Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

5 July 2012: The End of Natsuiro Kiseki ~Air/My Purest Love for Sphere~

How do you know she's a witch?

Easily the biggest surprise of the season, Natsuiro Kiseki (A Summer-Colored Miracle) exceeded all my expectations by becoming my favorite show of spring 2012. From the promotional materials and early information, I assumed it would be a simple school comedy slapped together as an excuse to promote Sphere. Sphere, if you don't know, is one of those phony-baloney girl groups comprised solely of young voice actresses caramelized with syrupy J-Pop. Somewhat distressingly, Sphere is actually pretty good. And by pretty good, I mean I can't stop listening to them. Anyway, I don't actually know if Natsuiro Kiseki was designed to be a Sphere vehicle from the start, or if it was merely a coincidence the four members played the four leads, or if there was last-minute stunt casting involved, but the show wasn't something I had any interest in. I wasn't even entirely sure what it was about. Something about wishes?

Natsumi and Yuka
Are you crazy? Don't give Yuka Mountain Dew...err, Boo.

It turns out Natsuiro Kiseki is a situation comedy with a casual acceptance of magic powers. It's regularly funny and occasionally brilliant. Simple concepts executed well by charming characters—that's how Natsuiro Kiseki succeeds. I had no plans to watch it at all until I saw a blog post about the first episode featuring a screenshot of the girls flying in awkward terror. (A Splash Star airborne mahou shoujo insertion, this was not.) Even then, it was a close thing because the first episode had a disproportionate amount of bitching and not enough big-ass-rock mojo. Thankfully, episode two featured Saki and Natsumi stuck together and Rin taking one for the team. I was sold after that. Good physical comedy might not make for sophisticated viewing, but it is fun to watch.

Natsuiro Kiseki also features one-handed backhands.

All the characters in Natsuiro Kiseki work well together and there's genuine chemistry in the group, but I'm pleased Sunrise threw parity to the wind by making Saki far and away the best of the four. Look, Saki can't help being smarter, prettier, more athletic, and basically better in every way than everyone else. At least she doesn't lord it over people. I'm a fan of competent, confident characters who make everything they do look so easy, even if all she's doing is teaching a doubles partner how to keep her head in the game.

It turns out Saki was a bit of a hellion when she was younger.

Saki easily earns a Girl of the Year nomination, and while I don't know if she'll win, Saki can at least say she earned her nomination while abstaining from vigorous intercourse, coldblooded murder, and casual nudity. Wait, not that last thing. Natsuiro Kiseki has an ensemble cast, and arguably Natsumi is the main girl, but it is Saki's summer, and it's very much Saki's show. It's also Saki's ending, and thankfully Natsuiro Kiseki—unlike Tasogare Otome x Amnesia—has a real ending, and Saki's summer miracles will never get the sequels they deserve, alas.

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Spring 2012 season wrapup »»

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