In life and love, there is sometimes no better advice than to seize the day – a timeless message that this series is painting in a most vivid and memorable way. Each character is finally beginning to learn the lesson that life is too short for lamentations, too short for clinging to the ghosts of the past, and too short to hesitate on the future.
One issue that has been central to the identity of show is the theme of first loves. Try as we may, first loves are always hard to forget. They weigh heavily our minds and in our hearts, and because of this, they can cloud and color our interactions with a new love. This series has alluded to this theme for quite some time now, but this episode in particular touches on it directly. We now have confirmation straight from Rokka’s lips that Shimao was her first love, and it makes her pain and reticence all the more understandable. This isn’t simply a case of her losing a spouse, but also her first love as well, and that makes it doubly painful. To complicate her situation even further, almost everything she knows about love and relationships was with Shimao. Starting a new love, a new relationship becomes that much harder when everything reminds Rokka of the only person she ever loved, the only love she ever knew, and I can’t exactly blame her for being so hesitant to move on.
This is why I was so surprised at her sudden confession at the end of the episode, and it makes me wonder if she actually loves Hazuki. Seeing Hazuki’s back, eating dinner with him, hearing him call her “Rokka-chan” – all these moments seem to have rekindled the love she had for her late husband. Has she only developed feelings for him recently because with Shimao possessing his body, many of his mannerisms remind her of Shimao? More importantly, it leads to some crucial and related questions, ones that are important to every relationship no matter its level of seriousness. Why do you love someone? What are the reasons that you love about them? I do realize that sometimes you just don’t know why you like someone or love someone – you just do. And maybe, the reasons for love are something that mere words will never suffice. However, right now it seems like Rokka’s love for Hazuki is a product of being reminded of Shimao through the mannerisms, and of reciprocating all the romantic flattery, attention, and affection that she has been starved of for far too many years. It’ll be interesting to see where the road goes with her confession, and I am confident that it will be resolved in a satisfying manner as this series so far has had a good track record of addressing similar serious issues in an understated yet mature manner.
Even though it hasn’t been explicitly stated, I’m willing to bet that the theme of a first love extends to Shimao as well. It helps explain his continuing intense attachment to Rokka, as she is his first and last love. But where he differs from her is that aside from saying to Hazuki early on that he wants to move on, I think we’re beginning to see more concrete signs that he intends to back up his words with action. I actually found him behaving quite maturely in this episode, although that may be merely because of the stark contrast from his behavior earlier. Basically, Shimao is stuck between a rock and a hard place. His feelings for Rokka, his desire to be intimate with her continually conflicts with the fact that by giving in to his feelings, he would be enabling and advancing Hazuki ‘s relationship with Rokka as well. Above all hangs the specter of his final goal: getting her to move on so that he can move on. In some ways, I am becoming more interested in his story than Rokka and Hazuki’s stories, and I think that speaks volumes about the quality of the writing in this show.
The one character who has resolved to seize the day from the very beginning is now somewhat ironically the only one who cannot do so right now. Starting with Thumbelina and now to The Little Mermaid, Hazuki’s time in a picture book world of these classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales has in my opinion brought a welcome change of pace to the show. The parallel storylines does take some getting used to, but the themes and issues Hazuki confronts are very similar to the ones that Rokka and Shimao are going through. He has to think about why he loves her, and like Shimao, he also has to think about his role in the relationship between the other two. His story has taken a backseat in this mini-arc however, but it remains an intriguing one nonetheless, especially considering the ways the fairy tales he finds himself in ties with Shimao’s drawings and now Rokka’s book choice.
There is much of this story that is left to be woven and many more lessons awaiting each of the characters. They can be hard and painful lessons for them to learn and for us to watch, but just as with previous episodes, the issues that come forth continue to make Natsuyuki Rendezvous one of the shows I look forward to the most each week.
- Sorry about the late post, I was out of town until late this weekend.
- The song that Shimao quoted is called Gondola no Uta, a famous Japanese song written in 1915. Here is a particularly beautiful performance by Ishikawa Sayuri.
- Full-length images: 05, 11, 21, 30, 31, 32.
Watch the Preview: Streaming ▼
5 more eps of this wonder how will this fairy tale story will end?
yea yuko-rokka pick either tomoya-grey or ghost husband watanuki-lelouch
I like both ThumbeRokka and MermaRokka! They are so cute…
oh god…Shimao…please leave Hazuki’s body now before I begin to hate u.
I hated shimao before it was cool.
I just saw ep 7 and my hate for Shimao has risen too a whole new lv.
I think Rokka-chan had already fallen in love with Hazuki-kun in the beginning few episodes…she just didn’t know what to do since she’s only been through one love, not to mention the pursuer in her relationship with Shimao. Like Shimao pointed out, it was evident that every time Hazuki made a move on her, she did not refuse Hazuki completely..and that hurt both Shimao and Hazuki.
Because of Shimao pointing this out…Rokka-chan was able to see clearly what her real feelings were. Poor Shimao.
After viewing this episode..I realised how wrong my comment for last week was. I thought Rokka-chan wanted to wash his back since the dinner reminded her what she used to do with her husband, but turns out this girl has a back fetish @.@
with the way the last episode ended, i didn’t know if shimao was really going to let rokka-chan wash his back but i was thinking to myself, “there’s no way, right?” and then the first few minutes of this episode had me like this O_O cause i thought that shimao was actually going to go through with it but, in the end, it doesn’t happen lol oh the unexpected twists and turns! and then this episode ends with a love confession! damn these cliffhangers! -_- hahaha not really, that’s what makes this show so fun to watch =p i wonder how shimao is going to handle that love confession… hm…
Watching this anime is mentally draining.
*o* the link has Genbu! *bows* thank you!
The one thing that memoriable about this ep was the bath scene. The words Shimao used were so spot on and painful that I was happy for him to not go along with Rokka. If he did wouldn’t all party be hurt in the end? Props to Shimao for having a straight head
pff…catching up after a vacation takes some time o.o
With Shimao possessing Hazuki’s body, he sure is complicating things for himself. But I’m sure it will help them both move on. I think Rokka has liked Hazuki for quite a while now, but she’s not loving him yet..I think
That Shimao is in Hazuki’s body has sure helped a bit too. I agree with what you said about loving someone. I don’t think there’s an answer to why we love someone, it is just something that happens, a special feeling..I guess? Just not something we can put in words so easily..
More people should watch this show ^^ I love it so far
Ouch, that hurt.
I just noticed that this blog entry has around 4,000 views while the few previous ones have around 3,000. Nice job Verdant! Choosing those provocative screenshots to appear on the RandomC homepage really upped the view count! LOL XD
I love this anime, but what I don’t really understand is…HOW she doesn’t realize that there’s something off abt hazuki. I mean, it’s not like shimao knows hazuki well enough to be able to act like him, imo it seems like he’s acting like himself. I’m sure he and hazuki have completely different personalities, so idk how rokka does not notice…..