Posted by psgels on 26 September 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Natsume Yuujin-Chou




Finally, after two long years of waiting, Natsume Yuujin-Chou continued into its third season. And how! It probably even surpassed itself!

The reason why this series sets itself apart is simple. The first season consisted out of all sorts of stories around youkai. They were the ones who stood in the center. The second season’s focus was on intrigue; it explored themes as humans versus youkai. The third season is about Natsume himself. Yes, this entire season is dedicated to the character development of just one character.

This season goes back to the more episodic nature of the series, with only two arcs that last two episodes. They tell all kinds of stories about Natsume encountering all sorts of youkai, but every single one of them contributes to his character, and is meant to either show how far he has grown, how he is growing, or how he will grow. The creators always manage to find fresh ways to do it, and make excellent use of the side cast of characters in the process.

And don’t think that the side characters get ignored for the sake of Natsume himself: every story in this series focuses on a different one of them, and every story ends up contributing to them to. This series still has excellent characterization, it is still wonderfully told, with a calm and relaxing atmosphere, a wonderful sense of build-up and a great sense of conclusion.

Now, not every episode is as good as the other: there are some that work better than the others, and in particular the two-episode arcs take up a tad too much space in the series while not having the same charm as the short but sweet other episodes. But even then, I’d say that its consistency is even better than the first season. Really, Natsume Yuujin-Chou was second to only Mawaru Penguin Drum this Summmer Season.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Still wonderfully told. Great direction, great pacing, great script.
Characters: 9/10 – Natsume’s development is just fantastic. The rest of the cast is also excellent.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Restrained, but very vivid if it wants to. Excellent and soothing soundtrack.
Setting: 8/10 – Still a great depiction of how youkai would live, much more realistic than most other shows who try to do this.

Suggestions:
Windy Tales
Mushishi

5 Responses

  1. awioejfeiojf says:

    i think you might be becoming a bit harsh with your rating system… this should easily be a 90 imo

  2. awioejfeiojf says:

    also the setting was fantastic – i don’t know what you’re smoking; the depiction of reality juxtaposed with super-reality, in Natsume’s case is impeccable. The themes are spot on and VERY consistent. All in all, this show is underrated and I believe the setting deserves a at least a 9 if not 10 in it’s setting rating

  3. Hogart says:

    While I don’t think you’re “being harsh” I do detect that you’ve probably settled into a groove with your ratings over the last year or two.

    If it was even remotely feasible it would be neat to see you re-adjust your older scores now to see how they’ve scaled with a few more years of anime under your belt.

    And Natsume is always a joy to watch. Lots of shows try the whole laid-back approach, but Natsume really has a knack for it. I have no idea how they’ve managed to roll with this concept for so long without it getting boring.

  4. AidanAK47 says:

    The funny thing is that I find it hard to watch Natsume. I can’t find anything really wrong with it and I can say I enjoy it at times. But when I download a lot I find myself leaving it last to watch. I am a man who watches his favourites first.

    So I can’t seem to fathom why. Alright, I don’t find Nyanko sensei annoying and Natsume isn’t a interesting character to me. Maybe it’s just the show is too mellow for my liking…

  5. moochi says:

    i can see why most people find the rating a bit harsh, but really i only find half of the series with episodes that stood strong…most noticeably the episode about the tree youkai. the ending episode gave it a peaceful goodbye, but really nothing spectacular. of course i’m not saying it doesn’t deserve a 90, but i feel that the authors could have done a bit more to give it more “oomph” lol.

    nevertheless, this series is always a good watch when you have had a long day lol. i really enjoy natsume’s character development and nyanko sensei is just soooo cute.

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  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:48 AM)
    @Emma: which moment is that?
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:26 AM)
    @Raggers : And in one moment, a rather disturbing development.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:24 AM)
    @Raggers: Actually, thinking it over you’ve got a point there, As I had said I’ve been marathoning re and come to think of it, it is more enjoyable to do so that way.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:24 AM)
    Oh, the priest? Yeah, definitely an awesome touch. Wonder how he feels about Amon’s death…
    Juuzou? I’d complain about Arima more, the guy is hax beyond belief. Juuzou was just a nutcase who was skilled with knives – and has pretty good development in the manga.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:21 AM)
    @Emma: I think the pacing thing isn’t a problem if read as a whole – that’s a bit like complaining about slow chapters in books if you read them week-by-week. For a story like Tokyo Ghoul week-by-week just isn’t a good way to read it, I don’t think.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 04:21 AM)
    Gah, Juuzou is one of those irksome shounen-esque characters that never sat all that well with me.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 04:17 AM)
    @Raggers: The part with that locked up ghoul who Amon went to meet up with who he had history with, that was a great moment for Amon’s character and it had a kind of silence of the lambs feel to it.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 04:14 AM)
    @Raggers: I found it generally unevenly paced.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 04:14 AM)
    @Raggers: The whole thing had its ups and downs for me, I loved the first four volumes,after the stuff with gourmet and mado was done with I found myself tiring of it but then got into it again after Kaneki broke down and snapped, then somewhere after the kanou reveal it started losing me again and the ending threw me off.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 03:31 AM)
    Out of interest, where do you feel the first manga went wrong? I may have missed its flaws since I marathoned it in ~8 hours.

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