''Summer Tempest'' or ''Arashi of the Summer''

The title Natsu no Arashi! may be translated in one of two ways: Summer Tempest or Arashi of the Summer Given the profusion of near meaningless titles in Japanese anime and manga, it is my utmost pleasure to report that both translations are quintessential truth in advertising. On one level, this show's story revolves around Yasaka's one unforgettable season with Arashi, a ghost who appears only in the summertime (though this bit of her biography is not particularly emphasized). And on another level, its heady mix of silliness, sexiness, nostalgia, romance, melodrama, and the utterly surreal is sure to sweep viewers up and away like a fast moving summer storm.

Mangaka Jin Kobayashi is best known in the West for School Rumble, which has been adapted into an animated series of the same name. The Natsu no Arashi! manga is his current ongoing serial, and its respective animated adaptation does this storyteller of quirky but undeniably prodigious talents proud. Studio Shaft spins a property which, produced badly, could have been just another tasteless magical girlfriend spoof, into pure gold.

Indeed, you know it's going to be good right from the get go in episode one, which features a rollicking, offbeat -but not incomprehensible- back and forth through time as the character try to avert disaster by cherry bomb. Really. It's a spectacular introduction to a series that actually requires quite a bit of background explanation, provided throughout later episodes in palatable doses, and the hook is surely enough to keep eager audiences coming back for morem stormy adventure.


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