Natsuyuki Rendezvous - 3
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Frustrations build up and some rather childish emotions come out from our male leads, all the while Rokka is forced out of the spotlight in this episode.
Thus far Atsushi has been shown as completely helpless, frustrated and broken character who's unable to move on but this time he's shown as a child. Yes, a child, the only time when a man may be excused for quite literally throwing a tantrum in an attempt to get his own way and this was yet another reason I'm inclined to feel sorry for a character like him who is so helpless and frustrated; it didn't help his situation when he was witnessing Hazuki and Rokka getting closer even when she's sick in bed.
Atsushi's childlike behaviour - throwing tantrums, begging Hazuki to borrow his body, saying that if they were on an equal footing he'd win Rokka's heart etc. - actually ends up influencing Hazuki's behaviour and makes the romance competition between the two like a bunch of pre-pubescent boys, friends even, trying to vie for the same girl in the most petty way possible. I'll be the first to admit that my gender does become idiotic whenever a woman is involved and of course even the best of men could succumb to acting like children but even when I went through a similar experience at the age of 12, I remember it being less petty than what we saw here. Being controversial, you could say that women are a major cause when it comes to men fighting - look what Helena of Troy caused - so seeing this was yet another refreshing addition to Natsuyuki Rendezvous's outlook on love. It's not just Atsushi either, Hazuki isn't all that innocent in all of this and definitely acted like a spoiled brat when he was talking to Miho about flowers being like ghosts and even going so far as to liken the necessity of a ghost disappearing to a withered flower.
The behaviour of our two male leads is more understandable than one might think. Hazuki is almost automatically excused for being only 22 and technically Atsushi died young but the main reason why their behaviour is excusable is because this is their first love and as you might have guessed, you never quite know what to do with your first love and have to rely on the learning curve that exists. It may be because of this and his impatience that drives Hazuki to selfishly try to advance his romance with Rokka by trying to get her to go to an important location from her past in an attempt to get away from the shop where he has to see Atsushi on a daily basis.
Overall, the episode explored yet another "impure" side to love, specifically what happens when you leave two men alone and expect them to work things out. Rokka didn't get much attention which I don't see as a negative because there is only so much you can get from a character like her if she was the only focus of the episode and most importantly, it made more sense to have her in the background in order to not interfere with the main theme of the episode: what men do and how stupid they become when they fight over women. I'm happy to watch another episode like this one but after three episodes it makes me wonder whether Natsuyuki Rendezvous should keep doing the same if it wants to keep me hooked like it has done thus far.