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As Natsuyuki Rendezvous came to a close, I realise that it may not have been perfect but it ended on a high note. [The series review will be at the bottom after the review of the last 2 episodes]
These last two episodes regained the high quality with which the series started and also managed to prove that conventional endings are sometimes just the right thing for a series.
What really did it for me in these last two episodes was how Atsushi came off as a villain. Not something you usually see in romances, unless we're talking about the western cinema and TV romances, but something nice and refreshing that changed my entire perception of Atsushi. He's been somewhat of a pitiful character all this time to the point where his rival in love allows him to takeover his body, not exactly giving off a fantastic impression to go alongside his already clingy nature. With that in mind, our possessive ghost turned evil was something quite interesting and in a way more relatable than the whiny bitch he was for the most part of the series.
Of course he couldn't actually seal away Hazuki and steal his body! That kind of an unpleasant ending doesn't really belong to series such as this one but more than that it was his final chance at retribution for all the harm he's caused the would-be couple and of course his beloved wife who had been grieving his death all this time. The particular moment when he said his true farewell to Rokka left me with a feeling of warm satisfaction and respect for his character, something that I haven't felt towards Atsushi even once throughout the series.
It was a little strange and sad that Rokka realised her feelings for Hazuki just as she realised that Hazuki wasn't the guy she technically slept with and that she was talking to Atsushi all along but I liked how it came at a time of closure for her, seeing as how much she was suffering. Also, I was pretty dam happy when she asked Atsushi point blank where Hazuki was because had she completely forgotten about him, the series would have become a detested romance.
And what about the actual ending
While some people have issues with the "years later" ending (I'm the opposite), this was a nice differentiated version. Hazuki and Rokka not appearing may not have pleased a few people but I thought having their situation explained through their daughter and Miho was quite nice.
Atsuhshi being the centre of attention here was strange to say the least, especially when he asked a child whom he wasn't related to to call him grandpa, but it wasn't bad. It was best described as quirky and even him floating away at the end felt a little pointless.
Overall, a pretty decent end to a pretty good series. Not much to complain about with these two episodes, which in my opinion were some of the better ones from this series.
Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a series best described as cyclical in quality.
After a strong start, the series got boring and repetitive and at times a little creepy before recovering the original quality for the last 2 episodes. In this sense, it was a little like this spring season's Sankarea which I thought also had issues with consistency but unlike Sankarea, Natsuyuki Rendezvous didn't rope me in as much nor did it do as good a job with the drama.
I'm inclined to say that this isn't Dogakobo's fault but instead it was the source material. With only 4 volumes of source material I can only assume this adaptation was pretty faithful so I can't really blame the studio for the story, more-so since there weren't any issues with pacing. On top of that, the animation style and soundtrack were something special and fit the story well; I don't know how many times I watched the ending sequence or the number of times I was in awe of any scenes involving flowers.
With the main problem being the story, it might seem like reason enough not to watch the series but frankly speaking it wasn't bad it just didn't do as much for me as a romance anime. This has mostly to do with my preferences being for series with more endearing romantic stories and not something like Natsuyuki Rendezvous which is more real and shows the uglier side of love. Of course the series' portrayal of the many sides of love was the reason I was captivated by it at first but the focus lessened as the episodes went by and so did my appreciation at times.
Cards on the table, Natsuyuki Rendezvous wasn't the best series this season. It came close but it just missed out by being inconsistent. It still faired better than the other noitaminA anime this season, Moyashimon Returns, but I feel like it could have been better. Whether this was the source material's fault is not something I'm sure of but I thought the animation and soundtrack were all high quality.