Natsu no Arashi! – 01 (“School Rumble” This Ain’t)

Natsu no Arashi! – 01 (“School Rumble” This Ain’t)
夏のあらし! Episode 01
(Summer Storm)

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

YASAKA Hajime lives in his grandfather’s home with a girl named Arashi. Hajime is a genius and has created Ichigo Bakudan (Strawberry Bomb) for his independent school homework — a strawberry on the outside but filled with the peppers and wasabi on the inside. Arashi decides the name should be “Cutie Strawberry-chan” and that’s what sticks. However, of the three Hajime created, only one remain. He soon discovers that his grandfather has taken a bite out of one, leaving only the second’s were abouts unknown.

Hajime and Arashi head to the small restaurant where they work alongside Kaya (dressed in traditional Japanese clothing), Kanako (in a maid’s uniform), Jun (in a waiter’s uniform), and Yayaoi (also in a maid’s uniform). The owner of the place is simply addressed as “Master.”

When a muscle-bound guy who’s only ordering water annoys Hajime, he wants to get even using a Cutie Strawberry-chan, but he only has one. So he gets Arashi to take him back in time where she discovers that Hajime did make three of these deadly strawberries and so she takes one. The mystery of the missing 2nd strawberry is resolved. Upon returning to the present, Hajime fails to get the guy to eat a strawberry dish, but Master ends up using the killer strawberry in a fruit punch for the guy, which she made to get rid of old fruit. One sip and WHAM!

When a guy Arashi’s age shows up (Yamashiro) with a book for Arashi, Hajime gets jealous and decides to take him out with his last Cutie Strawberry-chan. He had placed it on a Strawberry Shortcake individual dessert but discovers that of the two that were in the fridge, one of the desserts is gone. Learning that Kaya had taken one and not hearing anything had happened to her, Hajime presents the remaining dessert to the man. However, it is not the trapped dessert, meaning Kaya has the trapped one.

Hajime tries to ask Kaya about it, she freaks out over the idea of her dessert being taken. In the end, she too travels back in time, only with Jun, to uncover the mystery. Hajime has Arashi take him back as well for a series of close calls and mis-adventures where it turns out that Kaya did take the missing dessert, but ended up attempting to eat it in the trip back to the past and get a Cutie Strawberry-chan as a result.

Thoughts/Review:

This is one strange anime and to be honest, I don’t like the presentation. Much like in White Album’s beginning, we are just thrown into a mix, introduced to a dizzying array of characters, and whipped along at breakneck speeds. A second viewing made much more sense, but I think that every stinking character was introduced here, which is a bit much. I know that Fullmetal Alchemist did something similar and maybe they got away with it with me because I was already familiar with the franchise. Regardless, I don’t care much for these mass introductions and would prefer that things be done as they were in the manga (which I have not read).

That aside, there is some funny stuff here starting with “Cutie Strawberry-chan.” Now there is a minority of subtitle-watching anime fans who prefer that Japanese and English not be mixed and that honorifics be dropped. Yet here, we have the Japanese actually using English for the name of Hajime’s deadly strawberries. I’m not sure how the name change from “Ichigo Bakudan” (Strawberry Bomb) to “Cutie Strawberry-chan” went over as a joke in Japan, but for me, I found it a hoot. There were other small laughs as well that were better served after I saw the episode a second time. I’ll explain that in a bit.

As I mentioned, I think every major character has been introduced in this first episode, but in a way that assumes the audience already knows everyone. There are all kinds of things that happen that just leaves one going, “What the…?!” For example, I couldn’t understand why Arashi is wearing a school uniform to go to her job (with Hajime), only to change into a traditional outfit. So why are Arashi and Kaya wearing traditional Japanese tea house outfits when two other girls are wearing maid uniforms?

Then the anime throws another curve by suddenly having Arashi be some sort of time traveler in order to score one of the Cutie Strawberry-chan’s from the past. Then later, Kaya is also revealed to be a time traveler and apparently to time travel, one must have a transformation sequence whereby you are back in your school uniform (for Kaya and Arashi at least). Though confusing, these elements added to some of the humor, especially when watched the second time.

Also helpful comedy-wise the second time around was knowing the near misses of Arashi and Hajime as well as Kaya and Jun. I laughed at how the writers accounted for every scream, missing strawberry, missing dessert, etc. that we learned about before all the time traveling started, then we see the reason for all the missing items, screams, etc. were due to the time traveling. The circle is complete and thus becomes a win of sorts in the comedy aspects. Of course this is SHAFT, so I half-expect the comedy to be hit-or-miss.

I’ve not read the manga and judging from the fandom response to the manga, not many people in the U.S. have. With the apparent success of School Rumble for Del Rey, one would think they’d be interested in licensing Natsu no Arashi even though it is not a Kodansha publication. Regardless, I am lead to believe that the events of this episode are from the manga, only they don’t happen until chapter 18 (assuming what I was told is correct).

I’ll give this series a try, even though it means not doing as much anime backlog. Hopefully, this will end up being a fun series.

 

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16 Responses to “Natsu no Arashi! – 01 (“School Rumble” This Ain’t)”

  1. Arashiyama says:

    No wonder that on Lost Miles had to give his time-travel lesson to Hurley in the manner he did if so many people say they had to watch this episode again to make sense of it. It really wasn’t that complicated and unlike in Lost it all happened in one half-hour, so there was no problem of having to keep track of things over a number of episodes. I hate to say this, but these days people are just too used to being spoon-fed everything and too many have ADD.

    Still, it’s good to have more people blogging this show. Kobayashi and Shinbo make a good combo. Heh, that rhymes.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’ve read the chapters that have been translated and it is pretty good.

  3. AstroNerdBoy says:

    The fact that I felt compelled to watch this a 2nd time at all says something positive to me about the series. Plus these days, I’m not sleeping that much — too many things going on in the RW to leave much time at all for any anime or blogging. ^_^;;; Must-get-more-sleep-ughhhhh!

  4. Anonymous says:

    i love school rumble so I think I’ll give this a try

  5. Green Eyes says:

    I also noticed this when reading people’s comments elsewhere, but seeing your subtitle really brought it home for me how many people watching this show seem to be School Rumble fans who apparently want this to be another SR. I haven’t seen SR so I can’t comment on how good it is, but overall I think it’s unfair to the creator to shoehorn him into having to always use the same kind of story and characters. I found the concept of the first episode refreshing so I’m going to give this show a chance based on it’s own merits.

    I also rewatched this episode to make sure I didn’t miss anything but I have to disagree with the first comment about how this happens because people are mentally lazy. It’s not that, it just adds to the enjoyment when you get to see the progression again, this time knowing what all the little events mean when they happen as opposed to just looking back at them.

    This is my first time here and so far I’ve only sampled a few posts besides this one that brought me here, so let me just say you seem to have nice analyses and I’m looking forward to seeing more of your comments on Natsu no Arashi.

  6. TomandChez says:

    I’ve read what chapters of the manga are online and I loved it. So when they just jumped in without explaining WHY they know each other, or WHY she’s a time traveler, or WHY ANYTHING IN THE ENTIRE FREAKIN’ EPISODE WAS HAPPENING, I was pretty ticked. I mean, there’s a lot of good chapters explaining everything and developing the characters, and why they hold hands when they jump, etc., and they just skimmed right over it. I hope that the next episode will show how they met or something through a flashback, (or maybe they’re pulling a Haruhi and airing the episodes all out of order… I dunno.) but they BETTER STAY TRUE TO THE MANGA. GRR.

  7. TomandChez says:

    Haha, as soon as I posted that I found out they DID have the second episode show the origins. I have no idea why, but they did. So ignore my furious hate filled rant.

  8. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @Green Eyes — I mentioned “School Rumble” in the subtitles to establish a link more than anything. To be honest, until someone mentioned the series in a comment, I had no idea it was made into an anime. I was aware of the manga but have never read it. However, since I liked “School Rumble,” I was interested in seeing another adaptation of Kobayashi-sensei’s work. I figured if I made the linkage, others who liked “School Rumble” might become, at the very least, aware of this new series. ^_^

    As to the rewatching, as I said before, rewatching says something positive. If there wasn’t something in the anime that grabbed me enough to rewatch a 2nd time, I wouldn’t have done so. Much like the first time most folks watch “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” — there’s complete shock the first time Monty Python virgins watch the movie. Some decide, “Not for me” and some say, “You know, I need to watch that again ’cause there’s something about this movie.” The later usually end up enjoying things more the 2nd time because the shock is passed. On a MUCH lesser scale, I see this first episode of “Natsu no Arashi” to be the same. ^_^

    @TomandChez — Heh! Glad to hear that episode 2 goes back to the beginning. I have now read the first manga chapter so I have some idea of what to look forward to — proper introductions. ^_^

  9. Green Eyes says:

    In case there’s a misunderstanding here, what I said about rewatching was directed at the first comment, meaning Arashiyama. I have no problem with anyone rewatching this and like I said I did it myself.

    @TomandChez
    Things being out of order in a show that involves time travel would be pretty fitting if you think about it.

  10. Cookie Monster says:

    Hey, you blogged it! 🙂 I was the Anonymous from the Harima’s Women comments who got you into this. How come TomandChez gets the credit for telling you about what the second epi does when I already told you that? To avoid that kind of thing in the future, I got myself a name now. j/k

    From your review it sounds like you didn’t like it that much, but you still went back to it the second time, huh? I guess maybe my suggestion to you to go into this cold wasn’t such a good idea after all. I’d heard about the time travel aspect before I watched this, but I thought if I hadn’t it would’ve been a cool surprise. I’m surprised that not getting straight up introductions for all the characters was that big a problem. I thought hitting the ground running and getting proper character introductions later worked well for a light-hearted show like this. Actually it was the dynamic between these characters as a group that felt good for me, and getting to that takes time if you have to do a lot of introductory work. For example after the “properly” introductory epi 2 we don’t even know some of those epi 1 characters yet. For me it was like epi 1 told me that things should stay enjoyable throughout the series because I already saw the whole group at work. Does that make sense?

    Hey and you never told me what CAR was when I asked.

  11. Anonymous says:

    you need to pick up the pace with your reviews man, the second ep aired on sunday so this is more than a week old stuff… I accidentally clicked through here from animenano because I went by the most recent and didn’t notice the ep number

  12. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @Cookie Monster — Ah. So YOU were the one. ^_^ I don’t force people to get ID’s or even use names so the number of “Anonymous” people who post is pretty high. Its hard to know who’s who. ^_^;

    As to the show, I wouldn’t watch anything twice that I didn’t like. *lol* I just didn’t like how the show was kicked off by throwing us into the middle of things. I do understand your point though and the Japanese often throw people into the middle of things because they expect that the fans will know what’s going on and new viewers are less of a concern.

    As to CAR, that stands for “Community Anime Reviews.” ^_^ I’ve written over there for a number of years.

  13. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @anon — *lol* When I was unemployed, it was easy to get stuff out right away. Now that I have a job and work a great number of hours, its not so easy. So I have to write like mad when I’m off (in addition to doing everything else I have to do) and schedule those posts to come out while I’m working. So that puts me a bit behind because it is rare that I have time during my work-week to even watch anything. The exception is something like the “Negima!” spoiler images, which I can archive and post fairly quickly.

    I’ll watch the 2nd episode while I’m off but it will still be a few days before a review appears. ^_^;

  14. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Heh. That’s what you think. ^_^ Besides, I came into this series late. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  15. Anonymous says:

    chop chop

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