Natsume Yuujin Chou – 8

Now this episode is just brilliant in it’s own right. I was wondering how good it’d be after writing my review of episode 7 but this episode had Mushishi level depth and emotion.

Summary;

Natsume, who’s visitng a pond to see the fireflies meets a young man sitting by its bank. The young man tells Natsume that it’s not the season. Before Natsume leaves he notices that theres a youkai resting on the man’s shoulders. Running away from it, Natsume falls off a cliff only to be saved by that youkai. Back at his house, Natsume finds out that the youkai was once friends with the man by the pond, only now he can’t see youkai anymore. Later that night, while dreaming, Natsume thinks of a name for the youkai. The next morning, he decides to call her Kiyo. Out in the forest, Madara tells Natsume a legend of an Ayakashi who fell in love with a human. The ayakashi thanked the fireflies who lit their way by turning them into youkai themselves.

At the pond, Kiyo tells him that the man who was waiting there is named Akifumi. She first met him at night and noticing that he could see youkai, they became friends. Puzzled, Natsume asks Akifumi why he continues to go to the pond if he can’t see ayakashi anymore. Akifumi answers that he once fell in love with a youkai at that very pond, but couldn’t forget her even though he couldn’t see youkai anymore. However, he managed meet his current fiance and after their marriage he’ll stop coming to the pond. That night, some of Kiyo’s memories flow into Natsume’s dreams and he manages to see the time she and Akifumi spent together, as well as their abrupt separation. Waking up, Kiyo tells him that she’ll transform into her firefly form to see Akifumi one last time. Madara says that she won’t be able to return to her youkai form forever if she does. Kiyo ignores him and discards her youkai form anyway.

Going to the pond, Natsume and Madara save her from beind eaten by a firefly-eating ayakashi. Hotaru (the name Kiyo went by while still in contact with Akifumi) lands on Akifumi’s finger while on a night stroll with his fiance. Just as Akifumi notices it’s Hotaru, millions of fireflies fly out of the bushes, lighting the night sky. Natsume, exhausted from his flight into the pond notices a stray firefly brush past his ears. He knows it said something to him, but he couldn’t understand it eitherway. In the end he wonders if Akifumi heard what Hotaru had to say to him. Some time later, Natsume wonders to himself what would happen if he lost his ability to see youkai. Madara just says that he wouldn’t let him go even if he did.

My thoughts;

My, my, I had goosebumps all over my hands towards the end of this episode, thats how good it was.

That piano track they played towards the end of the episode, during Natsume and Madara’s chase of Kiyo was really, really haunting. It really reminded me of Mushishi’s soundtrack, which although is better than Natsume Yuujin Chou’s gives the same feel of anticipation and mystique.

A sorrowful embrace.

I think the message this episode was trying to get across was this; separation can come at any time. It’s also very devastating to either parties. Akifumi is the classic example of an estranged, lonely person who manages to find solace because of his ability, which probably made him a loner in the first place. He’s awfully happy until the day he loses his ability, which was really painful to watch. Kiyo on the other hand, reminds me of some young maiden from an aboriginal tribe (where Akifumi is foreign Knight from another land) whose interest in humans turns to love.

Check this avatar fanart out (too huge, resized). I think it captures the essence the sentence I just wrote. Credit goes to isaia.

I think their separation is a testimony to the experiences of people who’ve lost their loved ones as well because if you can’t see them, they might as well be dead. The horrible pang of losing someone you care about in the split of a second, without saying goodbye. It was just really sad to see Akifumi’s futile searching, day after day, night after night, at that lonely pond. I really liked the ending though, with Kiyo taking the final leap – turning herself into a firefly, an equivalent of death for a near-immortal youkai- just to meet Akifumi one last time. It was that exact meeting that helped both of them move on. Beautiful, but yet so tragic at the same time.

Her joy,

I noticed that the name Natsume gave to Kiyo sounded alot like the phrase she was repeating while hugging Akifumi; “suki yo” or in english, “I love you”. It’s pretty sad if you think about it. T–T

His joy.

Also, this episode reveals more of the Reiko’s probable fate. Could it be that she lost the ability to see youkai as well? Taking names and making friends would be a really good way to ease her loneliness, but it would have been somewhat of a problem for her ‘servants’ if she couldn’t see them anymore. Was that why she left the Yuujin Chou with him? Likewise, Natsume’s struggle with his twofold desire to be rid of his ability and to keep it at the same time seemed like a turning point for this series as well. After all, in the first few episodes it was quite apparent that he wasn’t too fond of his abilities.

In pain we grow, in acceptance we move on.

Bah, enough of this sentimental junk, this episode was just awesome in its own right. Not many anime have made me tear up before, out of the few, episode 43 of Gintama is one of them (the Kagura arc). This episode got awfully close, but when watching with people around you’ve got to control yourself ,no? >_<

Another thing, I’ve decided that I’ll be blogging Gintama episodically from now on, so yeah, look forward to it! Anyway, loved this episode, hope you did to. God bless you guys! =)

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2 Responses to “Natsume Yuujin Chou – 8”

  1. biankita Says:

    all i did was cry in this episode ^^ definitely my favorite show this season!

  2. orangee Says:

    I didn’t notice the part about the name Kiyo, which actually was Suki Yo– thanks for mentioning that 🙂

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