't need both), and to avoid punishment by law; personality and physical traits help that to a degree, but they are generally only secondary to the amount of work and effort put into creating something.
Mio Kitahara is a bit awkward and is the main female of the Tetsurou camp; she is constantly seen blushing and fidgeting. Her awkwardness comes from how she is a bit timid and carries a secret that she doesn't want anyone to find out. However, under that exterior lies a strong character and character growth, seeing as though Mio not only finds the courage to confess, but also helps the one she loves with his own feelings for another - though that is a trait shared by other characters. The most unique aspect would be her self-consciousness due to the secret she carries. This can be empathized with, as many of us have a daunting secret that we don't want anyone to find out about, especially the person we love. It's fascinating how the surface seems to always hide something deeper, bringing the issue and complexity of human sociology and issues of human relationships, mainly on the communication front. You could say Mio Kitahara's situation symbolises this - she "lacks" something that causes a wall between her and others, and communication issues. Some of us can empathize with this too, as we may believe at times that we lack a trait that would allow us to connect with people and to be liked; it could be something like our social background, intelligence, or actual physical, superficial items. However, oftentimes, connecting and being liked only requires the right person to communicate to, and more importantly, for us to accept ourselves; then the change follows. Mio finds that person.
Similar to Kaori Kinoshita, Chiharu Arisawa is a force that changes the Tetsurou camp, although their personality traits are rather different. Chiharu is straightforward and aggressive with her approach in trying to claim Tetsurou as her boyfriend, very different from the meek and awkward Mio Kitaraha, but also perfect for causing Mio Kitahara to react. Having a love rival can increase your determination to get closer to the person you love. In this case Mio is already close to Tetsurou, and she just needs a push to go into a different territory, and with Chiharu egging on her jealousy, we see Mio being just a bit more assertive, allowing her to close the distance between her and Tetsurou to a degree. Chiharu is that rather huge push.
Remon Yamano is a mix of helpful and pushy, as she gives the characters a little push to deepen their relationships, as she understands their feelings; this proves helpful in allowing the characters to grow, and shows how she is quite a mastermind. She is surprisingly mature, both in her disposition and her body language; she is rather composed and has good posture. She is so mature, even, that I had thoughts that she was actually older than she seemed. However, she really is just a 17-year-old girl -a loli- though she turns out to not be exactly what she seems. Her role is similar to Rinon's, as they both are helpful in the technology department, but Remon helps with the human technology. This, along with the "pushes" she gives to the characters, makes her role essential in helping the all-around clumsy, reckless, oblivious other young characters.
Nanami Kirishima is the only or closest family member Kaito has, and she takes care of him. More importantly, she is someone for Kaito to talk to when he's home, so he is not lonely and thinking about his troubles..His sister is perfect for this role since she is laid back and open, and since she is young and inexperienced, she doesn't fit the typical role of motherhood which she is assigned to as the guardian of Kaito; she can protect and help him, but she can't cause him to grow mentally or to build his determination. Kaito does that by himself, causing him to have a modicum of independence, which turns out to be valuable given the circumstances of his adventure - he doesn't really have to rely on someone to get things done for him - he finds determination to get things done himself.
Manami Ogura is the closest adult figure and family member Tetsurou has. Her presence allows Tetsurou someone to talk to sometimes after a long day and school and hanging out with friends; it is something that is refreshing and distracts him from any negative or sad thoughts he may have, and he must have them. She also provides a sort of motherhood role to Tetsurou since he lives alone, and can give him and his friends an adult perspective on their various issues, and she shows us how much the kids are actually kids since she seems to understand situations from an experienced perspective. She is a decently mature adult who cares for her brother and his friends, even though she has small quarrels with her husband and is seen lazing about. Additionally, she is a force that helps the children out by paying for some of their expenses, and she is beautiful and buxom, which is always a plus for some anime fans.
Satoshi is only seen at one time in the series. However, we can say that he is somewhat important. It's primarily since the fights he gets in with his wife Manami Ogura causes her to stay at Tetsurou's place sometimes, which causes Manami to help Tetsurou and his friends go to the beach and be able to stay in a beach house. It's basically seeing the good from the bad, but is also part of a domino effect, if you will. Satoshi is part of the domino just because he is connected to the relative of one of the characters, so he can be attributed to some of the happenings of the series. He invokes the idea that even the small, unforeseen forces can affect you in life. Perhaps they are the most effectual, and perhaps they can be the most dangerous, but they are definitely important - and unforgiving.
As you can see, Rinon is rather cute. It is also a highly advanced gadget that can teleport and has regenerative abilities, which proves invaluable to the rather reckless, clumsy, and principled male and female leads. Ichika's recklessness causes trouble for her and for others, but Rinon to a degree can save her from that. Ichika's care for others causes her to help others when they are in pain or can't do something by themselves. Rinon can help her with that due to its regenerative properties and advanced technology, as Ichika is limited in her capacities herself; and Rinon supports Kaito by healing him and helping him when he recklessly and clumsily jumps off from a high distance to save someone. So Rinon supports the faults of the characters as sort of a deus ex machina, or just a powerful force, able to give the characters a second chance.
Unfortunately, if we parallel this to real life, we'll see that we can't receive such help, and oftentimes we don't get second chances. Our only hope is to work hard ourselves and receive the help of the ones closest to us, and we have to strive extremely hard for second chances. There are only few instances where we get a powerful force like Rinon to help us and give us a second chance as a lucky godsend, so it can be a wake-up call for the hopelessly optimistic among us. (--raises hand--)
Emika Takatsuki is Ichika's sister. She is older and a bit more mature, but maintains a hotheaded nature and playfulness characterized by love, ending up going along with her sister's recklessness and impulsiveness. She primarily is used as a tool to connect Ichika to her home, and gives us information about it as a mature character who understands the customs of her people. This allows the other characters to maintain the aura of innocence and childhood, not fully understanding the repercussions of their actions, but allowing Emika to understand it for them. This can come off as lecturing or nagging, but she does seem to care for her sister and understand her situation. Because of this, we see that Emika has empathy for others, much like the rest of the characters in the series, despite her understanding of the recklessness and hopelessness of the situation. She is a big sister who is always there for her little sister, and for that, she is important. However, what arises is that she is troubled by the decisions of her little sister. Of course, it is a cliche that family is supposed to watch out for each other and be there for each other, but Emika Takatsuki is put in a precarious situation to help her sister. Her sister's decisions are her own, and there is just so much she can do, and Emika seems to understand this; that's why although she has her limits and can't help with everything, she understands and accepts them without too much disappointment or guilt.