Posted by psgels on 26 March 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Natsume Yuujin-Chou



Let’s get this out of the way first: out of the series that debuted in the past Winter Season, Natsume Yuujin-Chou’s fourth season was by far my favorite. Can you watch it without having seen the other three seasons? No. It very clearly builds further upon what these three seasons did. It doesn’t matter though, because every series of Natsume Yuujin-Chou is truly excellent. Few series can boast to be as genuine and heart-warming as this one.

The people who have already watched the first three seasons know what to expect: episodic stories and small arcs about a boy who can see spirits, and all of the problems and miracles that come with it. The episodic nature again makes it a very varied series that changes every week, and again this series has a very good balance between really heart-warming stories, and stories that are almost like a thriller. The stories still are very cleveryl constructed, and yet they play out very naturally and believably. This season also likes its character studies, and quite a few side-characters also manage to get their place in the spotlight to actually develop themselves a bit.

Every season of Natsume also has a slightly different tone from the other. The first was about quiet and relaxing stories about all sorts of youkai Natsume meets. Season 2 instead put the focus more on the main plot and various recurring characters. The third season was dedicated to Natsume’s development, and the fourth season is about Natsume’s relationship with the people around him. Imagine what a wonderful total picture this all creates! And indeed, the cast still is amazing, in particular Natsume has gotten so much development at this point.

What makes the fourth season stand out in particular is that out of all the four seasons, it’s got the best beginning and the best ending. It really saved its best stories for those points, and especially the ending is a treat. The stories in the middle are also very good, but not as good as the middle episodes of the first and the third season. I’d really consider the First, Third and Fourth season to be just as good, all with their own highlight and standout stories that rock in their own ways, either by being incredibly heart-warming, really well told, consistently tense and intriguing, amazingly built up, wonderfully acted, or just all of those together. This series still is a huge believer of subtlety over bombast, and this leads to some of the best acting of the season.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Great variety, masterful at retaining a subtle atmosphere, and manages to consistently tell heart-warming stories.
Characters: 9/10 – Natsume has 52 episodes of development right now, and this season just continues to add things to his character. The side characters also get a lot of time to flesh themselves out and develop.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Great and very consistent animation. Perhaps not the best of the season, but there are a few very talented animators flexing their muscles here.
Setting: 9/10 – Everyone around Natsume is the main focus of this series. Yes, the setting got even better.

Suggestions:
xxxHolic
Porfy no Nagai Tabi
Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi

4 Responses

  1. kurini says:

    I really hope the producers will consider making a fifth season; the Matoba’s clan conflit isn’t over yet…

    This season is the best!

  2. ronbb says:

    I agree – the second season, still good, seems a bit flat comparing to the first, third, and the forth. However, if we are to put all four together, it forms a pretty well laid-out, beautiful, and well-told story.I certainly welcome a fifth season, but the ending of the forth season is very well done – it wraps things up very nicely letting us know how much Natsume has grown and settled in a nice spot where he deserves…

    Natsume Yuujin-Chou is certainly a very solid series comparing to many others of this season, and I can’t decide whether I like this one or Chihayafuru better.

  3. HENRCAST says:

    I still want to see more about Matoba! I hope this is not the end

  4. Puran says:

    If there is more Natsume, I really want them to focus on Rieko. The matoba doesn’t interest me that much.

    But this would also be a good place to stop.

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 06:02 AM)
    Although given that the the Japanese film industry is steadily improving, this still would’ve worked much better as a big Hollywood flick, mainly because it’s just an over-the-top story with big action sequences, but also because pretty much all the cast (with the exception of Mikasa) have western features.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 05:55 AM)
    Well it looks like the Japanese have taken it upon themselves to make a live-action Attack on Titan movie, which sounds like a pretty bad idea:
    http://www.otakuusamagazine.com/LatestNews/News1/Liveaction-Attack-on-Titan-Visuals-Revealed-6057.aspx
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 02:51 AM)
    I mean I’ve watched some awful stuff like hidan no Aria to take the piss out of it and infinite stratos might as well get to continuing Ass-ange/crass-ange.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 02:34 AM)
    *Ange
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 02:34 AM)
    @Emma: and that’s why you should watch Cross Ante.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 02:33 AM)
    @Emma: you know what? I’ve been trying to find a good version of X for a few years now, but nobody seems to be seeding the torrent anymore =/
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 02:33 AM)
    Sometimes I’m pretty glad I have the ability to get guilty pleasure/so bad its good/funny enjoyment out of genuinely awful things and sometimes end up enjoying them more than actually good series.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 02:18 AM)
    One other good example of an old ova I loved was the X/1999 movie, I didn’t overly care for the manga or second anime adaptation nearly as much by comparison. Yes the voice acting is terrible, the character development was cut out but the fact is I never really cared all that much for Xs characters/drama to begin with and the voice acting makes the final scene laugh out loud hilarious. Beyond that I just enjoyed sitting back and watching the gore play out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 01:12 AM)
    I also miss the days where incest was reserved for the villains in anime.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 01:09 AM)
    @Bam: I remember giving John dies at the end three out of five and deciding that it was never a poor film but never an excellent one.

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