Amaama to Inazuma | One of my favourites
If slice of life, cuteness, delicious food, realism are on your bucket list the next anime you plan to watch, then think no more. Amaama no Inazuma (Sweetness and Lightning) is your answer. Taking the sweetness of slice of life and mix it with cooking accessories is just the tip of the iceberg. Believe me, this is a show that’s more than about food. It packs a satisfying and emotional ride that’s just too sweet to pass up.
Adapted from the manga of the same name, the series is essentially a slice of life story of daily adventures. I should mention though, the story is pretty simple and straightforward. We got three main characters. There’s Inuzuka Kouhei, a widowed math teacher who is struggling to support his daughter and home. There’s Tsugumi, the overly charming kid with a picky taste at times. And finally, we got Iida Katori, a shy and lonely girl with a big appetite but bad cooking skills. So by formulaic standards, you might anticipate the food in the series to look atrocious. However, the show takes these characters and puts them into everyday life situations that brings the best out them. (and the food of course!)
It doesn’t really take long to get settled with the show. The first few episodes easily showcases the pattern of the story. Every episode in some way or form depicts the main characters cooking something delicious. However, there are also other segments that connects the characters’ daily issues. For instance, Katori is lonely and often feels like she doesn’t belong with others. However, her connection with Kouhei and Tsugumi brings out a more cheerful side of her. Meanwhile, Kouhei is also able to support Tsugumi better when the three of them work on making delicious food together. Tsugumi is also one of the most interesting characters. Being a kid, she lacks common sense at times like kids do. However, she also brings other characters together with her charming personality. From home to school, there’s something that’s hard to ignore about her. Whether it’s her adorable smile, curiosity, or innocence, Tsugumi is someone that you can’t help but want to make friends with. Her relationship with Kouhei is also very realistic with a strong daughter/father connection. Furthermore, Katori acts as a big sister to her. In one particular episode, she shows a very protective side after certain misunderstandings.
Despite the main cast getting most of the screen time, side characters such as Kouhei’s friend Yagi and Katori’s classmate Shinobu also occasionally joins in to spice up the story. Characterization is a strong emphasis and this show never falls short from that. The downside is that some of these side characters will be overshadowed by the main cast. However, this isn’t really a big issue as they still bring in the fun to the show especially when it comes to cooking.
However, I can assure that not every episode follows a generic cooking session. Even in a small world that the how takes place in, there’s plenty to explore when it comes to the story. Tsugumi’s school life, Kouhei’s daily challenges, and character relationships are just a few to name. Furthermore, the comedy of the show is genuinely refreshing. And while the series lacks extravagant food styles like Shokugeki no Souma or Toriko, it makes it up for its strong realism. The author’s attempts at constructing the story by mixing in realistic drama, food gags, and character relationships really brings out the best of the series. As a manga reader, I am also satisfied with the adaptation despite some trending and rearrangement of the chapters.
TMS Entertainment may not be a powerhouse studio. However, they definitely got the understanding to make this series look great. The visual quality is colorful and character designs are realistic to portray characters of all ages. Tsugumi is especially noticeable for her innocence and childish features. Even her clothes symbolizes youth and appeals to younger audience. I also have to give praise for the food creativity in the show. From gyoza, seafood, donuts, etc, there’s all sorts of food you’ll witness. Plus, the way they make the food is in great detail every episode to leave nothing out.
You may not realize it too much but the soundtrack and music has a strong appeal in the show too. The OP and ED theme songs are charmingly decorative with a catchy tone. The atmospheric OST brings out a good degree of realism ranging from cooking sessions to simple conversations.
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