This slow-paced slice-of-life is not for everyone. Its atmosphere is subdued and subtle, yet elegant and meaningful.
**Spoilers to follow**
Story: Sora goes to Tokyo for a month-long mage certification course, and along the way she makes friends, meets people, and, through the tasks assigned by her clients, digs into tough questions about the Meaning of Life. Like: should a person who is hired to do a job do merely the job assigned them, or should they do their best to help their client, despite being outside of their job description? Along with that, what is the price of simply going along with the flow and doing as you're told? Etcetera.
Another thing I thought was great was how the romance developed gradually, almost without anyone noticing. I liked that we were shown events in progress, and that there was no narrator. I also loved the big twist of Sora dying from disease. It crept up out of the vaguely melancholy atmosphere, and added a whole new perspective for looking back at her actions over the whole series.
Animation: I liked the blending of real-life photos into the backgrounds because it added that aspect of realism and getting to visit a place through the show. The lighting and scenery were both beautiful.
Sound: The opening always started with the same sound of summer, setting the mood perfectly. I thought the voice actors fit their characters well, and the songs also fit with the theme and ambience of the show.
Characters: Were interesting and unique and developed slowly-but-surely, which was great. I liked meeting side characters like the guitar-playing girl and the bar owner, people who were as much a part of the Shimokitazawa scenery as the shops and gardens were. I wish that certain characters had been a little more emotionally engaged with events, although the lack of displayed emotion is probably at least accurate.
Overall: Again, this show is not for everyone, but there's plenty of quality content here, and if you enjoy slower slice-of-life shows, this is definitely a must-see.
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