Sora Suzuki is a girl who, like her late father, has the ability to use magic. Though she's always lived in the countryside, Sora is on her way to Tokyo where she'll undergo a summer apprenticeship. Unless she does so, she can't become a registered mage - a magic user who can take job requests from clients. Moving to the big city, making new friends and succeeding at her training could prove challenging, but with determination and a positive attitude Sora intends to overcome these obstacles and make the most out of her summer in the process.
Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora was a bitter sweet tale of growing up mingled with touches of modern fantasy. The animation style is a strange mix of fantastic hand painted backgrounds, actual photos (which the series does not feel one bit ashamed of showing you half the background IS a photo); to nearly simplistic, child like renderings of the main characters. Everytime I thought the annoyingly simple character animations were going to put me off the series, the series hooked me in with yet another heart-warming slice-of-life episode. Although the sketchiness of the characters at times, was a bit of a turn off, the story held the series together as well as some relatively fantastic music. Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora, didn't shake my world and to be brutally honest, I probably won't remember the series a year or two down the road. But I was marginally entertained, the music was well done and I was amused enough to watch it to the end. If I had to sum up my feelings toward the series and whether or not it should be watched? I'd say Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora is certainly something to do in between episodes of other anime you're waiting on.
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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