Early in the year Ano Natsu de Matteru was generally getting good reviews from within the groups of people I follow on blogs and on Twitter. The thing that shouldn’t be forgotten from this whole experience is how closely tied in the plot was to a movie promotion.
The beginning of it seemed simple enough. For a summer project, the group of friends at the center of the story, including the older alien girl Ichika, acted out a film script written by the mysterious Remon about an alien on the run from the authorities. The name used for them was men in black. A clear reference to the films of the same name there.
So the typical high school romance played out, even as everyone else found out that Ichika wasn’t from Earth. That still didn’t matter as Ichika searched for evidence that her mother had made first contact with humans so she could stay, while at the same time trying to distance herself from Kaito, who she clearly loved.
Then the conclusion in March took one of those contrived turns as it became a chase series. Kaito and Ichika trying to make it to an undisclosed location with the help of absurd equipment provided by Remon to stop Ichika being rescued by her own people. In the end, the evidence of first contact wasn’t enough, so she had to leave. While I spent the conclusion asking why the fact that Ichika had blended in with students who then found out she was an alien didn’t count as first contact, the epilogue provided the final daggers. Remon, walking out of the Japan branch of MIB headquarters.
Two months later, I entered a movie theater on a hot day looking for something to watch more for the air conditioning than anything else. So I plucked down the 7 American dollars and sat down to watch Men in Black 3. As I watched Josh Brolin do a Tommy Lee Jones impression unironically for the better part of two hours, a part of me died. I couldn’t believe I had paid money for a series of contractual obligations in the form of a nostalgia trip from 15 years ago.
So for those of you out there who follow this particular space. I just provided you evidence that my terrible decision making not only covers series to blog/watch, but also the films I decide to pay money for. I don’t even think the 3 hours of sitting in air conditioning covered the experience for me.
Also, there’s the point that an anime was willing to sell out artistically for the sake of making some more money off the airing on TV and subsequent DVD and Bluray sales that would also feature Men in Black being mentioned constantly. But, I’m also aware that profitability for something made by “the team behind Please Teacher” was probably at the heart of this series to begin with. So just docking it on my own rating and then ranting about it long after the anime and film were available was really all I felt like doing.