(C)Gido Amagakure, KODANSHA/”sweetness & lightning” Production Committee. All Rights Reserved.
Manga.Tokyo reviewed quite a lot of TMS Entertainment’s productions this season (orange, D.Gray-man Hallow) but to be honest, the one I am going to miss the most is Amaama to Inazuma. the fabulous cooking adventures of the Inuzuka family.
Japanese Title: 「あいじょーたっぷりお好み焼き」（第12話）
While we had an abundance of sweetness in the episodes, the lightning came sparingly. Both happy and sad moments are just that, moments. While the series made no attempt to pretend that there is no sadness in life, it preferred to show an optimistic side, where the protagonists embrace the sadness and try to focus on the sweetness of the happy moments they spend together.
On the anniversary of his wife’s death, Inuzuka-sensei takes Tsumugi to an okonomiyaki restaurant. Our little blonde cook believed that she was going to make the food herself like she is used to doing in Kotori’s restaurant. Instead, she gets upset when they bring her the okonomiyaki ready to eat.
The group decides to makes okonomiyaki for their next meal together. Not only all the usual suspects gather together, but just before they eat, Kotori’s mom comes to the restaurant. At last.
It’s hard to say, or to show, that you’re always thinking about someone
The last episode ends in the sweetest of ways: the whole group gathered around the table, talking about food and love. No need for closure or goodbyes. Life will go on, even when we are not there to peak through the window.
The reason your dad’s okonomiyaki tastes so good is because he filled it with his affection for you
Tsumugi Cries in the Restaurant: When most of contemporary children are way too used to fast food and ready meals, Tsumugi gets upset and starts crying when she missed the chance to make her own food. There is a certain magic to the process when it’s done in a friendly environment full of love and once you are exposed to it, frankly, there is no turning back. From the moment I started making my own meals, fast food and restaurants were a conscious choice, not a necessity or a meal routine.
Iida and Inuzuka: I am talking about the mom Iida and the dad Inuzuka. What an amazing scene. I was so disappointed when Kotori said that her mom had to leave for work after announcing that she was going to join them. But, to be honest, there was always that glimpse of hope that she would eventually turn up. It was the last episode, dammit. We needed to see Kotori’s mom. And Inuzuka-sensei had to see Kotori’s mom. Because, to be frank, I was hoping for a little romance between the two. What a nice couple they could make. I am routing for them.
Themes & Trivia
Okonomiyaki: Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a Japanese savory pancake that, like in the episode, can contain a variety of ingredients. The word okonomi means ‘what you like’ and the word yaki means ‘grilled’: what you like grilled. Pretty self-explanatory. The predominant version of okonomiyaki is the one associated with Osaka and the Kansai region, but it is widely available to the rest of the country.
Paper Lantern: The paper lantern we see outside Kotori’s restaurant looks like a chōchin (提灯). Traditionally they are built using bamboo wound in a spiral to create a frame. In present-day Japan, plastic chōchin with electric bulbs are produced as novelties, souvenirs, and to be used in events.
What can I say about the last episode? It was the perfect ending to a series that I will miss. Am I exaggerating? Maybe. I am certainly not the animation expert that can produce huge volumes of criticism based on analysis over analysis. I am just a fan. Your regular otaku. And this regular otaku had so much fan with Amaama to Inazuma. Tsumugi learned to love food and associate it with positive emotions and sweet memories. Inuzuka-sensei learned to relate more to the world around him, learned how to be a better parent, and learned how to approach his daughter in a way only a loving parent can. Kotori accepted her introverted side and connected with the people around her. Everyone walks out of this 12-episode run a better person, and certainly a better cook.
If you insist for a flaw: Kotori haven’t had the chance to use a knife. A shame.
And the rating is…
Ok, I cheated. The only reason I’ve maxed the rating is because this was our last glimpse through the window that leads to Tsumugi’s world, and like Inuzuka-sensei, I don’t like scolding her. I don’t think I’ve ever said a bad word about this series. Not because there weren’t things to say, but because I didn’t care for them. They were minor and not worth mentioning. I must apologize for not being an objective reviewer, but my reviews were never meant to be objective. I had fun watching Tsumugi, and I will miss her. Beware of the sharks, you little cooking devil.
Oishii na? Oishii ne…
NEXT TIME: Don’t miss our reviews for Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari (うどんの国の金色毛鞠). Yuuichi Nakamura who voiced Inuzuka-sensei returns as Souta Tawara!
Sweetness & Lightning (Amaama to Inazuma)
Based on the manga Sweetness & Lightning by Gido Amagakure originally serialized in the monthly GOOD! AFTERNOON magazine published by KODANSHA Ltd.