The hit manga Natsuyuki Rendezvous by Haruka Kawachi has finally made its way to television. Veteran director Kou Matsuo is at the helm, adding to the hype of this highly anticipated, Dogakobo produced series. After sitting through stacks of lolli/sis-con/hentai anime lately, I think a perfectly normal Josei anime is just what the doctor ordered.
If there's not blood, robots, or missile cluster attacks, I general don't dig the show, but I had been hearing great things about the show. Luckily, we aren't dealing with a typical love triangle set up. I took a look at the first two episodes of the series. Will the lack of a "Daedalus Attack" keep me from enjoying the show? Hit the jump to find out the dilemma i'm "facing".
Let's get the story out of the way first. Our main protagonist, Ryusuke Hazuki is kind of your average lonely dude that becomes obsessed with a woman working at a flower shop down the street. Instead of simply talking to the woman, he takes a dip into depravity by buying plants from her daily, just to have that moment of contact. Needless to say, his small apartment is now filled with useless plants. His opportunity strikes when the shop owner, Rokka Shimao, needs to have a part time position filled at the shop. Our man wastes no time getting his foot in the door and working up the courage and looking for the right time to strike! I totally love what a letch this guy is!
Well, things are looking up for our letchurous Ryusuke, as he makes his way into Rokka's home, only to be confronted by her… husband? We find out a little bit later, that her husband, Atsushi is actually dead, and his haunting their home! How's that for a love triangle?
The set up actually leads to some pretty hilarious scenes due to the fact the only Ryusuke can see Atsushi. Ever try to kiss a girl while her dead husband is staring directly at you while phasing though her body? I didn't think so. This is also where the story works really well. We start to find out a little history of the Shimao's and the time leading up to a disease (cancer?) taking Atsushi's life.
The whole thing is actually quite moving, and sweet. What's even better is on top of all this, is that Ryusuke is still determined to get some. What I like the most about the series is the imperfections already shown in the characters. Ryusuke is a lonely dude, trying to get his game on, and is dead set on a win. Atsushi thinks stays around as a ghost due to him wanting to be with his wife, even if it means she has to be alone. Finally, we have the object of effect ion, Rokka. She seems to still not be over the loss of her husband, but still enjoys the excitement of another young man's intentions. Flawed characters from the first couple episodes always spark my interest!
The show definitely shines when showing the "ugly" sides of their characters and is really quite moving when they go into the Shimao's past. The scenery and feel of the town is really nice, and the small details of Japanese life are nicely detailed.
Now to the ugly... literally. I'm just not a fan of the character designs. Overall it's not terrible, but I can't deal with Rokka's face. Perhaps if the characters were all designed similarly it wouldn't be an issue. It's like the whole show was designed by one team, except for her face! I like how Ryusuke just looks like he's up to no good, but man… her face just kills me. Overall the artwork and animation is quite good, and works well with the story. Maybe they can do some plastic surgery on her?
I like the show. It's moving and has it's funny parts, albeit a bit depressing. It looks like it's going to build up to some heart wrenching train wreck, but I'm up for a good train wreck. I'll let you guys know if my heart gets too heavy watching this one and needs a break. If they can keep a good mix of drama, comedy, and love story, we might just have a winner. I'm pleased with this one, and looking forward to next week's entry! The question is, can I keep dealing with Rokka's face?
[Smell the flowers over at Crunchyroll]
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