Aug 29, 2009
Skadi (All reviews)
It’s a crime that this series seems to be so unappreciated and under viewed when clichéd garbage such as Maria Holic gets overhyped and legions of fanboys. I only bring up Maria Holic because it was made by the same studio, SHAFT, and I feel both have a kind of niche quality to them. However where Maria falls on its face, Natsu no Arashi! emerges as one of the best shows of 2009.

To sum up the storyline in a word it would be; quirky. From the beginning of the first episode and from just looking at the promotional art you might think this is just yet another school comedy romance. That wouldn’t be a big surprise since the author of the source material is Jin Kobayashi who is probably best known for creating School Rumble. However this notion of it being just a romance-comedy is quickly turned on its head as it takes a turn for the bizarre and supernatural. Ghosts, time travel, comedy, and romance put together makes for one of the most unusual and original shows I’ve seen.

Everything about Natsu no Arashi! feels fresh and new. I have seen quite a few series now and that is not a feeling I get all that often anymore either. Natsu is very funny, and that is one thing Jin Kobayashi understands well. Though I am not a huge fan of his work, even though I find a lot of it funny it always eventually seems to annoy me. It’s rare that I watch a comedy and don’t feel like I am watching the same joke told over and over. It is even rarer still that a comedy manages to use echii humor and for it to come across as completely tasteful and non perverted. I don't recall seeing any ones boobs or panties even once yet this series oozes sex appeal.

Time travel is the most important element of the plot. Many of the familiar paradoxes are brought up along with the consequences and ramifications of altering the past in regards to the future. Some of the technobabble gobblygook is likely to give you a headache but several of the shows more funny gags are made possible with time travelling. In particular Sayaka's believe that taking expired milk into the past before its expiration date will make it good to drink.

The only real negative in terms of the plot is that it is a bit confusing and strange at time. By the end it all makes sense but for the first half of the series your likely to be scratching your head a lot and wondering what on earth is going on. Some people aren’t going to like this and the way the series is structured, starting at the end and then flashbacking to the beginning can be a bit hit or miss. That’s the only thing I can really complain about. That and it was too short! Good news is that a second season is in the works!

Hajime and Arashi are without a doubt one of my favorite lead character duos. My first impression of Hajime was he looks just like Luffy from One Piece! Beyond the physical resemblance there is nothing else in common with him. He’s a likeable lead and makes a great narrator for the story. There isn’t a lot of back story on him but see him grow up over the course of the series. Arashi herself is just a great character. Most of the shows sex appeal is because of her. It goes to show that you can have sexy characters without gravity defying breasts and skirts so short they barely cover the hips. We learn a lot about her past and she remains and interesting character until the very end.

The rest of the supporting cast is also very good. As Arashi's best friend, Kaya is basically the complete opposite of Arashi in personality. She is very important to the main story and we get about as much character development from her as any of the other leads. Jun is the one character I would have liked to have seen more screen time and back story for. Perhaps I will get my wish in the next season. Sayaka is quite funny as the con artist owner of the Ark in which most of the cast works. The best of the shows running gags flows through her. I could go on and on about the entire cast but I can’t find one that I didn’t really love, right down to the cafe customer who futilely asks for the salt during the entire series.

The art and animation is absolutely gorgeous. SHAFT always does a fine job in this area but in Natsu I think they really outdid themselves. The backgrounds and settings are beautiful but it’s the character models which I really fell in love with. As I mentioned the show has just this sexy and a bit erotic feel to it despite not feeling like its being exploitive. I thought everything was just very tastefully done. Especially when compared to the tacky way most anime series do things.

Sound, music, acting is all tremendous. Natsu has a great cast including some personal favorites such as Yui Horie. The OP theme is really tremendous both musically and artistically with the animation. It’s one of the sexiest OPs I think I have ever seen. The incidental music and EN songs are all great as well.

Natsu no Arashi! is truly a work of art and genius. If you haven’t seen this yet then I have to ask, what are you waiting for? I’m not sure where I would rank it in regards to everything else I have seen but it’s one of the few series I can find almost no major faults with. I give it my highest possible recommendation.