I did not know what to expect from J.C. Staff, and certainly didn’t think it would be as good as what they’ve given us.
While the premise of Natsumachi invokes the image of a Haruhi ripoff, the show itself reminds me much more of Ano Hana: the group of friends, the chain of crushes ending with a supernatural girl, the focus on the characters’ relationships rather than any real plot. Natsumachi has a better setting, but it isn’t hard to beat Ano Hana’s “the real world + a ghost”. The characters aren’t as well developed, however, but I’d be more surprised if the show had managed to top Ano Hana’s superb characterization. Also, as usual, there is too much fanservice. Overall, though, I’m enjoying Natsumachi more; the female lead is more interesting than Menma, and providing an explanation for her presence, as cursory as it may be, goes a long way.
As a final note, one of the highest praises I can give a series is that its characters feel like real people (a higher praise would be that it’s characters are the cast of Fate/Zero, but everything can’t be written by Urobuchi Gen), and I feel that I can say that of Natsumachi. In this case, this is a double-edged sword; along with its adorable moments, the show has reminded me just how stupid teenagers can be.