Random Curiosity

Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 03 »« Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 01

Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 02

Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   01 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   02 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   03
Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   04 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   05 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   06
Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   07 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   08 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   09
Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   10 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   11 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   12
Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   13 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   14 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   15
Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   16 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   17 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   18
Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   19 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   20 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   21
Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   22 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   23 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   24
Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   25 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   26 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   27
Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   28 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   29 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   30
Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   31 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   32 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   33
Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   34 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   35 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   36

This episode played with my emotions much like love does, swinging me back and forth between highs and lows. Yet as taxing to the psyche as it may sound, beneath my ruggedly handsome exterior I’m actually a romantic at heart. I can easily relate to the characters’ joys and sorrows, and I do not mind when my feelings are tossed about like a small boat in rough seas. Yet a mere two episodes in, Natsuyuki Rendezvous’ developing love story has captivated me to an extent no other shows in recent memory have been able to reach. What makes this series so special? As a josei romance, it’s been refreshing to watch a love story built around adult feelings and adult issues, but more notably, what’s unique is that the affair at the center of the show has been portrayed from the point-of-view of every person involved. It’s this multi-faceted look at the romance that tugs our heartstrings in a myriad of directions, and it’s the main reason why I savored every second of this episode.

In the premiere, the only person’s thoughts heard were Hazuki’s, so I fully expected this series would continue with this narrative style as it is a common modus operandi for many love stories. It’s simply easier for a writer to keep people guessing about the path the romance will take when only one side of the coin is known and the other party’s feelings remain shrouded in mystery. However, as Natsuyuki Rendezvous is an unconventional romance, so too should its presentation. The introduction of both Rokka’s and Shimao’s point-of-views has effectively shifted the focus of the story from a simple question of whether Rokka reciprocates Hazuki’s feelings to the more complex issues that that people often experience when attempting to build a relationship.

In Rokka’s case, giving a voice to her feelings transformed her character almost instantly. No longer was she merely the distant object of Hazuki’s affections – she was now more of a real person than ever before. Before, I had thought of her as a prim and proper, beautiful and elegant woman who was only dedicated to her flower shop and was no longer interested in love, something she herself even admitted as much in a conversation with Akko (Miyake Marie) in the first episode. Yet now that we have a peek inside her head, we find she surprisingly has a playful and flirtatious side too, and even a bit of a daring side that is prone to becoming swept away by the powerful currents of attraction, libido, and circumstance. I loved finding out she also worries about same little things we do when it comes to love, and that she notices and appreciates the little things as well. Her personality was no longer confined to being expressed only in her visible behavior, and as a result I began to really understand what drew Hazuki into falling for her. More importantly, by showing us her point-off-view, Rokka’s emotions became our emotions.

Since we now have a window into Shimao’s thoughts, the same can be said of his emotions as well. Despite the fact that he’s a ghost, his feelings are just as real as ours, which means they speak to us the same way Rokka’s emotions do. After hearing his internal monologues, I’ve found that I share many of the same experiences as him; whether it’s the pain of watching someone else take your place beside the one you love, or the feeling of helplessness and powerlessness to care and comfort her when she’s feeling down, I’ve been down that road. There’s also Shimao’s desire for her unconditional happiness conflicting with his own desire to be the only love for her – a feeling I’m sure many of us know all too well. In addition to hearing his thoughts, his flashbacks to the times he was still alive and married to Rakko have been quite revealing of the couple’s personalities, and I’m looking forward to more stories recounting their past together. Peering into Shimao’s mind was an unexpected twist, but it has added an interesting dimension to this love story, and it’s one that not only speaks volumes about who he is and but also what his past with Rokka was like.

Hazuki, on the other hand, might be better off leaving his thoughts inside his head rather than letting them bubble up to the surface. Although he’s probably the character whose thoughts we’ve heard the most, his personality is one which still remains largely an enigma. Other than her cute forehead, we still don’t really know exactly what he loves about Rokka. I do respect and admire how straightforward and flirtatious he can be, even when confronted with Shimao’s visage and stymied at every advance, as those are qualities which have led him in the position where he is now, but at the same time, his inclination to act before thinking is what has also landed him in the mess he’s in with her. Saying a forced “but I love you!” will never get him any brownie points. Hopefully he’ll be able to redeem himself by taking care of her, but it looks like he might have a long ways to go yet with Shimao back on Rokka’s mind.

Two episodes into Natsuyuki Rendezvous, this unconventional romance has shown to contain very conventional and very adult feelings at its core, as seen from the point-of-view of all the involved characters. Although it may be a niche series overlooked by the mainstream audience, this series is quietly painting a portrait of love that has the makings of a modern day masterpiece.

  • I have to admit I’m more partial to Rokka with longer hair!
  • Full-length images: 16, 29, 31.

 

Preview

Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   Preview 01 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   Preview 02 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   02   Preview 03

Watch the Preview: Streaming ▼

July 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm
30 comments »
  • July 14, 2012 at 5:22 pmPtolemaios00

    I just have to say that this story flows really well and naturally.

    With these first 2 episodes, I was surprised when they ended, because it totally did not feel like 20 minutes of development have passed.

  • July 14, 2012 at 5:37 pmewok40k

    Totally was swept by the story, this is how REAL romances are working… awkward, salty with tears, spicy with garlic (yea, lol), and with much self-critic inside one’s head going on…

  • July 14, 2012 at 6:01 pmgod

    So good. Wish more people watched this show.

  • July 14, 2012 at 6:33 pmAllen Walker

    And thus a cougar was born. Love this anime. We need more cougar anime.

  • July 14, 2012 at 6:37 pmLucent

    I thought that some of the things Shimao did trying to block Hazuki from Rokka were a bit too harsh, especially since she looked happy that night, but it really just shows how little Shimao can do. He can’t touch her or talk to her, so the only thing he can really do is float around making funny faces. I felt really bad for him by the end of the episode.

    • July 14, 2012 at 9:24 pmpetitorenji

      Possessive ghost is possessive.

      I’m looking forward to the episode where Rokka gets to figure out by whatever source that her dead husband’s ghost has been stalking her all this time, watching her every move in the house, private or not. I wander how she’ll react to it.

      “I won’t let you have her.” Seriously? You’re dead. Please stay dead.

      On a different note, full-length #29 is so effing gorgeous.

      • July 14, 2012 at 11:43 pmverdant

        Yeah, I was hoping there would be at least one person who would appreciate cap #29, so thanks!

  • July 14, 2012 at 6:37 pmNess

    S-so many feels ;____________________;

    Guhhh I love this show. And it’s visually so pretty/well drawn too!

  • July 14, 2012 at 6:40 pmHighway

    I’m really enjoying this show. The pacing is great, things are happening, emotions are changing and are so believable. Hazuki has just the right amount of embarrassment for the story: not enough to paralyze him, but enough that he’s affected by Shimao’s presence.

  • July 14, 2012 at 6:52 pmdegra

    also mention GHOST-BLOCKED?!

    ryuu tried get time with rokka while ghost husband being funny face & ghost-blocker.

    so ryuu get date rokka & alone time oh ghost husband tried to kiss into forget husband cue double slap & out the door.

    give ghost husband stay & be with rokka due she don’t want him to leave give also during flashback give can’t have kids (due to hat wore got be cancer or something) show divorce paper but rokka said no.

    next day rokka all fever with ghost husband wonder to help then ryuu sense arrive & two help rokka get rest & recover yet give rokka crying her ghost husband want to cry.

  • July 14, 2012 at 7:01 pmIsabel

    This episode solidifies this anime as one of my favorites this season. I am enjoying the realism of the romance. It’s a fresh of breath air from the typical romance series (in particular, high school romance portrayals). Everything is portrayed with wonderful subtlety, even the humor isn’t too over-the-top. I was glad to see that Rokka doesn’t shy from the thought of sex and is willing to open herself to love again. This level of maturity in characters is rarely seen, and I’m enjoying it so far.

    I agree that as a viewer, I’m still confused about Hazuki’s love for Rokka. Getting to see things from Rokka POV exposed the beauty of her character to us, but what has/does Hazuki seen/see in Rokka that shows that he’s truly in love with her? Right now, I’m finding it a little difficult to believe him when he says “but I love you”. From the first episode, I had concluded that they rarely talked whenever he purchased flowers from her shop. So, is it the blossoming of a crush stemming from his regular visits or merely physical attraction? Or is it something deeper? I’m hoping that as the season unravels, this will be answered to some extent.

    Sidenote, it’s a pleasure to read your posts, Verdant. They’re always so well-written and insightful. I’m glad that you’ll be covering this series here.

    • July 14, 2012 at 11:51 pmverdant

      Thanks, I really appreciate your kind words and it helps make writing these posts even more worth the effort. I figured I’d write about a niche series for a change, let some of the others grab the spotlight! =)

      I agree with your comment about Hazuki – it’s a bit strange to realize that so far, it’s been easier to empathize with Rokka and Shimao than presumably the main protagonist. We really don’t know anything about him other than the fact he loves her, but maybe this show is more about the journey itself, rather than why we’re on this journey in the first place?

    • July 19, 2012 at 10:48 amAnonymous

      If anything, right now, he seems like a stalker. A possessive and manipulative stalker. Forcing her down, and then tactlessly calling her dead husband pathetic. And even after being slapped, he tries to be cool and suave: “don’t scowl like that.”
      Perhaps he’s inexperienced, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s got a long way to go until he’s deserving of her love. Like verdant said, let’s hope this is a journey. I’d like to see Hazuki develop over time.

  • July 14, 2012 at 7:44 pmAlec

    This is why we need less teenage romances and more adult romances.
    This is definitely one of the best romance anime in the past few years.

    Lol, this is proabably the only anime I’ve ever seen that always blows my mind away despite always feeling reluctant to watch an episode

  • July 14, 2012 at 8:04 pmRoux

    Being a young student myself, I don’t understand the character’s emotions personally but I really enjoy Natsuyuki Rendezvous. It’s a different type of romance anime than the usual school-teen romances. It’s refreshing and interesting to see something else for a change :)

  • July 14, 2012 at 8:39 pmshamaticgrl

    This show tore my heart and it’s only 2 episodes in?!

    I’ve heard many ppl say the ones that get left behind is hurt the most but after watching this I doubt it. Someone will always be hurt.

  • July 14, 2012 at 9:07 pmAkuamari

    I’m positively thrilled! I really think Natsuyuki Rendezvous will be my favorite anime of the season (if not my favorite anime of the year). I love how it’s not the typical romance anime that follows a pair of high schoolers who are forever so shy and are always wavering in their feelings. This is an adult anime with mature characters and i really love that about this series. Plus, this anime is so beautiful and thoughtful in its production quality, plot, and character development which makes me love it even more. Ah~ i hope more people give this anime a chance because i think they’ll really like it as well.

  • July 14, 2012 at 10:26 pmAlec

    Well if those teenage romances are as good as Aoi Hana, then I’m fine with it xD

    • July 16, 2012 at 2:05 ambriex

      I approve this comment!
      Too bad Divine only blog the first eps of Aoi Hana.

  • July 14, 2012 at 11:20 pmShirt

    Rokka was very cute and innocent in the first episode. But now she’s the real deal. Sexy, intellect, girly, pride, beauty.. it’s all there! It’s all there.. Definitely need more anime that I can safely show to all kinds of people and have them say, “Wow, I’d watch that.” because they can relate.

    Didn’t plan on sticking with this one for the season but looks like it’ll be the anime that takes the feels for a spin. <3

  • July 14, 2012 at 11:58 pmClick

    There are two central themes that this episode brought up which are going important to this show’s success: the (obvious) theme of moving on and Shimao’s dealing with his role as a passive observer. If the show can juggle those previous two and the romance well, this could be drama of the year material.

    Also, the show is good at making Rokka look beautiful. She has tomboyish hair, a wide forehead, and she doesn’t look like a teenager. In other words, she’s a dud in a moe setting, but Natsuyuki is great at making you believe she’s beautiful.

  • July 15, 2012 at 7:04 amKevz

    Dat husband ghost… just loves to make Ryuusuke’s life that much harder with those troll faces, he is such a cock block lol.

  • July 15, 2012 at 8:27 amYukie

    I don’t think Hazuki’s attraction to Rokka can be explained logically..falling in love never is logical.

  • July 15, 2012 at 10:37 amJunglepenguin

    Anyone else lol’d at Verdant describing his exterior as ruggedly handsome? I did. I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but I found that quite funny. =D

  • July 15, 2012 at 1:29 pmAllen Walker

    Im gonna put this out there since i see this mention in almost EVERY ANIME. But are the japanese so physically weak that they can catch a fever just from sleeping with out a blanket and don’t even have the strenght to NOT fall out from a fever? I mean how many anime show some one catching a fever and have to be bedridden for a few days or show them passing out to progress the story some kind of way. Im not bashing the anime i just want to know is this just a social thing in japan or is it something that actually affects them in real life?

  • July 15, 2012 at 9:17 pmSushiGoKart

    I agree with you that Natsuyuki Rendezvous has the makings of a modern day masterpiece. I’m looking forward to see how this resolves as there really isn’t any clear indication of the outcome. Much like the best relationships we just need to go with the flow.

  • July 15, 2012 at 10:14 pmOtaku Dump

    Definitely the best romance this season. I wonder how’s everything is going to proceed from here.

  • July 16, 2012 at 1:55 ambriex

    God, I love this show. Definitely the biggest sleeper this season for me.
    I rewatched the first eps like eight times XD. The last time I did that was with HanaIro’s first eps.

    Btw anyone notice the scene when Rokka fainted while trying to write a text? I believe She fainted before sending the mail. Even if she accidentally push the send button before she collapsed, I’m pretty sure she sent it to Miho. But then why Hazuki got the mail from Rokka too? I can’t help but think that Shimao was the one who send that empty mail to Hazuki. But then again, if he can touch the mobile phone, why didn’t he saved Rokka?

  • July 17, 2012 at 9:47 amTorami

    I guess that Shimao will let Rokka go as time proceeds, but they both still have to move on before Rokka can truly find happiness after Shimao’s death…
    So far I love this series. It feels realistic, even though I haven’t experienced much in terms of love myself ^^

  • July 26, 2012 at 8:01 pmAshen

    Couldn’t agree with you more if you paid me, Verdant. I really liked the promise of this show in the first ep., but now I’m absolutely loving it. I cannot wait to see how this turns out, as it’s shown such rare subtlety and quality already. If all goes well I’ll definitely be sharing this with as many people as I can.