Lamune

February 20, 2009

I’m sure we have seen lots of TV shows and movies about love in the big city. So how about some romance in the countryside then? Then you should try watching the drama-cum-romance-slice-of-life anime series Lamune. Though it is based on the hentai PC game of the same name, the anime series does have some fanservice moments but the hentai part is totally nil.
 
If the anime title does sound like a bottle drink, then you are probably right because Lamune does sound like Lemonade in English. I did a little research and found out that such a bottle drink really does exist in Japan, but I’m not sure how popular it is. The amusing thing about his drink is that there is some kind of stopper in it so when you totally turn it upside down, the stopper will automatically block the liquid from flowing out. So you can’t really have bottoms up for this drink, huh? It feels like you need a little ‘special skill’ to drink this one.
 
Back to the anime. This short series has only 12 episodes and according to Anime News Network, the story revolves around 2 high school students, Kenji "Ken" Tomosaka and Nanami Konoe. They have been childhood friends for so long and for those ‘season’ people who have watched this sort of genre for a long time, should know and expect that their close relationship would turn into something more intimate. So in this sleepy boring (oops!) old countryside, everyone seems to know of this relationship between the 2, though the duo don’t really admit it out loud but you can see it from their body language. Why, they are even dubbed a husband and wife by some of their friends, sending blushing signals to those lovebirds. The synopsis continues about telling their story through flashbacks, explaining why they are such close friends and any action doesn’t seem to push them apart, but draw them closer. If it sounds like a mystery thriller at first, you are sadly mistaken but I can forgive you because I too thought so. In short, if you’re not up to this yawn fest (double oops!), then stay clear of this one. Too late for me, but I think it’s overall kinda nice too.
 
As we know that our main guy Ken is your usual naughty boy in the sense that whenever the opportunity arises, he’d play harmless pranks on Nanami. But he’s not a bad boy. He still has a good natured heart and cares about her and those around him. Hey, when a guy does a prank on a girl, isn’t it a way to show his love? As for Nanami, she is your typical girly girl. Sometimes naive, you can’t help but love her slow dreamy high pitched voice whenever she talks. Yeah, very girly indeed. But the surprising thing I found out about her is that she is voiced by the multi-talented Yuko Goto! I can’t believe it. I couldn’t recognize her voice (like I could…). It amazes me that she has voiced numerous anime character roles and some of them sound so different. I know I recognize her in other anime roles like Abiru in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Miyu in Kimi Ga Aruji De Shitsuji Ga Ore De, Kate in Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~, and Hikari in Special A, but this Nanami role is totally mind-blowing. Okay, maybe she does sound a little bit like Asahina from Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. I saw that series quite a long time ago and I can barely remember what Asahina sounded like. Something like that I think…
 
So most of the episodes follow in this particular matter. Usually it starts off showing a scene of a young Ken and Nanami doing something together during their childhood. Then after the title screen, the scene is fast forward to the grown up and high school teenagers they are. And what they do in that particular episode has something to do with that childhood thing which they did and sometimes during the show we have further flashbacks of those childhood days to explain further things. Then we see how they bond and get along with everyone in this countryside village (hey, what else is there to see and do?) and in the end, all is well, ends well. Something like that. Okay, maybe some of the episodes end with a little suspense but it isn’t much to make your adrenaline go racing.
 
Just like in episode 1 whereby we see how a young Ken has moved in to the countryside with his gentle and active sister, Suzuka, and his single parent dad, Kenryou, and befriends a girl named Nanami. He likes hermit crabs, she doesn’t. So what happens when he mischievously puts it on her head? Your guess is as good as mine. Then Ken finds out that they live just next door to each other and that their rooms are facing each other. Not only that, their balcony is so close that you can actually jump over! Remember, not to be attempted anyhow. So in present time, we see Ken loves playing a weird video game. Samurai and aliens destroying the world? Yeah, those feudal sword wielding warriors and little grey men. Really weird mix. Anyway, it seems it is Ken’s turn to wake up Nanami for school as he jumps into her room. But Nanami is nowhere to be found. Urm… We can hear her voice but we can’t see her. Ken then finds Nanami stuck between the bed and the wall. How did she end up there. Yeah, her pyjama longs are showing her slip…
 
Of course on the way to school, Ken does another mischievous prank by tickling Nanami when she got stuck while taking off her top school uniform (she’s wearing another one below, mind you). She’s such a klutz. We are introduced to their school buddies. The ‘other guy’ (just kidding, comic relief guy may be the right word) Hatano, the student council president Tae Isawa, and the shy lower-classman Hiromi Sakura who seems to have a secret crush on Ken. Smell a harem coming up? After taking their term exams, Ken and Nanami walk home together and we learn that Nanami’s mom, Kagami, runs a tea shop and Nanami herself has her own little vegetable farm next to it. I know Nanami is a little klutz, but with the help of Ken, she does a good job in keeping and maintaining the farm. The yield of course is harvested and brought to Kagami’s tea shop. The rest of the episode sees them tending this little farm and since Ken got a little tired and hot after working under the sun, he decides to eat a watermelon. But this one is no ordinary watermelon. So called. This one has been labelled "Nanami Special" by that ditzy girl and has a warning written on it not to eat it. So typical of Ken to defy it as he starts chowing down the juicy gourd. Of course when Nanami finds out, she’s a little mad. But I guess she can’t stay mad at him as what’s done is done as she too enjoys some of her specially grown melon. When the day ends, they go home and we see Nanami has several hermit crab plushies in her home. Maybe this one looks more cute rather than a live one, which looks scarier and feels gross.
 
Episode 2 starts off with a young Ken and Nanami bathing together in the bathtub. Ah, those innocent days… In present time, it is Nanami’s turn to go wake up Ken but he is nowhere in sight. She can hear him but not see him. Even Ken himself doesn’t know where he is, this mysterious dark space. Then it is revealed that it’s Ken’s turn to be stuck between his bed and the wall with his blanket over him. Yeah, how did he end up there too? His morning even starts off on a little bad note when Ken got his hand scorched by the pouring hot tea. At school, Hatano pesters Ken as he wants to know if the latter’s cousin, Hikari Nakazato, will be visiting them like she did last year. Yeah, that Hatano guy likes her. After school, Sakura approaches Ken and Nanami at the shoe box locker area. She nervously greets him and wonders if he will be coming for the upcoming school field trip before rushing off. We all know that she wants to confess but with Nanami there, I don’t think she even dare. Even if Nanami wasn’t around, I bet she still can’t say it. So when Nanami asks Ken what was that all about, he jokingly said that Sakura probably was trying to confess to him. Remember this rule, never even say this joke to your girlfriend. Because of that, Nanami becomes a little upset and ignores Ken for the rest of the day. Nanami did have a cute face even if she is sulking. Back at Kagami’s tea shop, Nanami’s actions of jealousy of treating Ken are so obvious. So after Kagami notes how the duo are inseparable, they got to the farm and remembers the time when they took care of each other when they are sick. With that, they reconcile and are back on good terms again. That night we see Ken fixing his motorbike. You’ll notice how he is always fixing it because it always breaks down. Not sure if his mechanic skills suck or the bike is really old. Kenryou comes by to tell him to clean up the guest room because Hikari will be coming and staying with them.
 
In episode 3, Ken is dreading the fact that he needs to clean up the messy room Hikari will be staying in. Better do it or else he’ll get one from his dad. On the way to school, Ken picks up a hermit crab probably with the thoughts of playing another prank on Nanami. In class, well he did and freaks the daylights out of Nanami. While they are in school, Hikari has arrived but I think she got bored staying home playing video games so she decide to make an interesting visit and stop by the school. Previously, since Hatano knows that Hikari will arrive today, he eagerly waits for her arrival at the bus stop, He waits and waits and waits… the whole day… Yeah, Hikari changed her mind and decided to walk. Of course when Hikari arrives at the school gates, Ken and Nanami are surprised to see her. Ken tries to pull off his hermit crab prank on Hikari but it didn’t work for that tomboyish girl and hits him. Soon Hikari suggests Ken and Nanami to come play fireworks at the beach and that she has invited Suzuka as well. I’m sure Hatano would gladly come. Uh huh. That guy doesn’t mind being her slave, doing everything she tells him to. But it seems that it is part of Hikari’s plan to draw Ken and Nanami closer together. There is a firework which shoots out a tiny palm-sized teddy bear with a parachute and she suggests the guys to race and grab it to give it to their loved ones. Though Hatano catches the first round and presents it to Hikari, she hits him and calls him and idiot because it isn’t supposed to turn out like that. So another round as Ken gets serious this time and manages to grab and give it to Nanami, who cherishes it very much.
 
Episode 4 starts off with a flashback on Tae. Because her parents were always busy working, she has the responsibility to take care of her 3 younger siblings. It’s like she is their substitute mom. In present time, Tae gets Ken and his pals to go do some volunteering clean up work in school and around town. The guys have to in order to ‘get out of school’. I think they flopped their exams. What is Hatano thinking when he painted a naked lady on the school’s wall. So over to the beach, the gang starts picking up litter and well since Hikari is bumming around (she’s not a student of the school), but Ken got her to help as well. Funny to see Ken pulling several huge garbage piles hidden underneath the sand (like the tip of the iceberg) and picking up a trail of trash from Nanami (that girl drops them each time she picks them up). Later Ken goes to talk to Tae when she finds she is working alone without seeking any reward and praises her good job. Tae has a flashback when her dad petted her other siblings’ head for their good work but she herself only got a candy (which she gave to Ken earlier on). She is brought back to reality when Ken pets her head. Tae is almost brought to tears and is happy and at the same time to continue what he just did. When the day draws to a close, Ken wonders where Hatano has been and thinks he has sneak away. But in fact, that guy has been tied in a giant plastic bag at the garbage section by Hikari because of his incessant annoying pestering throughout the day. Poor guy.
 
Episode 5 focuses a little more on Suzuka. During her younger days, Kenryou bought his kids a telescope so that they could watch a rare meteor shower. Ken and Suzuka were looking forward with much excitement. Of course in the big city, you can’t even see the stars because of the pollution and they will have a better chance when they moved to the countryside as Ken promised to Suzuka that they will watch it then. Of course as kids, the starry night sky is a sight to behold. They think they are some astrological experts and even named the constellations after food! One night of before the rare meteor shower, Suzuka enthusiastically took the telescope up to the balcony to watch it but she eavesdropped how Ken told Nanami not to tell Suzuka about the meteor shower and keep this a secret from her. Suzuka felt hurt that he broke his promise. She ran away in tears not before taking a screw from the telescope’s legs. Without it, I guess the telescope can’t really stand properly. After all these years, even though those bitter feelings have subsided, Suzuka is still keeping the screw but hasn’t been able to give it back or apologize properly. That is, until that rare meteor shower is once again about to happen. On a trivial note, I now know that Kenryou is a judo instructor at Ken’s school and Suzuka is a judo club member. Strange to have a father-daughter in the club. Because Suzuka has been thinking about that incident, she couldn’t really focus on her judo practice. Of course in the end Suzuka can’t stay mad at Ken forever. After talking to Hikari, the latter brings Ken to the beach whereby Suzuka admits her mistake, made up and gives back the screw. They fix it back and watch the beautiful meteor shower.
 
Episode 6 has a young Hikari finding 2 pearls but since there weren’t enough to split equally among herself, Ken and Nanami, she keeps both of it. Back in present time, probably Hikari got real bored of bumming around at the beach and since there is really nothing much to do, she decides to borrow Nanami’s school uniform and infiltrate the school and pretend to be a student. Due to the low security (and probably the mentality of the locals), she manages to sneak in. Though Ken isn’t too fond about it, Hikari being a pretend transfer student, it seems that their teacher even allows it! Ken sighs how this is really a countryside school. Needless to say, Hatano must be over the moon. Then when Hikari is doing some research in the library, the gang comes by and is surprised to see her doing so. Hikari reading? Anyway Hikari played a shiratori game with Hatano and the former always ends her game with ‘ru’, making it tough for Hatano. Sakura too is surprised to see Ken entering the library. Looks like he has a reputation of being a non-studious student. Because Hikari has been doing lots of diving recently, she catches a cold and Ken is worried. Stubborn Hikari still continue to dive and during 1 of her outing, her cold caught up to her as she nearly drowns due to exhaustion. Luckily Ken and the rest were passing by so he manages to dive in and save her. They then realize that Hikari was looking for pearls (she was doing her research at the school library) so that she could give Ken and Nanami their own pearls. Ken and Hatano then decides to help her as they dive to look for oysters (haha, Hatano got an octopus stuck to his head). But the thing which bugged me was, after diving and getting so many oysters, all they got is just 1 lousy pearl. That’s right. Just one. So how did Hikari split it among Ken and Nanami? Remember she had 2 right? So she gives them hers and this settles it. Boy, perhaps Hatano should get 1 too. Nah.
 
Episode 7 sees how a young Ken really loved his dad’s bike so the latter decides to entrust it to him provided that he takes care of it. While Ken is cleaning the bike, Nanami comes by with some watermelons and told him to rest. So while he is enjoying dessert as Nanami continues to clean for him, Kenryou comes back and hits him on the head because he thinks he is taking the easy way out by forcing Nanami to do his job. Of course it was just a misunderstanding. In present time, a biker girl named Misora Ayukawa stops by in this town when her bike starts to break down. At Nanami’s farm, Misora asks Nanami for water to wash her hands but Nanami misheard her and gave her an earthworm, freaking poor Misora out (something about ‘mimizu’ instead of ‘mizu’). Good ol’ helpful Ken then decides to help Misora fix her bike but makes it worse instead. Now we know that’s the main reason why he’s always repairing his bike. Luckily Kenryou is there to lessen the damage but there are some parts that they still need to order and will take several days. So to kill time, Misora stays at Ken’s place and I feel that it is part of Hikari’s plan to make the loser (Ken) give up his room to Misora. The next morning, Ken decides to wake Misora up when he spot her slip showing (what is it with girls sleeping that way). He tries to cover it back but in all good timing, Nanami just happen to pass by. Another misunderstanding. Of course that is soon cleared up after another harvest at her farm. Ken then tries to help Misora find a job because she wants to pay for the motorbike parts. I’m sure bringing her around would cause another few misunderstandings. Like Hatano (he’s working as a petrol pump attendant?), he wonders who that beautiful girl is with Ken (I thought all he needs was Hikari) and Sakura… Well, Ken did stop by her parent’s convenience shop to ask for any vacancy but nil. So it’s natural for Sakura to wonder who that new girl is (yeah, new rival I suppose). In the end, Misora opt to work as a part time waitress at Kagami’s tea shop. Since Misora noticed how close Ken and Nanami are, she wonders if they are lovers. But after seeing them blush and lost for words, she drops the subject. Looks like another girl is here to stay.
 
The school field trip takes off in episode 8 but before that we see Tae asking to meet her alone at a classroom after school but to Ken’s surprise, he finds Sakura there. Has she finally find the courage to confess? Maybe. But Ken is sure acting strange after that and didn’t answer Nanami directly when she asks. On the day of the school field trip, it seems Misora too has been giving the green light to join the gang! Really a countryside school. In the bus, Nanami is feeling a little suspicious-cum-jealous because Ken is being made to sit next to Sakura as Suzuka wants to sit with her. When they reached their destination, the gang get into their swimsuits to have fun in the lake. They also played some volleyball and later Hikari and Misora cook up some curry meal which proves to be too spicy. I wonder if she really knows how to cook or just playing around. Nanami has been watching Ken and Sakura most of the time and is feeling depressed. At night as they gather around the bonfire for a dance, once again Suzuka takes Nanami away to be her dance partner, which pretty much leaves Ken and Sakura a pair. Poor Hatano again. He wanted to ask Hikari for the dance but got rejected because that girl choose Misora instead. During the dance, Sakura tells Ken goodbye. After the dance is over, Ken and Nanami had trouble sleeping that night so Nanami finds Ken outside staring at the lake. Nanami takes the opportunity to ask about Ken’s strange behaviour. Ken tells her the whole truth that Sakura did confess to him back then and that when he was called by Tae, he was told by her to make some memories for Sakura because she is moving away soon! Gasp! Sakura even did mention how she can never win over Ken who will always have feelings for Nanami. So Ken didn’t tell Nanami in the first place was because he didn’t want to worry her. But Nanami is relieved (is it because another love rival is going away? Haha. Just joking) and understood as they both watch the scenery.
 
After the gang gets back from their trip, the day for Sakura and her family moves approaches in episode 9. We see a flashback that Sakura had a crush on Ken way back when they were young. Ken traded his lamune bottle he bought from her shop for the blue fish hairpin (to give to Nanami). Due to his kind nature, Sakura had an ‘indirect’ kiss through the bottle and ever since then, she had kept the bottle with her. While Sakura starts packing, Ken and the rest comes by to help. As Hatano and Ken were moving her table, I don’t know why Sakura was standing right at the back. Of course this causes them to bump into her, which causes her to drop and break her precious bottle. That night, the gang has a farewell party for Sakura at Kagami’s tea shop and later Suzuka takes Sakura to her room to give her a present. When Ken calls Suzuka, she leaves Sakura alone for a while as she takes the opportunity to look at Ken’s room and realizes how close it is to Nanami’s, causing her to be a little depressed. I think Ken was fixing his bike the whole night and miraculously it worked the next morning. Where is he going? Ken takes Nanami on a ride to the train station as Sakura and family are soon departing. They manage to arrive in time and Ken gives her another lamune bottle as a parting gift. Sakura says her last goodbyes to them (which includes how she would like to be reborn as his neighbour?) and says that Ken and Nanami are suited for each other. However before the train door closes, Sakura says that even so, they should not keep thinking that it’s okay like this as things don’t last. Warning or advice? As the train pulls away, Ken and Nanami hold each other’s hands tightly and soon Nanami hugs Ken’s arms. Sakura spots a forlorn look. Though it won’t be the last you’ll see of her, but she won’t really be ‘involved’ with the gang anymore (anti-Sakura fans rejoice! No I’m not one of them, mind you). But with Sakura’s departure, Ken and Nanami has gotten a little more closer to each other.
 
Episode 10 begins with a young Nanami crying because a recent storm had destroyed her farm. Ken decides to cheer her up by hitting her yellow fish hairpin so that when it reaches 100 favours, she can ask him to do anything she wants. Back in present time, Ken and Nanami are spending more time together and going out on their date in town. Must be taking Sakura’s advice seriously, huh? Then during a bike ride, Nanami gets an idea of using it to pull a cart of vegetables. Nice idea but at that slow speed I think it’s pretty dangerous. Furthermore, may be a little embarrassing to put such a bike to such use. Then when Ken said how he didn’t get to dance with Nanami during night of the school field trip, he decides to give her a longer ride on his bike as times like this are hard to come by. In addition, Misora is handling the store, so I guess they are covered. Speaking of which, Misora seems to be ‘interviewing’ the miss-know-it-all master-of-love Hikari on her astrological love predictions. On their way, Nanami learns the ‘V’ peace sign bikers use to signal each other and she dangerously used it herself which nearly causes an accident for the motorcyclist in the opposite direction. Thank goodness, everything is okay. As expected, the bike breaks down halfway and the duo has to stay at a nearby inn for the night. At the inn, Ken calls Suzuka and informs her of their situation and tells her not to tell dad but it seems that Kenryou was on the other line of the phone. Busted. He got scolded. To make matters a little complicated, the duo will be sharing the same bedroom so an awkward situation here… Later that night outside the inn, the duo finally got the chance to dance together and Nanami takes the opportunity to confess that she loves Ken. Unfortunately, Ken’s reaction was just to give her a hug. How disappointing for viewers who were expecting them to kiss.
 
A flashback at the start of episode 11 sees a power outage causing a young Nanami to be afraid. Ken jumps over to comfort her. We find out that Nanami’s yellow fish hairpin glows in the dark. Wow. In present time, another storm is coming and Ken and Nanami has just came back from attending the field when Nanami’s tummy begins to feel pain. No, it’s not that she’s pregnant, mind you. Though Ken is worried, Nanami assures that she is alright. Then during a rainy spell, Ken hears Nanami calling him from outside his window. When he opens his sliding glass door, he is surprised to see Nanami boldly jumping over! Is she thinking she’s Superwoman?! Another reminder not to attempt this stunt anywhere or anyhow. Suddenly a power outage causes a frightened Nanami to jump on top of Ken. We still see that her yellow fish hairpin is still glowing after all these years. Then Nanami’s stomach starts to feel pain but this time it’s much worse. Ken is in a panic as the telephone lines are out. Hikari tries to calm him down but Ken is still in panic mode. In a desperate move, Ken decides to send Nanami to the hospital on that vegetable cart as he pulls it (impossible to ride his bike in the pouring rain). I know it’s crazy, but it’s better than doing nothing. With lots of determination, Ken manages to reach the hospital. The next morning, he is awaken by Kagami at the hospital’s lobby and finds that that Nanami just had appendicitis and is now okay. The first thing Ken did when he entered Nanami’s room was to hug her. Aww… As Nanami recuperates in hospital, Ken tends to her farm by himself. On the day of Nanami’s release, the other girls have come by for her discharge except for Ken who is doing some last minute thing at the farm. Putting that blue fish hairpin on the Nanami Special watermelon? Ken then decides to go see Nanami being discharged but along the way, a road curve has crumbled due to last night’s storm. Ken saw it too late and crashes. OMG! Say this can’t be true! Later Nanami arrives at the farm and spots the Nanami Special watermelon and goes put the blue fish hairpin on, feeling quite happy and calling out for Ken. But he is nowhere in sight…
 
Episode 12 starts off with Ken lying in a hospital bed and in coma! Nanami has since skipped school just to be by his side until he wakes up. It’s so sad to see Nanami trying to talk to an unresponsive Ken and it’s like she’s talking to herself. Time passes by as everyone has moved on with their lives. Like Sakura, who didn’t have many friends when she moved now has new ones, Misora tending to her flower garden, Tae doing some job at an inn, and Hikari who thinks she is an adult (a college student, that is), thinks she can sneak in to the cherry blossom viewing park dressed as a grown up but was caught and thrown out by a sharp-eyed policeman. Also, I think Kenryou’s body language seems to indicate that he likes Kagami. Another love couple in the making? But Nanami still stays loyal by Ken’s side. Each time she does or say something which increases Ken’s favour till it reach a hundred. So when it did reach a century during winter, Nanami’s wish is for Ken to wake up. But he never did. Because of that, Nanami burst into tears and it’s so disheartening to see her cry like that, telling Ken to wake up.
 
Spring arrives and it has been a year since Ken fell into a comatose state. Nanami, who missed school just to nurse Ken starts her new school term in the same class as Suzuka. Not only that, Nanami has cut her hair short. During one of her visits to Ken, she remembers a time whereby they made that 100 debt/favours thingy, Ken did confessed to Nanami how he liked her but due to their shy behaviour, he took back his words. In present time, when Nanami says how she really loves Ken now and how the wind blows the wind chime with the blue and yellow fish hairpin, she hears a familiar voice which says how good it sounded. Why, it’s Ken! He’s awake! He opened his eyes after 1 whole year! It’s better than never. In her happiness, she couldn’t contain her happiness as she rushes over to hug him. Soon news of Ken’s awakening reached their friends and everyone comes to see him including Misora who gives Sakura a lift on her bike. Once Ken is discharged, we see him and Nanami spending some quality time together at the beach. Ken accidentally opens the lamune bottle, causing the drink to squirt out on Nanami’s face, though she isn’t mad, she adds it to his list of favours. They get close to each other as they watch the scenery. So they’re a year behind then their pals. But I don’t think that matters as long as they have each other. That’ll last forever.
 
If you have bought the DVD of the series there are additional 6 short episodes which lasts around 2 to 3 minutes, usually after the normal episodes have ended. The extra episodes are nothing much as some are for fanservice purpose, some for comical relief and some just make you go "Huh? What in the world is that for?". Like DVD Extra 1 has Ken accidentally looking at Nanami’s unkempt pyjamas and even Kagami! How in the world did they sleep which causes them to show their slip? Then later Ken is playing some hostage negotiation game with Nanami at the farm, in which Nanami wants to surrender peacefully but Ken doesn’t allow it. So he shoots her with the water hose and she ends up getting all wet. Yeah, fanservice. Then later Ken has a weird dream about that samurai-alien game.
 
DVD Extra 2 sees Hikari still using Hatano as her personal slave but all because the latter still loves serving her. Then Hikari did a nasty thing by giving him the cola that he just bought her by spraying it at his face! The later part is more fanservice because it shows Tae changing from her school uniform into her usual jersey and says how she’ll do her best. Huh? DVD Extra 3 sees Suzuka acting in some film (Nanami here sounds different!) while Hikari forces Hatano to eat a spicy curry of hers. DVD Extra 4 has Misora in a cute maid outfit serving customers as Suzuka feels jealous after seeing how Nanami and Misora are getting along so well. And later a hotspring fanservice when the girls made a comparison on who’s boobs is the biggest only to unanimously agree (by saying that they lost) that Suzuka’s one is the biggest when she comes in. But I’m not sure why Nanami is looking gloomy here (nothing to do with her boob size, I hope). DVD Extra 5 raises more question marks than anything because the first part shows Sakura’s flashback of being with Ken and in the present time, she eagerly cycles her bicycle coming to his place and Ken told her not to do so anxiously as she may get into an accident. The second half sees Ken and Nanami being shy shy with each other on a tatami in their sleeping attire. Nothing much happens here. Finally DVD Extra 6 has clips of Nanami being nice to Ken throughout the series and Ken is so engrossed in playing with his samurai-alien game, Nanami unplugs the video game. Of course Ken is mad because he insists that he is learning history by playing that game. What history? How is destroying Japan learning history? The last scene shows, Suzuka watching and supporting Kenryou who is trying to confess to Kagami. Yeah, it’s ironic that even if his son has a girlfriend, Kenryou is still an ‘amateur’ here.
 
It’s a good thing to see that the series ended on a happy note. That little suspense whereby Ken got into an accident and then into a coma was timely because I have to admit that I thought the series was going on the road of boringness. You could say that incident, literally ‘shook and woke me up’ a little. And after all that they have been through, thick and thin, their love for each other grew even stronger. How this could happen more often in real life. But the 1 thing which bugged me (and many other viewers as well) is that after so long, Ken and Nanami didn’t kiss in the end! The closest they’ve got was just a warm hug. Yeah, you could say how I expected that, but it didn’t materialize. Maybe they just want to take things a step at a time and not rush.
 
I don’t know why, but I kinda feel that both the opening song (Ramune Iro No Melody, performed by Mayu) and the ending song (Summer Vacation, performed by Ayumi Murata) gave me a feel that they are commercial songs. Perhaps with the lamune bottle in mind, maybe that’s why. Unfortunately, they both don’t appeal to me though they fit the theme of the series. Of course the insert song for the final episode to end it all on a good note, doesn’t sound like a commercial song and is entitled Nante Ne 76’s by Hiromi Satou. If you open your ears, you will notice that there are several other insert songs throughout the series as well. Not that I could remember them because to me, they don’t sound appealing.
 
On a trivial note, I kinda noticed that the episode titles come in pairs. For instance, episode 1’s "The Hermit Crab And The Straw Hat", episode 5’s "The Starry Sky And The Telescope", and episode 12’s "100 Loans And 100 Debts". Well, at least with such a title, I can simply recall what happened in that episode rather than some animes which has title so long or so short and some has even nothing to do in what happened whatsoever in it. Because lamune is also the name of this series, I feel like as though the bottle drink is like a ‘sponsor’. It’s almost everywhere in the series. Even in the mid-intermission and the ending credits animation. Marketing strategy to buy the drink? And whenever Hikari or Suzuka goes saying "Nee~" in a girly way, somehow it send shivers up my spine. Perhaps too girly the way they say it.
 
I guess for a short series, the other side characters are quite likeable, though the main focus is on Ken and Nanami. I can never get enough of Hatano’s polishing up to Hikari. Perhaps they could have shown this more often. I’d be smiling and laughing. Sakura was a potential ‘rival’ for Ken but it fizzled out in the end. Nanami’s love is always ‘stronger’, huh? Even if a town or place seems pretty boring on the outlook, but sometimes there may be a more exciting adventure going underneath its seemingly calm facade. And yeah, love blooms anywhere even if it’s a sleepy town such as this one. Hmm… Perhaps I should try one of those lamune drinks.
 

Lamune