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Waiting In The Summer Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

10 min read

Waiting In The Summer
Waiting In The Summer
When an alien girl comes to Earth to find something, she discovers far more than she anticipated.

What They Say:
When a group of friends decide to make a movie over a long summer holiday, they end up learning a little about filmmaking and a lot more about each other and themselves. What begins as a simple way to avoid the summer doldrums quickly turns into something much more complex, intimate, and downright revealing. As the summer heats up, so do the maturing relationships between the young cast members, taking some new, and sometimes unexpected, turns.

Contains episodes 1-12.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language only in stereo encoded at 224kbps. The show is mostly dialogue driven with only a few expansive moments here and there so it works pretty well for it. The music during the opening and closing sequences are where things sometimes stand out the most with the warmest and fullest moments, but the show hits a lot of good marks throughout with the placement of character dialogue and some depth in a few scenes as well. The show doesn’t really go big when ti comes to this aspect of it since it’s fairly relaxed or spoken in low tones, but it all comes across cleanly and clearly without any problems such as dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in early 2012, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The show runs for twelve episodes and is spread evenly across three discs with four each. Animated by JC Staff, the series is one that has a very good look to it with its character designs and colors where there’s a good bit of vibrancy and richness to it. And it’s generally solid throughout with only some minor noise in a few scenes. Colors are strong throughout otherwise and there’s only a few scenes where there’s some mild banding that comes from the source but it’s not something that detracts much since it’s so minimal. There’s a lot to like here as the standard definition presentation of the show captures the source material well.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes with a standard sized single keepcase that has a hinge inside so it can hold two of the three discs. The cover artwork is certainly not what I expected as we get a fairly stylized piece here with the primary cast together, with Ichika in the foreground, that has some soft colors and a really appealing look to it. With the heavy use of blue sky and fluffy clouds, it provides some good grounding while the character artwork pops without being overly vibrant. The characters look good though they don’t completely represent the in-show designs but it provides a good stylized version of them. The back cover works with a slightly angled piece where we get a mostly white background with some filmstrip edging to it where inside of it is the premise of the show. Add in some more illustration artwork of the characters and there’s a whole lot to like. Shots from the show are lined along the left that highlight more of what the show really looks like. The discs features are clearly listed and production credits cover things in a clear format. The rest is rounded out with the technical grid that lays it all out in an accurate and easy to read format. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for this release is pretty nicely done with something in-theme but not obtrusively so. Using the pink and blue colors, we get the left side showing off different images with each disc of the main cast of characters that’s bright, colorful and engaging as well as having just a touch of fanservice for some of them. The right side has the navigation but it’s done as a filmstrip with pink film and the black borders where we get the episode numbers and titles with a blue highlighter for it. The logo is kept along the bottom in part of the filmstrip as well with a blue background that lets it stand out a bit but not just blatant or covering other aspects of the menu. The layout is simple and easy to use and it hits up some of the better aspects of the show without being overdone.

Extras:
The only extras included are clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
An original project from Genco with animation by JC Staff, Ano Natsu de Matteru is the latest to arrive from the studio with a sense of familiar and wistful about it. Originally called Ano Natsu de Matteru, the series brings us to the realm of high school again as it revolves around freshman Kirishima Kaito, a young man with an old style camera that has a penchant for taking in the scenery. You can tell easily from the opening moments and the opening sequence itself that it’s going to be a show that while it may play with some fun elements is going to be a piece about mood and atmosphere more than anything else as it deals with a small mountain area town with a good sized lake to it. And an alien girl that crashes down into it at the start, knocking Kaito into the lake only to wake up in his room later wondering if it was all a dream.

Naturally, he goes about things as normal which will go on for only so long as a new transfer student has arrived at the school. Ichika is pretty self conscious about herself, wondering if she got all the details right since she feels like she’s standing out a lot, but it’s a given considering her bright red hair. We get a pretty good look at some of the characters that populate the show, with the handsome aggressive type, the short but cute smart and outgoing yet conniving girl and plenty of other supporting characters. Kaito even has a friend of sorts that doesn’t stand out in a bad way and comes across as a bit of laid back regular guy who lives slightly askew from everyone else but not in a hugely bad way in the form of Tetsuro.

When everyone comes together as a group, simply by asking if she wants to spend time with them, there’s a good bit of relaxed fun as they hang out together at a pool and generally realize that they’re becoming friends. While there’s fun to be had there, Ichika’s kept separate from it and that leads to Kaito coming across her later on where she’s doing things with her luggage in tow. Obviously it wants to play up a method of getting her to move in with him since he has a big house he lives in with his sister, but they do it cutely enough and without the kind of overblown drama that other shows might go with. It’s all very laid back and relaxed, but we do get that hint of what’s to come towards the end as not only is Kaito suffering from something, but Ichika herself reveals a bit about what she’s capable of.

Naturally, it doesn’t take long for Kaito’s sister to get out of the picture and summer gets fully underway as the cast comes together in full. With the impetus behind the fun of it all being the making of a science fiction movie, that has everyone participating in it across most of the series, sometimes as just a background piece to other times being the main focus. Kaito and Ichika certainly spend lots of time together both at the house and elsewhere, with everyone and on their own, and seeing that relationship develop is one of the primary aspects of it. Especially early on since she’s hiding who she really is, being an alien and all, and with him trying to make sure he doesn’t let her know all too clearly that he really likes her in a big way. As we learn along the way, he’s the kind of guy who likes to chase and her interest in him is pretty evident, making for some complications along the way.

While these two are pretty much the leads, the show does have a big ensemble feel to it as the other characters that populates it have a significant impact in many places. The early introduction of Tetsuro is welcome since it gives us a non-standard male friend who comes across as pretty normal and friendly but not a towering presence. He and Kaito certainly have a good relationship, but we see quickly there’s a triangle aspect coming in as well. Both of them have a long time friendship with Kanna, a girl that they’ve grown up with, and the problem that comes in is that Kanna has a big, big crush on Kaito but he’s oblivious to it. Just as oblivious as she is to the fact that Tetsuro has a big crush on her that’s developed recently. Unrequited love is the order of the day. And it’s made worse in that another girl in the group, Mio, has a big crush on Tetsuro but he’s oblivious to that. So, in some ways, it’s a typical series of teenage obliviousness.

But it manages to not make it come across heavy handed or overly forced in a way that would turn you away from it. There are hints of it some of these feelings early on as they all interact with each other, sometimes just in hanging out, other times with the movie, but things slowly but surely are revealed and it all comes to a head in several ways. While a lot of shows just avoid having the words spoken when it comes to confessions, they’re all made clearly here at different times and everyone has to react to it based on their own set of feelings, many of which are hidden from others depending on the time itself. It builds a good dynamic as it unfolds and makes the relationship drama far more central and interesting than the alien side of it.

With the film and the character relationships dominating the show, including a fun little Okinawa excursion that brings a lot of things to the forefront, the alien side does eventually become a big plot point as well. The reveal to everyone was pretty nice since it lets them all in on the secret and reinforces the bonds at a time when they’re all fracturing because of unrequited love. Though it’s all fairly loosely done with the way everything works, things go big towards the end and one of the supporting players in the series, the only one of them not romantically entangled, turns out to be a bigger player in events than was realized. Still, when the aliens come calling and the action occurs, it’s very well animated and gives it all the kind of big Hollywood tension and flair that it deserves, even while giving us an ambiguous ending.

In Summary:
When I watched the series during its simulcast run, I enjoyed it a fair bit but it had a feeling for a lot of it of things just not really happening because of the weekly aspect of it. Watching it in marathon form, there’s a lot more to like here as the threads of it all are pretty well done and clearer in this form. The cast has a good vibe about it with a group of friends that has built up over the years that’s intent on enjoying their summer together with a new arrival who, while gaining a fair bit of attention, doesn’t really dominate it. With a focus on her relationship with Kaito and the way there are a lot of feelings bubbling just below the surface. With a great look to the animation, character designs that aren’t the norm and color design that really is quite appealing, the overall package is definitely enjoyable even as it works with familiar territory. There’s a lot to like here with Waiting in the Summer and worth spending the time with.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean opening, Clean Closing

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: February 12th, 2013
MSRP: $49.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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