I’m not sure how to describe the first episode of Natsuiro Kiseki quite well. You have some top notch staff members, but this was a pretty dull introduction to
Sphere the four friends. Unless something changes dramatically (the sudden flying doesn’t count), I’m just going to assume this series is made to promote Sphere.
With Seiji Mizushima (UN-GO, Gundam 00) directing and Sunrise producing the series, you’d expect it to be a bit more..colorful. But Natsuiro Kiseki quickly introduced Natsumi (Minako Kotobuki), Saki (Ayahi Takagaki), Rin (Aki Toyosaki) and Yuka (Haruka Tomatsu) with a very petty fight between Natsumi and Saki. I’m not sure what the point of that was, because it’s hard to sympathize with Natsumi for the fact that this is the first time seeing her and it’s hard to make a personal connection with her. It was quite easy, however, to immediately hate Saki. I think it’s obvious we’re going to get a reason why she’s acting like a complete bitch, but her character immediately rubbed me the wrong way, not a very good first impression.
The very first scene and the very last scene shows the friends at the rock where their previous wishes came true, and this time Rin wants to fly and then…they flew. That sort of came out of nowhere (especially the blue light, why did no one start freaking out about that?) , and I hope that the next episode gives us some more details on the rock and why Saki is acting like she is. It’s quite interesting that this is yet another original series that puts an emphasis on summer, will it live up to the standards of the ‘Ano’ series (Natsu and Hana), or will it falter along the way? Of course it’s too early to tell, but this episode did not immediately grab my attention like Ano Natsu and Ano Hana did.
Of course there were some good things: Yuka was actually the character I liked most, her spunky attitude kept me watching the entire episode without getting too crazy (though she was very close to going that way), and it’s weird to hear Haruka Tomatsu voice such a character, as her last two roles in Ano Natsu and Ano Hana involved completely different characters. The background art was quite impressive even for Sunrise, but nowhere near the eyecandy that P.A. Works usually provides. I have confidence in Mizushima, with his handling of the first Fullmetal Alchemist series (an original ending for an ongoing manga) a confidence booster that he’ll be able to deliver a pretty good series.
OP: Non stop road by Sphere (it’s actually well sung but the visuals are nothing special.)
ED: Ashita e no Kaerimichi by Sphere (Can’t comment on visuals, but the song was still pretty good. Better than most J-Pop.)
Status: I’ll give it the three episode test for sure, there’s still something that this show can accomplish.