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NATSUYUKI RENDEZVOUS #1 - - Special Review

Dating a ghost's ex-wife isn't the best idea, maybe.

Most times, I won’t read a synopsis before checking a show out. I like my viewing experience to be pure and untainted by any expectations, you know? This time, though, the chemical dice that make the decisions in my brain rolled snake eyes, and the brief moment of hesitation that ensued got me to check out the little pop-up description for this on Hulu - - so I blew the surprise for myself.

(Then again, I probably wouldn’t have watched it unless I’d been intrigued by that synopsis, so that brings us back to the whole ambivalent fundamental appeal of spoilers, doesn’t it?)

Believe it or not, I watch so many movies that my mind will often wander and wonder about what the supporting characters in these plots must be experiencing. Since this seems to be lightly inspired by GHOST (or the creators at least watched it, once) it does specifically make me recall my idle thoughts about what Demi Moore’s neighbors and co-workers must’ve been thinking about her passionate love affair with poltergeist. Imagine being a guy trying to hit on her, having no idea that she’s being followed by a vengeful, invisible ex-boyfriend who can be everywhere.

Have a thought, and pop culture will eventually answer it for you, right? Here we have NATSUYUKI RENDEZVOUS to play out that specific curiosity and, while I do wonder how the ghostly surprise would’ve hit (or, more likely, confused) me if I’d gone in totally unaware, I’ve got to stay it’s a perfectly quaint and fun romantic comedy with some likeable-but-not-saccharine characters. Like, I’d honestly bet on this either getting remade or ripped-off by Hollywood within the space of five years.

Odd praise, perhaps, but that is my way of saying that I enjoyed this gentle blend of magical realism and slice-of-life. Maybe not enough to follow the rest of it amidst all this other competition for my time, but certainly enough to bring it up whilst recommending anime to the uninitiated.

Watch this episode, "Episode 1” below and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

sickVisionz moderator on Aug. 21, 2012 at 1:24 p.m.

I was kinda getting turned off by anime general and was only watching shows that were continuing from previous seasons, but I watched a few episodes of this and it got me back in the mood for anime.

I've raved about it elsewhere, but I love the male lead and the approach to relationships this show takes. He's an actual guy that does guy things, which is way too rare in anime. Most male leads are either hot-blooded retards, naive fools, or just ridiculously shy. This guy is pretty normal. He likes a girl and *this is simply unheard of in anime* he asks her out before the last episode of a series! He spits game, he makes moves on women... this stuff is so duh in regular life (or maybe not considering how the birth rate in Japan is dangerously low and nearly half of the youth say they have zero interest in sex and relationships) but totally non-existent in anime and it's a sigh of relief to finally see a non-bizzaro approach to maleness and relationships.

Anyways, good show. It does get kinda stupid later on though. Something happens where half of each episode starts taking place in some artsy fartsy indie movie fantasy land but I've been enjoying it in the chunks that I watch it (6 at a time). I think you'll like it more Tom if you wait until it's all done and then watch it to completion in like 2-4 sittings rather than going week by week.

I'm also surprised that this is on Hulu. I knew it was simulcasting on CR but not there. I haven't heard of it being picked up by any US companies, but I always thought that basically everything on Hulu comes via a simulcast or physical release from a US licensing company.

Dig Deeper into Natsuyuki Rendezvous

Hazuki vies to confess his love to a floral shop manager named Rokka, whose husband died years ago. To make matters worse, the ghost of her former husband appears to stop Hazuki from reaching his goal. But Hazuki is more than determined to claim her love.

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