While the Spring 2012 season of anime is far away from my mind, Natsuiro Kiseki with its magical realism template and tangible themes such as fulfillment and friendship still remain in my memories. For the most part, with its many layers and components, it makes me ponder what fulfillment really is and what is responsible for it as we grow up and live life. Maybe there are some deeper miracles in life I so desperately been doubting…
As Hoshiko so elegantly put it, the series in one breath does hallmark a message on the formation of precious memories, but add to this, I also believe that it also makes note on the issue of fulfillment with the time we are given and how that time will translate into memories. Throughout the series, the big rock with its supernatural feats to grant wishes acts as the fundamental key to the metaphorical house if you will be so kind to think of it in this fashion, but it is the girls that hold the real power to twist the knob, push open that door, and close it behind them. Using the events of when Natsumi x Saki became stuck together or when Natsumi was cloned, yes, it was magic that was the cause (no thanks to Yuka), but the ultimate issue lied within a problem that had to be fulfilled. In other words, Natsumi and Saki had to reconcile their differences and Natsumi had to recognize their was another way to play tennis other than on the aggressive front against an equally tenacious player. By fulfilling these issues magic was only a means to an end – an catalyst to bridge the issue and solution in order to bring it to an resolution. Magic was a support tool to fix these problems, but in all these situations, the girls had to fix their own problems, not magic. You can sort of think of it like a teacher giving guidance to a student in instructing, but instead making the student think for him/herself rather than solving the problem presented.
Besides the big rock and its magic holding a teacher to student relationship with the girls in the area of guidance, it also does the same with teaching the girls that not everything can be or will be fulfilled through the nature of magic. It is just like the main issue of Saki having to move away or the rainstorm that impedes the talent competition; wishes made to the rock or not respectively act in teaching the girls that their are even some things that reside out of reach from magic. So while the uneventfully does happen for both of these events, albeit the competition having a nicer endgame; the girls had to see an outcome in things that they could not influence, but in the process, oddly, things worked out for the better and fulfilled their wishes in both scenarios if you look at it in this fashion. Obviously, near the series end, with the wish to be “friends forever” even without the aid of magic, it will most undoubtedly come true despite the distance. However, with the act of seeing that magic is no cure all, their also might be the a lesson that miracles do indeed exist, but they can not solve problems – just offer interventions for them in beating the odds for that moment. An example of this would be the last two episodes in which the same day is repeated over and Saki would have to move. After all the events leading up to it, no amount of magic could remedy it and life would eventually have to move on.
Going back to the issue of fulfillment, overall, I think Natsuiro Kiseki tackles that message in more than one layer. For the most part and the most visible reasons than mentioned above, all the episodes showcased the girls enjoying life and fostering their friendship. Arguably, that could of been done without the aid of magic, but the memories that were made by it were all the more fulling and richer as a result. With the act of living and enjoying the time left they spent over that summer, it is very difficult not to say that everything they did was fulfilling, since it helped them grow closer together as well as grow up as individuals. Just like with in our daily lives, I believe that the people we meet, things we experience, and pathways we take in life; no matter their alignment ultimately serves to enrich more than subtract from life. Ironically, with summer being marked as ephemeral, evanescent, and always moving ahead; so do the girls lives and so is the way that we live. However, again, finding fulfillment and the joy makes each transient moment – each fleeting day worth living. This rings especially true when you do so with the people you love the most and care about.
Overall, Natsuiro Kiseki was a fulfilling slice-of-life series in its own right and one that helped me fall in love with genre all over again. It is not exactly bittersweet or sugar-coated, yet the flavor is just as palatable as any confectionery treat. Giving pause for the simple things we often dismiss in life, the series definitely does captures the essences of summer days long past for myself and doing more with the time that you have with the people you want to be with the most; whether it be friends or family and obtaining gratification doing so. In a sense, summer is all about this and more; while growing up and changing as the days go by. After all, you are only young once and might as well enjoy your youth while you can.