First Look: Summer Time Render

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Alternative title(s): Summer Time Rendering
Manga Adaptation by OLM
Streaming on Disney+ (currently Japan only)

Premise

Shinpei Ajiro is returning from Tokyo to his island home in Wakayama prefecture to attend the funeral of his childhood friend Ushio. Although Ushio supposedly died while saving a young girl from drowning, there were bruises around Ushio’s neck, making the exact cause of her death questionable. Meanwhile, doppelganger-like entities are supposedly haunting the island, and Shinpei keeps experiencing visions of a deceased Ushio asking him to save her younger sister Mio.

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Artemis’ verdict: Overselling It

I felt somehow simultaneously overwhelmed and underwhelmed by this premiere. A mystery/thriller that’s all but begging the viewer to take it seriously, it confusingly also chose to insert completely random and in-your-face fanservice – in fact, the episode is literally bookended by a 90s-style anime rom-com cleavage face-fall.

At the same time, it oversold its dramatic moments to an almost comical degree, with every other camera shot an extreme close-up of someone’s eyes widening and every other line of dialogue delivered in a breathless gasp – even the more mundane ones. The main problem with attempting to constantly up the tension like this is that when anything interesting does happen (and the episode gets there… eventually), there’s nearly zero shock value since the audience has been primed for it for the last 20 minutes.

Honestly, the only thing I really liked here was some of the artwork. The color palette is genuinely quite lovely, so it’s a shame the episode’s numerous problems outshone its one major positive. I very much doubt I’ll be tuning back in for episode 2.

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Jel’s verdict: Cooled Down Fast

The self serious tone, pseudo-supernatural/psychological horror, and nonsensical fanservice make this feel like an adaptation of a mid-2000’s visual novel. That’s not really a compliment. What’s frustrating is this episode is beautifully presented, and for most of the episode they did a great job building tension and setting up a mystery. Then in the final third they kind of just… explain everything. Maybe not everything, but enough to kill the mysterious vibe. I’ll avoid details and say you will know exactly what kind of show Summer Time Render is by the end of the episode, and I’m not sure it’s one that I’m particularly interested in watching.

5 thoughts on “First Look: Summer Time Render

  1. Honestly, the first thing I did after watching the first episode was looking up the source material to see if it was an eroge or something. Maybe it’s just me, but it totally has the same vibe as those eroge adaptations from way back that ostensibly had a story that they ostensibly took seriously, but deep down you knew that the whole thing was supposed to be an excuse for the main character to sleep with every available female character.

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