Get your feel good shoes on because we are going in for a Sweetness and Lightning review! Now for those of you who have not picked up this sweet and fluffy title allow for me to give you a very quick rundown. The plot of Sweetness and Lightning follows Kouhei Inuzuka and his daughter Tsumugi Inuzuka as he works to pick up the pieces months after his wife passed from unknown causes. Having never been a man of the culinary skill he often would purchase pre-cooked meals and easy to cook dish items. Upon seeing his daughter practically drooling at the television one day he felt the sudden urge to treat her to homecooked dishes just like they used to have as a family. Having made nice with a student of his high school Kouhei enlists Kotori Iida to help him cook meals for Tsumugi. From behind the counter of her mother’s restaurant Kotori teaches Kouhei how to cook amazingly delicious meals for his daughter. Through the cooked food Tsumugi and Kouhei grow closer and share fond and bittersweet memories of the time they had with his wife and her mother.
The anime does not stop there as it goes into detail into the day to day trivial matters of raising a child as a single parent. Watching as Kouhei tries his best to provide for his daughter is as much apart of the overall story as the loss of his wife is. Having to deal with the issues that a daughter has to face at school while also trying to make sure she is eating right is enough to test even the most tried of parents.
The Story that hits you in the kokoro: While many anime out there are capable of bringing the feelings to the table few do it in the way Sweetness and Lightning does. Many of us have either known the loss of a parent (through death or separation) and it leaves you feeling incomplete at times; especially at such a young age. That’s where this story gets you in the kokoro, the heart. It is able to pull from that experience that so many of us have had the sad luck to have to have experienced or gone through; which is why it is all the more powerful in its presentation. You have a way to fully relate to how both Tsumugi and Kouhei feel after having to reel back from this loss and move on with their lives. There were more than a few episodes that left us feeling as lost as the two main characters where. The story just doesn’t focus on the cooking or the loss, it also focuses on the growth that Tsumugi has and the trivial issues of childhood fights and learning how to be responsible. It all is still very personable and touching nonetheless and this is what I loved so much about the anime and the story that it crafts along the way.
Frankly for someone to find an anime that isn’t shy about pulling the feels card out is one of the best anime around. Making it personable is something that goes the extra mile in terms of enjoyment and remembrance. Frankly this is an anime that I can see recommending my friends to see and for any young children.
Art that makes your tummy rumble: Seeing as this anime focuses a lot on the up and close details regarding food I can safely say is succeeds in all regards; even the rumbling of stomachs. Nothing is more delightful than seeing great looking food and not being able to have an ounce of it… The characters also shine and dazzle too; with Tsumugi often stealing the limelight as a character that everyone can love. Her mannerisms, expressions and they way she talks is all outstanding and the work done by her voice actress Rina Endou is superb. Now the character animation art remains very faithful to the source and still manages to breath a bit of it’s own life into the characters. There is little in the way of complaint in regards to anything art wise that this anime throws our way. All the delicate backdrops pair perfectly for the theming of each episode and the especially gloomy parts benefit from the effortless artstyle. I have not seen backgrounds that add to emotion more than what I have seen in this anime.
Final Thoughts: This anime is able create a memorable experience and one that depending on the person; can be an emotional ride. While the anime had so much potential to run longer than 12 episodes I can soundly say that I felt as if this anime had done what it set out to achieve. The theme that I was able to pull from this anime was a rather simple one and yet it is one that I always have lived my life by: live each day better than last and keep your head held high for the future. Granted everyone who watches this show may take something else away from this fluffy and sweet anime; some may even try to follow the given recipes! That is what is great about this show in particular in the sense that it’s a two for the price of one. You get great substance with the characters and their growth and yet at the same time you also get a show that introduces you to some very popular Japanese cuisine.
Will this be the show for you? Maybe, but it will be a fun and touching experience nonetheless! Sweetness and Lightning can be enjoyed for your streaming pleasure over at Crunchyroll!
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