After a slow start, Natsuyuki Rendezvous almost caught me unawares as it suddenly dragged me into the midst of its very particular brand of emotional turmoil last week.
As we rejoin events, Rokka is left to recover from her cold while Miho and Hazuki take turns tending to the store, as all the whole Rokka dreams and reminisces about her former husband. The trouble is, these reminiscences cause her to realise some similarities between Shimao and Hazuki, and despite the events of episode two it seems that this particular romance is very much back on the cards as Hazuki pays his manager a visit at her temporary sickbed.
Needless to say, this turn of events doesn't go down well with Shimao, and it appears that this is one ghost that you don't want to make angry, as typical poltergeist goings-on like shakings floors and things flying around the room ensue. Rokka might assume it's an earthquake, but Hazuki knows better and confronts his deceased love rival, only to find himself being bombarded with desperate requests from Shimao to borrow his body for a while. Of course, this doesn't fly at all with Hazuki - although he still worries inwardly about Rokka's happiness and where it lays, it doesn't stop him offering to take her out on a date. Whether this is a good idea as things stand is another matter entirely...
Having been blown away by last week's episode, I was less impressed by this latest instalment of Natsuyuki Rendezvous. It certainly still had its moments and did a great job of depicting Shimao's distress in places, but there's something disappointing about the move to give him the ability to affect physical objects - the big driver of last week's episode was the emotional turmoil that came from being entirely unable to affect the world around him, yet this has suddenly been thrown away in favour of something he can physically do to (quite literally) shake up his world. Perhaps this shift in the story will be used smartly moving forward, but at the moment it feels like a bit of a step backwards which detracts a little from the expertly viewed emotional situation between the main cast of characters. Still, it's enjoyable to be able to watch a show with a more grown-up cast, and as episode two proved there's no shortage of potential to this series when it hits the right notes, so hopefully it can hammer on a few more of them before this show is out.