If you thought that Rokka's sudden confession at the end of last week's Natsuyuki Rendezvous was going to bring Hazuki back into possession of his own body, think again - as this seventh episode begins, our guest Shimao seems to be very much here to stay.
Needless to say, Rokka's confess only really serves to compound Shimao's unhappiness - despite deriving some choice from hearing her talk about him as her first and only love prior to this point, the fact that he's ultimately "lost" to Hazuki is inarguable. This would perhaps normally be the moment where a better man would step back into his rightful place, but instead Shimao seems insistent to keep his current charade going, instead taking Rokka on a trip to the seaside and eventually taking advantage of Rokka's love for Hazuki at the end of it all while the "real" Hazuki is left trapped inside Shimao's subconscious.
Come the next morning, Rokka awakes to find Hazuki/Shimao gone, with only a note saying that he'll call her in his wake - a note that rouses her suspicions as it bears a marked resemblance to the kind of thing that Shimao would write. While Hazuki learns from the Rokka within Shimao's make-believe world about the dead husband's "last words" which should have been discarded but were instead found by Rokka, it seems that Shimao himself, it seems as if Shimao has finally come to understand his own place in current proceedings and how to do what he can to resolve the mess which has developed around him...
After a number of frustrating episodes of this series for me, this week's Natsuyuki Rendezvous finally managed to hit the high notes again, bringing with it the same kind of emotional tension and understanding that we last saw properly in episode two - okay, Hazuki was largely relegated to the sidelines, but we really got to grips with the depth and intensity of Shimao's emotions in a moving and almost difficult to watch way as we saw a man whose love has torn him between selfishness and doing the best for his wife. All of this is without even touching upon Rokka herself, who is also put through the wringer as her love for her deceased husband butts heads with her feelings for Hazuki in a painfully realistic way. The only real fly in the ointment is that it's still difficult to see what Rokka might even see in Hazuki for the most part - something that I only hope the rest of this series can resolve now that it finally feels as though it's gotten right back on track in almost spectacular fashion.