Monday, May 25, 2009

Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora Review - 93.3

Concept: (8/10)
The concept is undeniably old. However, it was not the concept but the execution that made this show as exceptional as it was.
Writing: (9/10)
This was a sweet show. The word “sweet” may be taken as an insult in some cases, but not this one. It’s basically a show about the realization that we are responsible and able to make decisions and memories. I’ve called it living by the heart. Of course, it’s not enough to live just by the heart. Sora and the others also had to decide by what rules and loyalty they lived their life. I don’t agree with all the philosophy of the show, but I appreciated the theme of personal growth, and the happy ending is not caused by magic, but instead by hard work and friendship.
Characters: (10/10)
The story was told mostly through character development instead of plot. This is my favorite style of writing. Honestly, plot is not nearly as important as the characters; and, these characters were worth all the time put into them. I felt that they were each explored deeply, without wasting any time. Sora was a wonderful heroine: brave, compassionate, and able to survive her suffering by staying strong in her heart. Sora and Midorikawa-kun’s interaction was wonderful, even from the beginning. Their chemistry was well-developed. Usually I don’t enjoy flashbacks and backstory, but I was genuinely interested in both main characters’ pasts, especially Midorikawa’s.
Animation/Artwork: (10/10)
I loved the contrast between the very detailed backgrounds and the simplistic character animation. My only complaint is that the backgrounds were “stuck,” immobile. Photographic, of course. One colleague called them “lazy” and I can’t help but agree. At times all we’re seeing for minutes on end is a photographic background with no character movement. Lazy, but very, very beautiful. The animators behind this show are daring artists that have my respect. I would also call the camera lazy; there were loads of close-up shots and the camera hardly ever moved to show who was speaking. Kobayashi Osamu is a unique director.
Voice Acting: (9/10)
A very good job. The actors were able to stick to the atmosphere of the story very well.
Enjoyment: (10/10)
It takes skill in order to make a slow-paced story interesting; the writers were able to do it perfectly. I enjoyed every minute of Natsu no Sora, from the characters to the atmosphere to the artwork to the themes. I highly recommend this show to anyone who loves any of the elements I just listed.
Rating: 93.3
Content Warning:
This show centers on mages in training, so expect the use of magic. Other than this, the show is very tame and clean. There are a couple bath scenes; nothing provocative.
Kino no Tabi, Air, Clannad & Clannad After Story, Haibane Renmei, Sketcbook Full Colors, Aria, Kanon 2006, Eve no Jikan, My Beautiful Girl Mari, Miyazaki movies, Place Promised in our Early Days, Shinkai movies, Windy Tales

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