Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 09

Atsushi and Rokka and up hiking to the highest place he ever went, a forest where he intends to plant his snow-in-the-summer plant containing some of his bones. Rokka encounters him and realizes it’s Atsushi, who tries to flee, but fails. Rokka collapses in tears at the realization. Meanwhile, Hazuki ends up in a Snow White-style scenario with Rokka in a glass casket. She breaks out to talk with him, and the moment she refers to him as “the prince”, he looks in a reflection and sees Atsushi’s face.

At long last, Rokka finally sees Atsushi through Hazuki. Atsushi made it extremely easy for her, saying and doing things only Atsushi could do. We’re glad this finally happened, because now it’s less of a torture for Rokka trying to parse what the hell has been going on with Hazuki, because he’s been acting awfully strange. Now she understands. After witnessing her overflowing of emotion, even Atsushi admits that he maybe went too far. But what’s done is done.

Is their rendezvous in the same spot of the same forest at the same time awfully tidy coincidence? Perhaps, but it also makes sense in that there weren’t many parts of nature Atsushi ever ventured out to in his life. He was a sickly city boy, after all. This was the one place he got to before the end. Going over their last hiking trip in her head – a painful, beautiful memory –  it made sense that Rokka ended up finding him. But with that final scene, could it be Atsushi got what he needed and has switched places with Hazuki? Maybe??

That aside, this is a phenomenal and moving payoff to everything that had been built up since Atsushi jumped into Hazuki’s body, and even before when he repeatedly pleaded for permission to do so. This is the episode where we’re finally totally okay with that fact that right here and now, Hazuki is just a vessel, and it’s all about Atsushi. He may have pulled some unethical stunt or two to get here, but he had to get here. He needed Rokka to acknowledge him, if only for this one brief time.

Rating: 9 (Superior)