A Very Good Anime – Summertime Render Ep 1-2 Review

Can Shinpei escape both a time loop and looming shadows on a tiny island in Japan? Reviewing episode one and two of Summer Time Render.

Wow. I can’t help but be pleasantly surprised by this anime. 

Episode 1 Review 

Sure, I was waiting for it to come out. Anticipating a really good story – even a thriller, maybe. 

But this? This first episode completely blew my expectations away. 

Sometimes anime – especially anime set in ‘tropical’ or ‘exotic’ locations like a beach – usually spend time setting up the plot, or giving copious amounts of fan service. We did get some fan service – with our protagonist (for now?) Shinpei waking up face first in a pile of anime boobies – but it was relatively short-lived. 

Although I have been taking a break, I caught a few moments of a YouTube video from a Re:Zero YouTuber I really enjoy watching. He recommended Summer Time Rendering to Re: Zero fans that enjoy the sort of mystery world of seeing a protagonist repeatedly have to ‘restart’ an infinite timeline, and learn as he goes on. 

Where to Watch Summer Time Render 

You can watch Summer Time Render on Disney Plus, which is not known for anime but I guess they are trying to change that. 

The Opening and Ending Theme 

As most of you probably know, anime is notorious for spoiling the season’s plot in either the opening or ending theme. This anime, has done neither. And if so, it’s been cleverly hidden. 

The only hint at something weird happening in the opening is Shinpei holding a gun to his head – which could signify him repeatedly dying or killing himself to ‘restart’ the doomed timeline until he finally gets its right. 

The ending seems to be a mix of those weird vaporwave YouTube videos you stumble upon late at night with a mix of Japanese city-pop vocals being tuned to an unearthly pitch, all the while the video footage of an island cuts in and out similar to Shinpei’s vision at the start of the episode. 

The Plot (featuring Shadow Sickness) 

I love a good plot. I love a well-done psychological thriller even better. But…throw in some actual folklore that becomes canon in the very first episode? And I’m completely sold. 

So judging from the information we’ve gotten so far, it seems Shinpei grew up with sisters Ushio and Mio Kofune. Ushio and their father Alan seem to bear a resemblance, and it makes me wonder if Alan is a foreigner who ended up opening a restaurant on the tiny island and eventually either re-married or adopted Mio. (or, maybe I’m just looking too much into things) 

It seems Ushio and Shinpei were close growing up, but things became distant when the boy went to study in Tokyo – leaving the sisters and his adoptive family on the island. Shinpei’s parents died about ten years earlier, and we are not given the reason for their deaths as of yet. 

The Kofune have a cousin, Tetsu, who is the only police officer on the island. He randomly mentions that the Kobayakawa has disappeared while casually ordering some lunch, and viewing porn on his phone.  

What’s weird about this is…how callous it was? 

As of Episode 2...this is definitely Tetsu's Shadow confirmed. From Summer Time Render.
As of Episode 2…this is definitely Tetsu’s Shadow confirmed. From Summer Time Render

The official story so far is that Ushio drowned while saving the Kobayakawa’s young daughter Shiori. At the funeral, Shinpei’s friend (and the coroner’s son) Sou mentions that Ushio may have been murdered due to strangle marks found around her neck after death. 

Sou also makes note to say that he, Mio, and Ushio all went into the sea to save the drowning Shiori. 

Later on in the episode, Mio is repeatedly seen staring strangely at things around town. Namely her house, after running into her cousin Tetsu. Then…as if on cue to explain this weirdness away, the folklore of shadows is introduced. 

Doppelgängers that signify the seer’s death. 

Mio claims that Ushio saw her shadow three days before her death, and that Shiori saw hers as well.  

An old man comes along to explain that the shadows were bad omens, and that they would try to kill the original person, as well as their family. Before the episode ends, Mio sees her shadow and it kills both her and Shinpei. 

What’s weird about this, is that the ‘shadow’ in Mio’s alleged flashback of Ushio’s shadow on the beach had that holographic-like appearance that Ushio had in Shinpei’s dream/warning. Mio’s shadow that held her at gun point was solid. 

The Kofune family together as children. From Summer Time Render Episode 1.
The Kofune family together as children. From Summer Time Render Episode 1

Given the strange face Tetsu made at Mio in the restaurant, and whatever the two spoke about earlier before – I wonder if those are even the real Tetsu and Mio? 

In Shinpei’s dream, Ushio said she would not return to the island with him…so could the “real” Ushio be trapped somewhere while the fake shadow ran rampant? 

Episode 2 Review 

Hmmm…so is Shinpei already dead? 

Shinpei has another "out of body experience" where he 'takes a step back' and witnesses things he should not see, or know. Summer Time Render Episode 2
Shinpei has another “out of body experience” where he ‘takes a step back’ and witnesses things he should not see, or know. Summer Time Render Episode 2

Or, is he some sort of special ‘shadow’ whose body parts (like his eye) continually get brighter and brighter each time he dies? And why did Mio’s shadow seem like she was ‘controlling’ Tetsu’s shadow? 

The line about Japan not being America, and that a gunshot would be heard for miles…do these shadows just go around to different countries killing the original people and taking their place?  

If so…for what purpose? (And what does ‘the war’ mentioned earlier have to do with this?) 

For whatever reason, it seems like Ushio is still around and cognitive enough to help Shinpei. Or, Shinpei is helping her because he and his parents were originally stolen by the shadows ten years ago and his spirit remained to help and make sure no one else was harmed? 

There’s one thing I don’t understand…. who was the flash at the funeral? 

It seems like the recently deceased has their image taken in a ‘flash’ by a pure shadow…but the only dead person (that we know of from Shinpei’s vantage point) is Ushio’s body in the casket. 

Unless…someone was switched out? 

And who was the agent talking about? I feel like she was definitely referring to Shinpei and not Shiori when she said it was among them. 

(Given Shinpei not remembering telling the old man about the woman on the boat, and Shinpei not speaking to Shiori before the funeral…it would make sense.  

I wonder how the woman from the boat ties into all of this, since Shinpei’s shadow was looking for her…) 

Curiouser and curiouser cried Alice… 

(I think I’m going to end it here ☺) 

I don't know why, but the way Mio's shadow was animated makes it seem beautiful but extremely creepy at the same time. Summer Time Render Episode 2
I don’t know why, but the way Mio’s shadow was animated makes it seem beautiful but extremely creepy at the same time. Summer Time Render Episode 2

But, tell me your thoughts. 

Is Shinpei already dead and a shadow, at that? 

Why does Ushio keep asking Shinpei for his help to protect Mio? 

And… who else on the island do you think is already a shadow? 

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Summertime Render Episode Reviews and Discussions!       

次のエピソード: Ushio is Back from the Dead?

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Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

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