Time flies when you are having fun, literally. And so, the second season of Natsu No Arashi dubbed Natsu No Arashi! Akinai-chuu (meaning, open for business) came and go as fast as it did at the end of 2009. It was no surprise that I was looking forward to the sequel of this time paradox comedy-cum-romance-cum-drama series. No matter how complicated the explanations about time travelling and paradoxes were to me (I’m no rocket scientist, you know), in a way this series was quite fun the way they portray the storyline with the mix of zany characters.
 
A short recap on what this series is about. Set during the hot summer in Japan through the eyes of 13 year old boy named Hajime, he fell in love at first sight with a beautiful female spirit fondly known as Arashi, supposedly to have died during the second World War but even she is unsure how this came to be. The pair are able to time travel at the mere touch of each other. As they both also work part time in the cafe called Hakobune, their summer adventure is made more ‘exciting’ with the odd bunch of characters like the money-minded cafe master Sayaka, a girl Hajime’s age who cross-dresses as a boy Jun, a tough muscular private investigator and usual patron of Hakobune Hideo (in my previous blog I called him Shades but since he has a name now, I feel this is more appropriate) and a bunch of other spirits like Arashi such as Kaya, Yayoi and Kanako.
 
Fans who have watched the first season will be pleased to find out that the sequel maintains its various visual trademarks. So for those who have not watched the prequel, it is advised that you do so. Not to say that this sequel relies heavily on what has happened, just that it is for us to better understand and enjoy the events that have taken place here. So in episode 1, the usual gang are talking of what summer is all about. With various opinions, they finally think it is a visit to the beach. Yup, starting the sequel with a fanservice beach episode, I’d say. So the girls are in a dilemma to choose from their abundant choices of swimsuits. Some very skimpy and some just weird. A Brazilian samba bikini? Jun of course is in a tighter pinch. Her gender will be completely exposed especially to dense Hajime. In the previous season, there were several chances that exposed Jun’s gender but Hajime was too ‘stupid’ to realize it. What are the chances here? Beach day arrives as everyone including Yamashiro heads over the white sandy beach. As usual, Hajime is breathing down Jun’s throat because as a guy, he must be thinking of some twisted thing so he tries to force Jun and change. Poor girl. The harassment she has to go through. In the end, she just wore a shirt over so this greatly disappoints the specky kid. As for Sayaka, her intentions are to pick up some hot guys but her tactics backfired because Kanako and Yayoi’s unwitting actions are more moe. I don’t know if the beach goers have megane fetish because they get turned on when Kanako wears them and lets loose her hair in a bid to escape those perverts.
 
As Jun is walking at a secluded spot with Kaya, the latter suddenly fell into the water and she doesn’t know how to swim. Thankfully Jun pulls her out to safety. However, Arashi spots them and to her horror, she thinks Jun is the kind of person that turns into a girl when splashed by water (think Ranma, eh?). It is then the trio sat down and talk as Arashi learns Jun’s reasons for wanting to hide her gender especially from Hajime. Arashi promises to keep this a secret though she notes Jun could’ve been better friends with Hajime if she was a boy. As for Hideo and Yamashiro, the duo are fishing and somehow fished out undies. Yamashiro returns the undies to the rightful owner and in return the grateful owner gave him her email address. Hideo thinks it isn’t a bad idea so he tries to return the undies on his turn but gets slapped instead. Yeah, mistaken to be a pervert. It’s all in the looks. In the end, Jun and Hajime sort of reconciled when he gives her a beautiful round shattered glass he found but back to their love-hate relationship when he subsequently gives her a sea cucumber. Her present in return? A slap in the face. At the end of the day as they head back, Arashi tells Jun that she may be too conscious that she’s a girl and because of that, it means it isn’t that bad with Hajime. She wishes for Jun to reveal her gender to him so that they could get along better but Jun dismisses the idea of falling in love with that idiot.
 
However the gang are to stay for the night at a nearby inn in episode 2. As usual, Hajime’s demon harassing has Jun on the run once more. He wants Jun to come with him to the baths. So do you think it’s good for her to just reveal her real gender instead of having to run and run all the time? Yeah, not to mention Hajime is trying to strip her too! It’s a guy thing, you know. Thankfully their chase ended when Arashi suggests a pillow fight and Hajime fell for that idea. Meanwhile Hideo and Yamashiro play mahjong with the rest of the girls and Hideo is losing badly. Arashi, Kaya, Hajime and Jun are walking back from buying stuff and decide to do a kimodameshi (test of courage) through the graveyard. Arashi pulls Yayoi from her mahjong game for their outing. Hajime heads off first followed by Yayoi and then Kaya. Jun is left behind with Arashi as they talk about their relationship with Hajime and romance from Arashi’s point of view. Arashi reveals that when this summer ends, she will disappear and thus grateful she can exist in this world again despite just a short while and live the moment to the fullest. This brought Jun to tears as they embrace. By that time, Hajime has returned from his round. He thinks Jun is scared and forcefully takes her hand and goes another round with her.
 
In episode 3, Hideo is exhausted from his job. But partly it’s because Kanako is sucking quite a lot of life essence from him. Remember, these ghosts replenish their existence by touching the person they connect with. Just like how Hajime is to Arashi and Jun is to Kaya, Kanako and Yayoi’s source stems from Hideo. Because Kanako won’t let pure Yayoi touch filthy Hideo, Kanako sucks up most of his powers to pass on to Yayoi. The gang suggest Yayoi to get another source and to find a customer who is compatible with her. Sure the customers are taken in by Yayoi’s moeness but she is too shy so nothing gets done. So the only one left is Yamashiro. Kanako interrogates him and finds he has no flaws. Sayaka tries to flirt but is taken away. Yayoi is hesitant (Sayaka begging to give Yamashiro to her) so she runs out due to lack of confidence. After lots of thinking, she decides to accept him but Yamashiro’s dog, Josephine is going to pound on her. That’s when they find out they both could connect. Yayoi connects with a dog too? Anyway, the problem is solved.
 
The second half has Hajime using his scientific approach to solve the problems of apples’ insides turning brown. This prompts Sayaka to wonder how a science nerd could accept Arashi who is a ghost. Hajime passionately explains that when they met for the first time, he had an ultra extreme love leading experience. The rest think it’s that forbidden scandalous thingy but Arashi honestly don’t remember. In order to find out, Arashi leaps back in time to the day she first met him and told him she was possessing him. We see Hajime then just like any other person would be shocked of those words so he tries to reason with his scientific explanations, no matter how absurd it was. Future Arashi searches for him and when she does, Hajime panics and flees. Like he has seen a ghost. Yeah. For real. He peddles his bicycle as fast as he could, thinking this is a bad dream as Arashi continues to give chase. Arashi tired of going after him finally gives him an earful and is going to prove it to him by telling him to feel it. Like magic, his bicycle starts flying high in the air (hey, isn’t this like ET?) before crashing. In the arms of Arashi and admitting what he felt today is real so he is adamant that nothing can stop his feelings. That means he doesn’t care who she is and has fallen in love with her! Much to Arashi’s horror. Though that kid still doesn’t believe she’s a ghost and explains all those absurd scientific theories to her. From afar, the Hakobune people of the future are watching and are disappointed that the naughty thingy they hoped for turned out to be just a hug.
 
In episode 4, on Jun and Kaya’s rainy day off, Jun isn’t happy that her elder sister Kyouko seems to be taking things easy when it’s supposed to her turn doing the household chores. With freeloader Kaya helping out, why not? While Kaya has made several flavoured cream pies (yum!), to Jun’s horror, she learns Hajime and Arashi will be visiting them soon. Since Jun’s clothes are all wet, she starts to panic. So panic that she accidentally wears a bride dress! Kaya notes a faced-down picture of their parents so Kyouko tells her how Jun back then hates wedding dress and cries at the sight of them. Then the rain stopped. Uh oh. Hajime and Arashi are on the way. Then they started to pack and hide things from Jun’s room to other ‘unsuspecting’ places in the house. When Hajime arrives, Kyouko gets the door but Jun tries to prevent her. She slips on her dress and into the arms of Hajime just like a newly-weds. Fortunately, the thought of Jun being a girl didn’t cross his mind. See how dense this guy is? So I guess Hajime and Arashi want to be part of the fun too and dress up in a groom and bride outfit respectively. Hajime wants to go to the toilet but Kaya remembers she hid Jun’s stuff in there and manages to distract Hajime before throwing the whole baggage out. As the gang eat the delicious cream puffs, Arashi tricks Kaya and eats her cream puff portions. And all that delicious cream puffs she saved are wasted. Gone down somebody else’s stomach. Hajime then opens the fridge to see lots of panties so Kyouko tells him about the fridge is a sacred place for young girls and will tell him the rest of the story when he grows older. Whatever that means.
 
Then Hajime gets an idea for a scavenger hunt and rummages through Jun’s room, much to her horror. Jun spots her old school uniform and tries to hide it but Hajime senses something amiss and goes into his usual show-it-to-me mode. Kaya happen to walk in so Jun touches her and time travel back in time when Jun was a little kid. Kaya is disheartened that her final strawberry cream puff is ruined (splat all over Jun’s bridal dress) and breaks down but little Jun is coming in after hearing some ruckus. She comes into the dark room and is horrified to see a blood stain (strawberry filling) on a bridal dress shortly before disappearing and I guess that traumatic experience was too much for a child. Now we know why Jun hates wedding dress. When the duo return back to their normal time, this prompts Kyouko to remember how Jun saw a bloody bride that disappeared into thin air and hated wedding dresses ever since, Jun realizes all this is Hajime’s fault to begin with. But Hajime thinks Jun has got a nice house because no matter how rowdy it is, there’s always warm tea and suggests Jun need to be a better man. That’s impossible, right? Then Hajime says he has found that thing he was trying so hard to find. Since he can’t say it in front of the girls, he whispers into Jun’s ear and she gets the shock of his life. We won’t know what that is but Jun the way Jun reacted, it’s something that she wouldn’t have in the first place. Or is it?
 
In episode 5, while Hajime is gluing back his spectacles, he can’t seem to remember something really funny happened this morning. Later, the gang think Kanako has some vision problems when she’s dropping stuff while serving her customers. So Arashi lends her an extra pair of spectacles resembling closely like Hajime’s to her. When she puts them on, she transforms into a magical girl! OMG! With lines and henshin formation and all! The rest of the episode sees how the sadistic bunch try to force Kanako into putting on spectacles because they get a kick in seeing her transform. Some other side of her they’ve never seen, eh? Sayaka even has the rest wear magical girl clothes from her wardrobe collection to persuade her. But for every trick that the gang does, Kanako gracefully evades them like an acrobat. The final straw came when Hajime ruined some pickles Kanako was growing in another of his futile attempts as Kanako declares she’ll never wear spectacles in her lifetime ever again. But the gang aren’t giving up yet because Sayaka wants everyone to wear spectacles. Where did she get that bunch from? Courtesy from Hideo of course. Kanako has to because in order for Sayaka to forget all the plates and dishes she broke, this little attempt will make her forgive all her sins. Kanako agrees and puts them on but before she could finish her transformation, Yayoi lifts her specs and puts them on her forehead. Thinking this isn’t bad, Hajime calls a truce and shakes her hand. But it’s a trap since the specs are falling down. As she starts transforming, she takes Hideo and travels back in time to end it all. That morning when Hajime was returning from an errand, he is being attacked by crows who also stole his specs. Thankfully he had a spare. Magical girl Kanako appears before him (Hajime laughing like hell!) as she breaks his specs and chants a memory erasing spell before disappearing back into the future. Meanwhile the crow that stole Hajime’s specs dropped it somewhere as passing by Arashi picks it up. Ah well. Everything comes full circle now.
 
Sayaka thinks their summer isn’t complete in episode 6 so she has the gang to serve cold noodles. Arashi loves them and retells of a delicious cold noodles dish she ate long ago but couldn’t recall its name or how it is made. So the rest start speculating on how to make the dish and try to even give names to it. Trying to recreate something which one barely remembers? Anyway Arashi tastes their different versions but it wasn’t the taste she’s looking for. As for lazy Sayaka, she’s got tired of the gang trying to come up with that cold noodles Arashi tasted that she orders Hideo to buy her some cold noodles. Jun makes his version and goes to write down how she made it while Hideo arrives with Sayaka’s delivery. As Arashi tastes it later, she realizes this is the legendary tastes she has been looking for. Arashi takes Jun along and rushes out to find Hajime because she wants him to taste this too. At that time, the Kanako and Yayoi see the unattended cold noodles and alter it according to their version. Then it is Sayaka and finally Kaya’s turn (putting lots of sugar in it?). When Arashi comes back with Hajime, that poor guy nearly died after tasting the horrible cold noodles. Jun notes somebody has changed her recipe so Arashi travels back in time with Hajime so as not to let her effort go to waste. They travel a step before each added alteration and nearly died of the extreme taste so much so they may develop a fear of cold noodles. They travel back to the time just after Jun had finish making hers. But since Hideo was coming in too, they take Jun’s dish as Hideo sets up the cold noodles for Sayaka. Arashi and Hajime return back to their normal time and have the rest taste this legendary cold noodles but they find it awful. Arashi tastes it and she too herself is surprised that this isn’t it. Everyone is weary wondering where that legendary taste has gone too or was that one in the first place while Sayaka wonders where her cold noodles she ordered go. You see, you realize the cold noodles Hideo bought was the legendary one before it was spoiled by the alterations of the others? Haha. They’ll never figure this out nor taste it.
 
In episode 7, Sayaka panics because she doesn’t remember why her handphone has calls made to Yamashiro. She may think something illicit has happened. Then her scream of surprise causes Yamashiro to spill coffee on his own clothes. We find out her surprise was due to a newspaper article about a lost priceless ceramic Kobayashi tea cup worth 10 million Yen. So what’s it to Sayaka? She knew she was using it 3 days ago but couldn’t remember where she misplaced it! Well, she did tell someone to put it in the cupboard but now it isn’t there anymore. She knows it is authentic since the word "Kobayashi" was written at the bottom of the cup. So the gang go to great lengths to find the elusive Kobayashi cup. 10 million Yen is on the line, baby! Their efforts are naught so Sayaka orders them to fly back in time 3 days ago to find the cup while Yayoi and Kanako tend their home-grown pickle to give to Yamashiro as apologies. But the gang return empty handed and out of breath citing that Sayaka back then was running away from them. Looks like she was drunk at that time and wouldn’t hand over anything even if it was junk. Sayaka recalls hard and remembers she told Yayoi to put the cup in the cupboard but Yayoi does not remember telling her to do so. Sayaka then accidentally touches Yayoi and they both flew back in time. When they return, Sayaka notes the cup is still in the cupboard but didn’t take back the cup because her past self was coming in and she panicked and flew back to the future. So Arashi and Hajime decide to go on their behalf but Sayaka couldn’t wait so she goes back with Yayoi again. At that time, Kaya remembers she made some pudding in the fridge. The gang see the identical cup but inspected it and conclude this isn’t the one they’re looking for because there is no word inscribed at the bottom.
 
The time travelling team return as we see Hajime scolding Sayaka for putting their life in danger and broke some dishes back then. It was then Yayoi remembered Sayaka told her to put the cup in the cupboard. Apparently Sayaka from the past thought future Yayoi was the past Yayoi and ordered her to clean the mess. And why didn’t future Yayoi bring the cup back? Because Sayaka told her to put it in the cupboard. Duh! Sayaka wants another go but the rest object since they’ll come dangerously close to themselves. Do you think money is going to stop her? Apparently not as Sayaka calls forth a distraction before disappearing back in time with Yayoi. Of course she failed and everyone is tired so Arashi decides to make everyone coffee using the cup Kaya made her pudding. She picks a tea cup with the words Kobayashi written on the inside bottom. I guess Arashi didn’t learn to read because she thought it was some bad scratch. Not wanting it to go to waste, Kanako takes the cup and uses it to plant her pickle outside. So that’s where it was! Meanwhile Sayaka makes a call to Yamashiro wondering if he had bought tickets for a horse race 3 days ago. But it seems he has bought them earlier. Wait a minute. Something is bugging me. How did Sayaka at the start of this episode got Yamashiro’s number in her handphone when she made it at the end which is supposedly back in their normal time? Unless it’s some time paradox thingy that I didn’t understand or got left out.
 
The summer heat is reaching its peak in episode 8 and it makes sense to turn on the air-cond if they are to keep cool and continue running their business but the problem is they don’t know where the remote control is. Seriously? Okay, we have a bunch of remote controls so don’t be afraid to try them out. Unfortunately none of them works as they have either disastrous or hilarious results. But if you think that’s bad, the heat has got to Arashi and she’s like a time bomb. According to Kaya, this isn’t a good sign because Arashi was raised from a strict family and is not allowed to complain about anything. Just about anything. Once she ‘explodes’, an Emperor of Fire’s Tragedy will occur. Sounds really bad, doesn’t it. As part of her countdown, Arashi starts reciting the 10 commandments of her family rule. Better cool her down quick. Then they find an underground path and think Arashi will be cooler there. To their dismay, the underground starts shooting out hot water. Hotspring water? Not good. Countdown resumes. Arashi is turning into yandere mode and Hajime is going to die Higurashi style so Kaya did some lame joke to cool things off. Lame indeed but it worked. I wonder if her ego is hurt a bit. Then Arashi takes a direct heat from the hot splash and starts singing the Warabe Tune. The ultimate countdown to the tragedy begins. They decide to bring her back to Hakobune when a shadowy figure stands before them. Is it a monster? Nope, it’s Josephine with the real air-cond remote in her mouth. Okay, that wasn’t it either because some red alert light from Hakobune starts blinking. Then Hideo comes in and takes out a remote from his pocket. Time is running short so Hajime goes into acrobat mode to snatch and switch the air-cond on. Phew. In the nick of time. However, Hakobune suddenly transforms into a giant robot and starts flying in the air. Arashi continues her countdown and the whole place explodes in midair. What the hell?
 
Apparently everyone’s still alive like as though nothing has happened in episode 9. Here, Sayaka is back to her stingy ways wanting the gang to go back in time to bring back some food stuff that is expired now before it was expired then. Will she ever learn? But Yayoi suggests going back in time to save work that needs time like drying laundry or food that needs time to ripe. The results are convenient as everyone do their bid to do those stuff as they could have their meal just fresh and right timing for eating. Later Jun asks Hajime if he is serious in loving Arashi and Hajime asserts his undying love for her. He’s serious alright. One day Yamashiro requests to take Arashi for an outing and she accepts. Jun takes this opportunity to tell Hajime that Arashi will cease to exist once summer ends. That is when Hajime realized and is shocked to learn what he has heard. When Arashi comes back, Hajime swiftly takes her out on his own date and confronts her about her inevitable inexistence. She tells him the truth but cautions him that even if she does come back next summer, he may not recognize her. It’s complicated and something about he’ll move on in life and be an adult. Hajime is adamant that he will never forget her but she recalls someone said that to her before. Hajime confesses that he loves her but she apologizes breaking his heart as he runs away. Arashi narrates if she falls in love, she’ll just suffer, and about a person whom she missed and wanted to see so much but couldn’t. Over the next day, it is obvious that Arashi and Hajime aren’t on talking terms. But they can’t keep getting down all the time as they decide to take a time travelling trip. To everyone’s surprise, they couldn’t connect when they touched.
 
With that, Hajime seems down in episode 10 so Kanako gives him an earful but it turns into a big argument so much so Sayaka had to turn on her music louder to drown out the bickering. One night, Yayoi thinks of the age gap between Hajime and Arashi making it harder for them to understand each other. So she suggests going back in time and they may be able to do so since they’ll be around the same age. Hajime agrees and with the help of Yayoi, of he goes along with Kanako and Hideo. They arrive just before Japan’s World War II’s conquest. As expected, young Arashi comes from a wealthy family and the gang are surprised to see her riding her horse out of the mansion, not heeding her servant’s words to stay put. Hajime in his attempts to stop her gets dragged along on her horse instead. Seems Arashi is going to help out a friend of hers being bullied by a group of boys. Even kids can be heartless back then. Why scared of those thug kids? Well apparently their leader is the son to the captain of the Imperial Army. Nobody can touch him… Arashi arrives to take down the merciless boys beating up a girl (damn kids hitting a girl!). Hajime helps out and though gets some beating, soon comes face to face with the leader kid. Don’t play play. He’s drawing a real sword! It’s do or die for Hajime. Hajime beats him and sends all his subordinates scurrying away.
 
At the end of the day, Hajime tries not to reveal much about himself to Arashi so she takes his specs and claims she will return to him when she sees him the next time. In return, she kisses him and wants him to return the same too. Then they meet Arashi’s brother who is from the army. He is happy for Hajime and sort of welcomes him because he managed to break Arashi’s tomboyishness and hopes he will look after her. Shortly Hajime goes on his own way and returns back to his own time with the rest. Meanwhile Kaya and Jun show Arashi a box that Arashi thought went missing during the air raid. She opens to find a pair of specs resembling Hajime’s. Kaya notes that she has already experienced love before and though it’s hard to let go of past loves, it’s sad not to move on. Upon realizing who the specs belong to, that’s when they realize Arashi’s first love was Hajime! Arashi returns to Hakobune and though Hajime’s face is badly bruised, they both made-up and when they touch, they are able to connect once more. All’s well, ends well.
 
Due to some unknown reason in episode 11, Jun wakes up late one morning to find herself all busty and curvy! Woah! It’s like she has matured into a fine woman! Jun starts panicking, rushing her way to Hakobune and hopes no one especially Hajime will find out that it’s her. Unfortunately, Arashi recognizes her. Fortunately, nobody else did. Including Kaya. So Jun claims herself as Jun’s elder sister, Ryouko. Jun tries to tell Kaya the truth but finds out that she was the one responsible in making him sleep late so that they could hold a surprise birthday party for Jun. Kaya thinks Ryouko is also into this surprise thingy. So the gang try to find out Jun’s likes and dislikes as she hears herself the truthful opinions on what the rest think about her. Not too good if you’re considering comparing Jun and ‘Ryouko’, eh? But she has her good points too. So they decide some pie tossing surprise since Kaya mentioned Jun was talking in her sleep how she loved that. Say what? Then Jun has a talk with Hajime so the latter gives his honest opinion on Jun and probably his bad and good points are what Hajime likes about Jun. Is she flustering? Then Arashi rushes out in panic as the fruits they have prepared have gone bad. Not to fear, Hajime shows them a secret stash of edible wild strawberries and it tastes good. As Hajime rushes off to show Kaya, Jun pops one into his mouth and before she knows it, her body starts reverting to her usual flat straight kiddie one (sorry). Jun rushes home and comes to Hakobune that night and pretends to be surprised. We can tell she sucks but the plan worked out well. As Jun digs in her strawberry-filled cake, Hajime teases her that she has never tasted anything like this before. But she says she did and won’t tell him further.
 
A customer at Hakobune, Yoshimi Anamori, seems to be some sort of pervert, wanting to kiss girls like Yayoi. Arashi wants to give her a piece of her mind but she too nearly got kissed. In episode 12, the gang learn she is some manga illustrator and is trying to find inspiration for her final scene. Arashi promises to help her be her model but finds out too late as it will be a kissing scene. Can’t back out now. Furthermore, her pushy editor Umeyashiki wants her to submit her work as it is near deadline. After hearing Arashi’s poetic just and the sort, Umeyashiki extends the deadline by 6pm but if she fails to turn it in, Arashi will have to work as her assistant FOREVER!!! Sayaka thinks the suitable candidate to kiss Arashi is Hajime but surprisingly he refuses. So Yoshimi has Kaya set up with Arashi. Since Kaya felt embarrassed Yoshimi replaces her with Yayoi. And since Kanako won’t allow her lips to be tainted, Kanako replaces her. Sayaka teases Kanako she has experienced kissing someone so Yayoi goes into breakdown mode while Kanako tries to calm the misunderstanding.
 
All that’s left is Jun but she refuses on grounds that they’re different in height and size. Thus the person that is around Jun’s size is Hajime and Yoshimi is okay with the little ones making out. Gasp! Hajime is willing to do it in order not to taint Arashi’s lips but Arashi’s call distraction to allow Jun to throw Hajime over. Then they call Hideo right in a middle of a stakeout job (in the heat of summer?) for a kissing scene. He thought he was going to do it with Sayaka, till he realizes it’s Yamashiro he’s going to do it with! Yaoi! Fortunately Yoshimi isn’t a yaoi fan (phew) as she can’t draw inspiration from 2 men kissing (double phew). So all that’s left is Arashi and Hajime. But they refuse and Hajime even saying he’d rather do it with Jun a billion times! Arashi not taking that well. In the end, Yoshimi decides to kiss Arashi herself. Hajime can’t stand it and pushes Arashi over to kiss Yoshimi. Arashi too couldn’t stand that and pushes him away. That’s when Yoshimi got inspired and started drawing. She manages to meet her deadline and thanks the gang. Then in the car with Umeyashiki, it turns Yoshimi is that old military customer guy from Hakobune, Sogoru! I wonder what all this setup is for. To bring Hajime and Arashi closer? Hajime and Arashi are talking on the rooftop about why they stopped each other from kissing Yoshimi but avoid giving each other a direct answer. Arashi then blames all this was his fault and all this happened because he didn’t say okay in the beginning. Then she kisses his forehead before getting down. We find out the reason why Hajime was reluctant to kiss Arashi then. He feels a first kiss with someone you love will be wasted in front of other people. Yeah, a private affair, eh? Hmm… I agree. A secret moment shared between lovers is essential.
 
Episode 13 starts 5 years in the future with Hajime all grown up but Arashi the same teenage girl. She’s not going to visit him next summer but he’s adamant that he’ll continue on like this. She is here to fulfil her final promise. That is, to return the kiss. Then it’s revealed it’s some story Hajime was writing. Having writer’s block, eh? It sure got me there. Anyway this episode is another time travelling and messing fun. Remember back in the first season, Hajime created some strawberry and cherry bomb to get back at Yamashiro so as to keep him away from Arashi but flops miserably? Apparently he’s still got revenge on his mind and this time he’s using a very spicy kiwi for the job. Kaya is sulking because she accidentally drank a spoilt drink she made herself. Because of that, she plans on getting revenge from the humiliating whom she blames it on Hajime by making another spicy kiwi. I don’t know if she’s thinking straight because she cuts it in half, fills it with spicy filling and tapes it back. Anyone can see it’s been tampered with, right? Not according to Kaya because the tape is transparent. *Eyes rolling*. And what do you know, Arashi too has made her own spicy kiwi. Hideo orders some Kiwi Sundae so Yayoi and Kanako go make it. At that time, they heard somebody calling Takakura Ken so Kaya rushes out and bumps into Hajime and Arashi. Yup, their kiwi got mixed-up. What amazes me was Kaya couldn’t even tell her own kiwi with the badly taped tape! Oh no! Which kiwi is which? In their haste to retrieve their kiwis, Hajime, Arashi, Jun and Kaya accidentally connect and time travel. Shortly, Yayoi and Kanako pass by and pick up those kiwis. And what do you know, the real Takakura Ken shows up at Hakobune. I really don’t know who this guy is.
 
Yayoi and Kanako return with Hideo’s order. To his surprise, they got his order right as he digs in. Unfortunately, he got a taste of the spicy kiwi and is knocked out. The quartet, who has returned from their time trip, saw what happened and realized they have made the spicy kiwi. That’s when Yamashiro comes in and Hajime is upset about his tardiness and bad timing that put foiled his plans. Yayoi gives him cream puff as thanks. Sweet tooth Kaya too wants some of the cream puff that Yayoi had abundantly made but finds out she has added kiwi in them. Yamashiro digs in but nothing happens. Kaya can’t take this Russian roulette thingy and since her mind is not at ease, she and the conspirators plan to travel back in time to rid of the spicy kiwis. When they go back in time just before Yayoi made them, Arashi screams out Takakura Ken upon seeing the real one entering Hakobune. Because of that, Yayoi is also distracted so Hajime grabs both the spicy kiwis on the table. Jun wonders about the third kiwi but Hajime thinks it’s Hideo’s fate to have eaten the kiwis and that history can’t be changed. Back in normal time, the rest are going to have their kiwi dessert. Brimming with confidence, Kaya takes a bite but is taken out by its spiciness. If both spicy kiwis are with Hajime, how can there be another one? They think there is a fourth one but Hajime asserts he only made 1. Hideo heard it and it’s payback time as he forces Hajime to eat his own project: spicy papaya. Wargh! It is revealed that when Yayoi and Kanako went to make Hideo’s order, they wanted something green but the kiwi wasn’t enough and used wasabi instead. Yeah, Hideo got knocked out by the wasabi taste. In the aftermath, Hajime talks to Arashi about the past, future, destiny and moving forward towards the unknown. Whether their fate is set or not, it’s best to keep trying. With that, Arashi notes her summer hasn’t end yet.
 
Even if she said that, I guess that’s the end for the series. So far I have not heard of any sequel in the near future but if you really want to know the future, find somebody that you can connect with and see if there’s any sequel, okay? Then let me know. Haha. And if they make an OVA, maybe they’ll call it Haru No Arashi. Haha! For this particular season, I find it a good mix between the development of the characters in terms of their past and the fun time travelling mess-cum-chaos. Though the time paradox aren’t complicated as before, at least I still find them enjoyable though most people felt they are like fillers. We learn that Hajime and Arashi’s destined meeting was caused by themselves. Who would have thought that Arashi’s first love was Hajime from the future and probably why she didn’t return her love when they first met was because of the thought he didn’t remember her during their first encounter. Seventy years is a bloody long time to wait and remember even if you’re a ghost. I’m glad it all worked out in the end and that they still loved each other (may not be too obvious). Other developments like how the ladies can only exist during summer are an eye opener. Whether they will disappear when autumn comes or come back again same time next year is yet to be seen. But hey, why fret over trivial stuff of the future? Go all out and have fun in your summer days that will never return.
 
This season also focuses a little more on Jun as there are a handful of episodes with her in the limelight. Though her gender may be found out by Arashi but it will take a lot more to convince Hajime. You can say her secret is safe. Hey, Hajime did not actually accept the fact that Arashi is a ghost, right? Yayoi is still a naive girl while Kanako is still overprotective on her. As viewers have seen the first season, the pair are the ones responsible for that sepia-like film rolling narration of some book Yayoi read but always forgot its title. In this season, the narrations are more towards a particular dish which also Yayoi can’t remember much. After some detailed (or perhaps exaggerated) explanation, it usually ends with Kanako knowing the dish and nothing much happens. Yeah, that’s it. What were you expecting? If not food, then it’s some movie she watched but can’t remember the title. Does she have some memory problem? As for Sayaka, I noticed that in this season she is sometimes doing some sort of ‘action’ in the background whether she’s moving her hands or swaying her body while talking. I don’t know if it’s some sort of exercise or done on purpose to distract viewers and make them go what-the-hell-is-she-doing reaction. Maybe it’s part of her role to get more screen time, know what I’m saying?
 
Apart from being a regular customer at Hakobune, I find that the stakeout jobs Hideo does as a private detective to be odd. Maybe he needs the money so he’d take on odd requests. And each time he orders a takeout from Hakobune, it is pretty darn hilarious Yayoi and Kanako can never get it right and deliver him some other kind of dish. So it’s no surprise that he was really shocked to see that Kiwi Sundae he ordered came out right. Well, just the looks at least. The kind and gentle Yamashiro is still another regular at Hakobune and with the introduction of Josephine, this guy is like he’s got some points scored with the ladies, if they are ever interested anyway. Remember that guy who is always trying to order salt but never gets it? There were several times he came close to getting it but never did such as finally getting his hands on the salt container but to his dismay it is empty. Is it so hard to get them? By the way, I don’t know if his wish was finally granted in the end because in the final episode, after millions of his trademark line "Excuse me, salt please", Arashi finally hands one to him. Don’t know if that was a fake or not because there was no follow up on whether his ultimate dream came true or not. But he was damn surprised to get it. Congratulations, pal. Was it worth the wait? And as mentioned, that Soguru guy’s role still bugged me. Can’t comprehend the reason he impersonate as Yoshimi. Maybe it’s all part of that destiny thing for Hajime and Arashi to grow closer to each other.
 
Though this season the art and drawing remained consistent with the first season, I can’t help but noticed that some of the episodes are in low quality. Meaning that if you look closer, at times you’ll find the drawing and art of the characters to be rather simple. Except for the first and last episode, the quality was good so it got me thinking if this was done on purpose as a cost cutting measure. Maybe because of that, I noticed that there are less parodies as compared to the previous season. Sure the School Rumble characters do appear (during the part whereby sicko Hajime was chasing Jun down the hallways of the inn just to strip her) but I don’t see other cameo characters from other animes appearing as Hakobune’s customers anymore.
 
I didn’t like the opening theme for this season, Oyasumi Paradox by Etsuko Yakushimaru, because it has techno feel in it and it sounds weird. I don’t understand what that running timer is for as it’s being displayed for the entire duration for the whole opening credits. Besides the weird opening credits animation (Arashi underwater like in suspended animation?), the only thing unique I find about it is the credits shown in the form of bubbles as they float across the screen. The ending theme by the seiyuus of Arashi, Kaya, Yayoi and Kanako is Otome No Junjou and sounds like a video game song. Even the ending credits animation shows the quartet in some RPG character outfit (not to mention the computer pixels that they are made up of) while in the background a montage of ‘frantic’ black and white scenarios. There are also lots of insert songs used to light up Hakobune that reminds me of the retro days but I’m not sure whether they played them during the first season. The thing missing from this season is that weird comic strip of a mangaka and an alien during the next episode preview. Instead it is replaced with pages from the manga of the series itself as the characters as usual rant about anything about summer except what’s in store for the next episode. Remember to wake up early and healthy tomorrow too. And yes, the illustrations from various people at the end are still there. Some really good and some just plain funny.
 
Come to think of it, this whole entire series of both seasons took place during a single summer. I know, even if I kept mentioning that word it still did not occur to me nor do I see the connection. So well even if it is still purely fiction and men’s wish to even alter time, but remember that it is eventually our own hands that shape our own destiny and fate, the past, present and future. Do you really want to know what your future lies? Do you really want to know what happened back then? Just sit back and relax, take a step at a time and discover things out at your own pace because it’s more fun that way. Like me, watching my animes slowly. That’s my eternal summer, baby!
 

Natsu No Arashi

Natsu No Arashi

January 24, 2010

Time paradoxes. You know, if you think really hard, it could get real confusing. Just like those Terminator movies. If you have seen them, you’ll know what I mean. However, even though Natsu No Arashi also deals with this, I find it quite fun and engaging to be precise. Even if you stop and think about it, all the events that has happened to make sense and are related to one another.
 
Our main protagonist is a 13 year old boy, Hajime Yasaka, who fell in love with an older girl, Sayoko Arashima or more fondly known as Arashi. They both work as a waiter and waitress at a bar cafe called Hakobune (literally means Ark). Another thing special about the duo’s relationship is that whenever Hajime comes into contact with Arashi, they are able to time warp to a different era. How cool is that? But remember, just like the classic anime, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, you have to be careful of what you do as it may bear unwanted consequences. And yes, the same person cannot be seen together at the same place at the same time or else. You can tell when your other self is nearby as your body parts start to go transparent like a ghost. Scary!
 
Episode 1 starts off randomly to get viewers into the fun of time travelling. Arashi wakes Hajime up to go to work. Hajime has also created some strawberry bomb in which his unfortunate grandpa got that explosive taste. Yeah, explodes in your mouth, not in your hands. When they arrive at the Ark, we are introduced to the other casts. The other workers include the white haired half-German Kaya Bergmann, the is-this-a-guy-or-a-girl Jun Kamigano, freckled face Kanako Yamazaki, Yayoi Fushimi and the sarcastic couldn’t-care-less-unless-it’s-for-money bar master Sayaka. Then everyone heard a yell that Ken Takakura is here. I don’t know who that guy is but it was enough to make everyone go out and have a look. Except Hajime and Arashi as they went to the back and get their clothes changed. While doing so, they heard Kaya’s scream and Arashi thinks she has seen that guy. Later a burly guy in sunglasses known as Shades comes into the Ark. Hajime doesn’t like him so he decides to test his strawberry bomb on him but realizes he has only 1 left now. He remembers he has 2 this morning so he requests Arashi to jump back in time to get 1. Arashi tip toe past a sleeping Hajime that morning and notes how he has 3 strawberries instead and took 1 (that’s why there were only 2). Back in normal time, Hajime realizes his strawberry is missing. That’s because Sayaka has served it up as a mixed fruit to Shades. Yup, he’s got a taste of it.
 
The other reason why Hajime wanted to save his strawberry bomb was to use it on a regular customer, Yamashiro. This nice guy seems to be hitting on Arashi and you know what that means to Hajime. However Hajime is puzzled to see that there is 1 strawberry cake instead of 2 this morning. Thinking the other one was eaten by Shades, he is confident this is the other bomb. He serves it to Yamashiro and is anticipating the final blow but nothing happens. He wonders if he has made a mistake. Then Sayaka calls Hajime and tells him she knows what he did to Shades and hinted that sweet tooth Kaya may have taken the other cake for her snack later. Kaya heard this and jumps the gun that somebody has eaten her cake. She goes all out to find the culprit. This means jumping back in time. Yup, she too can do this but she has to come into contact with Jun. Hajime panics as this would lead Kaya to find the maker of the bomb which is him. Hajime and Arashi also jump back in time. They find there is still 1 cake so they go back further in time, the time Hajime and Arashi just came in for work. Kaya then tells Jun to distract everyone so Jun yells out Ken Takakura. With everyone else out, Kaya takes desperate measures as she uses her ethereal energy to go through the walls. Arashi, Hajime and Jun can’t go anywhere because their other self is nearby (Hajime and Arashi were at the back changing then). To Kaya’s happiness, she spot 2 cakes and in her relief takes a bite. However the one she took was the strawberry bomb as it explodes. Remember the scream Arashi and Hajime heard back then? Yeah, mystery solved. Now we know why there was only 1 cake in the first place. See how fun this is?
 
Episode 2 goes back in time and properly starts the chronological order of the series. Hajime has just arrived in town and thinks he’s got the wrong address when he enters the Ark. Because he fell in love at first sight on Arashi’s beauty, he decides to stay. He also makes quick friends with Jun. Shades then comes in looking for Arashi. He is here to take her back (she ran away from her family) but Hajime isn’t going to let his love go like that as he kicks Shades. He too fights back but before he could hit Hajime with his wooden sword, Arashi hits it away. Shades backs off for now and leaves. When Arashi thanks him for saving her, that is when she realized that they both could connect. She gets excited she brings him along back in time. Arashi tells him straight that she’s a ghost and that she is possessing him. It’s normal for a kid to be shocked by the sudden events. But I guess she’s pretty so he wouldn’t mind her living with him. When they come back in real time, Hajime begs Sayaka to work here but she isn’t interested. He even goes all out to bet his clothes but lost miserably! Then Shades come back but only Jun is in the Ark. He tells Jun that Sayaka is a con artist and that she’s waiting for the perfect time to sell the Ark at a high price.
 
Arashi talks to Hajime about why she loves this place because it hadn’t changed for 60 years and that an important treasure is hidden there. Money-face Sayaka just happened to pass by and heard this so she tries to be all friendly with Arashi (a moment ago she was telling her it was the best time to disappear. Double face!). Shades is also there so Sayaka suggests an exchange for the treasure and Arashi’s freedom from Shades. Arashi agrees. Initially Shades disagrees but Sayaka’s smooth threatening talk has him into it. It will be a bike race and the first one to reach the Ark wins. Shades is thinking all the tricks Sayaka would pull as he makes a head start zooming past her. Suddenly he is stopped by a policeman for speeding. That’s when he realized it was all part of Sayaka’s plan as she had called the police earlier on. Sayaka and the rest slowly zoom past him. Back at the Ark, Sayaka is disheartened to find the treasure an old box filled with old tops. Well, it was a treasure between Arashi and her long time acquaintance when she was alive.
 
In episode 3, while Hajime ponders about Arashi being a ghost, he finally lands a job at the Ark. Then a group of customers are looking for a girl with long black hair to be an actress in their independent film. Though Arashi is thrilled but she declines as she has other plans. Jun cautious Hajime about Arashi. After work, Hajime takes Arashi to the arcade and play that doll-crane game. They’re treating it like some military rescue mission. Their dramatic acting is sure a crowd puller. Arashi manages to get a doll which she gives to Hajime as a present. Meanwhile Shades has come up with a pretty long intro line when someone calls his private detective office. He gets annoyed every time that person seems to be asking the difference between some noodles. Shouldn’t have made his lines that long. Later Arashi takes Hajime back in time again. This time back to 1945 in the middle of World War II. Arashi meets a guy Murata and his son Sankichi on their way fishing so she politely advises them not to go as they will die in a bombing raid. Who in their right mind would believe her? Seeing that he isn’t going to listen, Arashi takes his fishing pole and runs for it. Later they go check on them but only the father is in the house but the son isn’t. Realizing the son wanted so much to go play at the river, Arashi rushes there. That’s when the bombing raid starts. Murata searches desperately for his son when he comes crying. He says how Arashi has saved him. But rather than being grateful, Murata questions how she knows the timing of the bombing and asks if she’s a spy. Hajime wanted to punch him but Arashi restrains him. They then go back to their own time and disappear right in front of the duo. When they’re outside the Ark, Arashi says that this is her secret and that she can’t travel on her own. But Hajime promises that he will help her no matter what, making her happy.
 
Hajime is happy in episode 4 that he and Arashi alone share a secret but to his dismay, Arashi gladly tells Jun about her ghost and time travelling abilities. Good thing is that Jun doesn’t believe. Later they are surprised to find Sayaka wearing a black wig because she’s interested in that movie making group. They learn that the film will be at Arashi’s old school Ookurayama Girls High School. And there are rumours that ghosts of those who died in the war will appear during summer. Arashi, Hajime and Jun visit its library and find a photo of her and Kaya in a book. This proofs Arashi to be a ghost since she looked same now and then but Jun is still sceptical. Jun takes the photo to test its authenticity but the photo guy is sure that it’s real because he was the one who took that photo. But Jun still refuses to believe. Sayaka eagerly comes to the site of the shoot hoping to get a movie part but the guys let her stay on in fear that Arashi may leave. As they continue to shoot their war themed movie, everyone can’t help stare how beautiful Arashi is. That was when Jun started to believe who Arashi is. However the film results are no good as there are lots of interference (because she was a ghost?). Back at the Ark, Hajime thinks of helping her find her friend in the photo Kaya when Kaya suddenly shows up at the Ark. I don’t know how that happened either. Kaya tells of Arashi’s bad habits of losing stuff like her cherished diary she exchanged with her, though Arashi denies she left it on her school desk. To prove it, Arashi goes back in time with Hajime to take the diary on the desk. Now we know why it’s missing, eh? So the important thing written in the diary was "No matter what happens, let’s promise meet back at the Ark". Arashi even wrote a reply saying that they have met. Kaya thanks her for fulfilling her promise.
 
If you are still scratching your head if Jun is a boy or girl, episode 5 answers it. Jun is a girl cross-dressing as a guy. Period. However dense Hajime still believes Jun is a he even if he saw her close to naked. An insult or what? When Jun is about to open a cabinet, she spots a cockroach and panics. Rash Hajime comes by to quell the ‘threat’ by shooting the cockroach with detergent but the clumsiness has Jun ended up getting wet. After done bathing, Jun is shocked to see herself in a woman’s clothes (she had lots on her mind so she wasn’t aware when she put it on). Sayaka mentions that she has no other male clothes. Hmm… Jun seems a little popular with the customers now. Then another same blunder (a mouse this time) causes Jun to get wet again. After another bath, Jun gets even dishearten that his clothes are now like of those you see in Japanese maid cafe. Doesn’t she look cute? Then Sayaka got this sick idea of winning it with quantity as she puts Hajime in that outfit too and then herself! Arashi and Kaya aren’t spared too. Old fashioned lady-like Kaya is very embarrassed in the outfit so she has a hard time even giving back change to a customer. It gets worse when Sayaka tells her how to do it, anime maid style according to a man’s fetish. Kaya eventually couldn’t and broke down. Jun tells Sayaka not to force her to do it. Arashi consoles Kaya and says that she may even find somebody she could connect with but Kaya says she could only connect with girls. Later Hajime and Jun are arguing if the latter could connect so Hajime forces her to see if she could connect with Arashi (who is also intrigued if she could connect with 2 guys at a time) but nothing happened. Jun is sulking outside (after punching Hajime good in the face) so Kaya consoles and thanks him. Back inside, they got a cola order from a customer. The machine is kicking up a fuss and Jun spilled candies on the floor. When the machine gushes out like mad, remember that famous YouTube video on the effects of mixing Coca Cola and Mentos? Explosive!
 
While Kaya (now working in the Ark) chides Arashi for her reckless time travelling in episode 6, Jun was doing her research and learns Kaya and Arashi from the time of World War II and that she died during a bombing but knew nothing after that. Kaya wants to find somebody to connect but Jun refuses. That is when they accidentally touch and it seems they both could connect. So when Arashi and Hajime come back from their usual time trip, they are shocked to learn from Sayaka who saw what happened between Kaya and Jun. The duo travelled back to 2nd April 1945 and Kaya wonders if Jun is a girl. They then see the then Master of the Ark. The place and area is pitched black under a blackout policy. However a military police rushes in after receiving reports of a flash of bright light in this area. He lets them off with a warning upon learning Kaya is German (Japan and Germany were allies during the war). Master treats them with hospitality and Jun can tell that Kaya obviously has a crush on him. Master offers to accompany and walk Kaya home. Jun could also guess from their talk that Master likes Kaya but both aren’t honest with their feelings. Halfway through, Kaya suggests that she goes on her own from now and so Master understands and leaves. Jun tells Kaya to tell her feelings but she says he will die in an air raid 1 month’s time. Kaya also thinks that if she told him which could save his life, she feels it is dangerous to change the past. But at the same time, she can’t stop herself from seeing him. Then suddenly the sirens start sounding and they realized that there is a bombing raid on that day. In present time, Hajime continues to fool around with Arashi when they see Jun’s project and realize the trouble they might be in.
 
Kaya then feels guilty for changing history because if they hadn’t come, Master would’ve been sleeping right back at the Ark. She decides to go find him but Jun is concern if she is killed and that she will be trapped her. However Kaya doesn’t care for that so Jun is upset she is doing this selfish thing which has got nothing to do with her. As the bombing continues, the city is engulfed in fire. Kaya finds Master trying to get into his parent’s burning house. Because of their hesitant way in showing their feelings, Jun has had it and yells back about them being cowards and that she refuses to die in this insanity. Just when Jun thought her life is over, Hajime and Arashi appear to help them escape by paving a way with their fire extinguishers. In the aftermath, Hajime teases Jun crying alone. Once Hajime and Arashi are gone, Kaya tells her how selfish she was and was she going to waste her 60 years. But Kaya thanks her because she felt better now as they both jump back to their own time. Jun realized that she couldn’t share her emotions at a time like that and how she must have felt over the past 60 years. And when she managed to deliver those words to him, that could’ve been 60 years worth of gratitude.
 
In episode 7, Hajime plays baseball with Arashi and in addition of breaking the ladle as the bat, the weathervane also breaks. Kaya who was asking Jun if she was planning to keep her gender a secret, spots this so Hajime forces Jun to fix it with him. They see a very nice overview of the town as Hajime lets out his loud confession on Arashi. Hajime wants Jun to do it, say whatever she has on her mind to feel better but she refuses. Hmm… That’s a little ironic from the previous episode, isn’t it? Inside, they discuss if there were any more ghosts like Arashi and Kaya. Hajime thinks if they go back to that period which resulted in their deaths due to the bombing, they might find out. But Kaya doesn’t like the idea of Arashi wanting to help those people back then as it may change history. Meanwhile Jun is out on her errand when she chances upon her model friends who think she should dress up more womanly. Then Kaya comes by and they are taken in by her beauty and manners. They even ask her to demonstrate a little dance in which she did. Jun’s friends are on the group date as the guys arrive. One of them put his hands on her shoulder. Kaya becomes very embarrassed and flees. Later as Jun talk to Kaya, she learns how contact between boys and girls were forbidden. Kaya still yearns to go see Master. Since she is wallowing in self pity, Jun calls her a coward and that she is not afraid of destroying history but herself. So she wants Kaya to tell him her feelings, scream it out, that’s why she’s alive. Look who’s talking. Her speech brought Kaya to tears. On a side note, I guess Shades must feel he needs to specify what kind of job he is supposed to be doing because he is seen trying to do errands for whoever his client is. Buying lingerie… Macho guy walks into lingerie story buying bra and panties… Makes you really think, eh?
 
Hajime still thinks Jun is a boy in episode 8. Even if Jun and Kaya were changing together and Hajime sees it, you wonder if he really needs another glass prescription. Sayaka sends Hajime and Jun to do errands and since Jun lacks the necessary strength as a guy, she tires out easily. On the other hand, Sayaka thinks of making Arashi and Kaya go back in time to let her past self drink the milk that has expired so as not to waste it. Hey, the present milk will still taste bad, isn’t it? But theoretically if you go back before the expiry date, it’s still drinkable, right? That’s at least how Sayaka thinks. We all know the current milk is going to stay bad anyway no matter what time friend. Hajime and Jun take a break at a shrine and share a can drink. Jun slips so Hajime catches her. After they both tumble down the stairs, they find that they switched bodies! OMG! This is much worse than believing in ghosts! The duo go back to explain how they’re in each other’s body but the rest doesn’t believe them so Arashi and Kaya does their lame imitation of Sayaka. In order not for me to be confused, I will refer to Hajime and Jun as they are and not their switched bodies. Later Hajime and Jun are having lunch. Jun doesn’t want Hajime to eat a lot because that will make her body fat. As they struggle, Arashi comes in and thinks Hajime is stealing Jun’s food. Now he has a black spot in her books. Then Hajime suddenly wants to go to the toilet. Horror! He’ll find out she’s a girl so she tries to prevent him and wants him to hold it in! Eventually Hajime manages to go to the toilet but he rushes back out because he is horrified his dick fell off!!! He even thinks he has dropped them while they switched bodies! How dense can this guy get?! "Dude your body is messed up. Your balls are gone". That’s what he actually said! Then Hajime starts getting paranoid and thinks his own balls have dropped off and tries to undress Jun to check! Sayaka passes by and misinterprets. She tells them to do it quietly. In the aftermath, Jun knocks out Hajime (the body she has is a little stronger), takes Hajime to relief himself while he is passed out. I don’t know how she did that. Don’t want to know.
 
Later on, they discuss their options. One, wait for something to happen so that they’ll turn back to normal. Two, to live as their other part. Three, to continue living as who they are regardless of their physical appearance. So I guess they’re going for option 2 because Hajime is trying hard to act like Jun. What’s with the lame catchphrase and each time ending with "I am Jun". Then Jun realizes that she and Kaya share a secret about her gender so she tries to subtly hint that she is Jun but it got so confused that they don’t know what they’re talking about. Then Sayaka wants them to go back in time because she’s still bent on that expired milk thingy. But Jun, thinking the possibility of some messed up consequence if they do so because of their switched bodies (the universe will explode?), Hajime takes the milk and makes a run for it with Jun. Sayaka isn’t going to let her few dollars worth of milk go to waste so she gave chase. They throw the milk after a distance to send Sayaka crashing. At the shrine, the duo are resting and sharing a can drink when angry Sayaka appears behind them. The commotion causes all 3 to tumble down the stairs and collide with Shades below. Thing is, now all 4 of them switched bodies! Who is who? How will they turn back? Doesn’t matter. Up to you to think how it’s going to turn out because this unfortunate mishap ends here.
 
However Sayaka is still bent on not wasting her mackerel sashimi in episode 9. Uh huh. Another go-back-in-time-before-it-expires debate. The mackerel is way past its expiry so it really stinks. Thus to play safe, she wants them to go back 6 months before the expiry date. At that point, the mackerel is still alive, you know? It is then Hajime gives his lecture on time paradox. Elsewhere, Shades is questioning his clients and if they are related to Arashi. The client isn’t please with his failure and unleash some hand projection blast as a warning. Later it seems the duo, Kanako and wheelchair-ridden Yayoi are bent on having ‘her’ powers so that they could exist forever. Hajime continues the debate about if they go back and change history, where would the history they know go to. Do they go to another existing parallel world? I don’t know. Even if they explained it with pictures and charts, I’m still blur. Basically what he is saying is that changing history by saving someone who is supposed to be dead is like reviving the dead. However his words hurt Arashi because she genuinely wanted to save them. Sayaka scolds him for being insensitive. Hajime tries to make things up as he suggests jumping back to 1985.
 
Video games were still at its infant ages back then. Ah, those big consoles. A kid shoves Arashi but when he learn who she is, he introduces himself as Hideo. He tells her how her dad was saved by a long black haired girl named Arashi during the war. They learn he is a descendent of Murata. Hideo continues that if his dad ever got the chance to meet Arashi, he would like to thank her but Hideo thinks she couldn’t be her because that girl was back when his dad was a kid. Arashi and Hajime only know too well. Once they part, Arashi hugs Hajime and says that she’s glad they came. Kanako comes to the Ark as a customer and notices Arashi’s nice hands and touches them. Arashi gets dizzy and collapses. When she comes to, the rest are by her side. Kaya explains that although they don’t get tired or use up that much energy when they time travel, their existence is unstable and if they overdo it, they may disappear. This shocks Hajime. As Hajime and Arashi walk home, Kanako appears in front of them. She then puts her hand through Arashi’s chest as a flicker of light glows from it while Arashi collapses. Hajime tries to stop her but Kanako whipped out a crossbow from beneath her skirt. OMG! How did she keep a crossbow underneath there?!
 
Hajime is willing to risk his life in episode 10. But as Kanako fires, luckily Shades deflects the arrow with his sword. He voids the contract so Kanako escapes while thinking how males are beasts for attacking a lady. Hajime brings unconscious Arashi back to his home and tells Shades that she is a ghost. Hajime soon learns that Shades’ real name is Hideo Murata and is a private detective. Hajime realized and is relieved that Arashi was not wrong because the people she saved existed even if she before she saved them. Hajime decides to go after Kanako while Sayaka, Jun and Kaya stay by Arashi’s side. Shades lead the way to a dark mansion (notice all the framed pictures of the characters in this series on the wall) and once inside, they split up. Because it is so dark (why couldn’t Shades just take off his sunglasses?), Kanako easily ambushes him but his fast reflex saves him. Kanako’s eyes are glowing red like Terminator! Though he manages to overpower her, he couldn’t continue as he thinks this is amount to bullying. But Kanako takes this chance to knock him out with a stun gun. Hajime enters Yayoi’s room and she is frightened with anyone other than Kanako. Hajime thinks Kanako may have blackmailed her into doing what she wants and he thinks of kidnapping her back to Arashi. However Yayoi says Kanako isn’t a mean person. A flashback sees how Kanako never liked those girls including Yayoi back during the war (girls were also drafted to do industrialized work to help with the war). She even chided Yayoi for trying to keep a good girl image. But Yayoi invited her to her piano recital so Kanako thinks she is insulting her and left. But for some reason, Kanako did attend her recital and they got close to each other like best friends. Kanako comes in and Yayoi tries to persuade her that there should be another better way. But Kanako reasons that Arashi would be glad to sacrifice her life to save others. She continues that Yayoi has been scarred by the war that she is too afraid to even walk. Kanako is going to kill Hajime when the latter trips. He falls onto Yayoi and it seems they both connect and vanished, leaving Kanako horrified.
 
Yayoi is in a state of shock when she learns that they have jumped back to 10th March 1945. Hajime thinks of finding Arashi of this time in hopes of working things out while hoping not to get caught by the military police. In town, Yayoi tries to warn the people of the bombings but the politely shrug her off. Who would believe her, right? Hajime wonders what she is so frightened off. Later at the hilltop, Yayoi tells him about her life then, how she loved summer and how she and Kanako got along well until she started to partially fade so Kanako vowed to find a way from keep them from fading. But Yayoi thinks it’s a sign from God that they’ve lived long enough. Then the Kanako of this era shows up and she chides Yayoi for being carefree. A jet fighter suddenly appears and starts attacking them. While Hajime pushes Yayoi out of harm’s way, Kanako is slightly injured and lies in the open. The plane makes another attack. Desperate Yayoi suddenly found the strength to walk and rush to cover Kanako. After the plane left, Kanako limps away as Hajime and Yayoi rejoice that the latter could now walk.
 
As they’re walking to town, the duo come across Arashi and Kaya. Arashi has a feeling that she has met him before. Then they realize today is the day of Yayoi’s recital with Arashi and Kaya’s performance so Yayoi tells Hajime to go alone since she can’t meet her other self. At the classroom, Hajime is in awe of their performance when he spots Kanako watching from the back and calls out to her once the performance ended. Slightly embarrassed Kanako goes up to Yayoi and apologizes for the mean things she had said in the past making Yayoi glad. Later Hajime returns to Yayoi and tells his experience and also understood the reason why Kanako and Yayoi were so close. Kanako came to her concert because she felt grateful for saving her life and that their friendship was something Yayoi had created. Just then future Kanako arrives and to her relief finds Yayoi alright. Looks like she connected with Shades (looking very surprised over what has happened). Kanako is further taken aback when she sees Yayoi being able to walk. She hugs her as Yayoi explains that she had done what she had to do and that there was a purpose to these bodies of theirs so she is fine. Kanako understood and they all soon prepare to jump back to their own time. One thing which bugs is me is that why was there a lone fighter jet then? How was it able to get so close undetected? Why was it only targeting Kanako and Yayoi and not some random parts in town? Did it escape unscathed? Not that it matters because what is really important is that Kanako and Yayoi has learned to accept their fates and do not hold any grudges to Hajime and the rest.
 
Everyone gathers around Arashi in episode 12. Kanako explains that she and Yayoi managed to maintain themselves by exchanging their little remaining powers. They then transfer back Arashi’s stolen life force to her. Though Arashi comes back to life and happy Hajime hugs her, but as a result Kanako and Yayoi are in danger of disappearing. They think it’s their punishment for causing hurt to them and have accepted this fate. Arashi won’t allow this so she along with Hajime, Kaya and Jun connect to keep them from disappearing. It seems when ghosts like them connect, their wavering existence comes back. In other words, their life force is replenished. Yeah, the duo would’ve got this problem solved if they hadn’t locked themselves up in their mansion. As gratitude and to atone for their sins, Sayaka suggests that they work at the Ark. Jun’s model friend, Youko, comes to visit and since Jun doesn’t want her identity to be exposed, Youko tells everyone she is her boyfriend. Hajime is upset because he thinks she is cheating on Kaya. Kaya and Youko too act like they’ve been cheated upon. Yayoi thinks they’re fighting so she goes up to Youko to advice her but Youko gives her own views on love which almost sends innocent Yayoi to tears. Kanako isn’t impressed so she proceeds to give Youko ‘bad service’. You know, Kanako is acting like she’s Yayoi’s mom, telling her not to turn out like this or like that.
 
Later, Arashi and Hajime are fooling around outside and splashed water on a would-be customer, Yamashiro. He claims to know her and that it has been a while since they last see each other but Arashi doesn’t remember him. Hajime must be real jealous because Arashi mentions how that guy invited out on a date and she saw no reason to turn him down. When that day arrives, Yamashiro takes Arashi out in his convertible sports car while a real jealous Hajime peddles his bicycle real hard to catch up. Till he crashes. Yamashiro brings Arashi to the beach, supposedly where he met her 10 years ago. He had something on his mind then and went swimming in the night with his clothes on. Before he knew it, the waves were too strong. He shouted for help but there was no one. The next thing he knew, he was alive on the shore and the person who saved him looked very much like Arashi. Arashi goes back to the Ark and tells the rest that Yamashiro is a good person. But Hajime is still sulking and even prepared to let go the love of his life. That’s when Arashi hugged him and tells him her conclusion. A guy whom she doesn’t know yet she saved 10 years ago could mean that she saved him during one of her time travels in the future. The reason for dating him was to find out more so she apologizes for making him worry. Hajime is back to his usual self as he says how he’d know it all along (liar!). Soon the duo jump back in time to go save Yamashiro. Later as the girls chat, Arashi notes how Hajime was the one that brought them all together as Hajime calls them all in for a celebration courtesy of Sayaka (a reason for her to get drunk). Kaya thinks a boy can grow up in a single summer.
 
Episode 13 feels like deja vu. Arashi wakes up Hajime and this time that kid has created a cherry bomb. Then at the Ark, everyone goes out when they heard someone scream "Akagi Keiichiro". Must be some famous person, eh? History repeating itself? Note how everyone are in some swimsuit or costume which changes randomly and the ladies do a pose when they speak. Later, Sayaka gathers the gang and once again wants them to go back in time for her spoilt milk. However this time she wants them to exchange with the fresh milk back then. However there are theories which would make this task impossible. Like the milk will be spoiled twice and if one were to drink the current milk in the past, the past milk in the future will cease to exist. Get it? I didn’t. So to solve this problem, Kaya throws away the milk and suggests buying a new one, much to Sayaka’s horror. Cheapskate. Soon Yamashiro patrons the Ark and starts getting friendly with Arashi so Hajime decides to use his cherry bomb on him but he didn’t order his usual set so he can’t use it. Kaya returns with newly bought fresh milk and a heap of cherries. Uh oh. Sayaka fooled a little with Hajime so this causes one of those cherries to be mixed up with Hajime’s cherry bomb. Furthermore, Arashi takes away the Hajime’s cherry for safe keeping in case he decides to use it. Then everyone has a taste of the stack of cherry. So far so good. Horrified Hajime thinks it’s like Russian roulette so he has only 3 options. Steal all the cherries, dispose all of them or let Yamashiro eat all of them. He goes for the third one but gets beaten up by Sayaka. Thus Hajime requests Arashi to time travel and replace that cherry bomb by giving self study as an excuse.
 
Elsewhere, future Kaya and Jun has jumped back in time on one of Sayaka’s milk exchanging demands. Jun yells "Kobayashi Akira" as a decoy and has everyone in the Ark come out looking for that said person. Don’t they ever learn? Who is that person anyway? And who is this ‘Might Guy’ Shades wanted to show Hajime? Just before they exchanged the milk, Jun mentions how she was sure she said "Takakura Ken" and this brings back humiliating memories of that exploding incident back in episode 1. She decides to get her revenge by creating a super spicy cherry. Then they remember some blooper but too late because everyone is coming back so they have to jump back to their own time. Kaya laments how they really can’t change history. Meanwhile Hajime and Arashi jump back in time to this morning to switch the cherry as Arashi yells "Akagi Keiichiro" as a decoy. Yup, that was her. Back in current time, Hajime disarms the cherry bomb (actually it’s the spicy one Kaya made). Sayaka makes a fruit juice using a cherry for Kaya, Jun, Kanako and Yayoi. As they drink it, they all let out a horrifying scream. It’s that exploding feeling in their mouth. Arashi and Hajime think they have seen Might Guy. Remember that blooper? Yeah, what goes around comes around.
 
Right after the series ended, there has been an announcement that there will be a second season released in fall of 2009. So for those who really love this series and can’t wait should try jumping to the future and catch a future glimpse of this show, eh? For me, even if the explanation of time paradox is explained in the easiest form accompanied with pictures, I just couldn’t fully understand them. So I just accepted what they said and continued watching with a lot of blurness. But I must say that all this time travelling and exchanging thing in this series are quite interesting. It makes you think and recall the events of what happened and try to put them in order if you want to really make sense of it all. Overall, this is quite a fun series from the quirky characters to the things they do even if the main setting is based in the Ark. I was laughing out loud especially when Hajime thinks he lost his balls. Yeah, it’s like he nearly lost his marbles. In super denial, I’d say.
 
For the drawing and art, some may not like the character designs because it makes them look simple sometimes. But some of the background and sceneries are quite beautiful. In order to show the scorching and sizzling heat of summer, the drawing and art at times are drawn to quite a bright extent. I won’t go as far as saying you need to wear sunglasses to watch this show. Because of that, sometimes the ‘heat’ gets to me and it makes me feel hot too. Hmm… I’m thinking that if they claim that the Ark is a tough structure and has withstood the test of time, I’m wondering some of those short real life action depictions of a miniature model Ark whereby it is being destroyed by flood or overflowing cola! An exaggeration perhaps? But funny lah. One thing I’d like to know is how Arashi and the rest ended up as ghosts after they died during the war. I guess we won’t know (at least for this season) since they themselves pretty much are unsure how they turned up like this.
 
I didn’t recognize Ryoko Shiraishi as she played her role as Arashi and only did so much later. Probably I was so used to her voice as Hayate in Hayate No Gotoku that I couldn’t make out it’s her. I was also surprised to learn that Yui Horie was the voice behind Kanako. No more that girly roles like Kotori in Da Capo, eh? Other casts include Yuko Sanpei as Hajime (Fuuta in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Kaori Nazuka as Kaya (Nunnally in Code Geass series, Nadeshiko in Inukami), Chiaki Omigawa as Jun (Maka of Soul Eater – by the way she sounded so much like this character), Hitomi Nabatame as Sayaka (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Hiroki Masumoto as Shades (Chad in Bleach) and Ai Nanoka as Yayoi (Fuura in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series). The opening theme, Atashi Ni Dake Kakete by Omokage Lucky Hole sounds like a song for a James Bond movie. Even the opening credits animation has that feel. Sexy and curvy female silhouettes… The main ending theme is Kirari Futari by Ryoko Shiraishi and sounds like a mix of oldies rock ‘n’ roll and pop.
 
Being a series produced by Shaft, expect to spot lots of trivia. Notice the different designs of the weathervane each time? But unlike in Pani Poni Dash or Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, there aren’t any words to clutter the entire screen. Though the trademark random illustrations from various people are still there right after the episode ends. And because this series was written by Jin Kobayashi, you will notice some of the characters from his popular and recently ended manga, School Rumble, making a cameo appearance as guests of the Ark. What on Earth are Harima and Tenma doing there? Drowning their sorrows? Just kidding. Notice Tenma and Eri on the milk carton? Notice the characters dress in School Rumble uniform? This is sure a tribute to that series. If you pay attention to the customers of the Ark, some of them are from other anime series making their brief cameo appearance like Hidmari Sketch and Maria+Holic. But viewers will definitely notice an Ark customer who is always requesting for the salt to be passed only to be ignored till the very end in almost every episode. Talk about bad service, eh? Maybe he should write in a letter or stop eating here. And then there’s that army guy sitting a few tables away sometimes giving out some military-like advice.
 
In each episode, there is a theatre-like film from Kanako and Yayoi. It is mainly about Yayoi telling Kanako the plot of a book which she has forgotten the title of. It always end with Yayoi trying to impersonate a quote or line that particular story’s character always says but before she could complete her sentence, she’s being cut off. This segment is being replaced later by Kaya, Jun, Sayaka and unconscious Arashi. But this time it always ends with Arashi experiencing a violent spasm like it was like some sort of bad joke. Then the final episode is one with that salt guy and army guy. Need to have more screen time for them, huh? So how many famous animes could I spot from it? Let’s see, Rurouni Kenshin, Zetsubou Sayonara Sensei, erm… That’s about it. How pathetic. Oh yeah. There’s one on this Natsu No Arashi series as well. I’m not sure about the next episode preview because it shows a comic strip about a mangaka and an octopus robot alien doing their own manga. Not that I understand what’s going on but you can see this strip being played in the opening credits too, just without the words. Hey, doesn’t that ramen delivery girl look so much like Yakumo of School Rumble? And as for the next episode narration, it is hardly anything about the next episode as it is about what they do and think when summer comes to mind. It ends with the advice to wake up early and happy tomorrow. I think everyone should, regardless of the season.
 
Sure, time travelling and thoughts of changing history can only happen in the movies and science fiction stories. But think of how messed up our lives would be even if we were to use it for our convenience. The implications which will lead to the ever destruction of the way of life as we know now. But rather than thinking about those kinds of stuffs, it’s better to live your life a step at a time, move forward and never look back. Hey, I just remember there are some animes which I want to watch but they are hard to find because they are out of print! Need to find Arashi to connect and go back in time… Also maybe to the future to see what future animes will be released… Ah, I remember I need to wake up early and happy tommorow. That will be better. It’s always summer down here in Malaysia.
 

Natsu No Arashi