22-year-old Hazuki lives a boring life in an apartment filled with plants, but secretly he couldn't care less about the vegetation, for the highlight of the young man's day is buying the items from cheery Rokka, a widow who runs the flower shop nearby. So that he can spend more time with her, Hazuki eagerly accepts a job working part-time at the shop, but after months of working with his crush, the man can't seem to muster the courage to confess his feelings. And it's not just his abrasive personality getting in the way of his ideal relationship - the ghost of Rokka's dead husband haunts the shop and is determined to keep all potential suitors away from his wife. Despite this unexpected obstacle, Hazuki continues his attempt to woo the older woman and free her from the ghost of her past.
Natsuyuki Rendezvous was a very enjoyable anime for me. There is not enough josei out there so it was nice to find this gem. Story The story follows Hazuki as he falls in love with a widow by the name of Rokka who owns a flower shop. He starts working as a part-timer there and tries to win her over but the spirit of Rokka’s dead husband lingers arounds and tries to scare off any potential suitors of his wife. This is a romantic story with a nice pace to it. There is also some comedy and of course supernatural themes as well. I understand that the story at a glance is not very original or complex, but I felt that the anime developed this premise so well that it did an amazing job at appealing to the audience with a beautiful love story. I read the reviews here and it appears this story was not well liked. People criticized the love triangle that is explored in the anime as not being credible because it’s not difficult to imagine who Rokka will chose considering her husband is dead. My impressions of the premise are VERY different. I don’t believe the story is meant to revolve around who was a better fit for her or who she should be with at present. I think the story explores a very realistic struggle to let go of a loved one that has passed on and give yourself the chance to fall in love again. Can you imagine how difficult this could be? To have only loved one person for so long, your first love actually, and then that person is gone from this world and as you try to live life again you don’t want to betray that person and those feelings by falling in love once more. I truly believe that this struggle is the most powerful theme that is discussed in the anime and I do not think it’s simple in any way. Another good point of this anime is the narrative. You see this story from the three main characters points’ of view. This makes it easier for the audience to connect with the characters and understand their underlying feelings at present. Because this anime also shows a lot of scenes from the past, this point is just reinforced. Likewise, this story is full of symbolism. A lot of people felt that once Hazuki is trapped in the book the story lost focus and seemed very inconsistent with the story thus far. My opinion is that since there was supernatural themes from the beginning, this is not surprising at all. However, I do feel that there were several meanings to the story that Hazuki gets trapped into. The story in the book reflected the deepest feelings that Shimao had for Rokka and how he sees her in a world he was forced to imagine to escape his painful reality. When watching this anime, you must pay attention to all of these details in order to fully understand the story and connect with it. Animation/Sound The animation was okay. There is a lot of color and the graphics are nice but I felt that the character’s design was not as good. I did not like the inconsistency of the characters’ eyes in terms of size or originality. I did like the character of Rokka, I think she is the first female main character that I have seen with short hear and that still looks good so I enjoyed this piece the most. The sound was good. There are really only two songs in this anime as it’s only 11 episodes long, but the songs were enjoyable and the voices used for the characters were pretty good too. Characters (some spoilers) Hazuki is an interesting character. He is not rich, gleeful or talented but he manages to fall in love with Rokka in a very unexpected way. This love brings the best of him and he shows a very romantic and sweet side to him. I actually like him a lot because the fact that he had not any special talents made him more realistic. Shimao is an enigma. While still alive, he tried to convince his wife to move on from him when he was sure he had not much longer to live. This of course was a struggle in itself and he really did not want to let go of her. While passing on, he decides to continue by her side as he hears her pleas not to leave her. Shimao continues to have conflicting feelings between letting go, allowing someone else to make her happy and the jealous feelings that come along. His story is painful but the ending of the anime hints a happy ending. Rokka is a very tough woman who decides to focus on her flower shop fully and nothing more after experiencing the loss of her husband. When Hazuki expresses his feelings for her, she is somewhat overwhelmed and without noticing it, she falls in love with him too little by little. She is still hunted however by the feelings she still has for her husband and is unsure if she should be able to love someone else of if that is even right to begin with. During this short journey we see her struggle to come to terms with these feelings but she is able to eventually move on and give herself a chance of happiness. Her character remains consistent throughout the story. She is very sweet and loving.
I finished watching Natsuyuki Rendezvous for the second time last night. And after reading some of the other reviews, I felt the need to write one myself. I understand what the other reviewers complain about, but nonetheless I don't agree and I think, instead, that this anime is a good watch. I wanted to watch something nice and romantic, character-based and gentle; so I felt compelled to watch this anime again, which is all of those things. I actually think the first half of the anime, up until when Hazuki gets carried away to fairlyland, is pretty good. I concede that after that plot and execution get a bit messy, but I'm still willing to forgive that. I really like this anime. And one of the reasons I do, is because the protagonists are adults, not schoolkids. A different take on things. Once in a while. The story starts by showing us Hazuki and his one-room apartment full of plants. He has a crush on the owner of a florist shop and the only way he can think of getting closer to her is by stopping by the shop every day and buying plants. It's a sweet premise: crushes happen, and I think nearly anyone can relate to that. The story kicks in when Hazuki sees an advert at the florist shop for a part-time worker and decides to apply for the job. So Rokka-chan, the manager and owner of the shop, starts to become a real person: I enjoyed watching this part a lot. Hazuki is an amusing character, he's shy and laid-back but with an abrasive personality at the same time: an interesting combination of traits. He works in the shop for months on end, falling ever more in love, but never finding the courage to approach Rokka and tell her his feelings. Once again, an external event sets the ball rolling. Rokka invites Hazuki to her house for some work-related reason and there he finds a man without a shirt going about the house and acting intimately with Rokka. After witnessing this, Hazuki feels enourmously let down and is ready to give up on Rokka and quit the job, but then he finds out that the man in question is none other than the ghost of Rokka's dead husband. This gives rise to all sorts of funny verbal exchanges between Hazuki, who is intent on catching Rokka's attention and wooing her, and Shimao-kun, the ghost, desperately clinging to her, unable to let go, and intent on getting rid of Hazuki by any means. I won't say anything else about the plot to avoid spoilers, but as the story progresses we get to know much more about Rokka and Shimao's past. As for the characters, it's all about Hazuki, Rokka and Shimao and their relationship. Again, I don't think the characters are badly portrayed. I found Rokka sweet and endearing. Shimao does come across as annoying with regards to his attittude and behaviour towards Hazuki, but when you think of him in relation to Rokka, that feeling of irritation kind of slips away. They're not fantastic characters and there isn't that much development. But they're likeable and nice and you sympathise with their plight. The animation is good, nice drawings and lively colours. No complaints. I also think the voice-acting is extremely good. As already mentioned, the second-half of the anime is a bit of a let down if compared to the first half. Hazuki is put in a kind of stand-by situation where he doesn't develop at all while the limelight is all on Shimao - it honestly drags a little bit. But all things and flaws considered, I still like this anime a lot.
Natsuyuki Rendezvous starts off simple. A guy falls in love with a widow who is still grieving for the husband she's lost. The only complication is that Hazuki can see the ghost of widow Rokka's husband and the husband isn't ready to move on or give up his former wife. It's an interesting premise and the series has a charming mellow mood that pulled me into the anime at first. However, that plot is actually a trick and not what the anime is about at all, as at the end of the fifth episode the anime completely shifts gears and is no longer a romance between Hazuki and Rokka but instead about unfinished business. It's at this point where the anime really goes off the rails. The initial plot and set up are good. It does have it's frustrating moments because Hazuki is very immature and the ghost husband is childish himself, but there was plenty of room for all the characters to grow. Instead when the anime suddenly shifts gears Rokka becomes a blank slate, an object for the males to work out their issues on. She's no longer an active participant in the story but a goal for the male characters. After the change in tone the story is still interesting enough. In fact if they hadn't bothered with the set up and just made the anime about finishing old business and getting to spend just a little more time with the person that the ghost husband loved, I think the anime could have been very sweet. Instead the characters all act very foolish and drag out the second act to the point where there's very little time left when everyone knows what is going on. Instead the series indulges in an Alice in Wonderland style fantasy segment that goes on for far too long and doesn't really develop the character all that much. The character stuck in Wonderland does come to some deeper understand of the situation, but it shouldn't have needed six episodes to get to that point. It's frustrating and annoying because it takes away so much from the drama and emotional impact of the series. The plot ends up being interesting as a story but lack any punch as a dramatic romance, which really sucks for a series that's built on generating emotion from the viewer. The anime is pretty much all about three characters. However, in practice there's really only Hazuki and Atsushi the dead husband that are allowed to have any agency. The third character Rokka doesn't get to do anything until the very end of the series and even then her choice is overridden by a man. Likely Hazuki and Atsushi will annoy a lot of viewers because they are childish, self centered and boorish. They do have their charm and generate some cute moments with Rokka, but for the most part their actions can be quite frustrating and at times you really just want to punch them in the face and tell them to quit acting like an assholes. It's Rokka that gets left out in the cold. For whatever reason she never gets to develop as a character. Instead she is repeated used by the two men often in ways she doesn't even understand but they don't bother to talk to her or try to explain what is going on. Instead the men act enigmatic leaving her in a constant state of turmoil that she can't escape by herself because she's never given the agency to demand answers in a situation that calls for her to do so. Her failure to do this drags out the plot for far to long. Instead Rokka acts as a doormat when she could have been an interesting well rounded character. The anime never even explains why she changed her hair style from the past so radically. My interpretation is that she intentionally cut her hair so short as a sign of her grief. She is a woman that has become trapped in her grief for three years, unable to move on with her life. The plot should have been about Rokka letting go of her husband as she falls for Hazuki but the anime avoid this route and instead makes it about the ghost husband letting go of Rokka. The art and animation for this were nice. I enjoyed the art style and the animation was just fine for a series like this. The OST was solid as were the opening and ending theme. The voice acting was solid with the actors never going too over the top but instead staying subdued to preserve the mellow atmosphere of the series. Overall this series was okay. It has some very nice moments, but the way it undercuts Rokka also makes it hard for me to recommend to anyone. The series pulls a very serious bait and switch on the viewer, with the second half of the anime becoming something completely unexpected. If the series had taken more care with its characters, especially Rokka this could have been something great. Instead it lacks dramatic punch is likely to make some viewers want to punch their monitor. It's difficult for me to come up with a score because a lot of what this series did was interesting to me, but in the end it's a drama and it comes down to emotional impact, which is what was really lacking in this series.
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