# Natsuiro Kiseki
Childhood, friendship. A simple life, with simple pleasures. *Natsuiro Kiseki* may not be offering anything new, but it certainly knows how to make me reminisce. Despite its nominally present-day setting, the town, the characters and even the plot seems to belong to a simpler time. While there is a supernatural hook, this is actually just the antics of four (female) friends, much like *Azumanga Daioh* or *Minami-ke*, though with a more serious dramatic thread running through it. As odd as it superficially feels, perhaps the closest comparison is *K-ON!* - particularly since *Natsuiro Kiseki*'s nominal plot is about the girls becoming idols.
But enough about other shows. *Natsuiro Kiseki* has plenty to recommend it; the comedy is warm but amusing, the characters friendly, and the setting captures the atmosphere of a Japanese seaside town perfectly. There's nothing original or life-changing here, but it makes a pleasant "cute girls doing cute things" series. Using supernatural events as hooks for individual episodes (the girls flying, one of them turning invisible, two of them being stuck together...) is perhaps a bit lazy - everything this show does could probably have been done in a realistic setting - but the tone is lighthearted enough that magic doesn't feel out of place.
At least, it is for the first half. Towards the end this show takes a more dramatic line, centered on one of the girls (Saki) moving away (we're told this from the start, but it gradually gains more prominence). I'm usually a fan of serious content, but in the case of *Natsuiro Kiseki* the show is actually weakened, largely because believable drama demands a realistic or at least internally consistent setting. I'm also uncomfortable with the emphasis placed on remaining friends forever, when we're talking about middle school students moving to be several hours away from each other; realisticly, Saki would be better off moving on and making new friends than trying to stay part of the other three's gang.
The characters are well sketched, although again not terribly original; Saki is pretty and tsundere, lead Natsumi is honest and straightforward, Yuka is lazy and excitable while Rinko spends most of the time completely out of it. Other characters are largely restricted to single-episode appearances, and the leads have a tendency to pair off as Natsumi/Saki and Yuka/Rinko (to the endless, and slightly wearing, delight of a certain demographic). For a show this short (12 episodes) four characters are enough, but it would be nice to see a little more interaction between other combinations. We get surprisingly little backstory or depth; one episode tells us how Rinko and Yuka got to know each other, and we see the gang as they were a year or two ago - but their dynamics and characteristics seem to be largely the same. This is par for the course for comedy, but I would expect more from a serious drama.
Presentation is good though not outstanding; both character designs and scenery have been given enough detail and attention that neither looks out of place. The characters' emotions and responses to their environment are particularly good, and helped along by the voice acting; music is again good but ultimately nothing special. While the musical plot is mostly a background, we do get an insert song and dance sequence for the finale, and the characters commendably retain their detail while doing this. But as with the show as a whole, everything is nicely executed but nothing more.
This is not a show I can truly recommend; *Natsuiro Kiseki* is too short of originality, and devoid of any standout features. With the weakness of the later dramatic episodes, I can't even say it's consistently enjoyable. But the show as a whole is good fun, and makes for a pleasant diversion if you have the time to spare.
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