Natsuyuki Rondezvous Is Suffering

Some people find this perfection. I find this closer to suffering. And it’s not the Urobuchi sort.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a classic love story with a healthy dose of meta-references to idealistic story elements in the form of Hatsuki’s dreams. Or is it purgatory? I know it felt dreadful and tedious during the half dozen episodes when it was happening and I just wanted the story to progress.

Unfortunately given the strange and mysterious bodyswapping, the focus of the narrative is on what the bodyswapper will do in the host body–in this case, a list of dumb and selfish things. Well, that isn’t the point, but unfortunately that is what will play a huge role in the way I perceive the romance triangle.

The problem was that during that stretch of episodes, the focus is suppose to be on Atsushi Shimao, his feeling, how he related to Rokka, how her feelings are for him before and after death, and setting up that moment of catharsis. It’s very important that they lay it out. I’m not sure they did. Because the question is: where’s the climax? When Hatsuki was hanging in the balance and watching what will happen to him and Rokka? Isn’t this just painting Shimao-kun as, well, a bad guy? Well, I thought to myself about 5 weeks ago, he should’ve died in a fire (he did), because he’s such a terrible person! This works out perfectly.

So maybe this show is perfect in that sense. As much as we look to peculiar anime to highlight, this is the sort of peculiarity that I think most would be glad to stay clear off of. Sort of like Fractale… Well, at least that one was ambitious.

Another take: I hope Shimao-kun would die in a fire. Oh wait, he already did. So maybe if he could just disappear? To be honest I credit shows that get me riled up; Shimao-kun doesn’t quite do that–he’s more like just a minor annoyance. There’s nothing about him to really hate, besides his selfish streaks. Actually I rather liked it when he showed off those NTR vibes, even towards the end when the situation is in reverse. The most amusing thing was to make Rokka eat his bones, but even then it came off rather as insensitive, instead of playful or eccentric. I just think when you put all this stuff together, there’s too many elements that contrast each other that instead of having those contrary things enhance the experience, they just cancel each other out. It starts out as much as when the dead seeks to live–this show can’t even get that right.

The problem, I think, is that Hatsuki is so non-distinctive, there’s nothing to really counterbalance that established relationship between Rokka and Atsushi once the spotlight is taken off of Hatsuki. The best part of the show by far is the courting between Rokka and Hatsuki; the second half of the series is pretty much just trash. I’d rather just see Rokka cry to Ken Muramatsu’s music for 6 episodes.

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