This is the thing about Amaama to Inazuma. This anime is one of the most adorable series I have seen in a long time.
It is about a father, Kouhei, and his daughter Tsumugi who recently lost their mother 6 months prior. They are surviving, they are smiling, they wave goodbye to their mothers photo each time they leave for the day.
The daughter is young, and is going to daycare or preschool. I don’t think she understands the concept of death yet because at one point she asks to send a letter to her mother.
The father is an assistant teacher who gets home around 6pm, often picking up bento boxes from the convenience store on the way home for dinner.
The two are so cute together, the daughter, Tsumugi, is loud and happy and excitable. She loves the “Magi-Girl” anime and smiling and she makes you smile. She doesn’t complain about the bento box dinners, despite not finishing them. Her father sometimes catches her pressed against the TV during a cooking show about savory, delicious meat as the repeats the words wantingly. There are flashbacks about the mother occasionally, and she was always cooking. So cooking was a big part of this family dynamic, and with the mother gone, the food has become.. bentos. Those don’t carry the same emotion and soul the mother seemed to put into the food.
They come across a woman at a flower viewing who invites them to her mothers restaurant. There she makes them the only food she can, pot rice. Her mother was out of the restaurant at the time. Despite it only being pot rice, Tsumugi LOVES it, climbs all over her father, ecstatic to have good, home made food again. This kid knows how to get you right in the tear ducts!
Tsumugi moves around a lot, she bounces and jumps on people and grabs things quickly. Her range of facial expressions is what you would expect of a small child. There is not any sadness in her eyes. If we had not been told her mother had died, I never would have known. But then again even she may not know. I feel like when she finds out(and come on, she will eventually realize it, that’s the predictable climax of this kind of storyline) then she would be the character type to try and smile even when crying. Her smile is so genuine her father doesn’t realize she doesn’t like the bento boxes. Her long curly hair adds to her rambunctious, happy-go-lucky appearance. Its also exceptionally shiny.
The micro movements in the fathers face as he becomes emotional watching Tsumugi are delicately drawn. Where Tsumugis actions are large and boisterous, his are small and soft. He needs to put a front up for his daughter about the sadness he feels for his wife’s loss.
The music was ongoing throughout the entire episode, changing tunes but never really straying from upbeat feel. The music was almost copying Tsumugi, happy and light. Small sound effects were placed here and there. Footsteps were really the only movement based sound effects while vocal manipulation was on key.
Eating while crying, choking up and talking while eating were all performed. I can only imagine what he recording studio was like. Tsumugis voice was filled with so much happiness it pulled a smile out.
What I wished was included was more emotion from the father. In one scene he was tucking a sleeping Tsumugi in at night and I wanted him to lean against the hallway wall, and cover his mouth to stifle the sounds of him crying after holding it in all day. There was no.. Sadness about the wife from the father, and only a small amount at the end when he realized what he was doing wrong for his daughter. He is putting up a brave front but we don’t see it crumble a little.