Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 04

Hazuki goes on a date with Rokka to Hanayashiki with the mission to get her to smile and laugh like she used to when Atsushi was still alive. While they proceed to have an okay time, Rokka is distracted by memories of when she came here with her late husband, to the point where she even spots his ghost in places. Defeated, Hazuki gets very drunk before returning to Rokka’s for late night tea, and consents to let Atsushi borrow his body. Atsushi rejoices, now able to touch and speak to her.

Thursday’s lineup this summer is a Yin & Yang affair: Binbogami’s the fire, earth, bubblegum soda pop and Red Bull; Natsuyuki Rendezvous is the water and gentle breeze and a fine red wine…or perhaps a cool, frosty Asahi Super Dry. This is Hazuki’s Big Day, and if he can’t get her to laugh – or at least consent to sex – he’ll consider it a failure and he won’t know what to do next. Well, to his surprise (and horror) he does make her laugh by asking if she’ll have sex with him. Her answer – “out of the question” is as devastating as it is vague (and nicely punctuated by a low piano string strike and a pool of blood-like water ice syrup). “Hey, Rokka, I didn’t mean right here and now. I meant in general!

Hindsight is 20/20, but it turned out to be a mistake to bring her to a place that evokes such vivid and powerful memories in Rokka, who hasn’t been there since Atsushi’s death. He could have made her laugh somewhere else, but at Hanayashiki it’s as if Atsushi’s there, only invisible and thus even more insidious. It would have been just fine if the episode ended when the date did, but the show does us one better and has a thoroughly boiled and desperate Hazuki lets Atsushi possess him. This is his plan. Perhaps he feels damned if he does or damned  if he doesn’t. Regardless, this should be interesting!

Rating: 8 

P.S. So, Japanese for “chicken” (as in scared) is…chicken! Sweet!

Binbougami ga! – 04

Momiji avails herself of the aid of her masochistic dog god pal Inugami Momou. She stimulates him into the form of a tiny, cute puppy for Ichiko to pick up. Once inside her apartment, Momou is to use a gadget to drain Ichiko of her fortune. However, when he sees the good, gentle, sensitive side of her, he can’t bring himself to do it, especially after he activates another gadget that causes her treasured box of Suwano’s letters ends up in a landfill and she searches through the night. While washing Momou in the bath, he returns to human form, and he sees the side Momiji was talking about.

This week Momiji gets some reinforcements, and we get a fresh perspective on her, not from another misfortune god, but from a dog god. We didn’t think much of Momou, especially when Momiji broke out the S&M routine. But his inner dialogue when observing Ichiko reveals a clearer head than Momiji, who is extremely jealous of her fortune, no matter what she says. He also realizes one night that Ichiko’s fortune is an almost Perfect Defense, even helping her foil his plans in her sleep.

The punishment Momou receives never ascends to Ren Höek-esque lyricism, but this series definitely knows how to toss its characters around. The worst he gets is when he reverts to human form – in her naked arms. She rips the bathtub off the floor and beats him with it, which is just plain nuts. Still, his time with her wasn’t in vain: he learned that Momiji wasn’t telling the whole story, only half of it. Ichiko most definitely is a short-tempered, violent brute, but when it comes to family (Suwano), she’s a big(-boobed) ol’ softie.

Rating: 6 (Good)

P.S. The priest/exorcist guy just kinda took up space this week…

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