There’s something Natsumachi did right. It was very good with its endings. Not just the series ending proper, but the end of each other episode, too. Often, the wistful Nagi Yanagi ED is employed to maximum effect, playing the opening bars of the song as the scene reaches a climax. There are cliffhangers, and there are resolutions, and the song melds with them to create a sticky substance that I can’t pull out of my mind.
Because of this, I find that the good parts of the show stick with me more, because they’re laid out near the end. The first few episodes were idyllic and bordering on boring, but the accidental confession at the end of episode 3 smothers out those not-so-good spots.
I came to the realization that I strongly prefer romance stories with great endings to ones that don’t end well. And when it comes to anime and its notorious ailment of delivering disappointing endings (it’s hard to write a satisfying ending, after all), I pick my romance shows very carefully. I’m a sappy person and I watch romances with the idea of what’s going to happen in the end. It’s fine if the couple doesn’t end up together, as long as it’s all believable.
This explains why I felt so let down by Ano Hana, an anime that by contrast started out strong, yet had a disappointing ending. I got a kick out of the setup: childhood friends who’ve drifted apart because they lost the glue that held themselves together. That’s pretty original, right? But argh, that ending. My lingering feeling is only that of betrayal.
(I mean, how could you senselessly ruin Tsuruko like that?)
Natsumachi was a lot less original (I wouldn’t really call it generic), but its execution turned out to be more clever than I thought, without exhibiting Ano Hana’s ups and downs. I didn’t care much for the sci-fi aliens bit, but it never pulled down my appreciation for the show. The show always peaks at the final minutes of its episodes, and they’re all that I mostly remember.
And hell, I’ve been looping Vidro Moyou lately, because it’s the perfect case of That Lingering Feeling.