Friday, 14 September 2012

Natsuyuki Rendezvous - Episode 11 (Completed)

Now that the game is up and Rokka knows the truth about the current inhabitant of Hazuki's body, it's decision time for all involved as Natsuyuki Rendezvous reaches its climax.

One thing that quickly becomes clear is that this is the end of the road for Shimao in terms of "borrowing" Hazuki's body, as even he finally admits that it's time to let go of his current physical reality.  But what of Rokka?  Is her love for Hazuki great enough to accept him upon his return to his own body, or would she rather simply follow her husband into the afterlife?

For a few shocking minutes it seems as if this is not only Rokka's choice but also a decision accepted by Shimao, who looks set to help his wife into the afterlife while ignoring Hazuki's desperate pleas for him to stop.  Thankfully, it seems that this is little more than a bluff as a "parting gift" by Shimao before returning the body he's been using to its rightful owner, and paving the way for Hazuki to make his own gambit for Rokka's happiness.

So ends a series that held so much potential, and occasionally delivered upon it in spades, but one that largely failed to really make the most of the myriad emotions afforded its setup.  Natsuyuki Rendezvous showed flashes of brilliance in showing the emotional struggles of Rokka and Shimao in particular, but seemed to lose sight of what it was trying to say as it dragged out its body-swapping plot point and leaned too heavily on flashbacks to the past to bring a meaning to its presence.  While Hazuki's trip to a land of fairy tails proved too distracting from the show's more important plot beats, all of the characters proved to be tougher to root for as the series progresses, with their attitudes and decisions proving to be the final nail in the coffin of a series which promised so much but delivered to little.  While I'm glad I watched Natsuyuki Rendezvous for those moments where it caught me squarely in the chest and tugged hard at my heart strings, by the end of it all I was simply glad that it was over.

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