13 CommentsAnime Analysis / By Scamp /

We need more lightning to back up this sweetness

x01-Tsumugi-KotoriI really liked the opening episode of Sweetness and Lightning. It captured something about cooking that so many other anime about cooking never do. They captured the joy in seeing someone you care about eating your homemade food. It wasn’t shounen battle cooking where the actual cooking could be replaced with anything and it would be the same show. It felt like a show where the cooking was central to the story, and as someone who cooks a lot that spoke to me personally. Yet after a couple of episodes and already my interest is waning and I think it’s because it has lost its high stakes somewhat.

All right, I know that sounds a bit ridiculous in a show about a single dad cooking for his daughter, but this sort of thing is all relative and you need to get back to the heart of what’s at stake. In episode 1 his daughter eating the pre-packaged meals has stripped a lot of the love out of meals, which left after her mother died. It’s not really about eating good food. It’s about the act of cooking it yourself and feeling a stronger connection between you and your children, something that you didn’t realise had left after the mother died. It gets at a much deeper emotion which plays into the central drama and core themes of the show, which is why it’s so satisfying to see the delighted smile on the girl’s face when she eats that bowl of rice. It’s about the emotional connection created from the homemade meal.

But since that first episode there hasn’t really been any more drama created. Either they’re just piggybacking on what the first episode created, but with significantly less emotional impact as the connection had already been established, or it’s completely trivial child drama that means nothing. They keep on dropping hints that they’ll cover something in regards to the highschool student and her relationship with her mother, but it’s just sat in the background. For now that’s fine. It’s good to build these sorts of storylines up slowly until they become relevant. But in the meantime it feels like they’re trying to get away with sweetness on its own, which gets very boring and shallow very fast. We need a bit more lightning to back up this sweetness.

screenshot20110708at629Let’s compare to Bunny Drop for a second, as they are very similar anime. In Bunny Drop there’s always a new drama developing. The struggles of figuring out what to do with a new child, finding out where her original mother is, dealing with family bickering, and so on. This isn’t that I want melodrama. Even very serious drama can be low key, hitting the emotional heights where the story requires it. Bunny Drop may have been a sweet little slice of life josei show, but it normally had some serious issues driving the story, or at least serious within the context of Bunny Drop’s story. Sweetness and Lightning feels like it’s lacking that right now. Hopefully it will pick back up again and not feel quite so frivolous.

(yeah you may have noticed the complete lack of posts lately. I’ve had no idea what sorts of posts to write here as any big ideas go on MAL. In the past I wouldn’t really bother with shorter idea posts like this, but from now on I’m going to try write a lot more of these so I at least have something.

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  1. Outcast
    Posted August 8, 2016 at 3:43 am | Permalink

  2. Ibri
    Posted August 8, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Is it still worth watching? I don’t really follow any anime of this season so I should try some more.

    Btw how does one actually find your posts on mal without going through the featured content page? I don’t think you are updating the side bar here anymore?

    • Scamp
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Hard to say, maybe wait until it’s over to see if it improves? I really liked the opening.

      I think I might start writing MAL roundup articles on here again

      • Ibri
        Posted August 9, 2016 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        That would be great, I am spoiled by most things having rss feeds.

  3. DarkEnergy
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    Yeah. I wonder if they’ll ever explain what happened to the mother. Or, why they’re afraid of sharp knives.

  4. anon
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    It still works for me, I get that the hook in the first episode was about how the father would deal with his daughter, but right now I’m perfectly fine with seeing them eating whatever Tsugumi thinks she likes to eat that episode, and the two trying to make that food for her.

    If I’m expecting that there should be a deeper underlying plot about the relationships between the characters then I wouldn’t be satisfied with this, but if I’m just here to watch 3 people eat what they’ve just cooked then it’s the perfect series for that.

    • Scamp
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      I guess I am expecting more because the first episode set that up. Yeah it could just be about 3 characters eating and being happy, but that’s just inherently not as interesting and kinda shallow

  5. Cantors
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Did you ever end up blogging monogatari anywhere? I think the last one you did on here was the 2nd season.

    • Scamp
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Nah, actually I’ve fallen behind on Monogatari overall. Haven’t watched any of the newest one

  6. Ken
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Bunny Drop sets a high bar for this anime to follow. Never the less Sweetness and Lightning is fun enough to watch.

    Scamp, what do you think of the other shows airing right now?
    I think 91 Days would be interesting to follow, and why isn’t Inushinde writing about Amanchu!

    • Scamp
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      I’ve fallen behind on a few shows. I liked what I have seen of 91 Days but I have watched very little. Will probably try write something on it when I catch up

      • Ken
        Posted August 10, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink


  7. L I V E B L O G
    Posted August 10, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

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