Posted 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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  • Bam
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 09:28 AM)
    going afk to watch GITS:Arise Ep03. Will be back in a bit.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 09:24 AM)
    A compartment dream gives the sensation of dreaming in a dream, and sometimes even the act of waking up within that dream. They have something to do with Dopamine Reuptake Inhibition and are very rare, but the details of the mechanism escapes me.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 09:22 AM)
    @Emma: oh man, regarding the drug experiences I have enough to write a series of Dan Brownesque books of mystery and intrigue, so we definitely need a chatline for that :)
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 09:21 AM)
    @Bam: I’ll keep it in mind and get to it.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 09:20 AM)
    @Bam: I have had a dream where I was asleep in the dream and having a dream.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 09:20 AM)
    I can go incredibly in depth with these since I’ve done quite a bit of research on the subject, but that is definitely not for the confines of the shoutbox. Message me on DeviantArt if you want to chat about it.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 09:19 AM)
    And about these drugs experiments of yours you’ve hinted at Bam, what sort of things were coming to mind/were you seeing under the influence?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 09:18 AM)
    @Emma: Deja vus and Jamais vus are in my opinion usually one of three cases:
    -We experienced it in a dream.
    -We have experienced it similarly before.
    -A mistake of the brain.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 09:16 AM)
    @Emma: interesting angle, as if they see beyond the masquerade and into the realm of pure Platonic forms. Reality is, as it has always been, subjective so it begs the question that “whose reality is closer to the truth?”. Artists happen to be the outliers and the anomalies, so they are either closer to the actuality or incredibly far from it. Either case makes their perspective unique and interesting.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 09:15 AM)
    Tell me Bam about your take on deja vu sometime if you can.

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