Anime: Waiting in the Summer (Blu-Ray)
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: March 15th, 2016
Retail Price $59.98
The anime series Waiting in the Summer introduces a massive film lover named Kaito Kirishima whose life takes a quick turn after testing out his 8mm camera one unpredictable night. A massive and unknown explosion occurs, leaving Kaito with serious (and potentially critical) injuries. Surprisingly when Kaito next gain consciousness, he’s very much alive (which he wasn’t expecting) and is perfectly fine – only having slight recollection of the events the night before. Soon after, a striking new transfer student named Ichika Takatsuki arrives to his school, and Kaito’s life seems to have new gratuitous potential. Alongside Kaito is a group of friends hoping to simply enjoy the summer, but the series adds to these friendships with new and complex relationships amongst each other.
Though there is some plot of substance, this isn’t exactly one of those anime series you watch that has a massive endgame in mind, and more of an anime that allows you to view the daily lives of a group of friends. Waiting in the Summer requires you to care about this core group of students, while avoiding an overindulgence of characters. Each of the friends has different interpersonal relationships aside from social settings, which is a nice path for a series to reflect real-life kinship. It does add an alteration to the formula with a sci-fi twist (there is an alien involved) but it strays from delving into any serious science fiction storyline until the very end. The 12 episodes feels like it contains just enough insight on the characters, signifying where they could (or are meant to) be. In the same token, it leaves things open ended enough to draw your own conclusions on what lies ahead for those in Waiting in the Summer.
Kaito is certainly an interesting character to follow because of his oddball-introverted ways and passion for films. He definitely lives for the smaller moments in life, enjoying the beauty of life from the perspective of his trusty camera. He isn’t exactly the best at dealing with any romantic feelings (of course) but thankfully he at least makes progress as he goes. Early on, he admits to feelings for a character which in most animes wouldn’t happen until the last few episodes. Sure, things don’t take off too fast for him and the unnamed love interest because of other things, but it’s a positive aspect of his character. Another reason you can enjoy Kaito is tied to his imagination; Kaito often has mental escapes where he thinks about specific scenarios that are usually entertaining tidbits dispersed in the episodes. (He isn’t the only one, but his and Ichika’s are most memorable.)
Kanna is another important and fleshed out character in the story of Waiting in the Summer. She has been a friend of Kaito’s for quite a long time, and has a crush that evolves during the series run. Kanna can be seen as a “rival” to Ichika, but I developed a consistent interest in Kanna as opposed to the other female lead. Instead of using two females vying for a man’s attention – Kanna tends to place others feelings above her own with minimal conflict. The character Tetsuro has unrequited love stories of his own, and part of what made him a standout was his blend of being suave and yet sporadically spastic. I will admit that the recurring themes of unfulfilled love had me invested but also frustrated with the outcomes for some, so consider all of you shippers warned. The only character with little focus of love (who also happened to be my favorite) was Remon Yamano. Remon is a supporting character, and a girl with an appreciation for dark comedy. She occasionally stirs the pot, and injects a quirky sense of humor into every scene she appears in – making the mysterious girl someone worth watching.
The production aspect of Waiting in the Summer is mostly a strong argument to give the series a chance at watching. The episodes find their groove with progressively better writing, as well as nice opportunities to witness some very beautiful animation. Almost all of the characters have bland characteristics, but some (like Kaito) are simplistic yet detailed enough to enjoy. The dream-like sequences are some of my favorite animated moments of the series, and the cinematography is rather strong because they took a film inspired approach for the general art direction. Every chance to see Kaito’s home and surrounding property were such detail specific inclusions, I never grew tired of the recurring frames or scenes. The Japanese voice cast made the series a fun anime, focusing on the more loving or comedic tones it hoped to target. Overall, Waiting in the Summer succeeded with developing an array of characters, and some nice production choices – so if you aren’t afraid of getting into a romantic sci-fi drama series, check out Waiting in the Summer, available now!
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-It’s hard to find love during the adventures of these friends, so don’t expect everyone to have a happy fairytale ending.
-Remon may have been a supporting role, but it never stopped me from loving her more than the others.
-The series hoped to create larger interest in Ichika, I just couldn’t grasp it like they intended.