Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 06

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.23_[2012.08.09_16.05.01] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.08_[2012.08.09_16.13.46] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.04_[2012.08.09_16.20.42]

Natsuyuki Rendezvous seems determined not to make things very easy for the viewers.

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.45_[2012.08.09_16.01.54]If there’s one word that springs to mind for me in connection with this series, it’s empathy.  It seems to be a critical component of everything that’s happening in the story – and an equally critical factor that’s lacking on the part of the viewers that aren’t buying the characters.  Is it plain and simply a fault of the series if it can’t persuade many members of the audience to sympathize with the characters?  Perhaps – I’ll leave that to others to decide.  For me, though, the empathy is there, even if the attitudes and behaviors of those characters sometimes put it to the test.  I think that’s quite intentional on the part of the mangaka.

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.10_[2012.08.09_16.04.48]Because my sense is that this is a show where the symbolism is rather pointed and psychological and not one where we’re supposed to simply suspend disbelief and chalk it up to fantasy, I think it’s important to decide just what’s happening between Hazuki and Atsushi – and where Hazuki is at this moment.  I’m still stuck on the fact that it appeared to be Rokka’s spirit that entered Hazuki’s body at the time of the possession.   Rokka appears as Thumbelina before Hazuki, first in the same relative proportion as in the fairy tale, then in the same size as him.  It seems clear that this is a world that’s drawn from Atsushi’s sketches – but it is really Atsushi’s world, or is it Rokka’s?  Or even Hazuki’s, in part?

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.44_[2012.08.09_16.05.22]Of further interest is the fact that Atushi – using Hazuki’s hand – draws a sketch of Rokka as the Little Mermaid in his old sketch book at the shop, and then later in the episode the “Thumbelina” world becomes a kind of dark version of “The Little Mermaid” after Rokka confesses her love to Hazuki in the “real” world”.  So we can say with certainty that the world Hazuki perceives while possessed is directly impacted by what happens in the real world – but given that this real world event takes place in the presence of both Rokka and Atsushi (and Hazuki, physically – he could even be aware of what’s happening while he’s away from his body) that doesn’t tell us much.  I’m convinced that this fantasy world  – and thus the ghost of Atsushi itself – is somehow a hybrid of both Atsushi and Rokka,  as if their souls have been fused by her command that he not leave her, and only by untying the knot can everyone move on.

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.02_[2012.08.09_16.05.40]Perhaps Rokka gave a little part of her soul to keep Atsushi behind in the real world – and the only way he can be free to move on is if that part of her soul is returned to her and she becomes whole again.  And the only way Rokka can be whole again is to reclaim the part of herself she gave up when Atushi died – to embrace that part of herself again, along with the grief that goes along with it (to “stop using her dead husband as an excuse” as Atsushi-as-Hazuki himself puts it).  There’s a certain poetry and symmetry to that idea which I like, and it inevitably leads to the question: just what is it that has to happen for Rokka to become whole and Atsushi to move on?  Obviously Hazuki seems like the key to all this.  He’s given Atsushi the chance to interact with Rokka again, to say the things he never said in life – and he’s given her something to cling to and a chance to feel again.  And with her confession it seems clear that she does – although, irritatingly, Natsuyuki Rendezvous makes us wonder if it was the presence of Atsushi’s spirit that prompted Rokka to say what she did to him.  Again, determined not to make things easy…

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.41_[2012.08.09_16.06.19]That roundabout thought brings us back to empathy, and to the fantasy world Hazuki currently inhabits – whatever its true nature.  It seems as if inhabiting Hazuki’s body is giving Atsushi more consideration for the pain and loneliness Rokka is living with, which is hardly surprising, but it also seems to be making him see Hazuki’s side of things too.  Thumbelina-Rokka implies that Atushi could make it difficult for Hazuki to ever reclaim his body, if he so chose, but I don’t think that’s likely to happen – it’s as he says, he’s just not quite ready to move on yet.  Hazuki’s perspective is that “There’s no rain that doesn’t stop at some point – not as long as you’re alive.”  This is the unstoppable force that will drive him forward, and which Atsushi is slowly coming to acknowledge – this world is the privilege of the living, and Rokka is alive.  He knows that while Hazuki is the key to helping Rokka move forward, and he can do is hold her in place – with one foot in the world of the dead.  And that isn’t where she belongs.

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.18_[2012.08.09_16.06.56]This is a hard, bittersweet story, and I suspect it – like life itself – will yield no joy without considerable pain.  Rokka is the one very much caught in the middle here – between life and death, between Hazuki and Atsushi, between hope and grief.  Atsushi, it seems, was not just the love of her life but the only love of her life – and the only man she’s ever been intimate with (physically or emotionally, most likely).  If Atsushi and Hazuki are the opposing forces, she’s the pivot, the thing that connects them and unites them.  Ultimately the choice to move on (either with or without Hazuki) rests every bit as much with her as it does with Atushi.  Indeed, the place where Atushi’s soul ends and hers begins is hard to see – and as much as that’s a reflection of the fact that they loved each other deeply, it’s only when that separation becomes clear that this story can truly move on.

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[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.01_[2012.08.09_16.08.39] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.07_[2012.08.09_16.08.45] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.09_[2012.08.09_16.08.47]
[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.09_[2012.08.09_16.09.47] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.20_[2012.08.09_16.10.58] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.11_[2012.08.09_16.11.49]
[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.50_[2012.08.09_16.12.28] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.18_[2012.08.09_16.12.56] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.10_[2012.08.09_16.14.48]
[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.52_[2012.08.09_16.16.30] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.17_[2012.08.09_16.17.55] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.02_[2012.08.09_16.18.40]
[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.19_[2012.08.09_16.18.57] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.08_[2012.08.09_16.19.46] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.13_[2012.08.09_16.20.51]
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6 comments

  1. A

    I feel empathy for all the parties involved, but mostly for Atushi. He is in a truly impossible position. It would be enough to drive anyone with a normal mind crazy.

  2. H

    I've been very surprised that this arc has gone on as long as it has. I do wonder what sort of time rate differential there is between the 'real' world and the place where Hazuki is currently existing, and I wonder if he perceives that it's been multiple days.

    This episode seemed like a very significant change in the way that Atsushi is relating to Rokka. When he was a ghost, it was all about getting rid of Hazuki, making him give up, shielding Rokka from anyone else. When he first took over Hazuki's body, this somewhat continued: He tried to make him look stupid, he tried to be annoying, he tried to make Rokka not like Hazuki. But this episode that changed, almost completely. It's no longer about winning Rokka back to Atsushi, and interestingly, he has never even tried that since taking over Hazuki's body. He seems to have given himself back over to the idea he had when he was a corporeal being: before he died, telling Rokka to move on. Honestly, this point was hard for me to reconcile earlier in the series: Dying Atsushi wanted Rokka to move on, get rid of his stuff, continue living. Ghost Atsushi wanted Rokka back, and wanted to get rid of any chance of her moving on. But now, body-snatching Atsushi is moving back to his mindset that he had while dying. And instead of sabotaging Hazuki, he's helping the process along (part of it could be, as he said, that if it's going to happen, he wants it to happen now, while he's the one in the body).

    That's where I start wondering about the image of Rokka-Angel taking over Hazuki. Could it be that the Rokka part of the ghost is now in with Hazuki, freeing the spirit of Atsushi to return to his previous attitude? Or is it all some weird misdirection?

  3. B

    I'm not QUITE ready to posit some strange "mixing of the souls" scenario yet. I'm going to invoke Occam's Razor on this one. I suspect that the spirit when Atsushi took over Hazuki's body manifested as looking like Rokka because she is Atsushi's entire world right now, she's all he ever thinks about, so what else would it manifest as? This explanation seems much simpler to me than some "Atsushi has part of Rokka's soul and it must be separated from him" situation. In addition, it would cheapen whatever ending this show has IMO if she ends up moving on because of something like that instead of moving on because she's ready to. I want her life to move forward under her own power, not because some external road block was finally removed.

  4. I guess I don't consider that an external roadblock. If she's still living her life based on her connection to her dead husband, that's a very personal and powerful thing she needs to work through.

  5. B

    The difference I am perceiving is subtle but there. If it's something dealing with their souls literally being combined somehow, then it means there is never any way Rokka could move on with her life by herself, in every alternate universe that may exist she would ALWAYS need a third party to step in and make it better. It's true that in real life, we often do require third party assistance (usually from many different people) to get over things like a spouse dying, but it's not necessarily so, we do have the power to summon our willpower and decide that it's just time to start living again. Like I said, the difference is subtle, but it comes down to free will. If part of Rokka's soul was actually taken by Atsushi, then her free will in this regard is gone, her ability to move on is completely out of her own power. I don't want that ending. I want however she decides to move on to be her decision and hers alone, not one that is mandated ahead of time.

  6. H

    I think I'm seeing the idea of their souls combined as GE has mentioned as a roadblock from the other direction: That the power to move on from the death of Atsushi completely lies within Rokka, but she's the one who hasn't done it yet. That's why she's kept Atsushi bound to the spiritual existence he currently has. Yes, Hazuki could help Rokka move past her current situation, but it's not because Hazuki is replacing Atsushi as an enabling force.

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