Thursday, 6 September 2012

Natsuyuki Rendezvous - Episode 10

It's crunch time in the battle for Hazuki's body - but who will win, especially now that Rokka is well and truly in on the game after coming to the realisation that it's actually Shimao currently inhabiting her co-worker's body.

At long last, it's time for our two lead male characters to have it out and get things resolved... well, sort of at least.  After Hazuki sees himself seemingly melt away as he becomes Shimao within the fantasy world in which he's trapped, swapping places with the dead and practically buried Shimao who was there previously, it seems that Shimao is willing to give his rival his body back, albeit only if he promises never to go near Rokka again.  For his part, Hazuki remains insistent that he'll only consider any deal if Shimao promises to finally let Rokka go so that she can live her own life.

The next thing we know however, Hazuki is being pushed off a virtual cliff, only to awaken back in reality... a decidedly uncomfortable reality, as he remains without his body and instead finds himself floating around as a ghost while Shimao makes use of his host to talk and joke with Rokka while eating rice balls.  Is he ever going to give Hazuki his body back?  With Rokka starting to probe into Shimao's "resurrection" and just how long he's been using Hazuki's body, what could be the sign that it's time for Shimao to say goodbye to his wife once again looms large in her conversation.

Having frustrated me at times and astounded me at others, this penultimate episode of Natsuyuki Rendezvous sat firmly in the middle of those two polar opposites by being "just okay" - by this point I've lost most of my sympathy and/or empathy for all of the main characters for some reason or another, which leaves this instalment to simply go through the motions.  It does this decently enough, and thankfully it finally drags us away from the frustration's of Shimao's picture book world into something more tangible after threatening to spend even longer spinning its wheels.  Ultimately though, the show's final episode seems to have mapped itself out pretty clearly, and I'm now just happy that we're close to the end of a show that occasionally promised so, so much, but never seemed to have the focus or nous to really deliver on all of the expectations it built so early on.

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