12 Days of Anime – Day 12: C’était un Rendezvous de Mort
Natsuyuki Rendezvous is, for me, the best show of the year. I’m fairly certain that I’m alone in this opinion, but I hope I’m not alone in thinking that the show was good. Natsuyuki explores the later stages of grieving by showing a woman, Rokka, through the eyes of both her departed husband and her new lover. It is a beautiful, well executed story.
There is little overt about Natsuyuki. This show likes to tell its story more through symbolism than directly. While it’s told through the eyes of Shimao and Ryuu, the entirety of the plot is focal on Rokka and her ability to cope and eventually move on. She struggles with the prospect of betraying her first love, and even contemplates suicide over the stress this causes her. Ultimately, she chooses to do what is right for her and allows the memory of her husband to become a part of her life, rather than its driving force.
This is a show that takes on a serious subject, treats it appropriately, and has a great outcome. It doesn’t need a twist to accommodate all these things. Instead, it’s just good storytelling. When Rokka sorted out her feelings I was both relieved and enthralled. It’s my favorite moment of anime this year.