The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Natsuyuki Rendezvous

Title: Natsuyuki Rendezvous
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: Dogakobo
Format:  11 episodes
Dates: 5 Aug 2012 – 13 Sep 2012

Synopsis: Hazuki is the new part time florist at a local flower shop. However, it is not the flowers he has his eyes on, but the beautiful store manager, Rokka. Unfortunately for Hazuki, Rokka swore off love long ago after the death of her husband, Shimao.  This is not the only challenge Hazuki faces in trying to court Rokka –  when visiting Rokka’s apartment, Hazuki discovers the ghost of her late husband, who seems intent on keeping him away.

The Highlights
Awkward: Extremely uncomfortable to watch because it feels too private.
Characters: Unsympathetic and uninteresting.
Uneventful: Tedious and boring as very little happens, including dialogue.
Romance: Hard to buy.

The noitaminA airing block on television has historically featured a rich history of splendid anime with mature and complex topics. There are few other places in the industry that one can find shows so unconcerned about catering to otaku interests than this. Unfortunately, unlike past shows such as Usagi Drop and Honey and Clover that exemplified the greatest qualities of the noitaminA block, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is not up to par. Although certainly intended for a more adult audience than your average anime, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is an excruciatingly tedious experience.

At the heart of the matter is that none of the characters in this show are even remotely sympathetic. Shimao’s clinginess to Rokka and the manner in which he tries to fend off Hazuki is especially aggravating. His own childish desire to keep his wife to himself even after death simply makes it impossible for her to ever move on. Hazuki is not much better since he also is continually insensitive to Rokka by being overly pushy, even going as far stating that he wants to make Shimao disappear from Rokka’s memories. Rokka herself just adds fuel to the fire since she intentionally is coy with Hazuki, which makes the whole matter even more frustrating.

Perhaps I would understand if there is supposed to be compelling drama in all of this, but I cannot see it. This is a show about three selfish individuals with flaws that do not elucidate any interesting feature of human nature. Their awkward interactions make matters worse. Several times Natsuyuki Rendezvous becomes unbearable to watch in a manner comparable to walking into a room with old people fornicating. Their feelings and problems seem all too inappropriate to be watching, which makes it quite a struggle to get through the series.

Beyond the unlikable characters, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is boring. Although one would not expect such a show of this nature to be eventful, there is a distinct lack of activity going on each episode. This is not limited to physical activities, but even mental processes; the characters do not seem to thinking of much at all. At times it is tough to pay attention, because even what little dialogue exists is extremely brooding and single minded.

What becomes increasingly clear by end is that no amount of patience helps with Natsuyuki Rendezvous. The romance feels almost impossible to buy or invest in emotionally, because at no point does the show truly establish understandable reasons for each character’s attractions to one another. The awkwardness of the characters and their disappointingly simplistic development is also tiresome. I would love to be easy on Natsuyuki Rendezvous, because it tries to appeal to more than your typical every day anime fan, but there is no way for me to see this show as anything but wearisome and unworthy of one’s time.

The Rating: 3

Reviewed by: Reckoner

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