Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 1
[gallery link="file" columns="4" orderby="title"]
My god, who would have thought that the day would come when I would decide to willingly blog a Josei romance such as this one Well it has and it's got me a little bit interested.
My prior experience with romance anime had set up certain expectations. These expectations are of course limited only to pure romances and don't extend to anime such as Nodame Cantabile which is more like a romantic comedy but closely resemble that of Sakamichi no Apollon's romance elements; my experience with pure romance anime could be seen as lacking compared to others and my personal preference lies with romantic comedies but Natsuyuki Rendezvous captured my attention unexpectedly.
Seeing love represented as such a selfish emotion in just the first episode was probably what has got me interested in this series from the start. I have yet to encounter an anime where love has been shown as anything but a pure emotion at the beginning, so I was happy that the story takes a different perspective from the beginning in showing that love can in fact be a much uglier emotion than we might consider it to be and what's more the focus on the selfish nature of love isn't limited to just the male lead Hazuki, who is actively pursuing his boss Rokka regardless of whether she is ready to move on or not but also Rokka's late husband Atsushi who is selfishly attempting to stop her from moving on unless it's on his own terms.
With the selfish portrayal of love in mind, a contrast is created by the amount of grief that is being experienced by the characters. Seeing Rokka grieve over her late husband and vice versa, only adds to the heartbreaking situation and provides ample opportunity for the drama to take over and establish itself. I welcomed the drama with open arms in this situation, because otherwise the story would become a joke and might as well be a romantic comedy instead of a pure romance.
In terms of characters, Hazuki has been portrayed as someone who is inconsiderate which is befitting a character who is a young man chasing after an older woman and because he's young and dumb, he's been shown as a flawed character who is at times cowardly. Something tells me that as a main character he's going to be far from the "perfect prince" but instead a real ignorant male who has yet to truly experience love and due to his lack of real experience is coming across as a dick. Our heroine, Rokka, is the broken character and Atsushi is the man filled with regret thus making the cast closer to being human especially for our male leads who aren't your typical Prince Charmings that we tend to see in a wide range of shoujo romances.
All the elements of the story we beautifully tied up by the fantastic visuals and soundtrack to go along with the story, setting up the series to move in a direction that is anyone's guess - after all, the confession has already been made - which may or may not include the sister-in-law Miho.
I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this will probably be one of the best series of the season, but I say that after being impressed by the fresh take on romance that we don't usually see in anime.