Short Synopsis: Natsume meets a person who used to be able to see Youkai.
Highlights: That feeling of separation.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 9/10
Oh my god… just when I thought that this series couldn’t get much better than it already was, it surpasses itself. This episode was downright heart-wrenchingly awesome. I remember how, when this series first started, the biggest criticism against it was that its format or returning names could get old very easily. Well, let me tell you that this series has PLENTY of inspiration for its stories. Heck, this episode wasn’t about returning names at all.
Nearly everything about this episode was perfect. For starters, it makes Natsume think about something he never could have imagined: that his ability to see youkai would disappear as he’d become an adult. After all, when we see Reiko in a flashback, she always appears as a child of the same age, hinting that she compiled the yuujin-chou when she was a high-school girl. There’s a very good possibility that she didn’t lose interest afterwards, but just became unable to see youkai. Otherwise, you’d think that she’d leave Natsume with more than just a yuujin-chou.
But the real star of this episode was the ayakashi that Natsume meets. It once was a firefly, and she made friends with that person when he still could see Youkai. His ability suddenly disappeared in one night, even though their bond couldn’t have been closer. Like all other Ayakashi in this series, the firefly just patiently kept waiting beside him, even though he couldn’t see her anymore. They always used to meet at one particular lake, and even though they can’t see each other, they still kept returning to this lake. At the time of this episode, this is about to change, though, when the guy is about to get married, and plans to not return to the lake.
The firefly isn’t able to do anything about it, and would rather return to a firefly, just so he could see her one more time (which she does at the end of this episode). It was really sad to see the two of them apart like that, with no chance to get back. The climax, where the sky was filled with fireflies, was a beautiful conclusion.
Oh and on a side-note: I loved Nyako’s suggestion to name her after a bunch of noodles. ^^;