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Waiting In The Summer Complete Collection Bilingual Blu-ray Anime Review

12 min read

When an alien girl comes to Earth to find something, she discovers far more than she anticipated in this newly dubbed edition.

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. Get ready for a whole new look at summer romance as hidden emotions get captured and secrets meant to be kept hidden inside young hearts instead spill off the screen for your viewing pleasure in WAITING IN THE SUMMER!

Contains episodes 1-12.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language only in stereo using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec and now also includes the English language dub in the same form. The show is mostly dialogue driven with only a few expansive moments here and there so it works pretty well for it. That’s mostly just because of the style of the show and the lack of really big standout moments. 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 it 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 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show runs for twelve episodes and is spread across two discs in a nine/three format plus the OVA. 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. A richness that definitely stands out more here in high definition as it has a lot more vibrancy, detail and just pop in general. Colors are strong throughout and even the mild banding that comes from the source is negligible at best, particularly compared to what we had before. I had liked the show well enough in standard definition after seeing the simulcast, but it just takes on a greater life here.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes with a standard sized single Blu-ray that holds the two discs against the interior walls. The cover artwork is an appealing and fairly stylized piece here that’s done like the previous editions were but with different artwork. The similar piece here is in that Ichika is in the foreground, this time a little more reserved as she leans over while the background gives us the train station – and a shot of Kaito in smaller form. 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 as it provides a stylized version of them that leans more in the anime direction than the more illustrated version the last time around. 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 really nice as the bulk of it are the character visuals, such as the first with a look at Ichika listening to music as she kind of slides across the screen in static form. It’s got a lot of white for the background and a lot of widgets mixed in that gives it life. It’s a nice contrast to the second that has a few more characters in it and goes for the soft blue background that breathes a different kind of life into it. The left side has the partial filmstrip aspect to it and we get a good breakdown along it with the episodes by number and title. It looks cute when used as the pop-up menu during regular playback and the whole thing moves smoothly and easily without problems this way and as the top-level menu where you can also do language selection. It’s a good looking menu that definitely sets the tone well.

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, Waiting in the Summer is an interesting series to arrive from the studio with a sense of familiar and wistful about it. Originally called Ano Natsu de Matteru, the series was an original work that landed in the winter 2012 season and had an accompanying manga for a year that ran for three volumes. Directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai from the series composition by Yosuke Kuroda, I enjoyed this as a simulcast back in the early days and then with the DVD edition and the Blu-ray edition that came before. Sentai Filmworks now has this new edition that brings us a dub for the show for the first time. It was easy to understand why it wasn’t dubbed before but with dubs being unique content to draw people in with, I’m glad to see this one get some attention.

This dub kind of delighted me from the start as they brought on John Swasey to direct it. It’s not his first by any means but he’s not had an extensive list over the years and most of the shows he’s done have been more action-oriented. Here, he gets to work with a solid cast to get into a very dialogue-driven show and it works well. Bryson Baugus is young enough to take on the teenage role with a bit more believability and he gets the awkwardness just right and the growth works well as the confidence slowly comes upward. I also really liked Christina Kelly as Ichika as she felt pretty comfortable in the role. She’s also not had an extensive list of voice credits so she felt a bit newer and less familiar to me, which made it an enjoyable journey. The cast on the supporting side is strong too, especially when you have the great Hilary Haag in anything. She did a spot on perfect Kanna here, though I think Brittney Karbowski was able to steal the show at times with Remon simply because the character gets to get away with more interesting dialogue. Scott Gibbs and Maggie Flecknoe have solid performances as well but the characters of Tetsuro and Mio aren’t as strong in the bigger picture, though the two have a really good arc that they both commit to well.

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:
I had originally watched this as a simulcast back in 2012 and then watched the DVD release back in 2013 and then again on Blu-ray in 2016, which was welcome since the simulcast in 2012 was in high definition. Originally, 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.The high definition version of it was something I had held out hope for initially that it might get a dub, but alas. This new edition is now the definitive one since it includes the dub and will expand its reach, which is always the goal as you want every show to find its audience. It’s a solid dub with a lot of fun moments that will please those that have long wanted to see this dubbed or those that will now be able to experience it for the first time.

Features:
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean opening, Clean Closing

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

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 20th, 2019
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 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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