Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 05

Atsushi “borrows” Hazuki’s body while Hazuki’s consciousness is stuck in some kind of surreal dreamworld within the pages of one of Atsushi’s sketchbooks he used to draw in while hospitalized. He is accompanied by a fairy-like Rokka. Atsushi has to deal with Hazuki’s poor eyesight, lack of money, small apartment, and unavoidable hunger. Rokka cooks dinner for him, and then asks if she can wash his back.

This entire episode, Atsushi is in control of Hazuki’s body, and while there’s no doubt he’s ecstatic about being able to talk to and touch Rokka (he tears up multiple times, in fact), the inescapable fact is, he’s just as powerless as he was as an invisible ghost. He’s still invisible to Rokka, although she seems to feel his aura. Is it his aura? We’re not sure; this is a metaphysical can of worms. But one thing’s certain: Rokka knows her husband is dead, and would never believe Hazuki’s body telling her he’s back. She’d sooner throw Hazuki out for being so cruel and foolish.

Atsushi initially has a little fun with his control over Hazuki – spending all his money on dorky glasses, then giving him a bad haircut. But the more he’s in Hazuki’s skin, the more he realizes the inevitability of this guy ending up with Rokka. He often talks like he’s not Hazuki, but he never gives away who he is, thus damaging Hazuki and Rokka’s relationship. Why? Maybe he remembers what Hazuki told him: even if he gets rid of him, there are other guys. Rokka is nice (and cute) a human being to live out the rest of her days alone. If Atsushi takes Hazuki away, he won’t just be hurting Hazuki – he’ll be hurting Rokka too.

Rating: 9 (Superior)

Binbougami ga! – 05

Momiji acquires an “aging box” from the turtle god Urashima Taro, but when she tricks Ichiko into opening it, it has the reverse effect and turns her into a small child. Young Ichiko manages to escape and finds refuge with the Tsuwabaki family, who she had not-to-friendly dealings with before. Not knowing who she is, they treat her like a proper guest and even invite her to a picnic. But Momiji grabs her when she strays away from the family. Keita goes looking for her, finds her shoe, and falls into a deep pit.

In the middle of watching this episode we forgot it was merely part one of two, so we were a bit surprised when the episode simply ended with Keita falling down a well. Even if we had remembered this was a two-parter, we aren’t quite sure if it needed to be. Once Ichiko escapes from Momiji’s clutches, the episode slows to a grinding halt. Granted this is so she can spend more quality time with the Tsuwabakis, but we still feel like this story could have been wrapped up a bit quicker. Not to mention, a character turning into a kid has been done, and done better.

Another possible reason two stretch this story out across two parts is to underline that this is the closest Momiji the Binbougami has come to actually defeating Ichiko. With a tiny, relatively weak body (but apparently the same size bust), Ichiko is simply no match for Momiji. Also, Momiji isn’t the most efficient when it comes to carrying out her mission, bitching so much she lets Ichiko get away. But here is a case of Ichiko crossing paths with an impoverished family unit and the only emotion she can report is…irritation. Could she actually just be longing for a family she never had?

Rating: 5 (Average)

Car Cameos: There’s a black sedan and a bus, but they’re unfortunately of unknown make and model.