Natsuiro Kiseki, ironically, concluded right before the start of July, the customary time all the Japanese kids get out of school. I tend to enjoy anime that has a seasonal theme and airs at the same time of the year. Natsuiro Kiseki, literally, is a title about a miracle with a summer motif. To that end, the title does not lie. It wasn't as timely as it could've been but since summer started on the 20th of June, so I suppose it was still appropriate.
But after twelve weeks (and one off week) of following the adventures of four close friends, have we had enough? Can we live and part ways with Natsumi, Saki, Yuka and Rinko? Do we even care for this Hanasaku Iroha look-alike? Click on!
The interesting thing about Natsuiro Kiseki personally was how until the very end, I wasn't really sure where the show was going. When Rinko revealed to us how to terminate their 4-player Groundhog Day, it was only then that I realize the story and the miracles are about simply being friends. Even the fact that all the wishing stones had "relatives" across the country is a bit of a symbolism for how the four girls can stay together despite being far apart.
The week-after-week of magical hijinks, though, doesn't do a lot on an individual basis unless it happen to fit your fancy. I had my share of favorite episodes, and my share of lackluster ones. It's easy to see how some people may be turned off by some of the slightly-more-extreme episodes. I mean, time paradox anybody? Or the Yuka-Is-Saki episode?
Despite lacking a main plot to drive the narrative, the entire series has an uniform focus--dealing with the fact that Saki is leaving; and on a thematic level, the growing pains of adolescence. The magic plot devices each week served more as distraction to me; at least when it's off. When it's on target, the magic tricks are very good action or comedy vehicles. For Sphere fans it can also be a great way to hear your favorite Sphere members acting out-of or instead of another character.
Perhaps the most praiseworthy part of Natsuiro Kiseki is the script. It is put together with care and thought--even the side characters get their share of development, and despite the crazy hijinks and the impossible magic powers, a sense of consistency prevails across time and space--literally. The animation itself is rough on the edges but at times there's a sense of liveliness during some of the key segments, especially in the later episodes. Unfortunately visual consistency was not one of Natsukise's strengths.
In the end, Natsuiro Kiseki is actually quite the competent anime. It doesn't have a lot going for it to distinguish it from other similar teen dramas series such as Hanasaku Iroha, True Tears or maybe even Tari Tari, but at the same time Sphere fans (and seiyuu otaku in general) should count their lucky stars that this Natsuiro Kiseki is something worth their while.
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