At the beginning of the first episode, a young man named Ryosuke Hazuki makes a daily habit of going by a florist shop and buying a small potted plant from the shop's proprietor, a woman named Rokka Shimao. Ryosuke has fallen in love with Rokka, but does not have the courage to tell her. One day, Rokka posts a help wanted sign for a part-time employee, and Ryosuke applies for the job in order to get closer to Rokka. Ryosuke believes that fortune is smiling on him.
When Ryosuke's co-worker leaves, Rokka decides to throw a party at her apartment, and invites Ryosuke to come help out. When Ryosuke enters the apartment, he sees a half-naked man there, and thinks that Rokka had invited him to the apartment to tell him without telling him that she's not available.
When Ryosuke comes back to the apartment for the party, he encounters the man again when he goes out to the veranda to smoke. It turns out the man is the ghost of Atsushi Shimao, Rokka's deceased husband. Ryosuke is the first person to be able to see Atsushi, and the ghost is possessive of his wife. Atsushi's spirit lingers around the apartment and the shop, which causes torment for Ryosuke. At the end of the first episode, Ryosuke finds the courage to tell the ghost that he will work at winning Rokka's heart.
I have to admit that at the beginning of the episode, I found Ryosuke a bit on the "creepy" side, because he kind of came across as a stalker. However, as the episode progressed, I found myself warming up to him quite a bit; by the end of the episode, I was hoping that Ryosuke would be able to find a way to be with Rokka.
Before watching this episode, I was hearing Internet chatter trying to compare Natsuyuki Rendezvous with the film, Ghost. While the basic idea of the ghost of the spouse is the same between the two works, the execution of the stories is very different. While the spouse in Ghost could see her dead husband's spirit, Rokka is clueless about his existence.
Overall, I thought the first episode of Natsuyuki Rendezvous was very well-written. The realistic-looking animation that accompanied the storytelling helped to add impact to an already compelling narrative. I definitely would like to see more episodes of Natsuyuki Rendezvous if I have a chance; in fact, I would be willing to purchase it on DVD or Blu-ray at such a point that it receives a home video release in North America.
While I found nothing objectionable in the visuals for Natsuyuki Rendezvous, I think the pacing of the show would be a little on the slow side for younger viewers. Personally, I would recommend this series to anime viewers who are 12 or 13 years of age and older.
|Natsuyuki Rendezvous||11||2012||Ko Matsuo||Dogakobo||Sentai Filmworks|