I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Aimer -- Anata ni Deawanakereba ~ Kasetsu Touka (あなたに出会わなければ 〜夏雪冬花〜)/Yuuya Matsushita -- See You

Those folks who have read my articles on anison have figured out that when it comes to anime, I'm more for the comical slice-of-life programs on the order of "Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun"(月刊少女野崎くん)and "Koufuku Graffiti"(幸腹グラフィティ). I usually take the same attitude with my anime choices that I do with watching movies at the local Cineplex; I don't particularly want to be laden through 2 hours of heavy drama. Instead, I prefer to go with the more escapist fare and be entertained.

However, my anime buddy gave me a copy of an anime from the summer of 2012 titled "Natsuyuki Rendezvous"(夏雪ランデブー...Summer Snow Rendezvous)which was quite a bit more on the straight romantic drama side of things with some fantasy added in (which I don't think worked for me all that well). The story reminded me somewhat of Hollywood flicks such as "Ghost" with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, and "Always" which was Audrey Hepburn's final picture. It wasn't too bad...I liked the characters and I didn't end up falling asleep at all. Plus, I was surprised to find out that the main character of Hazuki-kun was played by seiyuu Yuuichi Nakamura(中村悠一)who I knew from his more comedic roles such as talented if slightly dense Nozaki-kun from the above-mentioned anime in 2014 and lovably grumpy Grizzly from "Shirokuma Cafe" (しろくまカフェ) which was being televised in the same year as "Natsuyuki Rendezvous".

(FYI, the video is a tad racy.)

All in all, I thought the show was OK for me as someone who wouldn't actively watch an anime drama. What also worked for me were the theme songs which fit perfectly with the tone of "Natsuyuki Rendezvous". It seems like the ending theme "Anata ni Deawanakereba ~ Kasetsu Touka" (I Have to Meet You ~ Summer Snow Winter Flowers) got the higher popularity so I will start with that. Aimer is a singer that I had never heard about until this show, but I liked her breathy delivery and the introspective feeling on this ballad, her 4th single from August 2012. It was written by Aimer under her lyricist name of aimerrhythm and composed by Rui Momota(百田留衣), and for a song that was created in 2012, there is somewhat of a nostalgic and haunting quality to it...perhaps it's the strings. I also have to mention that the song playing against those ending credits made for a good match. "Anata ni Deawanakereba" got as high as No. 26 on Oricon.

As I said above, I also liked the opening theme, too. "See You" by Yuuya Matsushita(松下優也)set the tone for the anime even before the first scene arose. I was definitely not going to see battling robots or sword-wielding warriors with a mellow song like this one. That intro for "See You" in the opening credits was especially effective in priming me for the story and Matsushita reminded me of another balladeer, Masayoshi Yamazaki(山崎まさよし). "See You" was written by Juli Shono(荘野ジュリ)and composed by Jin Nakamura. It was Matsushita's 11th single and also released in August 2012, it managed to peak at No. 28.

Finishing off with some whimsy since I know that a sequel to this series will probably never be made, but considering that I've seen the main cast separately in anime comedies, I would have enjoyed a slice-of-life comedic sequel to "Natsuyuki Rendezvous". After all, what isn't more comical than a young couple in love trying to stay happy while the woman's dead first husband is always trying to throw a metaphysical wrench into the works? Plus the fact that Rokka-chan always liked to wear that flowerpot hat must show that she's got some sense of humour. An anime version of "Bewitched", perhaps?

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