Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 08

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.24_[2012.08.23_14.00.38] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.08_[2012.08.23_14.09.21] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.12_[2012.08.23_14.16.53]

Natsuyuki Rendezvous has certainly evolved into a matter of life and death, but not in quite the same way as any other anime I’ve seen.

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.20_[2012.08.23_13.58.34]“When I die, will you eat a little bit of my bones?”  More and more I’m growing convinced that in every way that matters, Atsushi Shimao is the main character of this series.  The sense has been growing almost since the beginning, but what’s undeniable now is that everyone is quite literally dancing to his tune.  Hazuki and Rokka (and his own spirit, truth be told) are prisoners of his fantasy.  Not just his memory bit his soul itself has Rokka hopelessly ensnared and, like a fly caught in a spider’s web, Hazuki has found himself ensnared too by nature of getting close to her.  And the fact is, as we learn more of Atsushi we learn that even alive, he was an odd and perplexing (and possibly even dangerous) man.  I’d chalked his selfish behavior up to the agony of his current situation and while I’ve no doubt that’s mostly the cause, it seems likely that he was a perverse fellow even before he died.

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.31_[2012.08.23_13.59.44]Perhaps, then, we’ve reached a point where the story must become about Hazuki in order to progress.  It’s put up or shut up time for the lost boy – it’s time for him to become the main character in his own story, rather than being content to be a bit player.  As he says himself he was willing to do anything for Rokka – but what if that means doing nothing as Shimao and she walk off into the sunset?  In a sense Hazuki was never fully alive until he met Rokka, but now he must reclaim his life for her sake as well as his own.  Life is, after all, an inherently selfish act – to consume in order to survive.  It’s time for Hazuki to be selfish and reclaim the privilege of the living, even if that means making Rokka even unhappier in the moment.

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.47_[2012.08.23_14.00.00]Fortunately the ending of this episode suggests that Hazuki is ready to do that – and I say “fortunately” not just for his own sake (there were signs he was slipping deeper into Shimao’s fantasy with the possibility he might never free himself) but for the sake of the show, too.  This phase of the series has played itself out – if not overlong, at the least this body-switching sequence was long enough.  There are suggestions that the reason Hazuki’s environment keeps changing is because “The Prince” is sketching again, and changing the storybook world as he does so.  But what’s interesting to me is that Mermaid/Thumbelina Rokka says that she’s been waiting for the Prince herself all this time, and Hazuki’s assertion that this fantasy world was not one that Atsushi had created intentionally.

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.04_[2012.08.23_14.02.17]My take on things as they stand is that this fantasy represents some sort of afterlife – a purgatory of Shimao’s own creation, with the Rokka of his mind’s eye waiting for him.  Because, as fantasy Rokka says, some part of him really does want The Princess (the “real” Rokka) to be free, he’s conjured up another one to join him in the next world – but he can’t quite bring himself to follow the path that he’s forged himself.  Again, Atsushi emerges as a very odd fellow – writing in Katakana instead of Hiragana because it’s “elegant”, secretive, perhaps someone who due to his illness spent far too much time living inside his own head than was good for him.

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.49_[2012.08.23_14.03.03]It’s hard to know what the Shimao currently possessing Hazuki’s body has in mind, exactly.  Clearly he’s stolen everything that belonged to himself (including the “Natsuyuki” plant), ostensibly to force Rokka to move on – but my feeling is that he knew very well she’d follow him, and even chose a very obvious hiding place – the hiking spot (Mt. Mitake perhaps, or Takao-san?) where they’d taken their only “vacation”.  And he surely knew that Rokka would associate all he did – the Katakana note, all the flower arrangements he’d made for her in life – as clues that he’d somehow returned and taken possession of Hazuki’s life.  Perhaps this amounts to a test of Rokka, to see how much she loves him – will she figure it out and follow him, and will she accept him even in possession of someone else’s body?

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.39_[2012.08.23_14.04.53]The answer, of course, is no – even if she isn’t in love with Hazuki, Rokka would never accept a Shimao-kun that had stolen Hazuki’s life.  And surely, Shimao knows this.  In fact, I think, he doesn’t really know what he wants – he wants her to be free of him, and to never forget him.  He wants her to move on, and he wants no other man in her life.  Like the notes he wrote to her on his deathbed and then threw away, his wishes are obscure and confused and full of contradiction.  I’m not sure Shimao is capable of untangling this knot himself, and Rokka surely isn’t – and again, I think it all comes down to Hazuki seizing control of his life and the story – he needs to become the main character, force the issue and become the key that unlocks the cell that Rokka and Shimao are imprisoned in.  I don’t know what that means for Hazuki in the end, but I think he’ll do what needs to be done, irrespective of that – for Rokka’s sake if nothing else.

[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.03_[2012.08.23_14.06.17] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.28_[2012.08.23_14.06.42] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.37_[2012.08.23_14.07.50]
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[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.34_[2012.08.23_14.10.47] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.26_[2012.08.23_14.11.39] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.40_[2012.08.23_14.11.53]
[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.43_[2012.08.23_14.12.56] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.49_[2012.08.23_14.13.02] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.03_[2012.08.23_14.13.17]
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[HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.24_[2012.08.23_14.15.37] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.49_[2012.08.23_14.16.20] [HorribleSubs] Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.53_[2012.08.23_14.16.06]


  1. R

    It's funny that you mentioned having gotten close to outright hating Shimao because I feel sort of the same. In fact the cast has made itself seem so unsympathetic to me that I have found it a bit hard to get emotionally into it. If I can't sympathize with them it's a little hard, and I kinda feel the story wants me to, but I just can't.

    It's not a bad show, but I ultimately hold it against it. Don't think this quite meets the standard of josei noitamina block shows of the past.

  2. Um… Where did I say anything about coming close to hating Shimao?

  3. R

    Lol sorry Enzo, it was 3 in the morning and I was tired. Was reading a previous post of yours.

    "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."

    The only point being here is you ultimately come back to sympathizing with him, but I can't.

  4. Ah, OK. Well, I would say your interpretation of that is a bit different than how I intended it, but at least I can see where you got that idea.

  5. H

    I don't know if Rokka's really done anything to prevent me from sympathizing (or maybe empathizing is better) with her. I think I've gotten past the idea that Atsushi's ghost is actually a manifestation of Rokka's longing for Atsushi. Maybe her actions beside his deathbed played a part in his ghost status, but I think we're learning enough about him to realize that it wasn't just her alone.

    And Hazuki has, for the last 4 episodes, been basically sidelined. Maybe now we'll see if there's something he can do after jumping out of the undersea area, but it hasn't really been his volition that trapped him there. Yeah, he was pretty dumb to let Atsushi 'borrow' his body, but that doesn't justify what Atsushi has done since. And cryptic Thumbe-Rokka could certainly have given him more help if she knew what was going on.

    The parallels between Rokka and Hazuki are interesting to me also. Like Rokka, Hazuki is (seemingly) experiencing his first love, is the pursuer, and is not the best at it. I wonder if seeing that same sort of thing she went through was contributory to Rokka's falling in love with him? And yes, I think most of her falling in love with Hazuki happened before Atsushi took over, and even after that, "Hazuki" didn't seem to change too much until after they got together at the beach.

  6. B

    My main problem with this series right now is that Atsushi is basically coming across as a huge dick. Does he have a larger plan in mind? I surely hope so, because from my perspective right now it seems like he's just hanging on to Hazuki's body out of total selfishness. His choice of hideaway might mean that he intends Rokka to follow him and thus sees himself as "needing" Hazuki's body still. Or it could also be because he literally doesn't know anywhere else to go and he's just hanging on because he likes being alive again and doesn't care what happens to Hazuki. I hope it's the former because it is seriously getting harder and harder to empathize with this guy with each passing episode.

  7. A

    everyone in this Show wants contradicting things at the same time. Things will continue to get worse until one of them decides to resolve his/her contraction which will lead the other two to do the Same. looks like hazuki will have to do this.

    this Show is so hard to watch.

  8. It is hard to watch, definitely. But I really like that about it.

  9. e

    The contradicting element is a very human element. Real people are de facto a cluster of often contradicting magmatic desires contained in a tiny rational crust. Especially in love, as millennia of both RL experience and literature records have shown us. Odi et amo, can't live with you can't live without you, anyone? Love can be patient and kind, love is a cute Cupid, an illness, a monstrous powerful entity, a cosmic force… Many facets, some possibly unsettling and likely to manifest in any relationship at one point or another and paired with their opposite on top of that.
    In this sense the show can be hard to watch but I find the characters very easy to believe and even like (Shimao included. I can question and disapprove some of his actions, but who knows how many of us put in his shoes – or lack thereof – would feel and think and act after all? ).

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