12 Days of Something II: Unfortunate Cross-Promotion

Corporate synergy is at the heart of this romantic drama.
Corporate synergy is at the heart of this romantic drama.

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.

Yeah, yeah. They are going to get drunk on life.
Yeah, yeah. They are going to get drunk on life.

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.

Really, man? You paid money to watch this shit?
Really, man? You paid money to watch this shit?

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.

4 thoughts on “12 Days of Something II: Unfortunate Cross-Promotion”

    1. The ending is over the top emotionally manipulative. But before that it really is just a series of contractual obligations and writing done by accountants.

  1. Hey now… I kinda like the way they sold out. If you’re going to sell out I’d rather you do it right: obviously and completely, and make it fun. I liked AnoNatsu for the most part, and I think it’s easy to do that while acknowledging its flaws. Though, I wouldn’t call selling out one of the flaws. I thought that was a strength. I haven’t seen MiB 3 and have no immediate plans to bother with it.

    1. It actually wasn’t that much of a sellout until that epilogue when the MiB logo was prominently displayed, but I think my problem with it is that the entire dramatic plot became built around the sellout. I’d take ironic product placement over how it was used here. That said, I don’t think the series was terrible by any stretch of the imagination.

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