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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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 08:50 PM)
    *for.
    Also I finished out Amanes route in Grisaia and am genuinely pleased with how it rounded out as being/capped off.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 08:49 PM)
    Shame they can’t be relied on from anything else however.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 08:48 PM)
    Ah, .hack bee-train can always be relied on for good music.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 08:48 PM)
    I recently rewatched petite cossette actually and it still holds up for me as an atmospheric, creepy and trippy and dreamy macabre story I wish Shinbo was still that good.
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 08:44 PM)
    As much as I love .Hack’s score, I can’t help but feel that Le Portrait de Petit Cossette has Kajiura’s best score.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 07:37 PM)
    I will agree that the tsundre archtype should have been Rin and not Kugimiya pseudo-lolita’s, far less irritating, less of a love/hate thing for me. That said I don’t care all that much for finding the personalities of fiction characters all that attractive, it tends to be the character designs, more often I end up wanting to black eye most tsundere characters, actually alot of characters.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 07:32 PM)
    And I also read that “realistic tsundere manga” I believe I mentioned it a few times on here, I never really got into reading it, can’t really remember the title.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 07:30 PM)
    I rather like Yuki Kaijura’s music for fate/zero, don’t care about kara no kyokai’s soundtrack, madoka or sword arts much.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:55 PM)
    @Gedata: God they didn’t even research it correctly.
    In regards to clannad theres an example of one which I retrospectively am more critical of and find the drama remarkably silly in parts.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:38 PM)
    @gedata: For my own sanity after a while I began skimming episodes and following flawfinders posts here and there.
    @Vincent: Must rewatch that one and flags of our fathers sometime, need to get round to soldier of orange also.

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