I need a cool drink each time I watch Natsu no Arashi

Natsu no Arashi is, in some ways, quite interesting. To the normal layman anime fan, it may seem somewhat standard fare, but what one has to realize is that Natsu no Arashi is the first show both illustrious studio SHAFT and daring director Shinbo Akiyuki have worked on that is not a school comedy since Tsukuyomi -MOON PHASE-. And Tsukuyomi was their first show. Ever since 2005, from Pani Poni to Zetsubou Sensei, all of the shows that Shinbo has directed along with SHAFT have been school based comedies.

This isn’t bad per se–these shows are really good. However, I got into Shinbo because I loved the way he takes on slightly serious subject matter. While I had seen Pani Poni prior, I was first properly introduced to this style of his in the opening episodes of Negima!? (note: the only good episodes) and simply had to see more. That lead to me buying all of Tsukuyomi, The Soultaker, and sampling all of his old OVAs, for better or for worse.

But Natsu no Arashi doesn’t just stand out from the SHAFTXSHINBO pantheon because it’s not a school comedy–there’s more to it. One is that while the show has comedic elements, there’s drama to it–much like Tsukuyomi -MOON PHASE-. Of course it’s not as perfect as Tsukuyomi (though the opening is almost as good) but it’s a nice change of pace. Another big difference is that the show’s visual style marks the return of Shinbo’s older techniques–that is, the ones I like more. As I mentioned before, I do love how he handles school comedies (in particular, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is a work of art) but Natsu no Arashi has Tsukuyomi and odd Soultaker moments here and there, which is really quite refreshing.

All that said, the show does have its own distinct look to it–there’s an odd lighting technique applied to all scenes, which mostly works,  but seems pretty experimental, and not really concerned with “working” or not. In fact, that’s one big thing about the show–there’s no concern over whether things “work” or not. In the opening, you can clearly see how pixelated the logo is when it zooms out, and when watching this show on a television, it looks even more photoshoppy than the normal SHAFTXSHINBO outing. What I’m getting at here is that I think the staff is treating Natsu no Arashi as a playground–a means to try out new things and to break away from habits formed making school comedies for four years, with little regard for it looking totally clean.

What this all comes down is that Natsu no Arashi is basically something for them to just mess around with and get back on track so they can make Bakemonogatari the coolest cartoon ever.

I guess they’re also making it so they can pretend it’s the 1990s, or something.