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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  • k-off
    (Saturday, Nov 29. 2014 02:02 AM)
    Well, I saw the new Star Wars trailer and I’m left with the same opinion as I had before I watched the trailer. “I don’t know what the fuck it’s about so I can’t have an opinion” and “meh.”
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Nov 29. 2014 02:01 AM)
    @Bam I’m priceless. That means I’m either worth trillions or worth absolutely nothing. But seriously, I’m almost certain some of the people here are entirely different from how they are irl.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 29. 2014 02:00 AM)
    And yeah, I don’t jump to conclusions based on allegations against celebrities, but in this case I think there is most likely some truth to the cases, specially considering that the stature of limitations have passed and these women have nothing to gain from this and it actually must be pretty hard and embarrassing for them to even bring it up.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 29. 2014 02:00 AM)
    @Realist: Your really flying through these recs. Aye, yes I was talking about Kisshou Tennyou. I am more used to that authors thriller themed mangas such as Yasha and Bananna fish.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 29. 2014 01:58 AM)
    Heck the world thought they knew pretty well who Bill Cosby was and they lionized him as the quintessential family man and a “father of America”, but now 30 years down the road we have a pretty different picture painted for us through these new accusations.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 29. 2014 01:56 AM)
    But on the subject of offline meetings and trusting individuals based on what you perceive of them: yeah, it is pretty difficult to ascertain accurate knowledge of people from even heavy exposure, let alone online slim interactions.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 29. 2014 01:53 AM)
    @K-off: yeah right, as if anybody is willing to pay a fat ransom for you m8 :)
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Nov 29. 2014 01:51 AM)
    @Emma When you say Shoujo one, do you mean Kisshou Tennyo? I thought it was really good but IMO suffered above all else from neglecting some of the best characters and by rushing through interesting parts while devoting too much time to boring stuff. It was also sort of lacking in subtext IMO. But the dialogue and composition were just excellent. Way above average in that regard.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Nov 29. 2014 01:48 AM)
    @Emma I could not avoid the tears. This entire last volume has really torn me up. This manga really knows how to hold back on the grim/dark and effectively juxtapose it with happy cute things in a way that’s just devastating.
  • LodgardAk47
    (Saturday, Nov 29. 2014 01:30 AM)
    Even the AVGN overlooked the game and never reviewed it as far as my knowledge goes.

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