Starring: Haruka Tomatsu, Nobunaga Shimazaki, Ai Kayano, Aya Hisakawa, Hideki Ogihara, Kana Asumi, Kori Ishihara, Rina Hidaka, Yuka Iguchi, Yukari Tamura,
Running Time: 300 minutes
Do you remember the time you were a girl from Mars? Probably not, but WAITING IN THE SUMMER’s protagonist, Kaito (Shimazaki), is about to meet an alien who just happens to look completely human – not one of those ugly humans either, but a rather attractive one. The plot may have some rolling their eyes at what is obviously going to turn into a romantic/cross galaxy love story, but the strength of the show comes from the fact that it puts off the sci-fi elements until much later in the series, allowing for character development and warmth.
The writers of the show could have very easily portrayed their alien heroine, Ichika (Tomatsu), as some out of this world, childish nymph. Instead she’s ironically down to Earth. There are moments where she encounters a slight misunderstanding, but on the whole she doesn’t lack common sense, which is a huge plus in getting the audience to respond to her. Many shows that see an alien character trying to integrate itself with humans sees an abandonment of all logical cognitive functions for the sake of a few laughs.
WAITING IN THE SUMMER is more to do with being an outsider and gradually finding acceptance. Some episodes will have you completely forgetting the fact that Ichika is an alien with a cute little creature that follows her. As the title suggests, the show takes place during the summer months as Kaito and his friends decide to make a film. Lovers of film, and those that have embarked on productions with friends, will get a real sense of nostalgia and euphoria as they watch the characters grow and use their creativity to bond.
The show avoids many of the pitfalls that many anime fall into, although there are a few too many boob jokes. One of the biggest pluses is that the characters all seem very natural, as well as being likable despite their flaws. All the female characters, even when chasing after the same guy, are handled with respect and conviction (other than the aforementioned boob jokes). The end of this collection of episodes ups the sci-fi involvement, with big action chases and higher levels of exposition. Although it doesn’t seem out of place, the suddenness is quite jarring, but serves as a reminder that the friendships and romances we’ve come to enjoy are overshadowed by an ominous feeling that Ichika’s previous life could catch up with her.
The animation is rather bland, until the rare action sequences arrive, at which time the pace is exhilarating. Overall, WAITING IN THE SUMMER is an enjoyable and sweet romance which is able to be both mature, as well as having a childlike quality to the relationships.