Thursday, 9 August 2012

Natsuyuki Rendezvous - Episode 6

Thanks to their body-swapping shenanigans (which seems to be the in thing this summer), Shimao is continuing to enjoy life within the body of Hazuki.  Well, I say "enjoy", but it's proving to be tougher than he perhaps imagined in a number of ways.

Most notably as this sixth instalment begins, Shimao seems to be having trouble reconciling his own feelings for his wife/former wife with the fact that he's inhabiting Hazuki's body - on the one hand he seems determined to push her away while on the other he wants to get closer to her.  As this particular issue continues to build, it seems as if Shimao is almost ready to accept that Rokka has fallen for Hazuki, but he still can't quite bring it upon himself to help that particular relationship out.  All the while, Hazuki is still prevaricating in the fairy tale world in which he current resides.

For the second half of this episode in particular, we see things from Rokka's own eyes as she too struggles with her present feelings, and of course how they relate to her feelings for Shimao, unaware of the fact that her former husband is arguably causing her even more troubles along those lines.  The more she thinks about her situation, the more the blame for the current confusion seems to rest upon her own shoulders, leading to her finally making a decision and confession that might be exactly what is needed to shake the real Hazuki out of his dream world.

Even into the second half of this series, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is difficult to pin down in terms of both tone and quality - its characters seems to swing one way and then another emotionally so often it actually becomes pretty tiring to watch as they change their minds more often than my cat when asked to choose between two of his favourite foods.  At time these changes can be well-realised and almost defining for the episode in their sensitive and smart handling, but at others they almost feel arbitrary.  This leaves me feeling increasingly frustrated with the series as a whole - I can clearly see what it could be, but even elements like the fairy tale world in which Hazuki currently resides feels like wasted potential, while the characterisations of the main characters are too indecisive to give you any real emotional sway to get behind and cheer on, instead leaving you not really caring how things end up.  That isn't really good news for any anime which has romance at its centre, and although I still hold out hope that better things are right around the corner I'm beginning to wonder if it's a little too late to expect this series to start grabbing my attention on a more regular basis.

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