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7 September 2016: Amaama to Inazuma has a lot of sweetness but basically no lightning

Kotori doing something domestic again.

Cooking shows aren't exactly a rarity in anime, but Amaama to Inazuma (Sweetness and Lightning) is unique in its slower pace and fairly unremarkable recipes. Rather than the usual over-the-top incredulous reactions to newly discovered flavors, Amaama to Inazuma focuses instead on the simple pleasure of preparing food and eating together. This, it does extremely well, and it's very satisfying watching the characters learning how to cook for each other. (Although it still bugs me they never wash their hands first.) However, there is an elephant in the room: the looming potential romance between teenage Kotori and her teacher, Kouhei, a recent widower. Nevertheless, through nine episodes, there has been no hint of any such subplot, so it's possible no such romance ever develops.

Kouhei and Tsumugi
Tsumugi is okay for an anime kid.

Instead, the show is about Kouhei's single-parent problems as he tries to care for Tsumugi, his preschooler daughter. The show's reasons for bringing Kotori into their lives are a little contrived, and the excuses for keeping her mother out of the picture are overly convenient, but she does seem to be a sweet kid and certainly adds value to the show. Granted, Amaama to Inazuma likely could have found reasons to keep Mrs. Inazuka alive and still retained the cooking-and-eating-together aspects which are central to the show without bringing in a high school girl. This, naturally, is why I expect a "forbidden romance" subplot to develop at some later stage. Surely, right?

Hear no evil.

I'm not just suggesting it's natural to expect such a development out of general principle, either. This feeling is partly inspired by the very small size of the cast. There are random adults and some recurring children from Tsumugi's school, but there's little interaction among the characters beyond the core trio. Even the other two "main" characters from the OP (voiced by Tomokazu Seki and Haruka De Tomaso Pantera) have made only token appearances thus far. By keeping Kotori, Kouhei, and Tsumugi together in such a small world, Amaama to Inazuma makes their engagements positively cozy. The setting and subject matter is already so domestic, I can't help but speculate the show (or at least its source manga) might at some point spark a little lightning between Kotori and Kouhei in addition to all the sweetness.

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