The anime Toradora is one of my favorite comedies of all space and time; it's definitely my most favoritest high school show in any possible existence (even topping Buffy the Vampire Slayer and KOR). What's also good to know is that the TV series AnoHana is one of the most exalted dramas ever filmed/drawn/imagined I've ever had the honor of sitting through. The entire creative staff behind both those ground-breaking, pants-jizzingly awesome shows then went on to create a program called Ano Natsu de Matteru (translated as "Waiting in the Summer"), and I found that I was having a very difficult time waiting for it to finally air. Then it did.
Okay, so the thing that I loved most about both Toradora and AnoHana was that the characters (ALL of them) were fun to watch — even the ones you initially think are douchebags. The thing that I loved second most about these two shows is that they were never boring; they constantly moved forward and kept me rapt with the wacky or sad (but always interesting) hijinks occurring on the screen.... The two things that disappointed me most about Waiting in the Summer were that the characters were meh, and the story was just lame and eye-rollingly dumb. For once I was glad that a series that looked this good was only 12 episodes long.
So it's "eye-rollingly dumb," but what's Waiting in the Summer about, you question like a grown man asking a scared ticket agent for "one front row seat ticket" to the Justin Bieber concert while pretending it's not for himself? Well, if you must know... Have you ever seen Please Teacher? It starts off kind of like that (with bits of Birdy the Mighty thrown in for tickles and giggles), and then it turns into kind of a rip off of Ichigo 100% (the manga... Always just the manga and never the shitty anime).
Waiting in the Summer begins with an average high school boy named Kaito getting hella-injured while filming dull stuff on his grandfather's old 8MM video camera one night while strolling around the outskirts of his tiny, godforsaken, itsy-bitsy Japanese mountain town. The thing that all but killed him was the fubared landing of a cute alien girl's spaceship that went all Pinto on her near Earth (the planet she was heading to in order to look for some peaceful place in her memory). The cute alien girl, Ichika (who even looks like the female lead in Please Teacher...... Hmmmmmm), space-heals Kaito up, and puts his fixed body back into his house so that he thinks the crash landing was all a dream.
Well, the next day at school Kaito and his other yawn-worthy friends (a mix of guys and gals, all of whom have the hots for one or the other in the world's most pathetic love polygon you've ever seen) find out that Ichika is a new upper classman exchange student in their podunk country high school. Kaito gets an instant freshman boner, and soon finds out that Ichika doesn't have a place to stay, and so talks his older sister (they're orphans, of course) into letting the strange gaijin with red hair take up residency in their old house. Kaito's older sister then promptly leaves town for work in South America or somesuchplace (because don't they all?), and then the sexcapades begin in earnest!...... No, no they don't, because this is a Japanese show based in Japan, where teenage kids never have any throbbing hormones to make them want to get naked. Instead, Kaito and all his friends decide to make a movie on his shitty old 8mm during their summer break. Then nothing happens for like 8 episodes. Then it ends.
That's my biggest gripe with this series: nothing interesting occurs in it ever. Not even the relationship between shy Kaito and polite Ichika ever goes anywhere, even after he confesses to her (relatively early, compared to other anime juvenile rom-coms). See, Kaito tells Ichika that he loves her in like the third episode, but then they both pretend it never happened until the end, because she feels the same way, but must leave the planet when her space ship eventually gets fixed. Only I just made it out to be about 15,000Xs more dramatic sounding than it turns out to be in motion. Don't be deceived.
Okay, so Kaito has the hots for Ichika, she likes him back, and one of Ichika's new classmates convinces everyone to make a movie together during their summer break because why the hell not? So they start this stupid flick that the classmate makes up as they go along, then stupid and tame shit happens (with all the many side characters that unrequitedly like each other causing mischief in the background), then Ichika reveals that she's an alien (after Kaito got killed and regenerated AGAIN thanks to her), our two teenage lovers finally confess to each other (again), some Men in Black-types get involved, the alien Federation tries to get Ichika to depart, we find out that this series is in fact a direct sequel to Please Teacher, and then our space heroine leaves the planet. But then she comes back. Happy, happy ending.
Yeah, it got ever so slightly more exciting in the end (read the last two episodes), but it just felt like nothing but total padding up until then, and the finale really didn't ring my bell any, or twist my titties into anything beyond "acceptable." I really don't know what to make of the show as a whole. It wasn't terrible by any means, just much blander than I had hoped after the previous two grand slams by the same creative team. Even the opening and ending theme songs are skippable. This is really as average an anime as I've ever seen. It could have been soooo much more. It truly should have been great considering how awesome Toradora and AnoHana were. But alas, it screwed the pooch.
Oh no! I think I made a mistake and time traveled into watching this show about 1,040 times in a row!... Wait, no, it just feels like that since this same plot and characters have been repeated again and again and again so many times since the beginning of entertainment. How do people still get PAID for this rubbish?
Beyond that, it looks good, but it just made me sigh so many times while watching the same warmed over characters hem and haw over the same warmed over situations that we've seen occur time and time again. This one likes that one, that one likes the other one, the other one only has eyes for the wimpy one... And nobody confesses until the very end. Then there's some forced drama (aka "actual storyline") shoved into the final 2 episodes, and then we get the required happy ending after they pretend that there's a sad ending. Oooooh you tricksy storytellers, you! You scamps!
So... It has come to this.