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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  • jerkocaust
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 06:21 AM)
    and its not sure if it wants to be a mecha shonen with the shouty action, tsubdere, kuudere, while it pulls stupid wannabe seinen shit. So you have a story that acts like a 12 year old trying to buy alcohol with an obviously fake ID
  • jerkocaust
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 06:13 AM)
    What, when was eva relevant again? Both versions had bad static characters and a story that sounded like a 7th grader wrote it. Predictable at every turn and it thinks its sophisticated enough to half ass some religious symbolisms like it’s some deep story lr something lol what a joke
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 05:32 AM)
    [WARNING] incoming Eva rant inbound.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 05:31 AM)
    @Kaiser: welcome to the light.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:58 AM)
    Yes you heard it here, Kaiser admitted to this. Fully watching the films I thought they were alright. And I even liked the direction the third film went and consider it the best thing to happen to the franchise. The plot felt more accessible and easier to follow. It feels more tight and compressed and benefits from animation upgrade. I still think Mari is pretty worthless though and as much as I still hate Asuka and Shinji, their more tolerable here.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:54 AM)
    *Ahem*Ahem* I have a confession to make and now everyone can laugh at me for taking so long to come round to this. But I got past my stubborness regarding Eva and my old bitterness toward it that made me give up when I was trying to re-watch it/the movies. I sat down and watched the Eva film trilogy so far…and I admit…I admit I don’t harbour the same bitterness I had toward the franchise and Anno anymore.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:35 AM)
    *null 2nd[enough]
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:34 AM)
    And how come nobody tell me that it goes Lovecraftian with Necronomicom and a straight up Dagon summoning? I would’ve watched this a lot sooner if I knew it was daring enough for a mainstream anime enough to in any way address child sacrifices.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:31 AM)
    Also finished first cour of Fate/Zero. So far this is a lot better than UBW in my opinion. The removal of the highschool drama along with pubescent protagonists makes this a much more adult and sophisticated story. The level of creative freedom that the team had by not being a direct adaptation made this a much more wellcrafted piece.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:28 AM)
    @Aidan: I just YouTubed that game and it looks fun and cooky. Kinda reminds me of Futurama I gotta say, and that’s a plus. It’s not really a bullet hell as those are by nature a scrolling 2D shooter with very face ‘safe spots’ on screen.

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