Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 07

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 07 [1080p].mkv_snapshot_03.29_[2012.08.16_14.56.23] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 07 [1080p].mkv_snapshot_19.27_[2012.08.16_15.13.43] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 07 [1080p].mkv_snapshot_21.02_[2012.08.16_15.39.58]

More and more the experience of watching Natsuyuki Rendezvous is dominated by the strong emotions in inspires in me – which is just as well, because after this week I have less idea what’s really going on than ever.

I can’t help but feel that the key moment of the episode came when Mer-Rokka asked Hazuki, “Who’s really the main character?”  That question seems to be at the center of everything, and while I opined a couple of weeks ago that Atsushi was really the main character despite the fact that he’s dead, I’m really not sure.  And it doesn’t help that the identities of these three people are so hopelessly entangled that’s it’s impossible to tell where one soul begins, and the other ends.  It’s certainly a novel approach to a romantic triangle and a ghost story.

I also opined, if you remember, that one reason Natsuyuki Rendezvous seemed to be having trouble finding an audience was that it makes things very difficult for the viewer.  Well this episode certainly doesn’t change that – it’s a confusing tangle, both emotionally and plot-wise – and while I think it’s in a good way I can’t honestly say I’m sure.  All I am sure of is that this series provokes very strong feelings in me, and Atsushi most of all.  There are times when he really irritates me to the point where I almost hate him, but then an overwhelming sense of sympathy washes over me when I realize what he’s going through.

In a sense, the entire scenario of this show is one long torture sequence for Atsushi.  Let’s set aside all the things that happened before we were allowed to peek through the window into these three characters’ lives – the childhood in and out of hospitals, the lifelong illness, the regrets of so much left unfinished.  To have been forced to be a passive observation to Rokka’s life was bad enough, but ironically the body-switching development (which, let’s face it, is swimming in irony) is even worse in some ways.  To hold the hand of the woman he loves, to be kissed by her and told he’s loved by her, even to make love with her – and yet to know that it wasn’t he that was in her heart when all this was happening.  To experience all that physically again, only to realize that it was the process of Rokka falling in love with someone other than him – and for the first time in her life.  My goodness, that’s an emotional brutality you don’t often see in anime or anywhere else. 

I’m angry at Atsushi for his selfishness – for stealing Hazuki’s first time with Rokka, especially.  But if anyone ever had an excuse for selfishness, he’s the one.  The problem for me comes in where we go from here.  Just what is the reality that these three poor souls are trapped in, and what is the ultimate resolution?  Does Rokka eventually find out what’s really happening – and how does that effect her feelings for Hazuki, if so?  She’s certainly getting an inkling that something’s amiss – starting with “Hazuki” knowing about her oyster story, then his speaking of himself derisively in the third-person, the “telegram-like” note he left her after their lovemaking, and most importantly the way he arranged the flowers in the shop.

That was obviously a moment pregnant with plot implications, though I won’t pretend to have a handle on just what they are.  Why did Rokka see Atsushi’s true form just for a moment when she opened the shop door, and why did she reference “President Octopus” from his student project?  And what does Atsushi have planned – his exit seemed to have the look of finality to it.  Is it an indication that he’s going to give Hazuki his body back, or does he intend to hang onto it and take him far away from her?  What were the last words he left behind in the hospital wastebasket, and the significance of the small potted plant he took with him – is it the one he was given as a child by his classmates?  After all this time, is that even possible?  Clearly, he intends to remove the traces of his existence from Rokka’s life – though to what end, I think it’s fair to say we don’t really know.

The question of Hazuki’s role in all this – the one who seemed nominally to be the main character – is another great variable.  There’s an implication that he’s trapped in a story left unfinished because of “The Prince’s” death, and can only be released when the Prince finishes the tale.  But what is his role in finishing the story?  Hazuki has already expressed a willingness to carry the burden of both Rokka and Atsushi, but we – and he – don’t know what that really means in practical terms.  If Atushi and Rokka are struggling to move on, each in their own way, Hazuki’s struggle would seemingly be to grow up – and his courtship of Rokka a major step in doing so.  But of late he’s been a passive participant in his own story, and I don’t see any way things can really move forward until that changes.  Perhaps it’s simply a question of Hazuki stepping forward and accepting the role of the main character in his own life – because that’s something only he can do – and understanding that he cannot carry Atsushi with him.  Only Rokka can allow the ghosts of the past to rest, and entrust her future to the living.

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[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 07 [1080p].mkv_snapshot_20.50_[2012.08.16_15.15.07] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 07 [1080p].mkv_snapshot_21.00_[2012.08.16_15.39.56] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 07 [1080p].mkv_snapshot_21.16_[2012.08.16_15.15.42]


  1. C

    You know, everyone seem to hate Atsushi but he is actually my favorite character and the one to spark the strongest emotions in me.
    They all keep bashing him for being selfish but the guy is going through hell and I'm sure every selfish act is a product of him enduring this existance. I think we saw clearly who he really is when he handed Rokka those divorce papers after he found out he couldn't have children.
    I certainly wouldn't like to be in his position.
    Every time I watch this show I end up depressed and feeling sympathy for Atsushi.
    And the ending… so heartfelt. Every time I listen to it I wind up crying.
    BUT I can't help but watch it. It's beautiful.
    And about that moment when Rokkamermaid asked Hazuki "Who is really the main character?", I also felt like it was the KEY moment.
    Still think it's Atsushi…

  2. d

    You do realize that if a person goes through hell and comes out doing the right thing that is what makes a good person. Normal people goes through hell and uses it as an excuse.
    Like that guy killed my family, im gonna torture that *** to death. OR Be the saint. Be the Zen Monk.

    A bit of making a mountain out of a molehill but im sure you get the point; going through hell does not entitle one a pass to do wrong things.

  3. No, it doesn't. But Atsushi is a disembodied spirit, not a person. And he still has a chance to do the right thing in the end, which I believe he will.

  4. I'm very disappointed at how small the following for this show is, here and elsewhere. For me it's clearly the second best new series of the season, but I'll admit it doesn't make itself easy to love.

  5. j

    But the payoff might be all the better for it.

  6. H

    I find the show tremendously interesting, but very hard to talk about these last few episodes. I think we all know what we want to happen, and all know pretty much what's *going* to happen. The show just needs to get there, which it's doing in a very roundabout manner. The things it's adding aren't bad, but they start to reach a point where they're delaying the climax past the point where it's enjoyable. I said last week that I was surprised the body takeover had lasted that long (2 full episodes), and now it's up to 3 full episodes, and no end really in sight.

    And that's another part of it. We know the endpoint, but none of us is really seeing what's in between here and the endpoint. We think Atsushi needs to say something, but nobody knows what that would be. We think Rokka needs to realize something, but we can't figure out what that is, either, especially seeing as how she's already realized that she's in love with Hazuki, what more can she really do about Atsushi? I think it's far too much to expect her to forget him, and I wouldn't want that from the show anyway. And right now it looks like Hazuki *can't* do anything, no matter what he finds, realizes, or understands. That may be why we all kind of feel at sea about what the show is doing.

  7. H

    I'm a bit disappointed in how the story has almost completely abandoned Hazuki in a barren landscape and basically forgotten about him. The fairy tale land was interesting with Thumbelina, but the mermaid part is pretty awful, with nothing he can even affect around him.

    I can't quite get what Atsushi is after. And I don't even know if he *could* get out of Hazuki's body now. They're all waiting for a trigger, and none of them actually know where it is.

  8. J

    Who is the main character? Well everyone, and no one.

    Everyone is equally important, and how they feel and what they want as well.
    No one character is "above" anyone else.

  9. J

    Oh, and about the ending. I have a feeling Shimao needs to tell her what he needs to tell before he can move one. Even though she saw what he wrote, since he didn't intend to give it to her, it didn't really count. Anyways, it seemed pretty obvious since Hazuki said that might be the way to get Shimao to heaven.

  10. Well, as I said, right now everyone is to entangled that it's hard to tell where one of them ends and the other begins.

  11. J

    Well I'm pretty sure each of them has their own separate "soul"

    I guess it's really up to the viewer's idea of what a ghost really is.
    Some say they're souls without bodies, other times ghosts are only
    manifestations of lingering emotions (or however someone wants to define it).

    It's possible that Shimao is only manifested through Rokka's inability to move on.
    But for now, I'm under the impression that Shimao is simply a ghost with one last
    thing he needs to do before he moves on.

    I'm not really sure how Hazuki fits into all the supernatural stuff though. Shimao is using his body, and so it seems Hazuki is trapped inside Shimao's mind/imagination/soul. I don't think the writer has a detailed explanation as to how this works, it's just fiction.

  12. A

    This show probably needed a better debut episode. Hazuki wasn't painted as a likable protagonist. It's difficult to watch an adult have an adolescent-like sexual obsession with a woman he's barely known. Atsushi wasn't painted as a likable character either. Finally, Rokka was not a particularly interesting heroine in the first few episodes. She seemed more like a generic heroine from a shoujo manga who's nice and attracts men for unremarkable reasons. The romantic feelings between Rokka and Hazuki are still uninspiring in some ways, but I think the true highlight of the show is not the romance, but the anguish. I have a feeling that in the end, this anime will be praised as a tale of anguish and how people can overcome it.

  13. I find the anguish more powerful than the romance, too, but the romance underrated. I like the contrast between Hazuki's man-child simplicity and Rokka's wounded maturity. And for all the anguish inherent in it, it's clear that the relationship between Rokka and Atsushi was built on a very deep love.

  14. S

    I certainly agree with you on the fact that this series stirrs emotion. But for me, its starting to clearly wear thin. This whole issue of Shimao taking Hazuki's body is getting bigger and bigger, and with each major step that Rokka is bravely taking towards Hazuki, Atsushi is being a complete asshole and stealing it all.

    First it was the love confession, which honestly pissed me off enough. Now its their first time together? Taking all these things away from a couple, is almost guaranteeing a failure.

    I strongly think Atsushi took all his things in the end and left, but everything he is doing is setting up the other two characters for hurt. If he wants to make either of them happy, the best thing for him is to clearly, LEAVE Hazuki's body and not pile on the damage.

    Hazuki is going to have some HUGE things to contend with, but the principal issue could be that Atsushi's slightly forward acts while in his body might be what actually caught Rokka's eye, and her interest.

    This continued selfishness is starting to REALLY get on my nerves, to the point where I wish the whole Atsushi/Hazuki body swap part of the story would wrap up already.

  15. J

    I don't think he "guaranteed their failure" at all.

    At the end of the episode, I'm almost positive rokka has an idea of what's going on, so I'm pretty sure she's not going to think that Hazuki was acting on his own accord the whole time

  16. B

    Eh, am I the only one who found the whole "sleeping with Rokka while she thinks you're a completely different person" thing entirely creepy? I half expected it to happen but I still cringed when it did. They need to wrap this possession business up already, watching it happening is becoming a little bit nauseating to be honest.

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