Natsuiro Kiseki: Four No More

Four, presumably cute, girls doing whatever. A markedly simple premise that countless men have staked animated empires upon. One could say this trend started three years ago when K-On first aired. Or, maybe it would be better to go further back and look to Lucky Star as the harbinger of our present. However, its origins don’t really matter. Looking at our present, we see that the trend continues with Natsuiro Kiseki and others. But yet, as good as I think Natsuiro Kiseki may be (it has managed to keep such a stale concept at least somewhat fresh), it hasn’t stirred up quite the same level of excitement as K-On did three years ago. To anyone who as watched anime for any length of time, that statement is glaringly obvious.

Yet, I think, quite ironically, Natsuiro Kiseki has been making that point. For those of you have watched the show, one of the show’s characters, Saki, may or may not be moving at some point in the series. Assuming that this does happen, it would certainly be an atypical turn of events for, now iconic, genre. In fact, it seems as though the cute girls doing cute girls genre has broken out of its core 4 shell, and rapidly expanded. Shows like Idolmaster and AKB48 now feature over a dozen girls, each. Hell, the powers that be have even decided that making male versions of these shows is a good idea (if it sells…).

Yet Natsuiro Kiseki has been able to keep things fairly interesting with a limited number of characters, and it may even be losing one. However, the more intriguing thought is that this series may be a subtle commentary that 4++ girl series have gotten lazy. That good story telling is still possible with limited amounts of characters, and that what has become 4++ format is broken, just like the group in this series may become.


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