If you’ve been reading my blog lately then this probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. I’m dropping Sweetness & Lightning and Orange. While they’re both shows I wouldn’t call outright terrible (actually, I’d probably classify Orange as terrible), they still managed to wear me down to the point where I just can’t be bothered anymore. It’s gotten to the point where I just stare at the new episode thumbnail for a moment, dread the idea of wasting the next 22-24 minutes of my life on it, and then click away to do something else. I’ve felt like it’s been a pain to watch these shows for quite a while, and so here we are. These are my reasons for dropping Sweetness & Lightning and Orange.
Sweetness & Lightning
I hate kids. More specifically, little kids. Kids so young, dumb, and ignorant that they couldn’t possible support the weight of a compelling or entertaining narrative. To follow these children and use their mundane problems as genuine plot points is a stupid waste of time. The worries one might have at that stage in their life are often empty and meaningless, and Tsumugi is no exception. She’s just a child, one that hardly differs from fictional children that have come before her. The time spent following her in this show is time I wish I had back.
That incredibly biased opinion aside, I feel this show is way too sweet, too pure. It subtly offers up some very emotional and adult themes, yet fails cash in on them. It’d be nice to learn what it’s like to be a single father, but this show spends way too much time admiring food and Tsumugi to give any sort insight into parenthood and broken homes. The only adversity these characters have to face is making delicious meals, and while I don’t necessarily believe that stakes need to be high in order for this to be a worthwhile show, there could at least be some importance behind the actions of these characters. Tsumugi and her father are already on good terms, so it’s not like cooking these meals is a much needed bonding experience. Kotori enjoys spending time with the others because she’s so obviously lonely, but we don’t get a deeper look into her character or her troubles. I mean, she has no friends at school, her parents are barely around, and she spends most of her nights alone in an empty restaurant. Then, one fateful visitor shows up with his daughter and now she no longer needs to be alone, so naturally I’d expect her to develop a reliance on these two as well as perhaps some romantic feelings for the attractive and kind, single father. But no, instead all she thinks about is food and how her life must be perfectly perfect and she probably never even had a period before because she never has to grow up.
The last reason for me not liking this show is just the overall animation quality. The show looks very mediocre. Backgrounds are dull and lifeless, minor errors like eyes being uneven are fairly commonplace, and even the food isn’t given the detail you should probably expect from any self-respecting “food anime”.
This show also looks terrible. Like, really, really bad at times (most times). But I guess you can see that for yourself. The OP I feel is especially indicative of the quality of animation you’re going to find in this show.
The characters are very empty in this anime. The supporting cast has not had one single line (as far as I am concerned) that’s of significance, both in terms of being entertaining and/or being even remotely important to the narrative. Hagita, Azusa, and Takako are only used as placeholder friends so that Kakeru isn’t a third wheel when he joins the group. The existence of these three is pitiful, and I only wished they’d be able to get the character development and actual place in this story that they deserve.
As for the main characters, Suwa is cool, but Naho and Kakeru are just plain insufferable. We get it, you’re awkward, anxious teens that don’t understand your feelings or what to do with them yet. To make matters worse, Kakeru has a clumsily implemented tragic backstory, one where his mother that we never got to know as a character committed suicide. So of course Kakeru feels responsible for that even though it was in no way shape or form his fault, because feeling guilty for something you didn’t cause but could’ve prevented is human nature (if you’re stupid). I feel like Kakeru is just another result of thinking tragedy makes characters interesting.
Orange does have nice moments from time to time, but between those times is nothing but meaningless small talk and tonally-off montages where the group is shown having fun together, therefore establishing that a bond between these characters exists. Except that bond isn’t worth jack shit because it’s essentially pretending that these characters did something rather than actually writing out scenes and dialogue for which these characters can interact in and been seen as real people in this story, with motives and emotions and shit. But instead, this show wants to be about one relationship (Naho and Kakeru) while pretending there’s actually bigger group dynamic in play when there really isn’t.