And here we have the ending of one of the top shows of 2012. I mean, back during the Spring season I already was very impressed with Sakamichi no Apollon, but that series had its flaws: it at times tried a little too hard, and as a result the characters forced themselves a bit too much into romance and drama. This series however was just perfect. It made brilliant use of its length and its story was simple, yet so effective. My favorite shows usually are complex series with huge storylines, but this was done so well that it completely won me over.
The ending here was no different. Screw trying too hard, this was just perfect: Atsushi got his time to say goodbye to Rokka properly, pissed off Hazuki one final time with his threat to kill her, and afterwards Rokka and Hazuki officially become a couple. Atsushi really shook up both of them in his attempt to leave a lasting impression, and I love how well the animators captured their emotions at just that moment. Hazuki’s utter surprise and Rokka’s hopelessly sad face were incredibly genuine.
And after that, this series picked a very interesting epilogue. Usually we skip forward to a few years later. This time however, we turn to the point where Hazuki dies, living his life happily. We got to see his daugthter with Rokka all grown up, which really is not something you see often. In fact, I can’t remember any other epilogue that did that. Beyond that, we never see Hazuki or Rokka in the epilogue other than in pictures. Again, a wonderful idea.
At this point I can’t say whether Natsuyuki Rendezvous will be my top pick for 2012. I can however say with quite a bit of certainty that it’s in the top 2 of the year. Its exact placement depentds on how Space Brothers fares in its third quarter, and whether it keeps up the pace it created. Space Brothers has slightly better characters, but on the other hand its pacing and animation just aren’t as good as this series. Nevertheless, these two shows stand miles above anything else this year.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)