What They Say:
While Shimao in Hazuki’s body takes his widowed wife, Rokka, to the beach, Hazuki’s spirit is at the bottom of an ocean with a simulacrum of Rokka in mermaid form.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The more that Shimao holds onto Hazuki’s body, the easier it is to really dislike the character. The way he’s struggling is something you can understand, but he’s taking far too much advantage of a situation that he does understand, unlike Rokka. With her already being attracted to Hazuki, she’s finding herself even more attracted to him now as something feels different. Warmer, closer perhaps. So much so that while the two are walking through the woods to the beach, she reveals to him that she loves him. These are big, bold words from a widow that can take years to come through once again, to be meant honestly and not without knowledge of what it means to move forward from the past that had likely held them bound for so long.
The pair have an interesting journey as things go along here and you really do start to see that Shimao is getting it with what’s happened. There’s an amusing moment where when the two are close, he admits to her that she has lousy taste in men since she’s fallen for Hazuki. She’s been drawn to Hazuki since he made things clear about his intentions and events have only gotten more interesting between the two, problematic as it is, with how Shimao has adjusted in Hazuki’s body and gotten far too comfortable. Seeing the way the two have interacted really feels uncomfortable though for a lot of reasons, but there’s still that sense of understanding that you have when it comes to Shimao once again walking among the living.
There’s a good deal of material that focuses on the two here together but also apart as they come to grips with the changes going on in their lives. Rokka starts to feel a little more fleshed out, which is quite useful, and we also start to see a bit more of how she’s dealing with Hazuki and the things that Shimao/Hazuki have done. Running along with this we also see how the real Hazuki is doing as he struggles with his mystical journey, including the fact that he’s now underwater dealing with a mermaid version of Rokka to help him along the way. It’s an interesting subplot that takes Hazuki largely out of the picture for a bit but sets him up for quite the return with the situation he now finds himself in. If he returns at all, that is, since Shimao has his own plans now.
Natsuyuki Rendezvous continues to be a show that I find thoroughly engaging, even if I also at times find it to be mildly enraging. Shimao’s activities here are, once again, understandable considering what he’s been through, but it doesn’t make them right. He’s nearly impossible to truly defend with what he’s doing but there’s that kernel in there that keeps you from outright condemning him over it. You end up feeling more sympathy towards both Rokka and Hazuki as they deal with what’s going on and with Rokka more and more as you see how truly conflicted she is over things and especially with the way it looks like Shimao is now going to treat her, which will make her only more cautious and isolated than before. Which in his mind is probably a good thing.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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