Contrary to its Spring counterpart, the Summer 2016 anime season has a stacked lineup of solid shows. But where to start? Well allow us to make the case for why you should be checking out a favorite of ours: Sweetness and Lightning.
For those who have never heard of it, Sweetness and Lightning follows a young teacher named Kohei and his toddler daughter Tsumugi. After losing his wife six months before the start of the series, Kohei is left to raise Tsumugi alone and isn’t able to provide the same quality of meals as his wife used to prepare for his daughter.
As fate would have it, he happens to have a run in with one of his students, Kotori. Even though her mother is a chef and she lives above her mother’s restaurant, Kotori also cannot cook but really wants to learn. So Kotori, Kohei, and Tsumugi all start learning how to cook together. The series follows their experience in the kitchen as well as their lives as Kohei raises Tsumugi.
Why has this been one of our favorites? Here’s why:
5. Difficulties and Dealing With Loss
We all know Kohei’s wife has passed. But to Tsumugi, she is under the impression (as most children would be) that her mother is coming back. It becomes blatantly apparent that this is crushingly painful for Kohei. There are several moments where you can witness him feeling lost, plagued by the reminder of what has transpired. However, as a parent must, he toughs it out for the sake of Tsumugi.
This fair portrayal of Kohei as a person and character really brings him to life within the show. He is a believable and admirable character. Watching him work through his grief and seeing his successes really bonds the audience with him. We want what’s best for him so that we can watch him get through this difficult part in life.
4. The Experience of Being a Parent
In a lot of series, parents are usually portrayed as having to deal with only extreme moments. Sweetness and Lightning does a solid job of showing at the great (and not so stellar) aspects of being a parent. There are no crazy extremes, just the simple and unadulterated experience of life. Sometimes, keeping it simple makes for the best stories.
3. A Real Perspective on Cooking
Let’s face it, cooking isn’t always the easiest task. Sure, a lot of dishes can be simple to make but the best ones take a lot of time and effort to get right. Sweetness and Lightning really dons this idea well. From the failed attempts to the successful ones, the audience really gets to learn and develop with the characters.
Sure, you could watch Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma to really learn a lot (or not, some of that cooking is insane), but Sweetness and Lightning is more about simpler dishes. Also, things don’t go as perfectly as they often do with Shokugeki no Soma, we think Sweetness and Lightning provides a more realistic outlook at the amount of time and effort put into cooking.
2. Its Periodic Silliness and Child Sense of Wonder
Watching Tsumugi grow and experience the world in this show is fantastic. Her perspective brings so much to the table in terms of character development (besides being the main plot vehicle). Witnessing her sporadic behavior, pure (and seemingly endless) energy, obsession with cartoons, and kindergarten fun is a delight. Having Tsumugi there is similar to that of having children in the theater was for the film Finding Neverland. The moments that we (as adults) might find comical are different to her’s. So having this bubbly child helps us find the joy in every aspect of the show.
1. Heartwarming Moments and Cute Factor
This show is adorable. Packed full of enough father and daughter moments to make even the most loveless and ice cold heart melt. It does an excellent job leaving you with a positive feeling and gentle smile on your face. Combine these instances with Tsumugi’s constant cuteness this really drives the whole appeal of the show home. It is wonderful, educational, and a slice of life that doesn’t fall into the typical tropes.
So if you need a break from gut-wrenching shows like Re:ZERO, the bloody violence of Berserk, and the never ending shonen, then we highly recommend giving Sweetness and Lightning a shot. It’s one of the most pure slice of life experiences out right now. On top of everything, it’ll help you sleep better at night. We promise.Tweet