This show is such a troll. First it promises a Reiko episode, only to be about something completely different. And now it turns out that the hints for Matoba being involved again also are false and instead some random exorcist was the one who sealed off Houdzuki. I can understand why this is done though: the fourth season is really dedicated to expanding the world of Natsume Yuujin-chou. It’s episodes like this that show that this series isn’t just about the main characters and that they live in a very expansive world.
In this episode, Natsume really pushed himself to his limits. Physically, at least, to the point of exhaustion. Where the third season focused more on his growth as a character, in the fourth season he seems much more scared of something bad happening and puts in much more effort to prevent that from happening. I also loved Nyanko-sensei in this episode Where I previously complained that he was a bit repetitively getting removed from the plot, here he was an active part of it. I especially loved how a the end of the episode, he got back at Natsume for abusing him so much in his rush to solve things.
Now, I also am going to have to be a bit negative, though. The fourth season had the best opening episodes of all four Natsume seasons, but after that things changed a bit. In particular, there has not been a stand-out episode like the Hotaru episode or the episode where Natsume meets Touko. ?The past episodes were still really good and among the best of the season, but for Natsume Yuujin-chou’s standards, they were missing something. That little edge in storytelling that makes you leave episodes with a heart-warming feeling.
The third season would have been a great point to actually end the series. The manga was incomplete, but that incredibly heart-warming ending was awesome and well built up. The fourth season though, is building up for something that still needs to arrive. It’s fleshing out the world of Natsume Yuujin-chou for awesome stuff, but with these kinds of things it’s always a matter of hoping that the producers will green-light a fifth season, a treatment that only the most popular series or shounen fighting shows manage to acquire. The thing is also: the more episodes that this show takes, the harder it becomes to recommend it.
Rating: ** (Excellent)