- Alt. Name
- Amaama to Inazuma
- Release Date
- Summer 2016
- No. of Episodes
- TMS Entertainment,
Being a parent is arguably one of the most challenging jobs to do in one’s life. While making children may not be that difficult, but what separates people who have kids from great parents is one thing; they try their best. It’s difficult being a great parent because no child comes with an instruction manual – I know my mother probably wishes for one – they do the best they can. The only thing that could make the challenge of being a parent even more challenging is being a single parent. Though the single parent plot isn’t new within Society, can it sustain an excellent viewing experience without becoming too campy?
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Sweetness and Lightning is a 2016 Slice of Life Comedy anime series from TMS Entertainment and subsidiary 3xCube. At the same moment, this series may not have any fast action or challenging hitting adventure that viewers may be accustomed to seeing. But this series can most definitely pack one hell of a punch, but in ways that unsuspecting viewers may not realize. While many viewers categorize this series within the Slice of Life and the Comedy genres, I’d be hard-pressed to classify this as a comedy. Sure, it has comedic elements, but nowhere near the amount to categorize it as such. Doing so would almost be misleading to some degree.
Since his wife’s death, Kouhei Inuzuka has been caring for his young daughter Tsumugi to the best of his abilities. However, being a single father is quite hard, especially with his lack of culinary knowledge and his busy job as a high school teacher. Unfortunately, he is left relying on ready-made meals from convenience stores to feed his little girl. Frustration at his incapability to provide a fresh, nutritious meal for his daughter, Kouhei takes up an offer from his student, Kotori Iida, to have dinner at her family’s restaurant. But on their first visit, the father and daughter discover that the restaurant is often closed due to Kotori’s mother being away for work and that Kotori usually eats alone.
After much pleading from his pupil, Kouhei decides to continue to go to the restaurant with Tsumugi to cook and share delicious homemade food with Kotori. Within this heartwarming story of a caring father trying his hardest to make his adorable daughter happy, exploring the meaning and values of cooking, family, and the warm meals at home that are often taken for granted. Kouhei once again learns that his life’s most significant aspect is the ever-growing smile fixed on his daughter’s sweet face.
As with most series within this genre, the stories are rather melodramatic with subtle comedic components sprinkled on top. This series is nothing like one may expect when it comes to the genre, but it does have something for everyone. The story has an interesting take on the old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and somehow come out with an exciting story. While the pacing was somewhat above average, the tone was one of this series’ real stars. Combined with the emotional output from the father-daughter relationship to the meaning behind the food, both are excellent examples of the distinctions between living and being alive.
Another remarkable aspect of this series is that the relationship between Kouhei and Tsumugi appears genuine. While some series also focuses on the single parent dilemma, this series seemed to have a proper understanding of children’s authenticity. Meaning she acts her age can be somewhat unrealistic while also knowing that she’s misbehaving while still acting like a child within the age group. While most series that happen to focus on similar relationships either bypass the realism or don’t incorporate actual child behaviors, which thankfully this series appeared to avoid.
However, even though Sweetness and Lightning has an interesting premise, this will be an extremely vital element for the viewer’s pleasure. If one doesn’t enjoy the father-daughter cooking together, this series will be worthless for any viewer. Outside of this caveat, there were a couple of negatives towards the pacing. For instance, there wasn’t any, each episode has a new dish with its own set of problems, and by the end of each episode, they’ve completed it. That’s each episode. There isn’t an overarching goal to this series other than the father wanting to be a better parent. While some events were more heartfelt then others, each had the same aura about them; charming girl plus fantastic looking food.
The Art style within this series is a pleasant experience and won’t leave anyone complaining. With its bright and colorful schemes to its refined realistic designs, this is one series that will make any anime fan once again fall in love with anime. Each of the characters’ designs is unique and easily recognizable, but the best part of the series’ art style is the way the dishes look. Watching this series would make anyone’s mouth water and stomach rumble; it was nearly torturous.
On the opposite side of the production spectrum, the Animation Production had their talented and craftsmen at work. The opening and closing segments are wonderfully created, showing how it’s genuinely done without reaching that diabetic level of sweetness. While the ending segment is more minimalist, it’s still artistically pleasing and loveable. As well as the voice actors all of them were wonderfully done, but what stood out was Rina Endo’s performance. Her performance within this series shows her talent and skill for making a character seem so realistic and emotional, not to mention she was only eleven years old when it premiered.
With a majority of series having only twelve episodes, one can almost expect the character development isn’t going to shine for a majority of them. However, this series truly understands how to properly progress a character’s growth without cheapening the overall series for a cheap laugh. There are real maturity and development through most of the characters within this series, which clearly shows a proper mastered performance. At the very least, the viewers should get ready for a train full of feelings before starting this series, especially in Kohei and Tsumugi. A couple of dozen tissue boxes should suffice.
While this series was a knockout punch of raw emotion, it was quite enjoyable. With its exceptional use of family and friends to help raise a kindergarten-aged child, it’s magical mouthwatering food. Any viewer who enjoys this series will be demanding more, but that’s the beauty of this series. It shouldn’t continue. This series isn’t for everyone, and whom it’s for are people who enjoy a slowed-down version of what life truly means, love. Perhaps a potential viewer is a single parent or a person who loves relaxing stories. This series at the end of the day is what I’d call heart candy. We know that it’s going to be a sweet ride and want more of it, but it’ll ruin us if we do.
This series was masterly produced and should be on anyone’s must-watch list if they need to formulate something magical. Sweetness and Lightning will take its viewers on an emotional ride, showing them how much their parents love them and do anything for their children. One would be remiss to avoid this series, and by the end, the viewer will truly understand the difference between living and being alive. This series is one of those small bits of happiness that come and go in a blink of an eye, yet if one’s lucky enough to witness its real power, they’ll be in awe.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.