Lights, camera, action! ‘Waiting in the Summer’ review

NB: Some of my earliest blogs no longer have their accompanying images but enjoy the copy!

When I first came across ‘Waiting in the Summer’, I knew that I’d either really like it or really dislike it. Fortunately, it turned out to be the former! This show challenged a lot of my preconceptions of the high school romance anime genre, which was no doubt helped by the Men in Black references.  With a title like ‘Waiting in the Summer’ and a light-hearted script, this is clearly a good choice for some lazy summer anime-watching.

While testing his 8mm camera at night, Kaito Kirishima is caught amid a mysterious explosion in his small town. Strangely, Kaito wakes up the next day perfectly fine, but with no recollection of what exactly happened the day before. Unfazed by what seems to have been just a dream, he heads to school not giving much thought to the incident. Discussing with his friends about the camera, they decide to make a movie during summer break. They invite two upperclass students to participate in the project: recently arrived Ichika Takatsuki and the odd Remon Yamano. In a strange twist of fate, Ichika starts living with Kaito as his sister has to work overseas. Summer days are about to get exciting for the small film crew.

Ultimately, this is a show about high school kids trying to make a film… let’s just ignore the fact that there’s an alien thrown into the mix for a second! The characters fit your expected high-school stereotypes but they’re genuinely likeable, funny and bounce off each other very well. Our protagonist Kaito is an awkward nerdy boy who loves his cameras, Tetsuro is the older good-looking guy, Kanna is the tomboy who inevitably fancies the protagonist, Kaori is very shy and softspoken and does a lot of ‘umm’ing and blushing, and Remon is the short, mysterious, sly senior student who takes on the role of director. Topping it all off is Ichika, the alien who has crash-landed on earth and is posing as an exchange student.

If you’re familiar with your anime genres, you’ll have understandably put ‘Waiting in the Summer’ firmly in the seinen/romance genre. Even if that’s not your usual favourite genre, this series has quite a few surprises up its sleeve and has a very strong ending. It doesn’t take itself seriously and, while it falls into some of the stereotypical genre traps, keeps its audience engaged and entertained, regardless of their demographic. My favourite scene is when Tetsuro is literally chased around Okinawa by a stalker because it’s just pure entertainment and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. There’s another funny moment when the horror anime ‘High School of the Dead’ makes a cameo appearance in a cinema screening, and there are plenty of Men in Black references appropriately popping up, as Ichika is convinced she’s going to be taken away and dissected by Will Smith.

‘Waiting in the Summer’ is a short twelve episode series, so it has to move quickly and keep its audience entertained, which is does very well. The last few episodes took a pretty unexpected turn, and it’s worth checking out for those crazy explosive action scenes. If you’re looking for a funny, easy anime series, ‘Waiting in the Summer’ is perfect. The movie-making scenes are golden, especially with its godzilla cameo and ‘pew pew zap zap!’ sound effects, and the good news is that you do get to see the finished film at the end, which rounds things off nicely. The alien story runs along it admirably as well, and the ending surprised me, which is always good. I was expecting a repeat of this famous ‘Friends’ scene where Joey says “I must go, my planet needs me” and departs on a ladder with smoke effects. Fortunately, it’s much better than that!

‘Waiting in the Summer’ Complete Collection is now available from MVM Entertainment and would make a perfect summer DVD treat. If you’re looking for something that’s funny and light-hearted, and like the sound of an anime about film-making students, this ticks all the right boxes.

Photo credits: animenewsnetwork anidb joshsanimeblog

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