Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 02

A week after their ramen date, Hazuki has had difficulty talking to Rokka due to Atsushi’s constant presence at the shop. Finally, he looks through Atsushi and asks her out to dinner. Afterwards she invites him in and things are about to get frisky when Atsushi interenes again; Hazuki blurts out an insult at him that upsets Rokka. She kicks him out, sleeps on the table, and wakes up with a fever, collapsing on the floor. Atsushi cries out and somehow, Hazuki hears him and comes to the rescue. Rokka calls out to Atsushi, apologizing to him.

As their vows stipulated “as long as they both shall live,” why does Shimao Atsushi haunt his former wife, Rokka? Glad you asked! It’s simple: she begged him not to go…so he didn’t; he stayed. And still he stays. Rokka can’t see or hear him, but whenever she’s home or in the shop, he’s there. Does he even have a choice in the matter, or does Rokka keep him there? Ever the practical fellow, he offered her signed divorce papers so she could marry someone she could have a child with. She promptly tore them up in a heartwrenching scene. Now, Rokka is at a crossroads: a cute guy eight years younger than her seems  to want her, at a time when she’s nearly forgotten how to want or be wanted. Is there room in her heart for a living man along with her dead husband?

We like how quickly Hazuki moves with Rokka…it’s very adult. Once he finds his nerve, Hazuki is not one to hesitate. Their chemistry is very nice too – we like the detail about Garlic Breath, Bane of Dates. Rokka, self-conscious about her age and widow status, is being tugged and pulled every which way by her emotions in the midst of this new courtship. Her practical side wants to give in to the advances (while she still can), yet she finds herself pushing him away. Of course, Hazuki hardly help matters by falling for Atsushi’s trap and getting him to open a wound not easily closed. Perhaps next time he should invite Rokka to his place…if there is a next time.

Rating: 9 (Superior)