Natsuiro Kiseki – 12 (Fin)

The day of the audition repeats; Yuka messes up at the audition again; they tour Tokyo, and all wake up back in Sumida again. They realize they wished on the big rock’s cousin for summer to never end. The day repeats numerous times; some days they go to the audition, other times they do other things. The only change to anyone else is Rin’s mother, who sees her off by saying something different each day. When her mom asks her when she comes home, Rin figures it out. The four have to thank the rock and say goodbye to summer vacation and the miracles it gave them. The wish is released and tomorrow comes.

If last week’s episode had ended with the first moment of this one – Natsumi waking up in her bed at home in Sumida, then opening her curtain to see Saki standing there – if it had ended just like that, we would have been satisfied. A sudden end, sure, but one that left open the fascinating possibility of a literally eternal summer. One in which Saki never moves; they have infinite chances to nail their idol audition, and they can essentially do whatever they want. But since this is not a noitaminA series, it has twelve episodes, and it decides to not only show us that timeloop, but how the girls ultimately get out of it, and grow in the process.

One reason we love timeloop episodes so much is that deep down, they’re, well…they’re creepy. For humans, time moves forwards and that’s it. When it starts behaving strangely, it opens up a whole can of worms about the nature of our very existence, which can be be unpleasant. Not only that, it’s fun to watch the characters react to this anomaly. A never-ending summer sounds fantastic, but it gets old fast, because it will always get old fast as long as you wake up in the same place at the same time you did yesterday. Everytime the day resets, you feel you exerted all that energy yesterday for nothing; it wears on you.

As a timeloop, it employed lots of montages, which did a good job of quickly portraying the fact that many days were passing and they were getting a lot done, but Rin’s mom, who introduced them to the big rock, subtly prods her daughter to end it soon, or “come home”, as she calls it. The rock’s miracles are…miraculous, but they aren’t everything. Life for the girls can’t truly continue until they release their wish and return to normal time. Life goes on, and Saki moves, but the girls wish one more time – on the now dormant rock – that they’ll stay friends forever. Bawwww.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

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Natsuiro Kiseki – 11

The day of the idol audition arrives, and the girls travel to Tokyo. Rather than sightsee, they practice dancing in a park and recieve applause from bystanders. At the audition site, the sight of the unfriendly competition gives Yuka cold feet, but everyone encourages her until her confidence is back. After a lengthy interview and script-reading, they dance in front of the judging panel. Yuka slips and falls in the middle of the routine. They then sightsee around Tokyo. When at a shrine, they all wish at the same time that summer never ends, and when they wake up the next morning, they’re back to yesterday.

This episode is about the four girls taking the next step in what could be dramatically different lives as idols, while reflecting on their friendship and all the adventures they had over the miracle-laden summer. There was hardly ever a dull moment, and quite a few moments of genunine awe, wonder, and happiness. When they arrive at the audition and Yuka – who orchestrated all of this – starts to waver, all the others need to tell her is to think back to everything that’s happened. She’s good enough, and special enough, to succeed. She just has to be herself; the Yuka who brings everyone together.

Their interview was going so well, there were times when we thought “gosh, they might just make it!” Alas, a crucial error by Yuka eliminated them from serious contention. But it turns out the audition was Yuka’s effort to keep everyone toghether, including Saki; not merely to fulfill her dream to become an idol. She wavers at the question “what if only one of you is selected” because she always assumed they’d be idols together. Of course, with the episode resetting (thanks to the big rock’s Tokyo counterpart), something huge has happened: they have another shot at idoldom, and there’s a possibility that summer may never end…because why should it?


Rating: 8 (Great)

Natsuiro Kiseki – 02

On an ordinary hot morning during summer vacation, Yuka and Rinko inadvertently make a wish at the big rock results in Natsumi and Saki being physically fused together, unable to escape each others’ proximity, despite having never made up after their latest row. Suspecting their friends are to blame for this development, they head to the temple grounds to confront them, having to work in unison to move properly. Yuka and Rinko flee, and a long cross-town chase ensues. The duo turn out to be unstoppable after all, wearing down their quarry. When they see an exhausted Yuka running towards the water’s edge, they lunge at her to save her, but in that moment, the spell is broken, sending them both flying into the water. Having survived their ordeal and sustained proximity, Natsumi and Saki finally make up.

If there was any doubt remaining that there were supernatural forces at work, there’s definitely none now; if only two of the four friends wish the same thing at the same time near the rock, it comes true, one way or another. What works so well about this episode is how the magic is very subtle, and the predicament of being stuck to someone you’re in a fight with, while hardly a new concept, is the perfect way for them to overcome said fight when executed well, which it was. The episode was a good blend of lovely hot summer day slice-of-life and cat-and-mouse marathon.

The chase was very long, not particularly fast-paced, and at the end of the day, totally unnecessary, but who cares? It’s length, and the lengths Yuka and Rinko go to evade their pursuers, force Natsumi and Saki to talk to one another, cooperate, and remember why they’re friends in the first place. They’ve always bickered, but they’ve also always made up. We’ve grown to like these characters fast, and were happy to see them make up from what were hardly irreconcilable differences. The post-credits shot of Natsumi’s brother’s friend reading up on witches was nice foreshadowing; he saw them fly, and will probably keep his eye on them.


Rating: 8 (Great)