Having recently finished rereading Air, I have realized just how much I like it because of Summer. Yuuichi Suzumoto, the genius behind this and Planetarian, weaves a beautiful tale of what it means to be a family, spearheading into main theme of Air only touched upon in the Dream arcs.
Here, Kanna and Ryuuya are established as purposeless beings who follow orders given to them because that’s all they’ve been taught to do. Uraha, already being a developed character, provides the depth needed from her role as the guidepost for the group dynamic to form. The ice is broken very concisely yet naturally, which Suzumoto is best at doing, and the group decides to find Kanna’s mother. I enjoy this because while there is something for the trio to react to, that is their proactive choice. I love it when characters’ motives are something they would have independent of the plot happening, and it’s accomplished here well.
Through the rest of Summer, the relationship between the three is developed through their actions, far more than their words. The characters and their relationship is the strength of the story, shown in examples like Uraha saying “It’s almost like…” to which Ryuuya has a funny quip, until the end where he reassures the theme by saying they’re a happy family. It reminds me a lot of the character writing of Kinoko Nasu, and it’s something I very much appreciate. Less words, more action. Sounds like a strange thing to want from visual novels, but when it’s done it’s done well.
Summer is so simple, and because of that it is beautiful. Perfection is achieved not when you can no longer add, but when you can no longer take away, as said by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; a philosophy I wholly agree with, and what Suzumoto does best. What we’re left with in the end, is a simple tale of the importance of family, and how families can made of anyone regardless of blood connection. I think Summer is objectively the best story I’ve read, held back only by being a part of Air, which I find hard to fault it for anyway.