Suzuki Sora is an apprentice mage who has come to Tokyo to finish her training. Together with her fellow apprentices, she must learn to hone her skills, deal with clients and provide all the services that are expected of a licensed mage. Becoming a professional is no easy task, however, and Sora has many lessons to learn- without ever losing her pure heart and idealistic outlook.
Having thoroughly enjoyed the tranquil beauty of the original Someday’s Dreamers and its manga-only sequel Spellbound, I was very much looking forward to Natsu no Sora- especially as the first chapter of the manga had seemed entirely promising. Unfortunately, instead of having my expectations fulfilled, I was to find myself in for a disappointment so great that it would forever sour the franchise in my mind.
Although I usually leave commenting on the visuals until later, this time around I must make an exception- because the first and most important deficiency in this series is the lack of Kumichi Yoshizuki’s beautiful watercolour style artwork. Instead, we are fobbed off with bland and generic character designs coupled with backdrops that only look good because they are slightly photoshopped photographs of real landscapes. If I wanted to look at landscapes, I’d go directly to an image gallery, not start watching an anime!
Of course, such things could be tolerated if the series had something to offer in the way of content, but unfortunately it falls down here as well. The entire series is an exercise in blandness, presenting episodes so dull that it is an effort of will just to pay attention to them. Not only is the pace excruciatingly slow and constantly punctuated by the aforementioned landscape scenes, but the story never really goes anywhere. Throughout the early episodes, we are so numbed by the lack of progression and Sora’s irritating idealism that by the time the ‘shock twist’ is revealed towards the end of the series, it comes across as pathetically stupid rather than something to care about.
Unsurprisingly, the characters are equally insipid- so much so that it is hard to remember their names, let alone care about them. From the idealistic lead and disaffected potential love interests to friends and rivals, everyone is drawn from standard anime types, and none of them develops beyond those one-dimensional briefs.
Instead of being the beautiful and gentle series I hoped for, Natsu no Sora took bland inoffensiveness to new extremes, resulting in something that was painful at worst, and provoked only indifference in its better moments. If you want to see what Someday’s Dreamers should be about, try the original series or the manga, not this watered-down version.