Posted by psgels on 23 January 2012 with categories: Natsume Yuujin-Chou

Oh my god, Natsume. Are you really delivering another brilliant episode? Seriously, even the previous seasons had episodes that slightly disappointed or didn’t work out as well as the others. This season has delivered one amazing story after the other.

Interestingly, this wasn’t necessarily about Natsume’s development. Instead, we’ve got a story entirely dedicated to a youkai here. In this episode it still was apparent how much Natsume has grown over the past seasons, but it really was about this quirky youkai that runs into him, along with a story of what happened in the youkai’s past.

For one, the Youkai was delightful to watch. He really nailed being funny, while also not getting lost in his own quirk. This guy is funny, but also surprisingly complex for a youkai. All in all it was a really interesting twist on the usual “youkai versus human romance”. It masterfully stayed away from cheese, despite an arranged marriage being used, along with “we can’t meet because we’re different!”. The ending in particular was delightfully light-hearted, yet incredibly charming. For the girl, it probably was a very nice experience, after which she went on and lived the rest of her life doing who knows what. All we see here is the side of the story of a youkai who is full of guilt for what he did.

I also realize now that the third season had surprisingly little of the book of friends. Because of this it’s also been quite a while since we last saw Reiko. With these opening episodes, you’d think that this season would be more about Matoba and Reiko, but with this series you’ll never know what the next story will focus on.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

11 Responses

  1. kero says:

    cute episode as always!
    I liked the yokai in this one, he looks old but acts young, and I like to think he went on found the place in her dreams.

    I would like to see more of Reiko

  2. Tuuli says:

    *sighhhh* Nothing really can’t beat Natsume. I’m so glad we can watch this show and read the stories too in a manga. Hm? The next episode…oh wow. It’s that story…yippee! Can’t really wait for the next episode! :3

  3. Puran says:

    Damn, I remember in the first episodes of the first season, that I was feeling like this was sort of Mushishi-Lite. Like a more mainstream and simpler version of Mushishi. And while some of that is still kinda true, it really has a evolved into a wonderful series.

    Also, the backgrounds really got upgraded this season. The colors have more depth and there are more interesting angles. I’m guessing Brains Base is putting a bigger budget behind it.

  4. rufe says:

    I really awesome arc from the manga. I personally feel that the more they stick to the source material the better with this series.

    And yea, it’s cute how the youkai are as innocent of the human world as the humans are of the youkai one (in general). It really makes it seem like it’s about understanding not incomparability (except you get the crazy youkai. Of course there are crazy people too)

  5. rufe says:

    Incidentally, I’m so happy that they kept the silence when Natsume was reading the letter. (I was afraid that they’d have him actually read it!)

    It is a remarkably powerful technique that is pretty common in Anime, but never seems overused. Gave me chills in the manga and gave me chills in the anime.

  6. kurini says:

    I just love Natsume too much!
    Every story is soo simple, and yet I’m so touched that my eyes are teary!!

  7. headachebaby says:

    I totally agreed that the background looks better than usual. You can tell that the season is fall due to the heater that Natsume has been using in his room and the dull green color of the forest.

    The forest that Natsume and the youkai entered was very detailed and it actually looks different. After the previous 3 seasons of Natsume, all the various forests seem almost the same to me. It’s this episode that the forest struck its individuality.

    Since this 4th season, all the stories kind of feels more mature — which I’m loving it.

  8. Hogart says:

    That sure was lovely. A return to form for the episodic stuff, really. Seeing Reiko was just the cherry on top. I especially liked how well the usual staple material worked to reinforce everything, including Madara’s role in the ep.

    I truly wonder how they make it seem so effortless. It would be easy to make such a basic episode both boring and emotionally flat, but it somehow worked out perfectly. It didn’t even have to melodramatize beyond the use of some emotional music.

    This was the perfect way to de-stress after a brutal day at work. I can’t wait to buy the Blurays.

  9. tktym says:

    the reiko stuff most likely will not get resolved in this season, or even mentioned, as the author is just now getting to the stuff about reiko in the manga, and she’s taking her sweet time about it too. so yeah, if I were to take a conservative estimate, Id say the answers about reiko wont come until the fifth (next)season, as well as the conclusion to the whole matoba thread since it seems from what the anime showed, that there is some connection. in any case though, the source material is really great.

  10. Salichan says:

    Is is t just me or did Natsume look much more mature in this episode? The animation was very good too :)

  11. jzar says:

    I wasn’t too into this one at first but it’s really gotten good.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 09:02 PM)
    One-Punch Man’s pilot was almost adapted flawlessly. It straight up uses the manga panels as it’s main storyboard, but added just enough new touches to improve the action instead of ruining it. Now let’s see how they animate the mosquitos and all the lasers for the next episode.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:57 PM)
    And that’s why Madhouse is one of the few respectable studios left. I thought that they will be seriously diminished after Masao Maruyama took some of its key members and funded MAPPA, but One-Punch Man showed that they are still one of the best in the business.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:51 PM)
    @Kaiser The anime industry isn’t advanced enough in CG to make it look good, is all it is.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:51 PM)
    @K-off: Your not wrong, it certainly looks poor but some of the old gonzo animated stuff was far more woeful looking. Stellvia, which was done by xebec was another example of old anime cgi which was quite ugly to look at. Just as I prefer traditional effects in film I also prefer traditional animation techniques to cg.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:42 PM)
    Lately, the use of badly integrated cgi have been making my eyes sore,from the obviously cgi background characters in Asterisk to the overly fluid mech movements in Aldnoah. I still remember the shitty cgi piano hands in Kimi no Uso.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 12:04 AM)
    On the note of good balance between humor and drama- I think BoJack Horseman is an example of a show that executed that almost perfectly in both seasons. You are laughing one minute and amused by the hijinks and silliness and the next minute you are actually moved and shocked by the honest introspection. Too be honest BoJack is more a tragic character then a goofy one, and his struggles are deeper and more existential than they have any business being in a show with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The changes in the setting actually made me more excited for season 3 then what I felt the past few weeks, since now the plot needs to move forward from the cliffhanger and hopefully this translates to more cohesion and refocusing on what mad the show great in the first place. I’m pretty sure S3 will also be a blend of episodic and arch story elements tho. Overall a few ups and downs but still a great show.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:52 PM)
    The finale also had some of the most overall arch story elements featured in the season. Earth joining the Galactic Federation is a big deal story-wise from now on. Also the use of a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” (not the Nine Inch Nails one clearly) was a nice fitting yet surprising touch. The throwback to Mr. PB after the credits was a good idea, but felt flat in it’s actual execution.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:49 PM)
    I thought R&M had a pretty good finale. The episode achieved what was missing from most of season 2, and that was a balance of randomness and meaningful bits. What made Rick Potion #9 and the previous season’s finale and general tone great was a sense of humor that was combined with more sincere drama and character developments; a sort of sweet melancholy.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 09:51 PM)
    @K-off, not having too much trouble with the interface but I still cannot create categories.

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