Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 10

Hazuki experiences a role reversal, first by being presented with his own funeral in the picture book world, then confronted by Atsushi in Rokka’s body telling him to accept his fate. Hazuki refuses, so Atsushi transports them to a stormy shore and shoves him off a cliff. Hazuki notices the scenery is more realistic, then realizes he’s in the real world, watching Atsushi in his body having a picnic with Rokka. He Atsushi tells her how long he’s been in Hazuki’s body, and she asks him where the real Hazuki is…

Penultimate episode time: this week was the final set-up in preparation for the finish. Rokka now knows the score: one of the reasons she hasn’t been able to get over her dead husband is that he’s literally been there with her the whole time. In Hazuki’s body, he’s been dropping hints left and right, consciously or not, and meeting him there in the forest was the clincher. Now she knows that Hazuki wasn’t Hazuki when she slept with him. Now that she knows, and has calmed down, she takes all this information pretty well.

But Hazuki is out of the picture book now, floating around barefoot, able to see what’s been done with his body. Finally he can confront Atsushi-as-him face-to-face and demand, plead, beg for him to keep his promise and give his body back. Will he be able to finally do it? Atsushi-as-Hazuki has kept his cards close for a long time about his ultimate intentions; indeed he may not even know himself what the next step is. But Rokka makes it clear that the short-haired, bespectacled Hazuki and “The Hazuki [she] fell in love with” are two separate entities. And she wants to know what happened to that Hazuki. Which should give Hazuki hope.

Rating: 9 (Superior)

Mawaru Penguindrum – 08 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 3 Sept 2011 – Ringo’s measures grow more and more drastic as she attempts to fulfill her destiny as written in Momoka’s diary, attempting to rape Tabuki in his sleep twice. The second time, she has drugged him with cake and is stopped by Shoma, just as Yuri arrives. They escape, and Shoma learns Ringo’s true motivations. The diary takes a fall, and is snatched up by a passing motorcycle – likely the woman with the black penguin. Shoma is hit by a car after saving Ringo’s life.

Ringo just happens to see her estranged father at the zoo gift shop…with his other family – definitely a potential blow to one’s mental balance – and she didn’t have much to begin with. She tells Shoma (and us) that she has to carry Tabuki’s child at all costs – not for her, but her duty to her family. That’s why she’s going so far to bed him. All this attempted rape and obligation to get pregnant juxtaposed with such silly romantic (and western) daydreams present quite the stark contrast.

The line between Ringo and Momoka is definitely beginning to blur, and her obsession has progressed from creepy to downright life-threatening (not to mention morally and ethically wrong). She is now responsible for Shoma getting hit by a car. I doubt this will snap her out of her percieved duty and it surely won’t convince her to enter a more normal, reciprocal relationship with Shoma (if he lives), but in any case, she’s lost half her diary – and with it the complete map of the path she believes she must walk.

Rating: 9 (Superior)