Sweetness and Lightning 01 (Time for some sugary but wholesome goodness.)

Sweetness and Lightning 01
Amaama to Inazuma episode 01

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Sweetness and Lightning 01INUZUKA Kouhei is a recent widower with a daughter in kindergarten named Tsumugi. Kouhei teaches at a high school. He is not a good cook, so he puts together instant meals for his daughter to take to school and to eat at home. One evening, he takes Tsumugi to a hanami to see the sakura when they see a teen girl crying. Tsumugi inquires of the girl and learns that the girl is not crying because she’s alone, despite her mother not showing up. She’s crying because of the good food she just ate. She has no more, but she gives Kouhei the card for her mother’s restaurant and invites them to come by for a good meal.

Sweetness and Lightning 01Kouhei comes home late from school and discovers Tsumugi hugging the TV, which is playing a cooking show. Kouhei feels guilty over not preparing good meals for his daughter, so he calls the restaurant to make a reservation. The girl on the other end reluctantly accepts. When Kouhei and Tsumugi arrive, they find a high school girl IIDA Kotori, the girl from the hanami and student in Kouhei’s class. Even though they are closed and her mother is away, she decides to make rice for them, even though she isn’t sure quite how to in a regular pot. She finishes and Tsumugi loves it. Kotori is even impressed with her skills. Kouhei eats and likes it. With that, he promises Tsumugi to work on making her delicious meals. That causes Kotori to ask Sensei to have meals with her.

Thoughts/Review:

Darn you people who post teasing images! I have a serious weakness for slice of life series like Sweetness and Lightning. (I’m just going to use the English title.) I love Yotsuba& after all. I loved Usagi Drop…well, the first half of it. Maybe it is because I never had kids, but another story about single dad with an ultra adorable daughter just made me say, “I’ve got to watch!”

Sweetness and Lightning 01

Seeing Tsumugi, I know that kids can be adorable in real life. I also know they can be monsters. Unlike Yotsuba in Yotsuba&, who comes off as very real, Tsumugi comes off as more of the fantasy, ideal daughter. She’s very cheerful. She loves her father a great deal. She’s very patient and understanding of her father. As such, she’s the perfect, fantasy daughter.

Sweetness and Lightning 01

However, that’s the point of watching a show like Sweetness and Lightning, right? It doesn’t matter that it isn’t real. Kouhei is a character that is highly likable. Tsumugi is so pure, cute, and sweet, one could die of diabetes on the spot. In a world that can be as depressing as ours can be, I’ll take a few minutes and enjoy stepping into a world like the one in Sweetness and Lightning.

Sweetness and Lightning 01

Anyway, this first story is based off of the first chapter of the manga (which is up on Crunchyroll). It does a really good job of setting up this delightful world. Kouhei’s sadness at the loss of his wife easily comes across without being too melodramatic. Even though he has his adorable daughter, he’s still lonely. As such, he’s allowed a small gulf to come between him and his daughter, even though he’s with her and cares for her deeply.

Sweetness and Lightning 01

Of course the innocent remark from Tsumugi, asking her dad to write a letter to Mama regarding food (since Kouhei’s wife was apparently an excellent cook), was almost more than I could take. OK, maybe that is a bit of melodrama on the part of the series, but who cares. It is a lovely moment where a father sees how something simple like not cooking proper meals for his daughter causes a gulf between them.

Sweetness and Lightning 01

This gulf concept comes further home when Tsumugi again innocently remarks on how she and her dad are eating together. In my mind, I could see how easily something so small could become something much larger in a child’s mind. I’m glad Kouhei sees it.

Sweetness and Lightning 01

The other element this series seems to be setting up is a romantic angle between Kouhei and Kotori. The anime makes this feeling much stronger than the manga did by having Kotori blushing the entire time Kouhei was there. Then that gets topped off when she asks him to prepare and eat meals with her. Kotori is clearly lonely and seems to be reaching out to someone else she sees as lonely. I wonder where her dad is and why her mom is so busy.

Sweetness and Lightning 01

Regardless, if a teacher-student romance is how the series goes, I’m OK with it, providing that things stay in the wholesome realms. I don’t want Kotori and Kohei to have a sexual relationship, especially while she’s in school. I’d be fine if everything stayed wholesome, sweetness and goodness, whereby at the end of the series, the two get married and Tsumugi gets a lovely, new mom. Then again, I’m just a romantic at heart. 😉

Sweetness and Lightning 01

Reading the first manga chapter, I have a somewhat different impression of Kotori’s and Kouhei’s relationship. There, Kotori’s actions toward Kouhei-sensei don’t seem quite so romantic. They come off as more of a lonely girl who just wants a parental figure around since her mom is always busy. If this is how the anime goes, I’m OK with that too.

Sweetness and Lightning 01

Since I’ve gone ahead and read the first chapter of the manga, I will say that this first anime episode does have to pad out things a bit on the story. I’m fine with that. For some reason, the anime has Kouhei calling the restaurant ahead of time while in the manga, they just show up. Also, the manga has an explanation of sorts as to where Kotori’s mom is.

Sweetness and Lightning 01

In the end, Sweetness and Lightning 01 seems to be my kind of slice of life series. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Sweetness and Lightning 01

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