Anime Blu-ray Review: Natsuyuki Rendezvous Complete Collection

Natsuyuki Rendezvous Complete Collection has one disc with all 11 episodes of the series. The release only has Japanese audio with English subtitles.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous Complete Collection
English Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: November 4, 2014

At the beginning of the series, a young man named Ryosuke Hazuki makes a daily habit of going by a florist shop and buying a small potted plant from the shop’s proprietor, a woman named Rokka Shimao. Ryosuke has fallen in love with Rokka but does not have the courage to tell her. One day, Rokka posts a help wanted sign for a part-time employee, and Ryosuke applies for the job in order to get closer to Rokka. Ryosuke believes that fortune is smiling on him.

When Ryosuke’s co-worker leaves, Rokka decides to throw a party at her apartment, and invites Ryosuke to help. When Ryosuke enters the apartment, he sees a half-naked man there, and thinks that Rokka had invited him to the apartment to tell him without telling him that she’s not available.

When Ryosuke comes back to the apartment for the party, he encounters the man again when he goes out to the veranda to smoke. It turns out the man is the ghost of Atsushi Shimao, Rokka’s deceased husband. Ryosuke is the first person to be able to see Atsushi, and the ghost is possessive of his wife. Atsushi’s spirit lingers around the apartment and the shop, which causes torment for Ryosuke.

But just at it seems that Ryosuke is starting to win over Rokka, he encounters a disappointment when Rokka laughs off the idea of having sex with him. Ryosuke gets drunk, and when he returns to the shop, Atsushi’s ghost takes advantage of the situation and possesses Ryosuke’s body. The series takes a supernatural turn at this point, as Ryosuke finds himself trapped in the storybook world that Atsushi created in his sketchbook while he was still alive.

When I watched this series for the first time as a stream on Crunchyroll, I admit that at the beginning of the first episode, I found Ryosuke to be a little on the creepy side because he came across as a stalker. However, over the course of the first two or three episodes, I found myself warming up to him. What probably helped to win me over was how much of a jerk Atsushi’s ghost is portrayed as when he interacts with Ryosuke. This may sound silly, but it didn’t really hit me until I watched this series again on this Blu-ray release that Atsushi was as much of a stalker as Ryosuke was.

The series starts out as a typical slice of life story. However, what made it different was the fact that this story features adults rather than the high school students that are typically associated with the slice of life stories. But the series takes the story to the next level by adding much more in the way of supernatural elements once Atsushi’s ghost takes over Ryosuke’s body. But even with the increase in supernatural elements at that point, the story still does a great job of dealing with Rokka’s confusion between wanting to honor her husband’s memory and potentially moving on and admitting that she is in love with Ryosuke. And with the way that Rokka ends up getting played and inadvertently stuck between Ryosuke and her dead husband, she becomes a sympathetic character. The series really impressed me with how it dealt with Rokka’s situation and how her past with Atsushi is revealed in various flashbacks throughout the series.

However, one thing I have to fault this series for is its pacing. The first four episodes progress the story rather quickly, but then slows down dramatically once Atsushi takes over Ryousuke’s body. The story probably would have been a little stronger if the character development leading up to Atsushi taking over Ryousuke’s body could have been extended for just a little bit longer. I don’t know if the anime was simply following the manga’s pacing, or if the anime made some tweaks.

I appreciated the animation style that was used for Natsuyuki Rendezvous. It has more of a realistic look to it, and it really complements the compelling storytelling.

The Blu-ray video for this set has 1080p High Definition / 16×9, while the audio is Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. I had no complaints about either the video or audio quality of this release.

Since all 11 episodes were included on one disc, it’s not surprising that the bonus features on this set are very bare bones. Like with a lot of Sentai Filmworks’ releases, the only extras included here are a textless opening, a textless closing, and trailers for other Sentai Filmworks releases.

If you’re already familiar with Natsuyuki Rendezvous and want to add it to your anime home video library, then this is the release that you need to pick up.

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