Sweetness & Lightning

Alt title: Amaama to Inazuma

Sweetness & Lightning
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MikaEhara's avatar
Oct 6, 2018

Sweetness and Lightning surprised me, as one who is generally not in to slice of life or seinen anime, I really did enjoy this anime. The animation was okay, not some sort of masterpiece, but it was enjoyable to look at. The story was pretty flat, not much happens in a dramatic sense, but it was good enough for a 12 episode anime. The characters were my favorite part, personally. I found that while almost all of the tertiary characters were relatively flat, they still worked as devices to continue what plot there was and they still managed to add to the story. The sound was good, I watched it with English subtitles and I found the Japanese voice actors to be delightful, especially the voice actor for Tsumugi-chan. The intro and outdo songs were also fun to sing along to. 

Overall  this anime is a fun, lighthearted watch great for when you're getting over a super gritty and hardcore anime, as it doesn't take too much attention or investment to enjoy it. That being said, I think there are a lot of pieces in the plot which would allow for a second, deeper season. In my mind, the second season I am imagining could be much better than the first. Personally, I could definitely see Sensei and Kotori-chan's mom getting together, or maybe in Kotori-chan and sensei. I think both would be cute. But that's just my silly personal opinion. 

Due to the lack of character depth and generally flat plot, I give it an 8.5/10. I liked it, but I couldn't get invested in it. I would love to see the creators take it even further and make it in to something bigger. 

8/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
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Gzerble's avatar
Jul 28, 2018

On the surface of things, Amaama to Inazuma is actually trying to compete with Usagi Drop. We will have to start here because of how well regarded (and loved) the latter is. The parallels are there: it is the heart warming story of a single father trying to cope with raising an adorable little girl, in a pure slice-of-life format. There is no character arc, there is no complex plot, there is just parenting and cuteness and life. No shortage of commonalities, obviously

You'd say "but this show focuses on making food" and that both is and isn't really true. This is a unifying device, trying to give the show a more focused feel. It works, to a certain extent, and is a major difference between Amaama to Inazuma and Usagi Drop. There is more intense focus on the secondary cast, and even a few hints of continuity, where you can say "I know for a fact that this episode came before that one". Overall, a lot of small differences that add up.

Comparing it to other shows is doing Amaama to Inazuma a disservice, as it stands on its own. It is not the greatest thing ever, yet manages to showcase a story that doesn't require forced drama, people acting stupid, fan service, or angst. It's not the most subtle of slice of life shows, but it doesn't really want to be. This isn't the most mature take on things, but it isn't forcefully childish. Overall, it feels like a good spot to be in; the show goes for "satisfying to watch" and more or less delivers.

This one season doesn't need more, doesn't ask for it, and even to a point would be weakened by such. That's a good thing, because most shows end up at least partially unsatisfying due to this. I understand the idea behind it (anime is a commercial for the manga/LN/merch), but it is really nice when Amaama to Inazuma isn't forceful about it. The fact that each episode is self-encapsulated ensures that we won't end up feeling unsatisfied.

Writing (Story and Characters):

So, I'll have to start at the end. I wish the writing of Amaama to Inazuma would have been better. It's not bad, but it isn't really great either. It goes for something and sticks by it, which is great. It offers some nice fluff, and the highly epsodic structure means that you aren't forced to pay deeper attention than you want to. But it doesn't stand out much, and at the end of the day doesn't manage to wow with richness or depth.

Story is perhaps a bit too strong to call what exists here. There's the premise (young widowed raising only daughter, teen helps with cooking), but not much more. It's a sandbox in which the characters are supposed to shine. That of course requires the character writing to be strong enough to hold everything on its shoulders.

tl;dr: the caracters can hold up the writing, and end up adding enough personality, cuteness, and humor to make the writing work. The characters of Amaama to Inazuma are not standout ones though. There is nothing in how they're written which makes them truly memorable. Also, adorable kids are unforgivingly hard to write, and here the shadow of Usagi Drop is just too much. All that being said, they are a good bunch, and executed well.

The writing is the strong part of Amaama to Inazuma as it manages to deliver enough for the show to be enjoyable. It doesn't manage to truly excel though. Or maybe the whole slice of life genre has enough standout shows that the writing just can't shine. That being said, without a doubt you can enjoy this

Artwork (Animation and Sound):

Stop the presses! Wait, no. Sorry, wrong show. The artwork is fine. It doesn't fail the writing really... but it makes the show feel a bit monotone perhaps. The central location is a small restaurant, and it dominates the visual aspect of the series even more than the character designs and it just doesn't manage to wow me.

It isn't that the character designs are bad, they're fine. Tsumugi (the little girl) is the only one which feels not generic. The animation is OK, and the overall visual themes are adeptly done. There are some visual cliches used well (again, usually with Tsumugi), but overall the attempt is to go with a no-frills, straight up execution. I wish it would liven up the story a bit more, but that's just my taste. There are some moments where the artwork is more imaginative, and those are pretty great.

Voice acting aside, Amaama to Inazuma does not offer much interesting in the way of audio. That being said, the voice acting manages to be pretty good. It's got just enough charm to work.

Artistically, Amaama to Inazuma is nothing special, but doesn't need to be. There could be more done here, no doubt, but the execution is fine overall. It may not wow you, but I doubt that the artwork is what will stop you from enjoying things.

Overall:

It's fine. Really, it is. It's just that I'm getting a bit tired of episodic slice of life, you know? But if you like the genre, then this should give you your fix, and even if you don't care for it too much, it isn't a failure. Recommended for people looking for some episodic fluff.

6.5/10 story
6.5/10 animation
5.5/10 sound
7/10 characters
6.6/10 overall
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chisanaume's avatar
Feb 12, 2018

I was pleasantly surprised by this anime. I was capitavited by the innocence and the light hearted feel of this anime. This was a perfect anime to relax to after binge watching some dark and depressing shows. I will say this anime may not be for everyone, espcially those who seek deep and thought provoking plots with deep character developments. None of those things exist in this anime, its just a simple story about a single parent learning to cook in order to make his young daughter happy. The food he makes looks delicious! I looked up some of the reciepes they talked about and plan to try to make them to see if they are as delicious as the girl makes it out to be in this anime. For any one looking to watch a light hearted cute cooking anime then this is it for you!

8/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
9/10 characters
8/10 overall
PowerUpOrDie's avatar
Dec 5, 2017

I can't say this anime did anything particularly wrong or misrepresented its source material, but it still feels like a textbook example of 'just OK'.

STORY

The plot follows several stories taken from the first few volumes of the manga. There are few changes beyond occasionally combining two storylines into one. A good job was done in picking a fitting last episode for this show so it still feels like there is a climax and wrap-up, even with the episodic story structure.

ANIMATION & SOUND

There may not have been any significant slip-ups, but this animation looks very basic for a 2016 show. Backgrounds look minimum standard at times, and while it's nice to see the characters from the manga move around, I think a bit of detail was lost. Sound is fine with solid voice acting. The happy sounding ED 'Maybe' by Brian The Sun has been running through my head these last few days.

CHARACTERS

The cast is basically the same as it is in the original manga. Kohei is designed to be an everyman with the broadest possible appeal, but he manages to have just enough of a personality to avoid being entirely generic. Tsumugi's little kiddie songs get more attention- usually at points where the anime needs to pad out the length of an episode just a little. Kotori is still a gold-tier Best Girl.

OVERALL

When I rate a show as a '5' it means one of two things: 1) Major pros and cons cancel each other out, 2) It's very middle-of-road without significant strengths or weaknesses. The Sweetness and Lightning anime is an example of case 2.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
5/10 overall
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rezanugraha's avatar
Oct 24, 2017

good slice of life anime story to watch and if im not wrong (correct me) it storied cooking and feeling happy or fun eating with tsumugi-chan when near ending.

I still confussed with kotori sometimes blushing with inuzuka-sensei...i wonder o know if this anime has next chapter

but it no matter to me when i watch it all of them 

6/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
8/10 overall
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QueenPrisme's avatar
Mar 23, 2017

This anime was absolutely adorable. The best thing about this anime is that you could take your time watching it and never feel rushed to finish it or that you might forget something that is going on. 

And while this anime doesn't really have much of a story, sticking to an original plot to each episode, it's still really nice to sit down and watch a day in the life this widowed teacher try to make delicious food for his little girl.

The animation and sound is pretty good with nothing in particular about either sticking out to me. Though this anime is not yet dubbed it may be in the future.

The characters are very lovable and sweet and pretty rememerable too, especially how the father deals with Tsumugi's attitude, actions, and in general. It's a very realistic anime emotionally that makes you hope the best for the characters in it.

Personally, I thought this anime was one of the more down to earth anime's that can really connect with people and possibly make them super hungry since the show promotes cooking at home and does an excellent job of showing you how to make a particular dish. If you're wanting something cute and lovable I wouldn't skip this one and I wouldn't rush through it either. It's meant for you to take your time with it.

8/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall
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mdchan's avatar
Jan 13, 2017

I read the beginning of some reviews before I watched this, but even so, I was surprised at how little character development there was.  Slice-of-life anime doesn't necessarily have to have a "plot", per say...most of that "plot" is in day to day antics that the characters get up to.

However,  I was quite surprised that not only was there no plot, but there was little to no character development.  The characters were fairly flat and remained the same throughout the series.

That said, it was cute and charming.

Plot

There really is no plot.  The story revolves around a teacher whose wife passed away six months ago, which left him to raise their preschool aged daughter by himself.

He decides he wants to let his daughter have some good meals since he isn't good at cooking, and winds up getting cooking lessons from a lonely student of his whose mother is constantly working.

Characters

Kouhei Inuzuka is a math teacher at at unnamed high school.  He's typically soft-spoken,  patient, and kind, and wants to do the best he can for his daughter particularly after his wife passed away.

Tsumugi Inuzuka is a preschool/kindergarten aged girl and the daughter of Kouhei.  She's bright, cheerful, and loves to watch her father cook.

Kotori Iida is a girl in Kouhei's class whose mother is constantly busy with work.  She's soft spoken and has a fear of knives, but is interested in cooking and after an incident which led Kouhei and Tsumugi to the restaurant her mother used to run, began to give Kouhei cooking lessons.

Other characters appear in the anime, though they aren't as prominant and a couple don't start to really show up and become "regulars" until about midway through the series (out of a 12 episode series)

This includes Kouhei's friend Yagi, and Kotori's friend Shinobu.

There are occasional scenes from preschool/kindergarten which feature Tsumugi's friends (Yuka and Hana) as well as a boy named Mikio who starts out as a bit of a bully.

Animation and Sound

Not including the episodes I saw where the quality was obviously low, I don't really have an issue with the animation for the most part.  The colors were bright and as they should be for a carefree slice-of-life anime.  I didn't see much of any repeated footage, either. 

The sound was fine for the most part, and the songs are cute...but there are times when Tsumugi's voice just cuts through my ears like a foghorn.  I've seen plenty of anime which had little kids in it, and none of my favorites ever annoyed me with the voices.  Tsumugi was a little overdone in some points, but if I turned down the volume, the other characters would be too quiet.

Overall

There's nothing spectacular nor unique about this anime; I'd say it's about on average.

To be honest, the one who showed the most character growth in the series was probably Mikio, who barely got any screentime as he went from a bully to having a crush on Tsumugi.

There was some character development on Kouhei's part as he learns to cook, but it's really just him learning a new skill and bonding with his daughter that way.

The other character who grows is Kotori, as though she does remain soft-spoken and quiet in her class and at school, there is one instance where her classmates do need her advice on something.

Regardless, for an anime with no plot, to have characters remain pretty much the same from start to finish was a disappointment.

There was no explanation on how Kouhei's wife died or why; illness?  Accident?  We're never told.

Kotori is afraid of knives after an accident with one when she was little, but (SPOILERS), she never removes her bandaid nor gets over her fear.

It's pretty much a show about cooking with some character "drama" thrown in to attempt to make it interesting.  Now, I've seen anime about cooking and baking, and they did a much better job.

Granted, they were also longer than 12 episodes.  The episodes are also rather short, as they're only about 17-19 minutes long rather than the standard 23 minutes (after subtracting opening and ending songs).

If the episodes were standard-length and perhaps there were more of them, maybe some of the character issues could have been addressed, and it wouldn't have felt like I was watching one-dimensional characters continue to be one-dimensional for 12 episodes.

There's no sense of conclusion or "finale" in the last episode, either.  Kotori's mother does make an appearance and says something profound, but it's really no huge secret and really didn't make a huge impact on me by then.

Too little, too late...especially combined with little to no character development.

I would have loved to see some more scenes from Tsumugi and how she got along with her classmates and friends (particularly the interesting change made in Mikio's character, and particularly near the last couple episodes when she had a dispute with a friend there.

Slice-of-life anime typically teach important lessons, or develop characters as they learn and grow.  When Tsumugi had a conflict with Yuka from he class, rather than any sort of emphasis on it, the episode just switched to "let's cook and everyone smiles again". 

I know little kids forgive each other easily, but it just felt like any sort of drama created (such as in this instance, and when Tsumugi's mother is brought up) is too quickly brushed aside for smiles and laughter as soon as they start cooking rather than allowing the drama to let the characters learn something and face said issues.

All in all, it's cute and endearing, but it's certainly not the best slice-of-life anime I've ever seen.  I wouldn't call it the worst since I sat through all 12 episodes, but it can be easily marathoned and is extremely lighthearted.

If you're looking for a quick anime to watch or something cheerful and lighthearted, this is a good one to go to.  Just don't expect a plot, nor much of any character development or growth.

1/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
2/10 characters
3.5/10 overall
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JVAnimeReviews's avatar
Oct 16, 2016

Positive

*My first and by far most important positive point is that this anime gave me diabetes. This anime was so freaking cute! I had that Usage Drop feeling al over again. Tsumugi was so adorable and the way how she acted and reacted was so real for a girl her age. If I would talk about all the cute moments in this anime than I think this review would be half an hour long. To only name one: when she walking on the white lines and has to be careful of the sharks and sings the shark song I just melted completely. And then were even little details that were so cute like the sound her shoes made when she walked. Seeing things like that make me look forward to te day that I have children myself. Now I must say that I found Tsumugi to be a little spoiled, she would get things her ways and she knew how to influence Kouhei in doing so. But either way Tsumugi was, together with Rin, the epiphany of cuteness.

For a video review, check out my Youtube channel. Link on my profile page.

*And as in Usagi Drop I have to give major credit to the voice actress of Tsumugi: Rina Endou. To put up a performance like that when you’re only 11 years old stays amazing. Now this voice actress had a bit of an “easier” role than the voice actress of Rin since Tsumugi was almost always happy while Rin also had her serious and sadder moments. But still that doesn’t make her performance less amazing.

*Now Tsumugi might have been happy and cheerful most of the time and also the anime itself is happy and cheerful most of the time. But there were times that SaL gave us a hit below the belt. This anime knew exactly what buttons it needed to press to invoke that sad feeling with its viewers. From time to time SaL would remind us of the sad fact that Tsumugi’s mother had passed away. Tsumugi and Kouhei were still trying to move on with their lives after her death and that gave the anime a sad undertone at times. And seeing how the two are slowly climbing out of this dark time gave SaL an extra layer on top of the cuteness.

*Something that I was very happy not to see happen was an intended relationship between Kouhei and Kotori. Because there certainly was the possibility and the occasion to form a relationship between the two of them. I mean a teacher who has just lost hos wife starts hanging out with one of his students who can act as a sort of mother figure for his daughter. You don’t need more signs to tell us that a relationship between the two might be incoming. But luckily there wasn’t a single moment in SaL where such a relationship was hinted towards. And I couldn’t be happier about that, remember the end of the manga of Usage Drop. That makes my point I think.

*And a final positive point was that the color palette used in this anime fitted it perfectly. Fun, bright colors that elevated and emphasized the cuteness of SaL. Just like in other cute and sweet anime like Usagi Drop and One Week Friends soft but fun colors makes such an anime that much more fun to watch. Combine that with the fun opening and ending songs and the picture was complete.

Negative

*Now for the negative section of this review I only have two things to mention. First off is something that I said in my preview of the Summer season. Next to a cute anime, SaL was also an anime about cooking and it had to compete against Food Wars this season. And it’s difficult to even Food Wars when it comes to food dedication and focus. The dishes were way simpler and also less explained in detail.

*And the second negative point was that I would have liked more development for Kotori. First off it’s clear that the hole that she has in her life is the absence of her mother. Now her mother does appear all the way at the end of the anime but I still felt that there was a shortage of development there. And there was also a shortage of development with Kotori’s knife phobia. I really thought that she was going to get over that over the course of this anime but she didn’t. So it felt like the anime did very well with development on the hole in Kouhei and Tsumugi’s life but fell short on filling up those in Kotori’s life.

Conclusion

So as a conclusion, SaL was so sweet that it honestly felt like I was watching Usagi Drop again and I love that anime to death. I’m good again for a while when it comes to raising my blood sugar levels. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of this anime and that’s why I’m going to rate Amaama to Inazuma at 4,5 stars. This was one of my favorite anime’s of the Summer 2016 season. It’s a definite much watch for all those lovers of super sweet anime out there.

8/10 story
7.5/10 animation
8/10 sound
9/10 characters
8.1/10 overall
haize78's avatar
Sep 24, 2016

This anime is ok, but basically nothing at all happens and there is no plot. So it's just 12 episodes of cute kid and clumsy dad who regularly get together with a shy highschool student to learn how to cook different dishes - every episode ends with them eating the dish they cooked and looking ecstatic because of how they managed to make it so tasty and delicious. That's all there is to it.

Tsumugi-chan, the kid, is really cute but that isn't obviously enough. Tsumugi's dad and Kotori-chan, the student whose mother owns the restaurant where they meet up to try out their cooking skills are likeable enough characters - be that as it may, there is no development.

You might enjoy it if you're in the mood to switch off your mind and watch something extremely light, carefree and undemanding revolving around the antics of a little girl and her overflowing-with-good-will father. 

3/10 story
5.5/10 animation
5/10 sound
4/10 characters
4.5/10 overall
Bkeiper83's avatar
Aug 30, 2016

Watching this from a fathers perspective really makes me connect to this anime, While its 9 episodes in I can see this review being edited and the score raised.

Story: 8/10 While it seems in the beginning that its the standard widowed father template, this show really expands on it, and it breaks free from the stereotypical path. Not only does the father grow in terms of being a father, the daughter seems to raise the bar daily. The fathers unlikely allies in his endevors really add the right amount of flavor to the story.

Animation: 6/10 It just above average going with todays standards, however it does not detract from the story nor does it become a hinderence to the story.

Sound: 8/10 The OP really makes me tap my feet. That is saying a lot based on I am not a music person. The ED really fits well.

Charaters: 8/10 The best way to describe them is varied. They blend well, there is no over doing it with any of them.

This is a real feels show, There are high points, and low points. But overall definitly worth every minute watching it.

8/10 story
6/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
7.5/10 overall
abclemons's avatar
Aug 6, 2016

As a father, this anime breaks my heart. Everything about it is a feels train for me, but I digress Amaaza to Inazuma is a resplendid Slice of Life, Shojou anime. 

Story: 6/10

A father looses his wife and is left as a widower. He must care for his toddler daughter. He has no real love of food and meals the way his wife did, and he gets by. However, one day his daughter wakes him up to the fact that he's not doing enough... what happens? Well, just then they run across a young girl who can solve the problem!

Besides the Deus ex Machina, the setup works. Two persons suffering from loss - the father from his wife, and the young girl from her mother's constant absence - are coupled by the need of an infinitely kawaii toddler. 

Animation: 6/10

Honestly, it's nothing to write home about. It fits our modern animation schemes. Everything is pretty fluid, and I've not seen a scene borrow from another (i.e. no obvious repeat animations so far).

How ancillary characters react (animation wise) to Kouhei really drives home how careful everyone is being to his situation.

Sound: 8/10

I like the OP/EP, and the background music is well done. All of the voice actors perform admirably; Kouhei's VA particularly conveys a depth which really enhances the character.

Characters: 8/10 

Very good back story and development so far on all of the characters. Reactions are spot on. Tsumugi is way too cute. Kouhei has the right amount of melancholy. The cast remains small and keeps the story intimate. 

The character progression is spot on. We see growth and evolution on all fronts. Expect a feels train as you voyeur their journey in situ. 

Enjoyment: 9/10

I personally love this anime. The story gives me the feels. The character interaction is personable and realistic. There's very little to detract from the overarching theme of this anime. 

7/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
9/10 characters
8/10 overall
Stormbrook's avatar
Jul 11, 2016

I'v But aside from most things. I loved the first episode. There's not a lot of substance but yet I found the show appealing and origional it kept me entertained.

The show has a cute daughter who is the draw of the show. I don't see a lot of anime trying to use the family friendly factor and this is one of those animes that thus far has little fear to be drawn into the negative light. 

Unlike Shoukugei no Souma this show is somewhat about food, but also about people especially families.

9/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
9/10 characters
10/10 overall