Natsuyuki Rendezvous ~Review~
Considering Natsuyuki Rendezvous was one of two anime in the noitamina lineup this season, before it even started airing I had high expectations for it. It was a realistic drama with a ghost added in the bunch. Not too bad a premise, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that this anime had lost itself somewhere along on the way.
To say this is an anime about a guy who loves an older woman but can’t get close to her because the ghost of her dead husband is haunting her, would only be half the story. This is also a story about a ghost named Shimao who steals Hazuki’s body to reunite himself once again with his wife. That second half to the story is actually the most important taking up most of the show’s length. It’s only for the first four episodes that Hazuki really has his own body, and this few episodes were used more just to set-up the plot.
Though, the problem with that is just when you think the story was about to actually begin, it doesn’t go anywhere. It takes up the next six episodes just building up at a snail pace and doesn’t deliver. I put my faith in the show and I kept telling myself it was just building up to deliver something great, only to fall flat. It was a weak ending that delivered the expected along with a dash of inconclusiveness and a convenient reminder that this had terrible pacing.
One part of me believes that this series needed more episodes to create a story that could flow better with more convincing characters. Taking four episodes just to establish the rest of the plot doesn’t make any logical sense. I feel this series would need a three arc format. After the first two parts, it would have another third part where the characters were all back in their normal places and roles and the some believable romantic developments could take place.
The other part of me is screaming that this series already was straining to fit its eleven episode run. The story was so slow at its buildup, that I was just left bored. Not to mention, the storybook storyline with Hazuki in that second part of the show didn’t have much purpose. Sure, the animation used was unique and the colours were good, there also were some themes expressed through fairy tales of the characters worries, but it wasn’t strong, and the whole thing ultimately came across as filler. Especially considering, it wasn’t given much closure or proved to have any purpose for the characters by the end.
When it comes to romances where a guy like Hazuki falls in love at first site, I never find it very convincing. I’m a bit of cynical with these types of romances because I need to be persuaded that these characters have a better reason to loving someone than just saying they like to look at them. That’s just lust. Luckily, Hazuki got to learn more about Rokka and appreciate her more, but I was never fully convinced why this was the girl of his dreams.
Rokka also came across as pretty boring in the show. Her shining moments were how her character reacted in the past. I would have much preferred to see that girl. Luckily, Shimao tried to make up for it all by being really interesting, but even he lost his charm as the series went on. His intentions to rekindle his love with his wife through another body seemed cruel. He wanted her to forget, and yet did everything to make her remember. His actions were very different than his words.
This anime had more than enough time to develop both its character and story to create something truly meaningful, but instead had a lot of bad planning and pacing and created something that just instantly left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I remember thinking on a few occasion this season that I liked this series, but having thought back on it now, I realized I barely had to scratch the surface to see why this anime didn’t succeed in the end for me.
To give it some credit, the use of colours in the animation for both the animation of the flowers and the storybook were wonderful. I was also a big fan of the soundtrack (Ken Muramatsu!), but between the already the relatively uninteresting characters and the beyond long building up that didn’t really deliver for me, this anime just really rubbed me the wrong way. I’m sure several people out there will love this series, and it’s not terrible for a relatively realistic drama, but it’s something that really didn’t leave an impact with me, and so I won’t be recommending it.