Sweetness and Lightning – Preview
Sweetness and Lightning:
Original Air Dates: Jul 5, 2016 to ???
Synopsis: Math Teacher Kouhei Inuzuka does his best to raise his young daughter Tsumugi as a single father. He’s pretty bad at cooking, a chore his late wife generally took over, so to keep Tsumugi fed he normally just buys the local convenience store microwave meals. However when taking Tsumugi out cherry-blossom viewing one day, Kouhei and Tsumugi run into Kotori Iida, whose mother owns a local restaurant. Realizing Tsumugi deserves proper meals Kouhei sets about to learn how to cook so he can treat his little girl right.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Even though Sweetness is labelled as a comedy, having read the entire manga and watched the first episode, I can confidently argue that it isn’t much of one. That isn’t because the story does a terrible job of executing its comedy but because it’s more of a heartwarming tale rather than one filled with lots of comedic content. It has plenty of cute and endearing instances that will make you smile but it’s clearly aimed at filling the readers and viewers with a sense of melancholy and feel-good vibes.
Tom: Despite being a slice of life, Sweetness and Lightning doesn’t feel like it moves slow at all. Scenes are quick, to the point, and rarely linger, the show constantly keeping the story barreling forward as we’re introduced to Tsumugi’s day to day life and her father’s struggles. It’s mostly light and fluffy, with Tsumugi’s bubbly personality keeping things upbeat, but it can still surprisingly pull at your heartstrings at just the right moment if you happen to find Kouhei relatable. There’s something very powerful about a father struggling for his child, particularly when he realizes how he’s failed Tsumugi.
Linny: Sweetness is a slice of life that has cooking as its central theme. However, unlike other more grandiose cooking anime, here the focus is on basic Japanese cuisine and home cooking. The dish made in the first episode is extremely simple and while the manga introduces more and more complicated recipes, at the end of the day the food made is always reminiscent of comfort food. It’s food that warms your soul, just like Sweetness wants to do with its story. For anyone who wishes the show gave a better breakdown of the food being cooked, you can try the manga which has detailed recipe and steps listed at the end of each chapter for each dish. The manga is available on Crunchyroll’s manga library, as well as in paperback starting July 26 this year.
Tom: Tsumugi herself is super cute, and her personality feels real and honest enough a depiction of what actual little kids are like. She felt like a joy to watch and it became near heartbreaking when you realize she just doesn’t understand that her mother has already passed away.
Linny: For those unaware, Tsumugi’s voice actress is actually a young girl herself, unlike the norm of a woman performing the role, which helps to sell her adorable nature even more and solidifies her place as the star of the show. A huge part of the charm is watching Tsumugi and her interactions with everyone and everything around her.
Tom: I found Kouhei incredibly relatable, especially in how caught up he is in trying to keep things running smoothly for Tsumugi that he’s forgotten that maybe she needs a few of the little niceties in life. It’s not enough to make sure Tsumugi is fed, and clothed for school, but that she needs time with her father and a meal prepared with love once in awhile too. It’s easy to understand the struggle he’s facing as well as the disappointment in himself when he realizes he’s failing his own daughter.
Linny: Kouhei does seem like a rather frazzled and maybe even absent-minded person considering the fact that he doesn’t even recognize his own student, as Kotori actually goes to the school Kouhei teaches at! Even if you can’t relate to a overworked single father, it’s easy to bond with Kouhei and Tsumugi due to how adorable they are with each other and the recent loss they’ve suffered. Kotori is just as adorable once you get to know her a bit more and watch her struggle to offer Kouhei and Tsumugi a wonderful meal while hiding her own lack of culinary skills.
Tom: Sweetness and Lightning is one of the sweeter, more heartfelt series available this season. If you’re looking for something that sits a little closer to real life, but lacks the foreboding melancholic nature of Orange, Sweetness and Lightning is probably the go to pick. However, if you need something with a little more plot, substance, or drama, this probably isn’t your best bet. This is a show for people seeking a touching and uplifting story about a struggling father and his adorable daughter.
Linny: If you’re a sucker for sweet and simple stories about a parent and their adorable child with snippets of their daily lives, Sweetness and Lightning is this season’s best pick for you. Just know that it isn’t chock full of comedic incidents, but more about the bonds that grow and form through friendship and family, with some simple Japanese home cooked meals and dishes mixed in. However, as someone who has read the manga, if you feel like the first episode is slow, feel free to drop it immediately as the pace never really picks up in the manga.
Sweetness and Lightning is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.