The main character in Natsuyuki Rendezvous has a permanent -_- face, which I kinda love. I’m used to seeing permablush or eyes that are forever shut, but a constant glare of irritation is a new one that I rather like. I even like the fact that he draws attention to it, even better that he drew attention to it in an irritated manner. Bunch of dudes being dicks to each other. This is my kind of anime.
I wasn’t particularly interested in this anime pre-season, because the promo art and trailers gave off a rather dull vibe. That dull vibe is still here, unfortunately. There’s a complete lack of urgency to any of the directing. On the rare occasions that background music plays, it’s dull tinkly piano music. The artwork is bog-standard for josei and there’s no attempts breathe life (har har) into any scene where the characters are talking, instead just focusing on talking heads. I’m not asking for it to go all anime-fied and wacky, because clearly that wouldn’t fit with the tone. This director did do Kurenai though, and there was a show that was both down to earth and still exuded energy. At the moment Natsuyuki Rendezvous has all the energy of a sloth on painkillers.
Now with the complaining out of the way…
The writing is fantastic. I love the little barbs the main character and the ghost dude send each other. It’s such simple little things too. The ghost berates the main character for smoking, but it only becomes clear later on that the guy’s life was full of health problems, so you connect the dots and realise the idea of someone deliberately damaging their health bugs him. Then there’s the entire concept behind why the guy hangs around the house. He spent his life insisting that his wife moves on as soon as he dies, so his hidden feelings of really wanting her all for himself manifest in him haunting the house. I honestly wish they left more of this for us to figure out. Having the main character narrate everything gave some scenes a bit more ‘stuff’ happening in them, but often he’d outright explain something that a simple glance could have told us. Let your audience figure stuff out for themselves. It’s more rewarding that way.
But what I love most of all is that the entire show is centred around two guys being assholes to each other in really passive aggressive ways. Both of them are so sardonic and low-key that their interactions turn into snark fests, and that’s great. Just before I watched Natsuyuki Rendezvous, I saw Bimbougami-ga, of which I’m still struggling to form a post for, but I’m pretty sure it will contain will be “STOP SHOUTING PLEASE”. The snarky low jibes of the two male characters in Natsuyuki Rendezvous (good lord rendezvous is a difficult word to spell, and will probably earn you a fuck-ton points in Scrabble) was hugely refreshing. The girls are total damp squibs, at the moment, but those two should provide enough entertainment to keep this show going.
Also the ghost entered the main character halfway through the first episode. That means they’re totally canon.