The first season of Natsume Yuujin-chou was basically a string of random stories about the lead character, Natsume, meeting a bunch of Youkai. The second season forms much more of a unity as Natsume’s development starts kicking in. The random stories are more connected to each other, and instead of an episodic series, we’re suddenly treated to a character-study of a boy who grew up with being able to see youkai.
The production-values are as solid as ever: backgrounds are rich and detailed, the animation is crisp and the different designs for the youkai are very solid. The music is also very enjoyable again, with especially the ending theme standing out as a great song.
Unfortunately, despite this it did lose some of the charms of the first season this way. For me, the show has lost its novelty by now, and I don’t think that it’s really succeeded in making up for it, even though many people seem to disagree with this. For me, the height of Natsume Yuujin-chou still is the Hotaru-episode, and the second season did nothing to change that.
I think that one of the reasons for why the second season has made less impact is that it ends at a point where it’s simply still building up. There’s a huge part of the manga left to be animated, and the second season was mostly just setting the pieces correctly for those arcs. I that way, it served its purpose very well if there’s going to be a third season, but it doesn’t suffice as a finale here.
And don’t get me wrong here: Zoku Natsume Yuujin-chou is still a very enjoyable and relaxing slice of life series without any major flaws, but it just lacks the impact that the first season had, but there is still enough worth watching if you were also charmed by the first number of episodes like I was. Especially don’t miss the Tama-chapter.