This arc was just wonderful. Here once again, Natsume’s character gets pushed forward. Before, he kept worrying and worrying about involving his friends in the youkai world, which is why he kept trying to distance himself. This time though, Tanuma actually gets hurt because of this, and actually would have gotten killed if it wasn’t for Natori. With this, I now also get why this season needed to put in episode 44, about the younger classmate that Natsume met: she was supposed to be the lead-in to this story, showing how the people around Natsume have gotten closer to him. That’s slightly different from the third season, which really was all about Natsume.
I loved how this episode placed parallels between Takashi, Reiko and Natori: Natsume is actually walking a path that the other two couldn’t. Natori actually gave up on it, while Reiko actually failed to do it? Is that why she was so involved with Youkai and kept stealing their names? Indeed, in the flashbacks we’ve seen her in, she always was with youkai. We’ve never seen her before with other people.
This episode also had some very expressive animation. There really were a lot of different youkai in this episode, and there were some scenes in which the characters looked really dynamic. It’s interesting how Brains Base have gotten better and better at animating this series here.
Rating: *** (Awesome)