Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 08

Rokka is confused by the sight of bouquets Atsushi made for her, and the fact Atsushi’s journal, tools, and backpack are all missing. She calls Hazuki – still under Atsushi’s control, then has the urge to go backpacking herself, without a finite destination. Meanwhile, Hazuki, under the urging of the mini-Rokka, finally escapes from the undersea scene into a white void…

Well, whaddaya now, Hazuki’s STILL STUCK IN THE DAMN DRAWING. We don’t want to discount the fact that there was a lot more lovely flashbacks of Rokka’s last days with her husband (as well as flashbacks to Hazuki’s earlier dealings with her), but we must confess our enjoyment of this episode was marred somewhat by our hope and expectation (however premature) that we were finally going to get some kind of payoff. But the series was content to keep Hazuki wallowing in the drawing, totally shut off from the real world and what Atsushi’s doing with him.

By the way…what exactly IS Atsushi doing with him, now? He withdrew a bunch of cash from his and Rokka’s bank account and dons a giant backpack supposedly filled with clothes and provisions. One flashback mentions a trip to a faraway place he and Rokka never got to go to. Well fine, but how on earth is Rokka going to track him down? Will it just happen by chance? And even if she does, what is she supposed to make of Hazuki’s actions? Right now she just seems lost, confused, and distraught – not a state you’d think someone who proports to love her would want her to be in for long. Will this series continue teasing us till the end, or will Atsushi ever finally move on for good?

Rating: 7 (Very Good)