Even the most confident of people can easily fall prey to an inconspicuous but vile and insidious enemy that often bedevils blossoming relationships: overthinking. When you’re analyzing every little detail and every single sign, you’re no longer yourself and you run the risk of forcing the issue instead of the letting everything come to you. This is exactly what happened to Hazuki on his amusement park date with Rokka to make it one of the most awkward first dates I have ever seen.
Their first ‘official’ outing was a textbook example of what happens when someone overthinks their relationship with the person whom they like. Previously, Hazuki was markedly bold and confident in his pursuit of Rokka – he didn’t even let the ghost of her deceased husband to get in between them, and he sure didn’t need to know or even consider her feelings before making his moves. However, his habit of acting without thinking first ended up making her sad. This might help to explain why in Hazuki’s first date with Rokka, one without Shimao to get in his way even, his personality took almost a 180 degree turn. He was now thinking before acting, but now he was overthinking everything. Hazuki was essentially reduced to an overly emotional mess who became dejected at any minute sign she might not reciprocate his feelings. It was as if every single one of Rokka’s innocuous gestures or words took on a whole new world of meaning and caused him to continually wonder if their date was going well, if she returned his feelings, and if they had a future together. And naturally and predictably, what was the result of Hazuki’s overthinking? Instead of allowing the romance to develop organically, he tries to force it and ends up pushing Rokka away instead of bringing her closer by inadvertently triggering her bittersweet memories with Shimao to come flooding back.
It’s been fairly evident that Hazuki can’t help but compare himself with her late husband, but I’m not exactly sure what he was trying to accomplish by taking Rokka to the same amusement park that she went to with Shimao. His stated goal was to make Rokka smile again, which is a quite respectable one, but I’m sure deep inside he also wanted to overwrite her memories of Shimao with new memories starring himself. Whatever his goals may be, going about them the way he did was more selfish than anything. During their entire date, Hazuki wasn’t focused on doing things that would make Rokka happy – he was intent on doing things that would make him happy. Almost everything he tried to have her do or prevented her from doing was intended to find out one way or another how she felt about him. Only in the end did he think about what he could offer her and what he could do for her, which finally made her smile – but by then the date was practically over already. Any romance that was in the air had dissipated, and Rokka was still unable to move past Shimao. Whatever Hazuki’s goals may be, going about them the way he did was more selfish than anything. You’re not going to make anyone smile by thinking only of yourself.
It is understandable where he’s coming from however as many of us have been in his shoes before. After all, not knowing whether someone reciprocates your feelings can be extremely nerve-wracking and stressful, and when combined with the pressures of a first date, the temptation to overthink and over-analyze can be too hard to resist (even with the help of liquid courage). That said, while I can’t speak for everyone (particularly females), I didn’t find Hazuki’s attitude endearing at all and instead I lost a good deal of respect for him. He basically shot himself in the foot – all of his suffering was his own fault, and not only was it hard to watch, it was even harder to feel any sympathy or pity for him. This is what happens when you overthink – all the stress and anxiety is of your own making, and none of it serves any purpose in furthering the relationship and is usually detrimental instead.
Natsuyuki Rendezvous has done an admirable job with spicing up the standard romantic drama with a supernatural element, but this week showed that it could deftly handle more realistic and commonplace issues that are found in everyday romances as well. When we look beyond the romantic plot at the surface, this series has brought up some wonderful ideas and has the potential to teach us a lesson or two about romance, about life, and about ourselves… For me, no matter where Hazuki and Rokka’s story takes us, the emotions and questions that this show brings up alone makes it one worth watching.
- Once again, Rokka was even more adorable than ever with her huge earrings and inverted flower pot hat. I liked how despite all the awkwardness, she stayed calm and normal as can be for the most part until the memories of Shimao became too painful for her to keep it pent up inside. I especially loved her line about avoiding the summer heat and preferring the cool evenings, as I understood it to mean that she didn’t want a torrid, passionate, and heated romance and instead wanted to keep things slow, cool, and relaxed for now.
- I’m not sure what will happen from Shimao possessing Hazuki’s body. His ‘reunion’ with Rokka was definitely quite an emotional one as he was overjoyed at being able to speak and touch with her again, but many questions remain. Primarily, will he reveal that it’s her husband who inhabits Hazuki’s body or will he remain silent? If it’s the latter, I could definitely see this backfiring on him and being favorable to Hazuki instead if Rokka warms up to the idea of a romance with Hazuki. To complicate things even further, there’s the issue of Hazuki finding himself in an alternate dimension that will probably have some serious effects on the trio’s relationship.
- And what was up with Shimao turning into an image of a younger Rokka as he possessed Hazuki’s body? Is that what ‘really’ happened, or was it just something that Hazuki wanted to see in his drunken stupor?
- Full-length images: 02, 16, 31, 33.
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