Suspending Your Disbelief: Natsuyuki Rendezvous – Episode 10

Honestly I really didn’t understand the logic behind Natsuyuki Rendezvous’ mythos. The entire interaction between the spirit world and the storybook world seemed to be a bit arbitrary to me. I don’t mind a series wading into avant garde seas but the series took a head first dive into crashing waves of metaphors.

This week in particular had a parade of bizarre scenes, that marched in one after another. Hazuki transforms into Shimao only to see his body carted off my a retinue of dwarves. Then the Rokka of this realm transforms into Shimao, who pushes Hazuki off a cliff. The protagonist doesn’t exactly die but gets pushed into the real world as a spirit. It’s an odd sense of circumstances I couldn’t really wrap my head around because of what followed. Shimao was surprised to see Hazuki spirit, unaware of the events that unfolded in the sketchbook.

I always thought that there was a sort of connection both of those worlds. Shimao’s spirit was a manifestation of his conscious mind while the sketchbook was a manifestation of his imagination. Because of his attachment to the sketchbook I always assumed that he could feel that connection between the worlds. Rokka existed in both reality and as an ideal. But now I am being forced to reconsider this notion just because of a minor inconsistency in the scripting. My theory now is that Hazuki was trapped in his own subconscious, and the presence of Shimao  warped its appearance and denizens. While it does tuck away the loose threads of the plot nicely it feels like a bit of a stretch.

Usually something like this would hamper my enjoyment of the series. I usually fall in plot holes and choose to never climb out. But with characters and atmosphere as charming as Natsuyuki Rendezvous, I simply dont care. If I let it bother me too much, there wouldn’t be much enjoyment left in the show.

Suspension of disbelief is a term used to describe the audience’s ability to accept the premises of a given tale. The story and its logical foundations aren’t all laid to bare because of the limitations of the medium. None of us want to a forty thousand page novel that reads more like a biochemistry textbook instead of science fiction. Creators are often encouraged to include some background to give the audience a starting off point. The theory is that they can use their intuition to figure out the rest if they choose too. Natsuyuki Rendezvous foregoes any sort of details on how its supernatural phenomenon really occur. The question is: Is it that important?

The answer in this instance is no. The series is trying to make us feel something instead of understand something. It’s not as if the show has any profound revelations on life after death that it’s trying to impart. I don’t think its even making any abstract declarations about love. But I do feel something whenever I do sit down to watch the show. While that feeling may change week to week and from person to person, the important thing is that the series provoked that reaction because of elements that were purposely placed there by the producers. In that regards this series is a resounding success. Sure consistency in a plot is important but what I am trying to say is that it isn’t the be all and end all. Certain series demand to follow some logical guidelines, while other series don’t have to nitpick with such finer points. The important lesson to take away from evaluating any anime is to decide wether or not the show set out to do what it accomplished. In my books, that’s usually good enough.

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