Some anime series have a great concept that is let down by the characters never quite coming alive. Waiting for the Summer is the opposite, an idea that is not particularly interesting on paper, but with a cast of characters who make you want to keep watching them.
The premise is an odd one: an alien girl (Ichika) crashes to Earth, killing a boy (Kaito) in the process. With her advanced abilities she brings him back to life and fixes all the damage, but her repair job is not certain to be a lasting success, so she has to hang around to keep an eye on him, enrolling in his school. Ichika’s status as alien visitor quickly becomes relatively incidental to the series, which focuses on their relationship and also those of Kaito’s other friends. She might as well be an exchange student or somebody who moved into the area, although much fun is to be had by her lack of knowledge of modesty etc, particularly in the early episodes. The alien stuff comes back with a bang for the last few episodes, where it jars a little. The jeopardy is exciting and it’s done very well indeed, but it feels like an odd fit with what has become a teen romantic comedy with love triangle shenanigans.
When I say love triangle, it’s actually far more complicated than that, with just about everyone liking somebody who doesn’t like them back. Most of that is left hanging for a potential second series, which is yet to materialise, and we can’t even find out what happens next by reading the manga series. This had the reverse trajectory to most anime series: the anime came first, and the manga adaptation followed.
The other friends are Kanna, who seemed destined to be Kaito’s girlfriend before Ichika crashed into their lives, Tetsuro, Kaito’s best buddy, Mio, a shy girl who also happens to be a nudist (not as gratuitous as it sounds – it’s actually a thoughtful look at the anxiety created by her nudist upbringing), and Remon (see image above), who is… well, fabulous.
Anime often comes in for criticism for female characters who are illustrated in a manner that makes them look younger than their age. Sometimes the critics take things woefully out of context, and this is a prime example of how useful this kind of character can be. Remon looks like a little girl and yet is the oldest of the group, possibly significantly older than the others if you read between the lines. This kind of character gets underestimated, and many an anime plays on that dynamic. She is by far the funniest character in the series, and voice actress Yukari Tamura gives her a sinister laugh that is absolutely hilarious, while Remon schemes and manipulates her friends into compromising situations for the sake of some good video footage. She also has a BIG secret, and when she comes good in a time of need it is a punch the air moment.
There is a fair bit of fanservice throughout the series, along with the obligatory beach episode, which just about every anime with a cast of teen characters seems to have, so this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you can get past that then there is so much to enjoy: it’s a funny series with some great characters, and tackles some important relationship issues, with the bonus of the sci-fi stuff for those who like that kind of thing. For those who don’t, it doesn’t detract a huge amount from all the love triangles.
A note for those who haven’t watched this series yet: keep an eye out for what Ichika is wearing right at the end of the last episode, because it actually changes the outcome of the series in the dying seconds, from what you think has happened. I didn’t notice it, but luckily my much more observant wife pointed it out to me. It sets things up nicely for a second series, although this looks less and less likely with every passing year.
There was an OVA (bonus) episode made two years after the series, which unfortunately is not included on the UK DVD release, which pre-dates the OVA. Those lucky people across the pond got a Blu-ray release in 2016 which includes the OVA, so I might fork out for the US release eventually, although the synopsis of the OVA sounds relatively disposable. There’s no dub for this series as yet, and in any case you would not want to miss out on Remon’s laugh.
The trailer below isn’t great, as often seems to be the case with anime trailers, but at least it showcases the beautiful background art. RP