Title: Natsuyuki Rendezvous
Genre: Drama, Romance, Supernatural
Summary: A young man with poor eyesight named Hazuki works part-time in a flower shop and falls hard for the shop-owner Rokka. But what happens when he discovers that residing in her apartment is the spirit of the man she can never forget?
Review: I’ve wanted to review this anime for quite some time before things got busy. It ended up being one of the most thought provoking anime of the Summer 2012 season. I actually still remember it quite vividly despite watching it about a year ago. It made me wonder the fine line between right and wrong, or if there even was a line. There were a ton of moments in Natsuyuki Rendezvous that made you question your moral standing in the realm of love. The anime didn’t have a good or bad character, it didn’t have a hero and a villain. It only had Hazuki, Rokka, and Atsushi.
I want to focus this review on the story alone because the art and music didn’t catch my interest. I wont say that the art style was bad because it had a lot of colorful moments with a ton of imagination. It wasn’t overly realistic or awkwardly kiddish. It kept things pretty simple and got the job done. However, the characters were on a whole new skill level. I mentioned that this anime made me question what is right and wrong, so let me give you a quick backstory. In marriage, it is said that you shall love and cherish the significant other through sickness and health till death do you part. Modern society tends to view that as the death of both parties, living together in harmony till the dreaded day arrives. Some even say couples who have been married for a very long period of time tend to die at roughly the same time because the one left alive dies of loneliness and heartbreak. But what if your significant other passes away well before you were able to truly live together as a couple? What if you watched them as they slowly slipped away into the light, asking you to let go and move on before there is anything to move on from? It’s this heart wrenching tail that pulled me in and kept me watching till the very end as I gripped my chair’s arm rests. It wasn’t just about two people who had to part ways before they were ready, it was about holding on to that small glimmer of hope and the pain of watching time tick by.
It wasn’t all picture perfect though. Like most romance anime there were a lot of unnecessary drama bombs and misunderstandings. Though for once it wasn’t a common high school boy-likes-girl problem. I swayed back and forth in my romantic involvement because of how Natsuyuki Rendezvous developed all the characters. It felt like everyone was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Atsushi, the deceased husband, cared for Rokka, and wanted to do anything he could to help her. However, in a non-mortal body he couldn’t carry her to bed when she was sick or hold her when she cried. Hazuki wanted to do everything he could for Rokka. He was able to be there for her and wipe away her tears but couldn’t be seen as anything more than an employee. Rokka constantly struggled between what she had with Atsushi and what she could have with Hazuki. Generally I’m not one for awkward love triangles because for some reason the guy I always go for never wins. For once I actually didn’t have a ‘favorite’. I wasn’t sure who I was actually rooting for. This alone is a good sign for an anime of this caliber. It brings you into the world and has you empathize will all of the characters instead of just one. Understanding the feelings and motives behind everyone’s action makes an anime interesting to watch. It took a risk and played with a topic that isn’t generally used, and did a great job doing so.
Final statements: Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a very heavy set anime. It opens up a lot of new doors that I’m sure most viewers haven’t been through before. While it isn’t perfect, and has a few dull moments I would say that it is a high priority watch just for the fact that it is unique and pull everything off well.