Natsuiro Kiseki was an enjoyable show, with a pretty great end. Great, and yet perhaps not great enough that I would, for example, remember this show off the top of my head three years down the road, or that I would quite arrive at this title while ticking off my favorite shows to a conversation partner. I liked it a lot, and I want to say that it is a memorable show, and yet I’m not sure that it is. And from that sentiment came an odd sort of resonance with the themes of the final arc of the show, a resonance that reverberated through the memories of all the earlier episodes, and rendered the collective, even if just for a while, special.

Most of NatsuKiseki, as slice of life storytelling tends to work, is spent on fairly directionless and distinct events, only loosely connected by some overarching setting-based parameters, like Yuka’s loosely-shared idol dream and Saki’s impending move. The directionlessness is in my opinion part of the charm of the slice of life genre, and the setting of a frolicking summer holiday supercharged by a stumbled-upon supernatural power is an effective one that suffuses each subarc with intrigue – and with emotional weight. And yet the distinctness of each event separates each subarc from each other and concentrates our attention on what’s currently going on. Life in NatsuKiseki is lived moment to moment. The characters laugh and sing and feel shock and then relief and then forget and start over with the new trip or the new sticky situation they inadvertently create. And yet behind all this was the recurring, quietly felt certainty that an end was coming. That they were frolicking and quarreling and reconciling and having fun and creating memories – because Saki will soon have to leave.

And in the final arc came the interesting twist – the end is removed, and summer holidays was set on an endless loop. As they enjoyed the magical extension they soon realized that it wasn’t an extension – it was forever. In a critical scene, where the four stood flanking the magical rock having decided to end their Summer-Colored Miracle, Saki said to a hesitating Natsumi:

I know how you feel
I feel sad too
But if it doesn’t end, it won’t be a memory

And I liked that. The simple idea that things needn’t and shouldn’t last forever, and that transience could add to the value and beauty of something. As they stood with their hands on the rock there came the cascade of images, the sights and sounds of all the previous subarcs as they remembered it, all the way to that first magical flight they took together. That was the moment the entire show was connected – when they said goodbye. Saying goodbye itself was an invaluable part of an experience. The moment felt like an ode to the countless forgotten moments in our lives, moments which were in their time beautiful, funny, moving – keenly felt, but that were inexorably washed aside as the present faded into the past.

The moment passed, Saki is leaving. Doubtlessly new things will arise towards which their attention will be drawn and held, and then yet new things will come after. However fervently they vowed to remain friends and to remember their summer together, singing in an abandoned building in the rain, dating a crush in another person’s body, splitting work with a clone of yourself – these will undoubtedly soon fade to the back of their minds, in the same way new shows and new endeavors will soon put NatsuKiseki in the back of my mind.

And yet perhaps things like these do in a sense live forever. Sometime ages and ages hence, something – an old episode discovered while foraging my old records, a mention or a picture read somewhere in the vast sea of the internet – would probably remind me of this show, and I might even seek it out and attempt a partial rewatch out of nostalgia, and all of it would probably come tumbling back. And I would remember, that I enjoyed Natsuiro Kiseki.

(…and probably that I wished the production values were less choppy)

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