Posted on 20 July 2012 with categories: Natsuyuki Rendezvous

If it was just the voice acting in this series that was as great as it was, this series would already be amazing. But it’s not just that: the music is brilliant, and in fact got even better in this episode with its combinations of piano and string pieces. And on top of that the expressions are wonderfully drawn in this series: its ability to convey emotions also is completely unrivaled in this season. And the bizarre thing is: this is Dogakobo. What really surprises me is how they suddenly got themselves some awesome producers who could bring together some people who really know what they’re doing. What triggered that? I mean, these are the guys who are behind the many seasons of Koihime Musou. They only did one series once that didn’t involve blatant moe: Ryoko’s Case File, but that was nowhere as well executed as this series is.

I mean, there is also the way in which they got Ryo-Chimo to direct the OP, but what also surprises me is how tightly everything is produced: Kou Matsuou is involved everywhere: he directs, he writes the script, he even directed the ED. On top of that, every episode director so far also personally wrote the storyboard. I know that originally these roles were pulled apart in order to allow for more consistency in the anime production process, so that even with an average staff you could produce a great episode because the workload is divided, but it’s still good to see that the people who have the time and skill to do both at once are still there, because this in my opinion allows for a more creative control over each episode.

What the creators did in this episode brilliantly was show how hopeless Atsushi’s situation is. He’s pretty much forced to watch some random guy start hitting on what he still considers to be his girlfriend, and being sick for his entire life he really became a sympathetic character here after his charades last episodes. And really: Hazuki is one of the most flawed main characters out there, but in a completely different way from usual. This guy is cold and brash, not polite at all. Yet at the same time, he’s very sharp-witted which despite him being an asshole at times, makes him really great to watch. My one nitpick about this episode was that we got to see very little inside the head of Rokka herself. That was what made her so interesting in the first two episodes.
Rating: (Awesome)

16 Responses

  1. Scorcher says:

    Really liking this show…
    But I don’t think Hazuki is an asshole, I mean the ghost is harassing him constantly, so is no wonder he screws up…

  2. boo says:

    It’s so nice they went this route. I don’t think Hazuki is being an asshole, though he surely comes off as someone very cruel at times. However i think the effect is intensified because of the helpless situation Atsushi is in. If Hazuki was competing with a living breathing person, his reactions would be pretty much expected. Hazuki is being reasonable, but you really can not not to sympathize with Atsushi. And already i can’t wait for the next episode.

    • Scorcher says:

      Really??
      Then I guess that I’m the only one rooting for Hazuki…
      I don’t feel sorry for the ghost, he kind of annoys me…

      • wicked says:

        it’s now wonder Hazuki rebuff his request, Atsushi literally threaten him with death a moment ago, then next he asked to borrow his body? come on, who’d agree after that

      • boo says:

        Atsushi is hurting pretty badly at this point, they both are. I like them both, they are very similar in some ways actually: both are stubborn, sometimes childish, but also caring and responsible, they tend to express their intention and feelings a bit differently though.

  3. wicked says:

    Yeah I dont really sympathize with the ghost as much as I do the living. I understand his perspective and his existence is more or less due to Rokka, but it’s time kept still for both of them with no way out.

    On the other hand, Hazuki while heavy-handed in his approach is doing so out of reaction. It’s not until the appearance of Atsushi that he really started to be very forward.

    In his eyes the one that’s being cruel is Atsushi, as he’s the one keeping Rokka from moving on while only purpose he really serves is to keep her lonely.(He probably assume the he drove other man out, since to him it’s baffling that no other man has tried to get near her since Atsushi’s death). I think it hurts just as much when he said “I dont mind being a replacement.”

    • boo says:

      it’s time kept still for both of them with no way out.

      …and that’s pretty cruel to all three of them. This show tends to be pretty fatalistic at times. I’m really curious how it will all develop, it’s sooo easy to drop the ball with this one. *crosses fingers*

  4. UltimateReaper says:

    I’ve been considering watching this since you praise it and all, but I just past the cliche of the beautiful lady with dead lover thing

  5. spelled says:

    I do agree that Hazuki is flawed but agree with others that his actions are still quite reasonable. The thing that feel incomplete about his character is the lack of emotions he shows on screen. Hazuki has that cool guy expressionless face going on. I guess his character was created that way to contrast with the expressionistic Atsushi. I hope in future episodes they give him more character development.

    From the Rokka’s flashbacks, I get a small impression that to fill the void of Atsushi being gone, she ponders the idea of Hazuki because his similar qualities; Hazuki an Atsushi-like replacement. I’m not saying to that extreme but you get what I am saying. The scenes when Hazuki is taking care of her, being by her side, and his boney hands are all reminders of Atsushi. During the times Hazuki reminds her about him, she visibly more affectionate and passionate to Hazuki. I guess this is partly because she never had a chance to fully grieve and move on. These moments are an outlet for bottled up feelings toward her late husband.

  6. sato says:

    Not a whole lot of discussion of what actually happened in this episode?

    So the ghost can somehow now manipulate physical objects… seems like this would be an opportunity to actually interact with his wife again. And yet he gets hung up on wanting to possess the other guy’s body?? That would be awkward… But totally, he can now make his presence known if he wanted to, but will he?

    To me, Hazuki seems like such a creeper.. he keeps bringing up topics that end up hurting Rokka. Why the invitation to the theme park for next week? Because it’s the last good memory with dead husband. Quality.

    • wicked says:

      I get the feeling that the husband wont be satisfied with being able to interact with Rokka while still being a formless voiceless ghost. He wants to talk to her, hold her and touch her, and be a real presence. He has regrets about things he’s done when he’s alive and things that he said. Judging from Rokka’s flashback, his own soliloquies, and his sister’s account, he was not being the most honest person with his feeling, and perhaps a bit cruel with his action before his death. It’s not the fact that he cant interact with her it’s the fact that he’s a ghost that bothers him.

      Hazuki himself is an awkward but rather sharp and insightful guy. He knows very well Rokka is not over her husband and he know he might have chance at being the guy who she finally falls deeply in love with, but he at least has to be the one to show her it’s possible to love again. Whether or not he ends up with Rokka I think is secondary to him, so he’s being blunt and straight forward. What he’s doing is the equivalent of picking open a wound that didnt heal properly. It hurts when you do it, but if you dont it’ll never heal properly.

      • sato says:

        That’s just the thing though… now that Shimao can manipulate objects, he has a lot more options available to him. So far, a lot of the pity the audience has for him was built up on his powerlessness to affect anything – kicking or stopping Hazuki, helping Rokka while sick, etc. But now he can obviously be a bit more successful with things like this. Heck, he can theoretically even pick up a pencil and communicate directly with his wife. In this sense, he’s not actually GONE, and is merely invisible. I’m sure Rokka would love to know this.

        As for Hazuki… you are saying he doesn’t expect to win her heart, he’s just in it for the growing experience? I think we are supposed to believe he does genuinely love her. And picking at old wounds? That doesn’t quite apply here – a new lover should never expect to replace an old one in a person’s heart (especially a dead one, you can never compete with that!); you should strive for creating new happy experiences (respect the past, but start a new future). Back to the series though, I think Rokka is already ready to move on – she’s the one who has been the most bold so far! If Hazuki wasn’t so hung up on rivaling Shimao, he’d realize things are already working to his advantage. Maybe Shimao will give up on Rokka for his sake. But if Hazuki’s not serious, he has no business getting in the way of this pair that death could not separate.

        In any case, Shimao needs to show her he is there, and then Rokka can make the choice for herself!

        • wicked says:

          That’s the thing, I think neither Hazuki or The husband has really “shown” their hand.

          As much as Atsushi says he wants to protect Rokka forever, I think deep down he knows he cant, in fact I dont think he really intend to stay forever. He’s just kind of, stuck. I think reminding Rokka of his existence as a ghost is a much much crueler thing to do if he does not intend to leave.

          Similar things goes for Hazuki. It’s not he’s not serious about this, in fact nothing will make him happier, but he’s not expecting smooth sailing, and it’s not because of the ghost’s interference. He knows more about her than he’s letting on, but he doesnt really know how to deal with it. He’s not doing these things on purpose, he’s gambling and acting on impulse.

          Rokka has been bold in her actions yes, but how much of it is because she wants to return Hazuki’s feelings and how much of it is because of her own feelings? There’s a subtle difference between wanting to love the person that loves you is not the same as loving the person. I think that’s mostly the reason why she cries, not complete because her husband, yet not completely about Hazuki’s action. It stems from a frustration from her not truly being able to move on.

  7. kero says:

    One one level, the set up is such a cliche.
    On the other, everything is so well put together that i really feel the emotions, and the frustrations of the characters.

    I am not sure about hazuki’s last move with the theme park tickets, it felt like he was testing Rokka, but it was a move too far.

    loved the dragon ball joke.

    and it also made me want to eat teriyaki eel don. And I don’t even like it that much.

  8. RABUJOI says:

    This was the episode where I could no longer dismiss Atsushi as a nuisance, but started to see him as a profoundly tragic figure. However, Hazuki is quite right in not letting Atsushi take over his body (if he can indeed do so), and also right that Rokka and Atsushi has to move on. Even if Hazuki dies, Rokka will attract other men. Continuing to haunt her and them will only prolong her unhappiness, and his frustration.

    Bottom line: He’s dead, and nobody can do anything about it. The thing is, Rokka told him to stay, and he did. It wasn’t his choice to haunt her by himself, and even if it was, this probably isn’t what he bargained for. So we’re not sure if or how Atsushi or Rokka will get over each other, because their bond obviously transcends the mortal coil.

    All we know is, Hazuki is alive, and thus has a chance to make Rokka happy…unlike someone dead who she can neither see, hear, or touch.

  9. Mitch0o says:

    I wouldn’t say Hazuki is a complete asshole… he sure is a bit cold and also does things out of place (like inviting the girl he love to the amusement park she used to go with her late husband… of course she would cry!), but I think he is more uncomfortable and young than impolite and brash. But Atsuhi was such a spoiled brat in this episode… I understand his pain and all, but god, he is dead! Hazuki must really love Rokka to stay by her side even if she is haunted by such an annoying ghost.

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 02:01 AM)
    @K-off: The first vampire hunter D though is very very dated now though.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 01:59 AM)
    @K-Off I have to admit, I’ve never watched Vampire Hunter D before.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:54 AM)
    @Emma You’ve probably heard this before but the Akira manga is a must-read. The movie is good but at the end of the day it will be remembered for the great art and soundtrack, not for being an especially great narrative. The manga, on the other hand, is a strong contender for GOAT. One of the few mangas I own in its entirety.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:50 AM)
    I quite enjoyed Animatrix over the Matrix sequels, and I like to think that the Matrix sequels should have been animated by Kawajiri.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:45 AM)
    @Emma Agreed. I found plenty of hype when it was first announced, but I think it’s safe to say it’s reached cult film status since.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:41 AM)
    The bloodlust movie really deserves a decent dvd release.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:40 AM)
    @K-off: Gothic, moody, a rare example of mixing ye olde setting with scifi elements, proper, resspectible depiction of vampires, I liked the villain in it and it was a large improvement in all regards to the previous vampire hunter D movie. The manga/novels are worth a look.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:35 AM)
    @ninja @Emma what’d both of you think of the Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust movie?
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:26 AM)
    @Realist: I’ve only seen the film for Akira so based on that I’m going to put Roujin Z above it as a film. It was evident that Akira’s adaptation felt very crammed in, haphazard, I don’t know what I’d think of Akira if I rewatched it now.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:15 AM)
    @Emma I mean, I think you could honestly make the case that Roujin Z is a better movie than Akira, in the narrative sense, but in terms of audio/visual there’s no comparison. And if we’re talking manga, Akira beats the piss out of almost anything. But if people can look past that, I think Roujin Z is a very worthwhile anime.

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