Hazuki may be near-sighted, but he knows true beauty when he sees it and the delicate form of flower shop owner Rokka draws him in like a bee to honey. So, hoping to cultivate a relationship between them, Hazuki takes a part time job at her shop, only to discover two huge thorns preventing the nurturing of any romance. The first, the fact that Rokka is still grieving for her late husband Shimao, would be enough to snip most men's ardor short, but it's the second that really threatens to make Hazuki's forlorn hopes wilt. Because while Shimao is most definitely deceased, he hasn't yet departed and his spirit is still living in Rokka's apartment! Except only Hazuki can see him, which leads to a very strange romantic triangle indeed. Are Hazuki's chances with Rokka as dead as the man who still lives in her house? Or can he somehow make love blossom even though there's an interloper pushing up the daisies between them?
Love. The four letter forbidden word. What is it really? Is it an idea? Is it an expression? Is it a feeling? Perhaps it's something that all of us feel like it must be part of us because it's the central theme of human life. No but, seriously, think about it.
In a nutshell, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a rare romantic josei series presented by Noitamina. In fact, Noitamina is known to present all sorts of unique and strange series that expands beyond the typical male audience such as the original [C], the musical Nodame Cantabile, the horror Shiki, and the ghostly story of Anohana. Ah yes, speaking of ghost stories, that brings us to Natsuyuki Rendezvous.
The series has three main characters. First, there's a delicate flower named Rokka Shimao who owns a flower shop. She is the manager but more importantly, the widow of the deceased husband of Atsushi Shimao. Then, there's Ryousuke Hazuki who has poor eye sight but knows a delicate flower when he sees one. As one might expect from the pilot episode, he is in love with the flower manager. Last but certainly not least is Atsushi Shimao. He is a ghost who has been haunting the flower shop, or more specifically his wife for the past three years. Talk about stalking on a whole new level.
Three main characters, two of them guys and one of them a gentle flower. What do we get? Well, by common anime logic, a love triangle obviously. It's quite a peculiar love triangle too especially with the given circumstances. Rokka still grieves for the ghostly husband that have continued to haunt her for the past three years without her knowledge. Shimao is there but unable to cope with his former wife either mentally or physically. Hazuki-kun is trying to get the attention of his dream girl but can't seem to do so with his conflicted ideology.
Now, pause and stop reading this review. Do you still want to continue watching the series? That's a tough question to ask especially in the beginning since there's already conflict and animosity between the two main male characters. Ah, love is so damn complicated.
At any rate, this series is lighthearted and presents romance in a more realistic as well as naturalistic way despite the supernatural theme added in. But the real challenge is, can Hazuki-kun flower the pot? It's hard to say especially with interference from a certain ghostly someone. That being, the troll husband Shimao. But more than that, this series seems to have a rather slow pace especially in some of the later episodes. A slow paced romance series is never good especially fans into more intense drama. Bring on the intensity? No. It's more like bring on the slice-of-life feel. So, anyone looking forward to some intense drama in this series might be disappointed.
Despite this though, I do find some aspects of the series to be well executed. The rivalry between Hazuki-kun and ghost Shimao is a dynamic focus in the series. They are like eternal rivals, like cat and mouse, like mongoose and cobra, like ying and yang. Without them, this series would probably make you fall asleep. But with them, realism and amusing twists in the form of supernatural romance comedy is bought forth into the eyes of the viewers presented courtesy of Noitamina.
As being a josei anime, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is crafted out of simple artwork that is expressive and naturalistic like the plants of the flower shop. Life is natural and so is love, so why shouldn't the artwork be of the same? The beautiful flora backgrounds and some of the key visuals maintains that josei and lighthearted feeling that defines the rhythm of the series.
Speaking of rhythm, the music seems to continue with that in the form of a lighthearted soundtrack. The opening song, "See You" by Yuya Matsushita is sung softly but with empathy and with feeling. It presents some of the characters and their ways of struggle in not only life but also in death. The title of the song serves as a form of symbolism as Shimao sees Rokka every day but seems so far away. He's dead but still can't seem to move on to the afterlife to enjoy his days.
In the end, we should look ourselves and treasure every day we breathe in and out. Losing a loved one is never ever easy, more so in this series as the person you once knew still continues to stand besides you but seems so far away. People views it in different ways. Some shed endless tears. Some tries to move on like in Rokka but continues to struggle every day. And some just moves on flawlessly. What binds this emotion is once again the four letter forbidden word, “love”. It might seem normal but not in the case of Natsuyuki Rendezvous as love binds the ghost of tomorrow in the form of Shimao. Love here, love there, but will a viewer love this series?
To me, this series can be enjoyable at a realistic level. It has the soft rhythm and slow pace that can be relaxing to watch. And of course, being dual tagged as supernatural and josei is quite a rare case in today's anime series. Most cases you see these days are series tagged “action, romance”, “ecchi, romance”, “horror, romance”, “school, romance”, dot dot dot. Along with that, lighthearted soundtrack and the simple yet realistic artwork defines Natsuyuki Rendezvous at its finest form. Despite this though, there are flaws in this series. The pacing, conclusion, and focus are a few to name. Along with that, it's painful to watch Hazuki-kun struggle on in the subsequent episodes that may make us facepalm ourselves a few times. But, I hope you don't facepalm yourself and enjoy this series.
All in all, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is an anime that is difficult to be loved. Yet, it has its moments that are enjoyable. Being a ghost is never easy but love is just so damn complicated. read more
"I always wondered who was the one who suffered the most. The one who departed...or the one who was left behind"
//Before giving me a non-helpful tag please read the review. //
After finishing Sakamichi no Apollon, I wondered if there was another josei anime who would make the same impact on me...and I know now for sure I found it. If else, it had made a hole different one.
Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a beautiful work. The story, the art, the characters, the music, the production and direction...every thing is balanced prefectly.
There´s so many things that are remarkable about this show:a grieving couple that shares everything not knowing it, the loneliness of being together and appart at the same time, the fear of moving on, the untasteful way of living everyday without a purpose, the pain that comes when you don´t know if to leave or to stay.
The characters: "as long as there is love, someone´s going to be hurt". We´ve seen that along the way God-know-how-many-billion-hundred-times on different series. Yet, this is one of the few times it felt it so real. Their actions, their selfishness and the way they behave arround each other is so full of mistakes that it makes you want to scream at them. Yes, it is, and it keeps being that way during the hole thing (I mean it). BUT, even if they do things at a brand-new level of wrong, it´s clear that if it were you who were there, you wouldn´t know either, because when it comes to love there´s no right nor correct answers. That´s one of the things which makes us humans, and that is, for sure, one of the major lessons (if you want to name it that way) of this anime.
Another plus of this series is the music. The OP and the ED are so full of messages and blend so well with the story. Each one gives us the side of the story of each part: the OP reflexes Shimao (Rokka´s late husband) and Hazuki´s feelings,while the ending gives you the feelings and thoughts of Rokka.
If you´ve reached this point on the review I know you´ve wondered if I liked it or not.Answer: yes, I do. But, I won´t tell you to watch it if you´re looking for something, ´cuz, as we all know, surprises on life come when you´re not looking for them.
So, shall we move on to the first episode?read more
A many handful of religions and beliefs in this world have people under different impressions of the dead. Some believe the dead come back to the world while others believe the dead stay amongst' us due to unjustified deaths or unfinished life works.
The love triangle of Natsuyuki Rendevous left me with a feeling somewhat disappointed, not because of the story, but because of slow progression and lack of fill.
The major problem I saw with the story was how the writers invested so much time into the Shimao and Hazuki body swaps. The first few episodes were fair, but after that everything went downhill filling viewers minds with a fairy book world and little real world interaction. Even based on the dialog the ending was predictable, and I wasn't even the least bit surprised with Shimao not moving on. The tales of Thumbelina and The Mermaid could have been summed up into a couple episodes without killing half the series. Getting Hazuki to realize how much he wanted "The Manager" could have been done without useless information.
I wasn't too fond of any of the characters. To me, if you believe that you see the dead or follow acts of spirit possession you should be locked up with the white suits. These three were generally cute as you might call it. I feel Hazuki could have confessed much easier without seeming like a stalker however and by stalker I mean being everywhere possible where Rokka was.
The animation was really the only strong point for me, I wasn't happy with the way everything else went. Im a huge fan of non norm animation styles and colorful representations. While not liking what I call the "Fairy-tale Book" arc I kept going because the colorful representations. But josei and shoujo animators aren't far off, the demographic isn't that wide. Typically you see big and bright eyes and over exaggerations of what women should look like in both josei and shoujo genres. On the other side of genders its usually pretty boys.
I have nothing particular to say about the opening and ending themes. They were performed very well, I tend to skip both in everything I watch, I'm just not a fan.
Unfortunately, I lost interest mid way though, I really only found enjoyment out of the first few episodes and Natsuyuki Rendevous ended up being a disappointment. read more
Now I think this anime is fairly unknown to people- but that is part of the reason i'm writing this to raise it's profile even by just a little.
I won't reveal any spoilers but it is one of the most heart-warming and tear jerking romances I have seen in a long time. And to be honest i'm surprised I enjoyed it as much I did because romance animes aren't really my favourites.
Anyway the story focuses on the relationship between a flower shop owner and her new part-time employee that has been admiring her from afar. If it was just this I myself would be a little disappointed but then they throw in the fact that the owners late husband is haunting her and her admirer is the only one that can see him, the ghost husband tries everything in his power to keep his wife. (I won't reveal anymore as it will reveal to much about the stories major plot points) .
the music and art work are also extremely beautiful and you are just taken away into a new world. I don't really have any negatives about it but some episodes suffered from a lack of pace which did not bring the story forward. Nut it all pays off in the end of the conclusion leaves no questions unanswered and is one of the most romantically moving endings I have ever seen since I have been watching anime.
Trust me you will need tissues at more than one point during the series.
Anyway just please go and check it out it's one of those amazing underappreciated animes that are the best to watch. read more