Lullaby of Birdland whisper low. Kiss me sweet and then we’ll go~
|With Natsuyuki Rendezvous, more truly is the merrier, so I’m happy to be a part of this tag for the 2nd episode! After the plot-building first episode, I’d have to say I’m mostly looking forward to seeing what Rokka will do after Ryuusuke’s sudden confession. Of course I’d also like to see some more drama because, apparently, I like to put myself through that kind of stress…~|
|A mere two episodes in, Natsuyuki Rendezvous’ developing love story has captivated me to an extent no other shows in recent memory have been able to reach. What makes this series so special for me? As a josei romance, it’s been refreshing to watch a love story built around adult feelings and adult issues, but more notably, what’s unique is that the affair at the center of the show has been portrayed from the point-of-view of every person involved. It’s this multi-faceted look at the romance that tugs my heartstrings in a myriad of directions, and it’s the main reason why I savored every second of this episode.|
|Seeing the second episode put me in a dilemma on how to go about reviewing this series because it is just so brilliant. I have a feeling by the last episode, you would find out that behind my ironclad frame exists a romantic sap, who turns to mush when supplied with a heart-wrenching romance. I’m more invested than Honey & Clover days getting emotionally attached to this trio. To tackle this review, I’ve signed up Verdant and Hoshi to provide the different perspectives of our main cast as before. Hope you like our experiment.|
//The story so far…
//kyokai: Rokka’s Inquisitiveness
Oh, this woman is so precious. Being all flabbergasted with her emotions over Ryuusuke, almost like a maiden for her first time. But the situation has revered again because she hasn’t really been in the market since she hooked up with Atsushi. Even after his death, she had busied herself in minding his heritage: the flower shop they built together. Except for occasional reminiscing of how he was so unattached and even trying to understand him in her own way; Rokka has been inadvertently, moving slowly along. She’s nowhere near being over her husband as she had shared something very sweet and irreplaceable with him: her first love. But, like any normal human being, she has been reacting to the external stimuli and Ryuusuke presents something that is completely new yet not so new to her. Of course, he has piqued her interest along with awakening those feelings, which she thought were dead. She was bold enough to follow up his confession with a kiss but will she continue this streak? I’m sure, she’ll have to cope through a lot to be ready for the next step but being an avid viewer, I can only empathize with the main cast and urge them towards resolution.
//hoshi: Ryuusuke’s Problems
So other than a protective husband’s ghost making faces and placing himself in front of the woman he loves to distract him, Ryuusuke also has to deal with Rokka’s own strong attachment to Atsushi. Though she keeps a calm demeanor when talking about him, hiding her feelings well in front of others, she wavers easily at the mention of Atsushi from Ryuusuke. Even if he’s been dead for three years and told her to move on, she can’t bring herself to do so with anyone, much less Atsushi, who’s accidental comment of taking her away from her husband ruin their connection, at least at this point of story. Ryuusuke will have to not only do some damage control (which he can do with poor Rokka sick), but find some way to be patient with Rokka, let her slowly ease into the thought of finally going out with a new man. But what kind of solution is there when Atsushi’s ghost is interferes whenever he tries to communicate with her? It’s a problem that will continue to plague the show, and cause our (or at least my) hearts to viciously ache, until it ends.
//verdant: Atsushi’s Counter Measures
Atsushi faces a dilemma of sorts when it comes to Rokka, and one that I can easily empathize with even though I’m still alive. For the one you truly love, you wish unconditional happiness, but at the same time, you don’t want to see them with anyone else but yourself. Even not possessing a physical body, the pain that accompanied seeing Rokka in the arms of another man was too much to bear. For the living, the ‘counter-measures’ available are few and limited because: a) no one wants to be labeled clingy and b) it’s simply healthy (and easy) to move on. However, for Atsushi, the trappings of flesh and blood mean nothing. He can do whatever he pleases since only Ryuusuke can see him and judge him, and there is no life left for him to help him move on. So, it was quite enjoyable watching him take full advantage of his ethereal body to childishly insert himself between Ryuusuke and Rokka at every opportunity, even when the situation turned hot and heavy. Yet every action, even invisible ones, has its consequences. Atsushi definitely did not take the high road, and thus ended up paying the price. In provoking Ryuusuke, he inadvertently set in motion something he never wanted or intended – he indirectly made Rokka sad. In the end, Atsushi’s silly and childish faces are simply a mask for his true emotions, and he’ll have to acknowledge this if he is to come to terms with his sorrow and eventually move on.
//kyokai: Rokka’s Guilt
From following up bold moves, Rokka is left with a sinking feeling of betraying her first love. Even if she can’t see Atsushi, who literally hangs around 24/7, her willingness to be almost taken by Ryuusuke left her feeling more than just guilty. It was as if she was betraying her promises with Atsushi. The problem here is him not being alive. When you break up, there’s always a reason and you either hate them for it or just decide that it was never worth it. However, the dynamics of relationship completely changes when the person you love is not there. From her last few memories, you could see her resolve of caring for Atsushi till the end and not accepting his death even while clinging to his ashes. To her, even if he’s not there (even when he is), his heritage of flowers will always surround her with his presence. So, what if she gets taken over by her physical needs? Her brain cells would interpret Ryuusuke’s backtalk to Atsushi as an insult to him and her disposition. She knows she needs it but the confusion of feelings are telling her she should not want it. That is the guilt that eats her up and leaves her stewing in her own juices, catching flu. It was heartbreaking to see her so helpless and almost apologizing to the ghost of Shimao, the name that has literally enveloped her adult years.
//hoshi: Ryuusuke’s Moves
As I said in the first impression, this will to beat Atsushi is causing Ryuusuke to become bolder, but in this episode, a little too bold. Ryuusuke certainly stepped up on his pursuit of Rokka by asking her out for dinner, coming to her apartment despite her warning, and even almost kissing her before Atsushi, and his ignorant comment, put a stop to it. These sudden bold moves from him seemed like they were not only for gaining Rokka’s love, but to anger Atsushi for his constant interference when trying to communicate with Rokka. The once subtle aura of competition around Ryuusuke grew in size this time around; so much so that, to me, it truly felt like it was just a game to piss off Atsushi. I think Ryuusuke went a little overboard this episode in his pursuit of Rokka because of being nagged and annoyed by Atsushi. He was pushed a bit too far. The whole after-dinner scene actually irritated me because he moved so fast! In the end, I was actually glad Atsushi had stopped him, even if the event afterward had me feeling uncomfortable.
//verdant: Atsushi’s Helplessness
“Who goes through more pain? The one who is gone or the one who is left behind?” I think the question Atsushi poses to Ryuusuke is an easy one to answer because of the differences in how helpless they are in dealing with pain. While both are powerless to rewind the hands of time, the one who is gone is helpless in so many more ways. As a ghost, Atsushi has no outlet for his pain – he just floats around all day staring at Rokka, a constant and cruel reminder of what he has lost and what he can never regain. In contrast, she still has a whole life to live: a flower shop to attend to, people talk to, and there is no constant reminder of her deceased beloved – all of which helps lessen the pain she feels. Often times, the best way to move on is to find a new love, and again the one who is left behind fares better. For Rokka, the ending to her love story hasn’t been written yet. She can still fall for another and the emptiness in her heart can be filled once again. And once Rokka finds that special person, she’s also able to offer her warmth, receive their touch, and to hear them whisper sweet nothings in her ear. Atsushi cannot do any of this, as was conveyed so heartbreakingly in this episode. As the one who is gone, the inescapable helplessness that he is beginning to realize is much more painful than the loss Rokka feels as the person who is left behind.
//kyokai: I think I’m going soft… This series is giving me too much pain and I feel at a loss of words whenever I sit down to review this. Imagine the one you love is gone forever and you could never grasp his hand or even feel his warmth except for the very fickle flowers he has left as his heritage, a constant reminder to the beautiful way he arranged them as if never separating them from their life-source, rather making them even more beautiful in their last countdown to death. Now imagine, hanging around as a floating nothingness in a world that can’t see or hear you. Though, after years of pining away after your love whose longing cries stopped you from taking that last step, a fellow comes along who can actually communicate with you but the catch is, you have to help him reach his love-goal with your own wife even if its for her sanity. Do you think, if you were posed this question, you would have the balls to do it? Now imagine, a straight-man, who has nothing but pure intentions getting embroiled in an out of this world romance-drama that he was never ready for. You can’t really blame him for marking his territory because he didn’t do anything wrong in falling love. My problem is that I am imagining it all and not taking sides because I see all of them completely right at what they are doing. Don’t ask for a verdict but a note from me: if you are not watching this series this season, you better. Reiterating what Verdant said, this has the making of a masterpiece that would become benchmark for the many romance series to come.
//hoshi: Agh, what a bittersweet episode! We got to see how even more agonizing it is to for Atsuhi to watch Rokka without being able to do anything for, especially when she’s in serious need of help. To add more to an open wound, there was also the flashbacks to Atushi’s death and other scenes of the two together. Seeing both sides to the reaction of Atushi’s death was just one of the many heart-wrenching aspects about this episode. Oddly though, I really liked how they incorporated the flashbacks. There was something about their placement and the transition into them that I really enjoyed. It sounds weird, but this is how I felt. Anyway, at least there was some comedy to lighten up the episode! Atushi’s faces and random interrupting made me laugh out loud quite a few times. All in all, I did enjoy the episode; of course, enjoying meaning trying hard not to cry at 7 in the morning while flailing my arms about to control that feeling. MY HEART, SERIOUSLY. I can’t complain too much though as I’ve purposely put myself into blogging this show and I will go through with this! My fangirl…my fangirl heart can take it, hopefully!~
//verdant: This unconventional romance has shown to contain very conventional and adult feelings and emotions at its core. Through the lens of each character involved, this show is able to effectively and poignantly address a wide variety of issues in love and relationships and takes the conversation to a place that few other series dare to tread. Although this may be a niche series that is overlooked by the mainstream audience, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is quietly painting a portrait of love that has the makings of a modern day masterpiece.
Rokka’s past memories with Atsushi would come to haunt Ryuusuke but he’s the one who is here and now in contrast to a ghost who should not be here at all. The dilemma will surely continue.