Waiting in the Summer or Ano Natsu de Matteru is available online for free at crunchyroll.com
Note: I am writing this as of watching episode 10. This is meant to be a half-serious, semi-joking, semi-self-consciouss investigation of a possible way of interpreting certain themes of AnoNatsu.
This alien girl came outta nowhere!
Ichika Takatsuki is an alien, that looks like a busty teenage girl. She wants to get away from her home planet for a while, and takes off in her space ship. She has a picture of a place she wants to visit in her mind. Her travels take her to Japan, Earth. She poses as a foreign exchange student, and starts going to school in Japan. Shortly after that, she meets Kaito Kirishima, a kind, slightly below average height boy. After learning that Ichika has no place to stay, Kaito offers for her to stay at his place. This of course goes off without a hitch because (of other family circumstances) he has the whole house to himself.
After a while Kaito and Ichika become closer emotionally. There is the usual beating around the bush and "oh my god I'm not sure what I'm feeling", but eventually they start going out officially. However, another girl, Kanna Tanigawa, has been childhood friends with Kaito and has had a crush on Kaito since they first met. Needless to say, Kanna is initially very very sad by this. And I was too. Kanna is being left in the dust for some alien bimbo who, on a whim, decided to come to Earth for some R&R. And now all of a sudden she wants to stay just because she found someone she fell in love with? This should sound familiar, because many families send one of their children to live over in another country, then have them get married there, then bring over the rest of their family to live there as well.
Illegal alien woes unfortunate japanese boy: japanese boy, "I like."
Since the start of this series I have been rooting for Tanigawa, and never particularly liked Ichika. It was only until the previous 3 or 4 episodes when I finally realized why I don't like Ichika at all. Most of the reasons can be taken as biases, but each of them has some intuitive pull to them. None of them are necessarily right or wrong, but they do offer something to think about.
Firstly there is the intuitive feeling that Ichika, as a visitor, should mind her business and be respectful of the people around her in the place that she is visiting as a stranger. In real life, there are lots of regulations that vary from country to country about immigrants and foreign visitors. Some countries are very protective about keeping jobs for people who were born there and not hiring foreign immigrants. The feeling is that, "hey, you foreigners come here and get jobs, those job could have gone to someone who lived and grew up here. Don't the people that lived and grew up here get more respect and priority than people who just come in only for a job and money?"
This is the sort of feeling that I had when Ichika started getting intimate with Kaito. Personally I will almost always favour the childhood friend over all others. Recently I found it interesting that they decided to draw Ichika's character as slightly taller and bigger than Kaito. I don't usually like to take into account physical differences in relationships, but having Ichika as bigger than Kaito helps give off the impression of Ichika as the one in control. And more often than not, this is the case. I'm not even going to consider the amount of control that Remon has on what happens in the series, or even the meta-question of the story being controlled by the script writer and director...
Kaito, most of the time is your typical poor boy swept up in something greater than himself. The relationship between Ichika and Kaito ends up feeling empty for me. I honestly do not see how I am supposed to be happy for Ichika and Kaito.
Opportunism or 'sometimes you just have to grab life by its haunches'
In this past episode, Kaito narrates, "I know things don't last forever." Which can lead to the positive idea that you have to take what opportunities are available to you and make the best of it. In this case, the best is going out with an alien girl. Interestingly, despite Kanna's heart being broken after realizing Kaito and Ichika have started going out, episode 10 ends on a positive note. Kanna finally confesses her feelings to Kaito, and she actually seems happy for Kaito and Ichika.
It seems that everyone in the cast is coming to the understanding that life is one huge opportunity, that doesn't last forever, therefore we should all try our best and not be sad about it. Pretty optimistic right? The episode ends by signalling to the audience (probably just me), "Hey, don't be mad that Kaito isn't going out with Kanna and is instead going out with some alien girl. Be happy for them, and take the opportunities in your life as they come."
This is interesting for me because if I am still mad at this ending, really I'm just mad at myself for not being able to take advantage of the various opportunities in my own life. This is the same feeling of the person that is against giving jobs to foreign immigrants. Instead of saying, "I deserve this job more than this foreigner," he should be saying, "I'm happy for that other person who was able to take advantage of the opportunity to get a job and capitalize on it, I'll continue to look for and take advantage of opportunities in my own life."
This Zen approach gets rid of the worry about competition. Instead competition becomes part of life. The motto is still survival of the fittest, but also respect for the larger picture of the temporal nature of life.
'Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering' - an alien
So, maybe this whole criticism is really just based on my own incompetence at forming intimate relations with other people, which is really just a subset of my inability to take full advantage of various opportunities around me. Like a lover who is too afraid to confess their feelings for fear of rejection, or the unemployed who does not look for a job for fear of rejection or competition with others. Maybe I'm just insecure about the conclusions of opportunism. This leads to the question of, 'is anyone really secure about their own life?' The Zen thinkers seem to think so, and they think everyone can approach life in this positive way too.
I'm not so sure.
Aliens, opportunism, zen, love, life, commitment. Sometimes I just want to throw my hands in the air and wave them around because I just don't care. But clearly I do care. C'est la vie?