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Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 10 »« Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 07

Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 08, 09

Natsuyuki Rendezvous   08   01 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   08   02 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   08   03
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Natsuyuki Rendezvous   08   31 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   08   32 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   08   33
Natsuyuki Rendezvous   08   34 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   08   35 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   08   36

Your happiness and the happiness of the one you love – when the two are at odds, how do you decide which is more important? It’s not a question that anyone wants to confront, but seeing as it is slowly shaping up to be a key issue in Natsuyuki’s plot, it was only a matter of It’s not a question that anyone wants to confront, but seeing as it is slowly shaping up to be a key issue in Natsuyuki’s plot, it was only a matter of time before both Shimao and Hazuki had to make their decision. It’s also a question that is messy, complicated, and has no right answers – something which was evident in each of their decisions. In terms of moving the main plot forward, there wasn’t much progress made in this episode however. Considering there are only three episodes left after this one, it’s a bit surprising that we’re no closer to knowing the outcome of this love triangle. Although, I do think that what this episode did do could be considered just as important. It set the stage for what I’m guessing will be a final confrontation between all three characters, and one of the main ways it does this is by showing us Shimao and Hazuki’s motivations and their decisions regarding Rokka’s happiness and their own.

At this point, it’s still not completely clear whose happiness Shimao has decided should take precedence. What makes his situation hard to decipher is that not only do his words run counter to his actions; they are sometimes self-contradictory as well. We hear Shimao’s thoughts about putting Rokka’s happiness first to help her move on, but then we’re also privy to lines about how he feels that her romance with Hazuki is inevitable anyway so there isn’t anything he could do to alter its course. If he really means to put her happiness as his top priority, I’m not sure if going for one last “fling” with Rokka, ditching her, and then removing all of his possessions from her residence is the best way to go about it. The same can be said with his plans for the titular plant, the snow-in-summer (natsuyuki) – he’s not making her happy by absconding with it, that’s for sure. The ghost’s “neither here nor there” nature has been well reflected in his personality and actions throughout this series, and especially now; it’s as if he can’t decide whether to choose Rokka’s happiness or his own so he’s straddling the line between both. Unfortunately, doing so seems like it could lead towards a resolution where the possibility neither he nor Rokka will end up happy.

Unlike the ghost, Hazuki’s choice of whose happiness is important was loud and clear in this episode. Though he (and Shimao as well) believe in the red string of fate – one which ties Rokka to their rival, he has finally left no doubt as to what his plans are. In a way, it was comforting to see a return to the Hazuki we knew for much of the series before this unexpected detour into fairy tale land threw him off course. Ever since the first episode, Hazuki has never been one to really waver or back down in his pursuit of Rokka. His unshaking commitment to winning her heart has been one of the few admirable personality traits of the characters in this series, and more notably, his personality stood as a refreshingly direct contrast to Shimao’s. Yet the Hazuki found in this strange realm really hasn’t been the same one who bravely asked Rokka for an affair, the one who takes charge and forces the issue, for better or for worse. The change in personality was understandable however when you consider his situation – he doesn’t really know where he is and his dialogue with the mysterious fairy tale princess hasn’t really shone much light onto his circumstances, or for that matter, even Shimao and Rokka’s in any concrete terms. Hazuki, instead of being the one at the helm of his fate, found himself at the beck and call of the realm he was trapped in. During this mini-arc, he’s been turned into a bit of a side story compared to the drama unfolding between Shimao and Rokka, but now that Hazuki has rediscovered the resolve that made him such a fun character to watch, these last episodes should be a joy to watch with someone easier to root for.

As for the woman whose happiness has seemingly taken a backseat to the others, Rokka’s character development seems to have received the short end of the stick as well. After the events of these last few episodes and a conversation with BakaMochi about Rokka’s weird lack of recognition that there was something substantially different about Hazuki’s personality, she is in some ways, increasingly becoming harder to either empathize with or feel pity for. Granted, she has been through one of the most stressful life changing events one could possibly experience, but much about her remains largely an enigma, especially her thoughts and emotions about falling in love again. This series started off so well with giving us a view inside her head, hearing her thoughts, but as of late they’ve become few and far between. With the climactic end to Natsuyuki coming soon, hopefully the show will give a more balanced look at each character’s thoughts, emotions, and motivations once again and continue raising these terrific questions about love that few other shows dare to ask, much less answer.

  • Some additional info about the red string of fate:

      The red string of fate, also referred to as the red thread of destiny, red thread of fate, and other variants, is an East Asian belief originating from Chinese legend and is also used in Japanese legend. According to this myth, the gods tie an invisible red string around the ankles of those that are destined to meet each other in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way. Often, in Japanese culture, it is thought to be tied around the little finger. [...] The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break. This myth is similar to the Western concept of soulmates or a twin flame. (Wikipedia)

  • Full-length images: 01, 07.1, 07.2, 07.3, 11.5, 14, 15, 22.5, 25, 31.

 

Episode 09

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

Promises are the cornerstone of many a romantic relationship. For Shimao and Rokka, they are of such great importance that even death does not diminish the responsibility of keeping them. Their steadfast commitment to fulfilling their promises to each other is something I find very romantic and admirable in this day and age when even the vows of marriage can seem no more everlasting than any other common contract.

However, such a strong devotion to keeping a promise can divide two hearts as much as it can bring them together. Shimao is so dedicated to standing by his word (which was presumably one of his last words and promises to Rokka as she lay by his death bed) that by doing so, he seems to be hurting her more than helping her. At the very least, by being blind to the current situation, blind to Rokka’s emotions, he does come off as a bit selfish. I can’t help but feel that at the same time he’s trying to help her move on, he’s also assuaging his guilt of leaving her behind. My friend also noticed that Shimao never even shows even a hint of a smile, at least not any moments that we can remember. It’s almost as if he doesn’t want to show any emotions whatsoever, evidenced by the strange and anguished way he fought back his tears once Rokka, realizing who he was, clung onto his back. My best guess is Shimao’s melancholy mask probably stems from his belief that any time he spends with her is fleeting and destined to end when he has to return to his ethereal form. Even still, one would think that the sheer joy and elation from merely being together with a long-lost love would be emotionally powerful enough to bring some warmth to Shimao’s icy demeanor. In the end, after what should have been a joyous reunion, the image which remains in my mind is that of Shimao’s somber gaze as he is pinned beneath a truly happy Rokka.

Shimao’s lack of positive emotions notwithstanding, the long-awaited reunion between husband and wife was still definitely emotionally satisfying as I expected it would be, if not necessarily intellectually satisfying. Although it might have come later that I would have liked, Rokka’s emotional journey once she realized there was a distinct possibility that it was Shimao, not Hazuki, who she’d fallen for as of late, followed largely how I pictured it would play out. Granted, there were many signs of Shimao’s personality that she should have caught onto earlier, especially since they were so different than Hazuki’s personality. Yet seeing her put together all the pieces and remember the little things that only you would notice and cherish about the one you love was moving by any measure. From the tree and the story connected to it, to the unusual way Shimao runs, and finally to the clothes on his back and the items he left behind, every sign and memory was full of meaning to Rokka and their importance was not lost on us. This is a woman who, without a doubt, still loves Shimao to this day, and I’m not sure if she’s ready to move on.

For a series that loves using fairy tales as metaphors, Rokka’s story about the woman and the tree was absolutely endearing and memorable, partially because of the patchwork fabric style used to illustrate it and partially because of how well it summed up her relationship with Shimao. How she considers the story to have a happy ending says a lot about her views about her relationship with him as a whole, and why unlike him, she’s not focused on keeping her promises to him to the degree he is. She still remembers her promises though and feels that they are important enough where she does feel guilt about not being able to keep them, even though he’s long gone. It’s hard to discern whether her inaction is due to her inability to move on or something else however. Does she keep all his belongings for sentimental value, or does she keep them because she still doesn’t want to let go, even though he wants her to? Whatever her reasons are, the aftermath of her not being able to keep her promises to him will collide with his stubborn commitment to fulfilling his promises to her. And like so many other things about this series, I have no idea what will happen.

~-~

Although Hazuki’s story feels like a little too much of a side story than I’d like, it would be remiss of me to not write about him especially after this interesting twist in events that should finally begin to tie his story together with Shimao and Rokka’s. Since Hazuki’s body in the real world occasionally switched to take on the appearance of Shimao in this episode, it makes me wonder if this is simply a visual device Natsuyuki is using to show how Rokka sees Hazuki now that she realizes it’s Shimao’s soul inside the body, or if it has something to do with why Hazuki now looks like Shimao in the fairy tale world as well. Either way, it doesn’t bode well for him, as he was denied being the prince on his own terms and now ironically, he’s stuck in the body of his rival. How the tables have turned…

One of Hazuki’s lines in this episode really reverberated with me. “I love who I love” is a truism that we oftentimes forget when we’re suffering through the pains that accompany the pursuit of a relationship. We can’t help who we fall for, who we give our hearts to. Hazuki knows that despite the age gap, despite the fact that Rokka still hasn’t moved past Shimao, despite the uncertainty of any future with her – he loves her, and he’s committed to see things through to the end. I know I’ll be rooting for him to succeed, but even if he doesn’t, Natsuyuki will still be one of my favorite romances in recent memory.

 

Preview

Natsuyuki Rendezvous   09   Preview 01 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   09   Preview 02 Natsuyuki Rendezvous   09   Preview 03

Watch the Preview: Streaming ▼

September 3, 2012 at 12:40 am
17 comments »
  • September 3, 2012 at 1:26 amEmD

    He runs like such a doofus lmao

  • September 3, 2012 at 3:32 amrazzler

    i’m so frustrated with natsuyuki

    1. although I understand why shimao-kun’s so selfish, in the end of the day, he’s already dead
    2. when will both rokka-chan and shimao-kun realize that their love story “now” is thanks to him usurping hazuki’s body which is unfair to hazuki who still loves rokka-chan
    3. and if ever rokka-chan still can’t get over shimao-kun, she should at least be firm to hazuki and hopefully not string him along since she’s like “thanks but no thanks” to hazuki’s feelings
    4. i’ll be so disappointed if number 3 happens and hazuki will still continue to pursue rokka-chan. i mean, seriously hazuki, go catch other fishies.
    5. i seriously want hazuki to get revenge by breaking rokka-chan’s heart and she dies

    seriously… don’t know how to feel about this anymore but one thing is for sure, we really do do stupid things for love

  • September 3, 2012 at 4:05 amewok40k

    this series gets on my nerves, yet fascinates me… stupid Shimao, just move on and stop using somebody else’s body!

  • September 3, 2012 at 5:12 amStereoman

    TBH, I didn’t want Rokka to realize that the man next to her was Shimao, simply because this will obviously make it even more difficult for Hazuki to get her (now that he is back in his body?).
    But aaargh, all these feels I get from this show ;A;

    • September 5, 2012 at 12:18 amverdant

      All these feels indeed, haha! It takes me so long to sort out my emotions so I can write these posts sometimes…

  • September 3, 2012 at 7:52 ampetitorenji

    It’s interesting how this series is now making Ouji-sama one of the main characters, with more screen-time than Hazuki. Imagine the possibilities of this series if it treated a dead character as, well, a dead character.

    Rokka and Shimao are actually both extremely selfish and possessive – almost heartless. I somehow really want Hazuki to stop chasing the former and move on to another more-deserving, quality woman. Then, perhaps Rokka will in return come running to him – as some women do when they’ve lost the attention of an admirer.

    Actually, I never understood why Shimao became a ghost in the first place – should he be satisfied of the love he had received from his wife when he was still alive? Don’t people become ghosts only when they still have uncompleted duties or grudge? And not because someone else want them to?

    • September 5, 2012 at 12:21 amverdant

      Hazuki should totally move on to Shimao’s sister…

      I think Shimao became a ghost because he was so attached to her. He seems awfully protective/possessive, so he’s probably lingering around to watch over her and to try and keep his promises to her and whatnot

  • September 3, 2012 at 9:47 amYukie

    I teared up during the reunion…damn this series really gets to me. Shimao’s decided to relinquish Hazuki’s body, but now that Rokka-chan has found him…I wonder if Hazuki will ever be able to get his body back.

  • September 3, 2012 at 10:03 amrochichan

    Although this episode was the one that gave me the most “AGHHHHH” feels, I couldn’t stop laughing everytime I saw Shimao’s running. XD I rewinded it like 3 times!

    On a serious note, I am so eager for what’s going to happen. Honestly, I have no idea who to root for because from how it’s going right now, it could end with either one…

  • September 3, 2012 at 12:55 pmLeticia

    Last episodes are kind of boring me, the show doesn’t have the freshness that the first episodes had, I don’t know, I like the characters and all but the development isn’t being quite satisfactory for me ToT

  • September 3, 2012 at 7:12 pmsolarasreign

    Talk about a HUGE step backwards for Rokka to get over her dead husband. Nice going Shimao..
    How this will play out at the end is anyone’s guess, but yeah.. Natsuyuki is getting
    on my nerves with all of my feels damnit!

    I just want Hazuki to come back already and try to get the girl he wants. =3=
    The preview looks a bit promising, but with our luck it’s him just seeing from afar in Dream Land.

    The Snow White scene really made me LOL, damn dwarfs, and I was half hoping for Hazuki to be able to wake up Rokka with a kiss, didn’t expect her breaking the glass. O3O
    Poor guy can’t catch a break even in Dream land!

  • September 3, 2012 at 8:49 pmGraceLyn

    Not connected to these episodes at all, but as I looked over the screen caps, I’m just now remembering that in Japan it’s sort of a myth (fad?) to cut your hair when you break up or your heart is broken.

    Could this be the reason for Rokka’s shorter hair cut?? Just putting it out there.

  • September 4, 2012 at 12:30 pmHighway

    It really seems like Shimao’s pointless selfishness is ruining the show, killing Hazuki, and hurting Rokka. We certainly don’t get any other justification for his taking Hazuki’s body besides what seemed to be his initial jealousness towards Hazuki and desire to be with Rokka again. And then after the took it, he didn’t do anything different from what Hazuki would do until after Rokka confessed that she loved him. And now this silly chase all over the place.

    It doesn’t help at all that we have absolutely no clue what he was trying to do. Maybe if we knew he had a plan, or a goal, or even some inkling of what he was doing. Instead we’re just watching him blunder around while Hazuki is trapped in a place that’s apparently killing his soul. I feel sorry for Hazuki, and sorry for Rokka, but not at all for Shimao. He had the chance to do something worthwhile, and instead he did this, whatever this is.

  • September 4, 2012 at 7:16 pmsealouse

    They’re dragging it out a bit too much. So that’s where that weird request about eating his bones came from.

  • September 4, 2012 at 8:12 pmIsabel

    While this fairy tale/storybook diversion has made me respect Hazuki more, I really want to see him back in the fray. I actually find Shimao’s selfishness and indecisiveness endearing, since those attributes reflect yet another side of a relationship and love in general, so he has become more relatable to me, and not annoying. However, I have found myself growing distant from Rokka. Her resolve wavers, and her feelings have grown less clear since Shimao left the store. I would like to see her reject Shimao because she realizes that he was her past and she needs to move on with the rest of her life, instead of Shimao rejecting her, which I’m seeing as more likely to happen.

    On a lighter note, in honor of this show, I purchased a “snow-in-summer” plant of my very own, which I can’t wait to plant!

    • September 5, 2012 at 12:22 amverdant

      Haha, I actually have that plant in my yard already!

  • September 5, 2012 at 12:32 amTakuma

    i hate to say this but now its too late to stop me. “GET LOST SHIMAO!!”