This series gives new meaning to the phrase “a storybook romance”. We’ve always known that Natsuyuki Rendezvous is an unconventional love story with supernatural elements aplenty, but for me, Hazuki’s sojourn into a picture book-esque world was wholly unexpected.

It’s clear that after his soul-swapping with Shimao, Hazuki has found himself in an other-worldly realm, but determining exactly where, what, or whose realm it is gets murky. At first, I thought it was a simple story of his soul now inhabiting the world where Shimao usually spends his time when he’s not a ghost floating around the flower shop. This world which his mind has created is modeled after a story he drew while hospitalized, and it exists because he was still too attached to Rokka and was unable to move on to the afterlife.

Yet I have a gut feeling that this place isn’t actually Shimao’s at all – it’s Rokka’s. The glowing spirit we saw floating down towards Hazuki in the previous episode had the same exact appearance as Rokka does in this realm, and her personality in it seems far too independent and knowledgeable for her to be merely a creation of Shimao’s imagination. I still don’t know what her purpose in the story is though, and it’s something that definitely bothers me a bit. Fairy Rokka’s stories and conversations with Hazuki did serve to shed additional light into Shimao’s backstory, which was a welcome development, but unfortunately the dialogue was too vague to easily comprehend what she’s trying to accomplish by telling them to Hazuki. I have a feeling that she’s trying to further her relationship with him by sharing Shimao’s past (which is something I doubt Shimao would have ever intended). However, there are her cryptic scenes towards the end about not being the manager Hazuki believes her to be and him taking on the appearance of several animals, which I’m not sure what to make of just yet. This could all just be problems stemming from the translated subtitles, but in any case we it looks like we’ll have to be content with waiting until the next episode for a better explanation and resolution to the pair’s journey through the world of the picture book.

However, I thought the star of this episode was unquestionably Shimao, whose point of view I’ve wanted to see more of since day one. After the previous episode, the key question was whether he would choose to remain silent or try to convince Rokka it was now he who inhabited Hazuki’s body. It appears that for now Shimao is content with merely being able to interact with her and I’d say that is the wiser choice of the two. Even calling her “Rokka-chan” was already too much for her to handle, so anything more would probably alienate her instead of bringing them closer together. I do feel bad for him though because he has all these pent up emotions upon reuniting with Rokka but can’t express any of them save for a handful of tears. Then again, Shimao should feel lucky that Rokka saw Hazuki drunk before the soul-swapping was made because it made his admittedly funny “trapped in an unknown body” behavior more easily excusable in Rokka’s eyes. If Hazuki was stone sober, I think Rokka would be more scared and/or freaked out more than anything at his sudden change in personality and Shimao would likely not have been able to spend as much time with her as he did, if at all.

Yet just as I predicted, Shimao’s decision to stay mum seems to be backfiring as well. Almost all of his behavior towards Rokka was colored by his love for her and while it is sweet to watch, everything is done in the guise of Hazuki and it appears to have caused her to look at her employee in a new light. Even when Shimao’s behavior did not have any romantic intentions, like when he cut his hair or when he and Rokka had dinner together and he looked happy eating, her heart was moved nonetheless. It’ll be especially interesting to see how he reacts to her sudden proposal at the end of the episode, which came as quite a shock to me as well. Will Shimao still hold his tongue and accept whatever he’s given? Or will he tell her the truth?

He’s found himself in a complicated catch-22 situation of sorts with Rokka, and I am pretty sure that the three of them now make up the messiest and most convoluted love triangle I can think of. While their exact situation isn’t found in real life (I hope), love often involves questions and compromises much like the ones they are faced with, and Natsuyuki Rendezvous’ portrayal of these issues has become one of my favorite aspects of the show. More surprisingly, none of the drama so far has made me rage at any of the characters which I find to be quite refreshing this day and age when it seems that almost every romance has one or two facepalm-worthy moments (or characters). So despite some various missteps in this episode in regards to Hazuki’s vague storyline, this series is still doing a fine job in crafting a compelling romance that I can’t take my eyes off of.



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  1. I’m so looking forward to Hazuki’s reaction to his new hairstyle!

    I was a bit confused at Rokka’s request, “will you let me wash your back?”. Is that a normal thing to ask in Japan, sort of like “can I give you a massage”? I mean I thought it was cute, but if someone were to ask me that in real life I’d get suspicious..

  2. Yes~! More full-length beauties. I always appreciate them.

    I do hope Rokka doesn’t grow her hair back: her boyishness is what makes her adorable, plus it fits with her headstrong personality. She almost reminds me of Rika Harada from Honey & Clover, just less depressing and moody.

    I have utter respect to women who remain steadfast to their partners even after they’ve been separated by death. Though I guess it’s not that uncommon with women. Stats over the past fifty years or so show that men get remarried after the death of spouses more often and sooner than vice versa. But I guess that makes sense – the seeds still need spreading and planting.

    1. That’s funny.

      I can’t stand him either but – we have to accept that just like there are many types of women… there are many types of men in this world as well. Ghost-kun obviously had the receptive role when he was still alive and living with Rokka, who had a more dominant (aka motherly) role.

  3. oh boy got wonder what happen now hazuki in fairy tail world with fairy rokka.

    while rokka’s ghost husband total re-look on hazuki now get be closer to rokka yea wonder what next?

  4. The various animals Hazuki changes into refers to the Thumbelina story and her questions. A toad kidnapped her for marriage, a stag-beetle captured her but then discarded her in favor of its friends, and a mole proposes to her. I vaguely remember the story but wikipedia helped jog my memory. 🙂

      1. Hmmm… I think it’s possible that Hazuki is the prince… However, when they show him changing into the different animals from Thumbelina, I think those are Rokka’s fears about what kind of guy he might be. Toad Hazuki – terrible guy that wants to snatch her away for his own selfish reasons. Beetle Hazuki – shallow guy who cares only for images and wants her as his pretty trophy. Mole Hazuki – a bit misunderstood and awkward, but can be relatively charming. except he doesn’t actually see her for who she is inside and tries to make her into his own ideal woman. So it’s up to Hazuki to show her that he’s the fairy prince she’s been looking for. As for Shimao? Who knows haha! Maybe he’s the field mouse (since he’s trying to keep her away from “prince” Hazuki) or the swallow (albeit unintentionally, he is pushing her towards “prince” Hazuki at the moment with possessing his body and all)

  5. I loved the confusion of Shimao in Hazuki’s body (note similarities to the Kokoro connect?) – and his conflicted feelings of wanting to hurt the body to spite Hazuki, yet not being able because it hurts HIM now…
    OTOH, Hazuki’s magical mystery tour was pure psychodelic – and ThumbeRokka was so cute… HNNNNGH!
    Things just took a speed up with the back-washing offer… This is something that will torment Shimao – is ti better to feel Rokka’s touch again, or is it better to keep her away from HAZUIKI’S FRIGGIN BODY!
    I am still amzed by this “sleeper” series of the season, along the Kokoro connect the character presentation and development is simply superb!

  6. I love how i never know what i’m going to get with the next episode. the unpredictability of this series makes it so fun to watch! what will we get with the back-washing scene? will Shimao say yes? or no? LOL i’m going to LOVE seeing his thought process when he makes that decision!

    I also liked how Shimao got a better understanding of what kind of person Hazuki is. when he was still a ghost, he could only see Hazuki as the intrusive guy who was trying to steal away Rokka-chan but when he went into Hazuki’s apartment he felt that he was entering the home of a poor but earnest young man in love.

    As always, i can’t wait til the next episode! ^_^

  7. Rokka asks Hazuki if she could wash his back, because it’s something Japanese families often do. And when they were eating dinner together, Rokka-chan was reminded of how she used to eat together with Shimao, and realised how much she missed having someone by her.

  8. Hmm… I think I’m definitely starting to connect with this show more, and funny how that happens with an episode focused on Shimao.

    As for Rokka’s “surge” of emotions, the key thing to remember is that this is Shimao – she’s being unconsciously reminded of her husband, because it is her husband she’s interacting with. Her thoughts when she’s with Hazuki haven’t been nearly as emotional or straightforward, and that’s pretty telling. This complicates the romance further because the things Rokka is feeling now are closer to the universal definition of true love than what she’s feeling when she’s with Hazuki, when it seems her feelings stem more from her being flattered by the attention (and I don’t mean that in a negative way) rather than being genuinely moved by them.

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