I’ve been looking at some of the blog posts and online reactions to Ano Natsu de Matteru. The general concensus can be categorized into three bins: 1) those who has seen and enjoyed the Onegai Teacher and Onegai Twins series, 2) those who did not enjoy those two shows, and 3) those who knew nothing about them until recently.
I find the general concept of AnoNatsu intriguing, coming from a reboot perspective. I think this guy kind of points out the problem–or better put, the trick. Does AnoNatsu stand on its own? I think that isn’t a question that those in groups one and two can truly answer, and Chris B. is firmly in that category. Actually, he kind of comes off clueless there, but that’s not the point I want to get at.
The general reaction among the 3 groups are:
Group one typically loves AnoNatsu just purely running on nostalgia alone. To use a sweet analogy, it’s like Peanut M&Ms, but now you have Almond M&Ms. And typically people who like nuts like both. We’re (because that’s who I am) the kind of people who gets excited seeing Ichika wearing something like Mizuho’s negligee or understand the secret behind Remon’s identity (as oppose to merely having knowledge of who she is). We are, I guess, Hayama. Actually, it’s more than just that. Some people get really into it and there’s plenty of Easter eggs in AnoNatsu that you can get tripping with both the new material and the old material and how the old material is in the new material. That’s three-fer-sugar high, to extend the sweet analogy.
Group two are, I hate to say it, made up largely of stereotypical Americans that gets hung up on teenage sex fantasies. Of course there are some legitimate complaints here and the Oneti/Onetwi series is all about adolescent romantic fantasies as a core component of that magic, so invariably some people will have issues with that. It is kind of interesting to see how people react to it now that they’ve been armed with 10 years of fandom vocabulary and development that wasn’t present back when Onetwi was around. I think regardless, AnoNatsu comes off somehow different than the genre tropes people are used to, even for this group, and I’ll get to that in a moment.
Naturally I am most interested in the opinion of people in Group Three. I think what made Oneti and Onetwi fun to watch is present in AnoNatsu so I expect that new viewers to find themselves reacting to it the way we did 10+ years ago. It helps that there’s a good amount of self-selection going on, given AnoNatsu doesn’t beat around the bush and doesn’t distinguish itself beyond that it is the spiritual successor of the Please! franchise. Also I think people prefer that to begin with. For example, like what this ANN reviewer said. I think just like back then, Please Teacher and Twins are romantic comedies for guys that actually walked that really scandalous road where fantasies are fulfilled from the get go, rather than a carrot on a stick form that is way too typical (especially given the constraints of serialized manga publication). From there, the rest of the show is set up to exploit that tension of fantasy being reality, but with a twist. (It slightly deviated from the typical Alien Girlfriend plot generator.)
[Well, If Ah My Goddess can do it, anyone can too. Also if you review anime for $, please do me a favor: Please do not quote from TVTropes unironically.]
I think more importantly it isn’t common to see reboots drag new fans into the fold of old, the original series, in this genre. I mean I can’t remember a single time when people quoted either Oneti or Onetwi in their “must watch” list. But for entertainment, I think they are a good time for everyone. It’s neat to see that some people are really enjoying it today even when they missed out 10 years ago.
PS. There is actually a mysterious fourth group of reactions that I left out: Those people who know about Please Teacher from way back but forgot Please Twins existed. They … are a fun group to watch. A bit of category 1 and 2 in those.