When a group of friends decide to make a movie over a long summer holiday, they end up learning a little about filmmaking and a lot more about each other and themselves. What begins as a simple way to avoid the summer doldrums quickly turns into something much more complex, intimate and revealing, as the maturing relationships between the members of the young cast take on new, and sometimes very unexpected, turns.
CAUTION: before reading this review, make sure to inform yourself about the way I rate manga, as my rating system differs from the one implemented by MyAnimeList. Thank you.
This review will be done completely spoiler free(stylistic devices will be adressed, but actual story content won't, so rest assured), therefore examples won't be given, but rather have to be deduced. Attentive readers will hopefully understand the points that I will be making throughout this review.
The cast consists of a generic male main character, whose prevailing attributes are his kindness and shyness, his clichéd childhood friend of the opposite sex that happens to have a crush
on the main character, the protagonists same sex best friend, that always has an answer for every problem and acts very proactively, a female airhead that is way too optimistic when it comes down to somebody else and way too pessimistic when it comes down to herself, a tsundere loli senpai, that tries to act the most mature to compensate for her body and last but not least the mary sue transfer student of opposite sex to the mc, which he falls in love with at first sight. There are also some minor characters that get introduced to further the plot, therefore they don't get to have a new kind of personality, but rather get assigned a stereotype that was already used for one of the main characters. If given the same character design, one would not be able to differentiate them based on behavior alone.
Screen-time is kind of an issue, especially because of the secondary characters, as they do not get more scenes, than the ones necessary for the plot, therefore they practically do not exist as characters (well, fleshed out at least, but that, one might argue, as no character really does get fleshed out throughout the work), but rather as plot devices, resulting in their screen-time being practically wasted.
The dialogues aren't good either, as serious remarks and desperate tries to further certain points get watered down by forced comedy and bad jokes.
1 point is awarded for the character development towards the end. While still behaving themselves in a very predictable way, they do indeed get some kind of depth(very shallow and badly developed depth I might add), therefore constituting development.
Very linear storyline, upcoming developments are clear as day and need way too many pages to get to(mainly because of the very bad dialogues). The setting as such makes for quite a bit of potential that unfortunately gets suppressed by forced comedy. The pacing was quite bad, expositional scenes were given way more pages than needed, transitions weren't smooth but rather abrupt and hard to follow. If done in a more page efficient way, the whole thing could have been done in half the amount of chapters, without losing atmosphere, exposition or character development. Throughout the work, there are a few cases of story progression due to completely impossible scenarios in the given universe and the use of a deus ex machina.
Half a point is given for the foreshadowing at the beginning(due to it only leading to a cheap plot device, it's only half a point) and half a point for the promising setting and premise, due to it not being elaborated in the slightest, it's only worth half a point.
The work has an average of 5,9 panels per page during the first chapter and ~3,93 ppp during the second to last chapter. What this shows is that expostition wasn't given through visuals, but rather through text and the necessity of atmosphere creation was pushed to the back of the story, resulting in the reader not having a build-up of emotional attachment towards the characters (as before the last chapters, any kind of atmosphere was destroyed by badly timed comic relief), therefore feeling forced to sympathize with them.
The lineart is done in a pseudo-minimalistic fashion, i.e. not including details that might actually have been esthetically important or contributed to plasticity, but rather containing unnecessary strokes under the disguise of them maybe serving a purpose. A variation of local line thickness (e.g. only the lines in the background or the lines used for the characters) is non-existent, resulting in them not being dynamic, but rather static.
Screentone is used in a very mainstream way, nonetheless very effective in creating atmosphere. The drawing style overall is very stylized and shares a lot of similarities with low budget anime producions from the 2000's, therefore easy to recreate without a lot of resources and not original in the slightest. The proportions of objects and characters in the foreground as well as the use of perspective are very incosistent which leads to impeding readability.
1 point is awarded for the atmospheric use of screentone.
It's practically impossible to call this work a work of either science-fiction or fantasy, as those concepts get hardly any screen-time to be either elaborated or exlpored. The work is more suited to be called a slice of life romance situated in a school environment and as such it makes use of a huge palette of possible stereotypical executions already implemented by hundrends if not thousands of other works of the same genre.
Considering the time period that this manga was released in (2012), it might have been a lot more better if it went with a more comtemporary approach towards school settings, not implementing comic relief character stereotypes and rather putting a more serious focus towards the sci-fi aspect of this work, as well as maintain a more serious atmosphere.
It's a badly executed manga with a lot of potential, that does not go beyond any conventional methods of either writing or drawing and sabotages it's own efforts to be taken seriously throughout the first 3 quarters of the work.
Nonetheless the story as such can be partially enjoyable, if one simply ignores the way this work is written and drawn. I also think there are a lot of people that can easily identify with the main cast, or at least understand their reasoning (even though the work does close to nothing to justify any kind of behavior or action taken by the characters), so in that regard, enjoyment and maybe even amusement (hopefully, because in all honesty, the badly executed and timed comedic scenes did more harm to this series than anything else)can surely be found.
So if you're looking for a manga, where you can just lay back and ignore anything and everything that has to do with either world building, unique characters and interesting concepts and just want something with a story that apparently needs a lot of exposition and useless dialogues while being able to keep your attention span up with awkwardly timed comedy, then by all means go for it, you'll love it!
Ano Natsu is going to give you a mashup of film, romance, and the otherworldly, then throw in some philosophy and psychological stuff to juice your brain. If that doesn't tell you already, let's see what makes this original anime special.