Review: Natsuyuki Rendezvous

Natsuyuki Rendezvous

Story—A man falls in love with a woman who owns a flower shop. Sound too boring and typical to you? Now throw in that he’s 22 and she’s 30. Still not interested? Okay, how about she’s a widow, her ghost husband stalks her, and this poor man is the only one who can see him? I could go on and this would sound stranger, but the point is, we’ve got a very unconventional romance anime here. No fan service, nosebleeds, or tsunderes, I’m afraid.

With a humorous mix of slice-of-life and supernatural elements, this series caught my attention right away. The romance is far from ordinary because the ghost husband constantly intervenes between his wife and “the challenger.” Some people will find him to be incredibly annoying, but I really got a kick out of their competition. Lesson learned—don’t underestimate the ghost. He won’t give his wife up easily or let this anime fall to boredom, either.

Since we’re dealing with the afterlife here, the series asks some heavy and mature questions, such as: what’s more painful, being the one who’s gone or left behind? I know that losing one’s partner is one of the most painful experiences in life, but imagine that you die first and become a ghost, watching your beloved move on with their life everyday. You can’t talk to them, touch them, or help them. Only stare. Basically, you’re just a creepy stalker. If they happen to fall in love with someone else…well…what then? Maybe you can’t answer these questions, but the series skillfully explores them with all three characters, resulting in some pretty powerful emotions. What they end up doing may very well surprise you and make a tear roll down your cheek.

Supernatural stuff aside, I simply adore the main couple. A lot of differences come with an age gap of eight years. The younger partner is usually inexperienced and lustful, while the older partner has already been there and done that. What holds this woman back is the guilt of loving someone else other than her husband, not to mention it’s hard for her to take this young guy seriously. The new challenger gets it rough too, huh?

If there’s anything I wish the anime did that it didn’t do, it would have been to flesh out the main lead character. He may love this woman to death, but we have no knowledge of his life prior to meeting her. Flashbacks of his childhood/teen life or family could have made his character a lot more interesting. Did he struggle with relationships before? Anything dark swirling inside of him? I mean, he’s still interesting, but the ghost clearly steals the show here.

While I hope my review piques your interest, what I’ve said so far is only just the half of it. The plot twists are so good that I can’t bring myself to spoil innocent readers who are discovering this series for the first time. Just know that I enjoy this anime most for being such a great character study and for trying out some unique, bold ideas that make it stand out from the crowd of romance anime. It’s definitely for a mature audience who don’t mind a slow-paced love story. =)

Mimi’s Score: 8.5/10 meeps

Alex’s Score: 9/10 meeps 

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