What They Say:
In this final episode, Rokka chooses whom she’s going to spend the rest of her life (or life in death) with: Hazuki or her deceased husband, Shimao.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Rokka now finally understanding the situation, at least to some degree, she’s finally asked the important question. Where’s Hazuki? With Shimao having taken over Hazuki’s body and her believing it was really Hazuki all this time, albeit seeing some stranger differences after a bit, her concern is now expanded. It’s not a surprise that her initial shock and surprise would have her focusing on the fact that her dead husband is back and that after some time she’d collect her thoughts enough to put it all together and start asking more questions. It’s Shimao that’s the real problem here though since his first instinct answer is to say he hasn’t a clue where Hazuki is, even if he’s fully aware of the truth.
While the discussion of Hazuki is a key point at the start, Shimao knows enough to turn her pain and understanding around onto himself, to be the victim more even as she reveals to him that she’s learned she can move on and live without him. It’s something that’s hard for her to say, but it’s a truth she’s come to understand. Yet Shimao changes the discourse to him by saying how he didn’t have the choice at all as things simply ended for him and his return to the world has left him struggling. Well, he doesn’t say that because it would undermine his claim. His time as a spirit is something that should have allowed him to do the same, to take solace in that she has begun to live again, find love and to become whole once more. But he was unable to and instead ended up in this situation.
Of course, things do change along the way but the main focus continues to largely be on that of Shimao and Rokka and more with his own struggles. Hazuki’s sidelined for so much of this as he watches on and tries to grapple with the emotions and connections he sees before him, as well as his own. When it does finally shift to him and Rokka, it has a good approach to it as she deals with her feelings, explaining them clearly to him and allowing him to do the same while exploring a little of what happened to him in his dreamlike state. Giving us closure on this and then doing a significant flash forward gives us a really neat view of what’s to come, even if we miss out on the heart and guts of things, to see resolution in a different way that works well while opening up some other avenues that could be explored.
Bringing the series to a conclusion, it’s one that I definitely find a little difficult to work with if only because of the overall shift in the show from start to finish. It went places I didn’t exactly expect for longer than felt right and marginalized the characters I wanted to see more of. Shimao became center stage, which is fine, but Rokka was diminished and Hazuki ended up in a near pointless subplot that kept him out of the picture. There’s something to be said for the duality that Shimao got to play for awhile, but it was played so poorly by him that you wonder that Rokka didn’t catch things earlier. Natsuyuki Rendezvous does work well for me overall with some good performances, very good performances, and solidly intense emotional moments. It missed the bullseye overall but still scores strongly and has me eager to watch it again down the line in marathon form to see if that changes the dynamic of it all. It’s definitely one of the noitanimA shows that will leave an impression, a mixed one to be sure, but largely positive.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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