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
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:25 PM)
    When I mean discussion I don’t mean a series of personal likes and dislikes- but judging objective elements: plot consistency, animation quality, restrain in fan-service and pandering, over reliance on tropes and cliches, etc. Otherwise we all have our different preferences.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:20 PM)
    I agree with the cons of Eva, as well as its strengths. Same with Fate. Being pessimistic is a stance, not inherently a flaw. The setting of Eva predicates that tone. If anything I have a bias towards Berserk, and that’s mostly all out of nostalgia.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:16 PM)
    Also what ladies? Even the “gentlemen” part is stretching it. It’s very easy for someone who didn’t follow anime 20 years ago to criticize one of its most historic moments. At least this Tenka Seiha fella doesn’t talk smack about what he doesn’t really understand.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:06 PM)
    Being bias is not admitting to reasonable faults, not agreeing to them. Trying to exclude the historic significance of a show is not a calm rebuttal, but a desperate attempt to undermine. What is bias is defending Shirou’s childish idealism. Even Nasu realizes how ridiculous that sounds, and makes a point to counter it with one of his own characters. Although by the end he gives in and then pulls a Deus Ex Machina by reviving Archer one last time to tie up loose ends.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 04:14 PM)
    You are the one whose not calm. Minute I say one negative thing about your precious EVA and you get riled up. And I don’t even hate the show, I just don’t think it’s the pinnacle of the medium.
    Ladies and gentlemen, presented below is the purest form of complete total blind Bias.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 04:02 PM)
    Now if someone wants to have a calm discussion about it I’m more than willing to partake. But if you hate the show then that’s fine, just let it be.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 04:00 PM)
    That’s the end of my rant. I know I won’t change any minds that have already been set, but K-off wanted to know what I found appealing about the series, and I gave my honest opinion.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:32 PM)
    An anime original that wasn’t an adaptation of some manga, LN or VN gave it a certain charm and unpredictability, which is absolutely a welcomed addition. Now I’m not gonna deny its plateura of problems, but it’s hard to sit back and hear people call Casablanca shit because it doesn’t have the flair and optimism of Age of Ultron.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:29 PM)
    Misanthropy in anime is old, cliched and boring. But that wasn’t the case when Eva did it. Plus it features characters like Misato and Kaji that are very hopeful for the future, going as far as planning to filter the ocean and regrow vegetation for society. There is definitely a bigger focus on misery, but as explained that was a mirror to Anno’s deteriorating mental health, which in itself added an angle of intrigue to the show.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:22 PM)
    Now does it look old? Does it seem overdone and unoriginal? Absolutely. But that’s no th fault of the series for not accounting for viewers who are watching it 20 years later, after getting exposed first to all the stuff that have heavily borrowed from it.

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