The dead need to let go – Natsuyuki Rendezvous First Impressions

Hazuki loves Rokka. Rokka loves Atsushi. Atsushi loves Rokka.

The only problem is that Atsushi is dead, and Hazuki is the only one who can see him.

This is the basic premise behind Natsuyuki Rendezvous, an anime show I started watching a few weeks ago. I recently finished episode 6, putting it just over the half way mark, and so far it’s been really good. It’s a show that mostly focuses on romance and drama, with a supernatural element that thankfully isn’t just a gimmick or twist, but central to the story.

The story itself is well paced, and regularly moves between the past and present to reveal information about the characters. The characters themselves are an interesting mix, and are portrayed quite realistically despite the supernatural elements. Hazuki, while stereotypical in some ways, comes across as far more aggressive than most anime protagonists, particularly once he meets Atsushi. The tension between Atsushi and Hazuki is fantastic, mostly because they both want the same thing, but only one of them can have it. Atsushi clings to Rokka and to the love they once shared, even though he knows he cannot do anything to make her happy. There are moments when he is extremely child like and selfish, and others when he would do anything for his wife. Rokka is torn between the only man she loved, even though he’s no longer with her, and Hazuki, because he reminds her of her deceased husband in so many ways.

I also love the way the character designs blur the boundaries between masculine and feminine. Both the male characters are somewhat typical bishonen (pretty boys), but Rokka could almost be mistaken for a boy, if it weren’t for her obviously feminine eyes.

Masculinity and femininity is often blurred in the design of characters for Japanese romance stories.

The animation in the show is solid, but it’s nothing ground breaking. It’s a character driven show, so this is to be expected. The music, while suitable for the genre, is also sadly nothing to write home about.

Since the show isn’t quite over yet, and the story has just taken quite a surreal direction, I’m not going to rate it just yet. All I’m going to say is that so far it’s been pretty damn good! Check out the promo below:


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