Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 03

While recovering from her fever, Rokka reminices on the night she met Atsushi, and ended up in a bed, with him doting on her. She faces a similar situation in the present, with Hazuki taking care of her. They share a passionate embrace as an increasingly bitter Atsushi looks on. He starts to shake the room and throw objects at Hazuki, who insists he go rest in peace and leave him and Rokka alone. Even if he’s Rokka’s second choice, he only wants to make her happy. To that end, he asks her out on a date to a theme park; the same place she last went with Atsushi and Miho before he was hospitalized.

Here was another gorgeous and affecting tour-de-force, laced with bitter, sweet, and bittersweet moments. First  of all, who would have thought Rokka’s first night with Atsushi was spent throwing up in a toilet and then passing out drunk? Our ghost is starting to show signs of becoming a poltergeist, which is not a good sign. Atsushi is resorting to violence, and even warns Hazuki he may end up killing him if he doesn’t leave. But Hazuki won’t be cowed so easily. You see, he’s fallen for the super-cute Rokka, and fallen hard. Who can blame her? Those friggin’ eyes; that pixie cut; she’s a beautiful human being inside and out. Hazuki’s challenge is to help both her and Atsushi  to move on. But how?

While at dinner after a day of filling in for Rokka at the shop, Miho tells him about her and her family’s concern for Rokka; they don’t want her to be alone, toiling away at the flower shop the rest of her youth – they’d like to set her up with someone, and maybe even get her out of that shop, or sell it off. Miho tells him Rokka may need a push to move on, so a push he gives her. As for Atsushi; Hazuki’s point about cut flowers being like ghosts created selfishly really resonated with us; it was a great analogy that summed up the situation pretty succintly. In the circle of life, flowers separated from their roots should go to feed their forebears. Even if his mind is still in the living world, Shimao is no longer part of that circle. His continuing to interfere with Rokka’s life does nobody any favors.


Rating: 8 (Great)

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Binbougami ga! – 03

Taking stock of everything she has, Ichiko thinks about what’s next, and decides it’s a boyfriend. She decides to start with the guy sitting next to her in class, Keita who loses his student card. She goes to his house to return it, and he invites her in. Ichiko learns he’s poor and living hand to mouth with lots of siblings to care for. After arguing they’d be better off with money and offering them some, Keita asks her to leave. The next day she bribes his brother Ryuu with a rare card, but Ryuu drops in the sewer, then gets trapped down there. With help from Momiji and her own fortune, Ichiko saves Ryuu, and Keita forgives her past offenses.

In case there was any doubt, a rich girl like Ichiko who was essentially raised alone by her butler is a bit…ahem…lacking in the social graces, as this episode aptly illustrates. Especially when it comes to the poors…by the time she realizes what she’s gotten herself into, it’s too late to back out and she must improvise, and she does, badly, by grossly oversimplifying the plight of Keita and his family, insisting they’d be happier if they had more money, then tossing a fat wad of ¥10,000 ($127.25 US) bills on the ground. Her ‘unique’ gesture of charity is met with disgust, and rightly so. You don’t shame a breadwinner in front of the wee ones.

Is Keita a bit too rigid and proud when it comes to any kind of alms? Perhaps, but that’s hardly uncommon: humans on the whole don’t like having to depend on handouts. Keita believes he only deserves to exist if he stands on his own two feet. That’s where the character for “person” (人) comes in. Sakura initially imagines it as one person being propped up by others (which is actually how she lives her life), but she then learns it’s actually two people supporting each other. People are defined by those around them; and the more Sakura interacts with others, particularly those less fortunate than her – the larger her shriveled heart will grow.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)