Archive for the ‘Natsume Yuujin Chou’ Category

Natsume Yuujin Chou – 11

October 1, 2008

What a totally adorable episode! Madara was just beyond cute this episode. That aside this is the second last episode, which is really quite a shame since I really did enjoy this series!

Summary;

We start with Madara drunk and chasing down some birds in his cat form. He pounces but misses due to his addled vision and lands in a ditch with a young girl in it.

Flashback to a few days ago, Natsume and Madara have a fight over Madara’s bad habits which causes him to run away. In his human form (the girl from episode 3) Madara cons Natsume’s friends into treating him to lunch.

Meanwhile back home, Natsume notices that his foster parent miss Madara’s usual intrusion into their lives. He goes out to look for them and bumps into Kunieda several times before finding out from his friends at school that they got harassed by Madara (in his woman form). Outside an arcade Natsume once again bumps into Kunieda, this time with the young girl (from the first part). Back at home, Natsume finds a white kitten in his house, whom he finds out later belongs to his foster parents.

Elsewhere, Madara runs into a strong ayakashi who wants the Yuujin Chou. Madara deals with him, but gets injured in the process. When he returns to the Natsume’s house he sees Natsume playing with the kitten and runs off shocked. He goes to the Eight Fields to drown his sorrows, and that is where we go back to the first scene. While in the ditch with the little girl it starts to rain, and the little girl tries to protect Madara from getting wet. Madara notes that while humans are weak they possess the abnormal ability to care for others. He then flies the girl home while she’s asleep and reunites with Natsume who’s still searching for him.

My thoughts;

In case you guys didn’t get it, I loved this episode! This is by far the funniest episode of Natsume Yuujin Chou yet.

K-k-kawaii!!

Madara was just so cute this episode! His antics made especially funny because the story this time is focused on him. I just loved the way he abused Natsume’s friends into buying stuff for him, and in his girl form as well. It’s also really funny to see Madara drunk as well, him calling down lightning unto those youkai at the Eight Fields was just priceless.

Some pretty good animation as well!

However, this episode was also really warm since it manages to flesh out Madara’s caring side a bit more. The way he handled that little girl (whom by the way is just totally adorable!!) by flying her out of that ditch and his attempts to protect Natsume from that huge raccoon-like Ayakashi was really cool to watch. I liked the message this episode as well, “They’re weak yet they care for others, They’re powerless yet they desperately try to protect others“. I think this statement is very true, though all of us are sinners (forgive my use of the word xD) we sometimes possess the extraordinary ability to care for others, which is true for the many people I’m privileged to know.

Yes, I believe this qualifies as abuse.

All in all, this episode was really well done and went a long way in brightening up my day. I was going to write on episodes 9 & 10 earlier but I think I’ll just link you guys there since I’m a bit lazy (and the posts mirror my sentiments xD). Anyway, it’s the end of my one day Hari Raya holiday and I’ve got work tomorrow, so God bless you guys, until the next post then! =D

Natsume Yuujin Chou – 8

August 29, 2008

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! =)

Natsume Yuujin Chou – 7

August 26, 2008

Its been a while since I posted anything here huh? Well, I guess my exams were partly to blame for that (yes, they ‘were’ =D ). Anyway, this episode continues Natsume Yuujin Chou’s winning streak amongst the shows this summer with another brilliant episode.

Summary;

Natsume who’s going on a class trip to the local hot spring is asked to get some pottery from that area by his uncle. Meanwhile, in a forest close to the hotsprings, a young fox youkai picks up a hat formerly owned by a human. During free time, Natsume goes along with Madara to get the cups. While talking to his deceased mother, the fox spirit is picked upon by some youkai and is immediately rescued by Natsume, who fends them off. Over the next few days, the fox spirit decides to shadow Natsume, trying to get closer to him while Natsume, knowing that he’s going to be leaving soon tries his best to avoid the young fox.

Some time later, while going to pick up the pottery it starts to rain, trapping Natsume and Madara under a tree. To their surprise, large leaf gets thrown out of the bushes. Giving in, Natsume greets the young spirit. The fox spirit talks to his mother about how he’s finally useful to someone but gets picked upon by the same bunch of spirits and is rescued once again, by Natsume. Suddenly Natsume hears his name being called and tries to find the spirit that called him together with Madara. They arrive at the foot of a huge tree spirit, whose ame was bound by Reiko. Natsume immediately returns the spirits name. The two youkai who’ve been bullying the fox spirit run a way in fear, but the fox spirit offers Natsume his name. Natsume refuses to take his name because he doesn’t want a servant-master relationship with the fox, but rather, friendship.

Soon, Natsume returns to his home and finds out that his uncle ordered the cups for him, to inaugurate him into the family. Back in the forest, the young fox spirit wants to visit Natsume and is tricked by a large youkai into catching food for him. Seeing however, that the fox’s wish is genuine he gives him a medicine that will turn him human for one day. After turning into a human, he sniffs out Natsume’s scent. Despite going off track a few times, the fox manages to track Natsume to his house. He finds Natsume dining with his uncle and aunt, before running off, happy that Natsume wasn’t lonely after all, and realizing that he himself was the one who was lonely. Falling down he drops his hat, which is immediately picked up by Natsume himself. The episode ends with Natsume promising the fox that he’ll come visit him often before they all go for dinner themselves.

My thoughts;

As usual, this show is just a great watch whenever you need a break from a hectic schedule, even in the tense parts. The highlight of this episode was probably the little fox spirit, whom I thought was really, really adorable. I would have never thought that he was a ‘he’ if he didn’t mention becoming a man. Actually, Madara was really, really, adorable as well with his cat-like antics. xD

Beyond adorable.

Anyway, the thing that stood out to me the most this episode was the music. That one particular theme, during the scene where those youkai were beating on the fox spirit as well as the scene where Natsume and Madara were rushing to the tree spirit, kinda rang a bell the first time I heard it. It wasn’t until later that I remembered what it sounded like; the whole keyboard synth music sounded awfully similar to Final Fantasy  7’s battle music. Now, thats kinda weird isn’t it? However, I’m not complaining since it did help set the pace a a little.

Mother & Family

This episode also touched a little on how the smallest of our actions can have huge implications on the people around us. Take for example Natsume; all he did was resuce the little fox spirit from those youkai, which was probably nothing special to Natsume himself but meant an awful lot to the little fox. Their meeting is also a testament to how easily we can make friends with people around us. Not everyone has ulterior motives, not everyone is totally self centred. So, the lesson here is that we should always do our best to motivate people. Why not smile a bit more? Even a simple act of kindness could change another persons life. =)

Comfort in friendship.

So I guess thats all for todays review. Judging by the preview, the next episode is going to be about a love story between a youkai and a human. I was wondering when they were going to put that scenario into play, I’m glad they did. So until the next time God bless you guys! =)

Natsume Yuujin Chou – 6

August 17, 2008

Another great episode as always. If it’s one thing this series has managed to do and do well is this; keeping us viewers emotionally attached each episode.

Summary;

Natsume and his classmates spot Futaba village, abandoned and normally submerged, at the foot of the dam. Seeing something his friends can’t he surmises that it’s a youkai, right before passing out. He wakes up in his house, just as some Youkai from the usually submerged village come to have their names returned. As thanks, Tarusaru, one of the youkai shows natsume that something is possessing him and madara knocks it out of him. The youkai, Tsubame, asks Natsume to help her find someone; a human who used to live in Futaba village. Natsume seeks his classmate, Kitamura’s help in finding the person Tsubame wants to meet, Taniozaki.

On the way home, Tsubame tells Natsume her story. While still alive, she was a swallow who was abandoned by her parents because she smelled like humans. After becoming a demon, she was fed daily by Taniozaki and managed to rest peacefully after the village sunk. After finding out Taniozaki’s address, Natsume and Tsubame go see him but he can’t see Tsubame. Natsume, bothered by this tries to make it up to Tsubame. Some time later, Natsume finds out about a festival that the spirits in Futaba village hold and the winning prize, a yukata that allows the winner to take human form. Hearing that he rushes off to get it.

On the way Madara finds out about Tarusaru’s plot to eat Natsume and treis to stop him. Despite this, Natsume still wants to take part in the competition. With Madara’s help he manages to win, though conditions weren’t too good. Giving the yukata to Tsubame, he asks her to go see Taniozaki at the local festival. Some time after, Natsume wonders if Madara will ever get attached to him, Madara just gives a vague reply. They spot Taniozaki from a distance and Natsume asks him about Tsubame. Taniozaki shows him a picture he took with Tsubame, which causes Natsume to tear up.

My thoughts;

It kinda amazes me how well developed the characters in Natsume Yuujin Chou are despite being one episode characters. Tsubame was pretty fun to watch this episode too, I think it’s a good thing that this series touches on the more gentle side of youkai. After all, warm and gentle, thats something all of us are looking for, no?

One thing though, the dynamics becoming a youkai still confuse me. In this episode we see that Tsubame became a spirit because of her disdain for humans. We also know from previous episodes that other youkai (mikuri) have become Ayakashi through extreme and uncontrolled hate.  So does this mean that all spirits were once living things? I do hope that they’ll touch more on this factor a bit more, though it isn’t terribly important or anything like that.

Something gentle, something warm.

It’s also good to see Natsume opening up to other living beings as well. Unless I’m wrong, this is the first time he’s gotten so attached to anyone, even to the point of crying when he saw Tsubame’s face in the picture. It’s a good start, although their connection gave me the impression that they were more than friends at times. Oh, and it probably helped that Tsubame was awfully cute as well. >_<

Tarusaru also surprised me a bit this episode. It seems that only powerful spirits like him and Madara can change their forms, or even make themselves visible to humans. I was also hoping for a square-off between Tarusaru and Madara but that would probably throw off the whole pace of this episode. On another note, we see Madara drop his act of feigned ignorance, if ever so little, when he helped Natsume get the yukata. Their whole conversation about getting attached to each other at the end of the episode was pretty touching as well. Good stuff. =D

Howling wind, tense atmosphere, I was hoping for a fight. Oh, and I also have an unearthly urge to poke Tarusaru’s eyes out. (/*o*)/

So, I don’t have much else to say, probably because I’m quite tired from todays church service. Anyway, look forward to the next episodes! God bless guys! =D

Natsume Yuujin Chou – 5 Friendship

August 7, 2008

This made episode made me realize how important my friends are. It was that touching. I know I’ve said this time and time again, but Natsume Yuujin Chou is quickly becoming my favourite Youkai/Ayakashi anime of the year.

Summary;

Natsume finds a train ticket while going through Reiko’s belongings and bringing it to school is questioned by Sasada. Sasada tries to follow him as he takes a bus to the station but Tanuma stops her from boarding it before disappearing. At the station he meets Santo, a friendly spirit who’s name is in the Yuujin Chou. Finding out that Reiko had made a promise to him earlier on, Natsume returns Santo’s name to find out what the promise is about. In his memory, Reiko makes a promise to accompany Santo to apologize to Mikuri, a friend who he had wronged, but never manages to keep it.

Natsume decides to walk with Santo to the next station, to make up for Reiko breaking her promise. On the way the area gets warped by a vengeful spirit and attacks them. Madara quickly transforms and brings them to safety where they meet a possesed Mikuri, taking the form of a giant catfish. Mikuri possesd by the spirit tries to take the Yuujin Chou from natsume but is stopeed ultimately by Madara. Reverting back to his normal form, a pint sized tadpole we find out that Mikuri was upset with Santo because he willingly gave his name to Reiko, the two make up and leave.

the next day, Sasada tries to pry info on what happened the day before but before she can get anything out of him, Natsume runs off to thank Tanuma for his help at the bus stop. They exchange a friendly conversation while Natsume looks out of a window.

My thoughts;

So it seems that Sasada is going to be a recurring character and like I predicted in last episodes review, it’s likely that she’s going to be Natsume’s love interest. That said, I thought her pestering Natsume about where he was headed was kinda funny. It’s good to see that he’s opening up, slowly but still surely, to the people around him. Like with his classmates who we’re quarreling over how to eat Udon of all things. It’s good to see that they brought back Tanuma in this episode. Impeccable timing I would call it, since he probably saved Natsume and Sasada from alot of (self inflicted in Sasada’s case) trouble.

Anyone care to explain how catfish and tadpoles are related?

Anyway, friendship is a theme that has been dealt with in many, many animes. In fact the best example I can come up with at the moment would be Naruto, with Naruto’s unshakable will to save Sasuke from himself (good luck with that =_+). However, it isn’t very often that an anime is able to portray such a sincere view of Friendship. Instead of relying on perseverance or selflessness for a friend, this episode, as shown by Natsume’s two friends as well as Santo and Mikuri, paints a very basic picture of Friendship; just being there for each other. I also get the feeling that Sasada, Tanuma and Natsume are going to end up as a trio later on in the series.

The possible trio

As in the previous episode, Madara shows that he knows more than he’s letting on and this tim quite obviously. This makes me wonder, if Natsume wants to know about Reiko so badly why doesn’t he just ask Madara? Rather than going through her keepsakes, which caused him enough trouble already. Oh, well It’s probably in the name of plot advancement or something so I wont bother. One thing that did bother me though was Santo, how long was he waiting there?! It definitely had to be more than 30 years, which was probably what caused Mikuri to be possesed by that vengeful spirit and with good reason too. What a horrible thing to do Reiko! O_o

This episode just had a great message. Not so much in terms of plot development but rather in terms of character bonding. Anyway, two posts in one day?! I’m off to sleep now God bless till the next time. =)

Natsume Yuujin Chou – 4

August 3, 2008

*Sniff* I just can’t get enough of that ending song. It’s just so beautiful. T–T

Summary;

I know I’ve said this before but my tests are coming up, so that said, I hope you guys don’t mind if i cut my summaries short.

– Natsume’s class representative Sasada organizes a test of courage to an old School building that’s about to be demolished
– While there, the resident youkai, who we later find out is named Shigure starts kidnapping students, putting them to sleep and threatening to keep them imprisoned forever.
– We also find out that Sasada has met Shigure once before and is trying to meet him again, to thank him for helping her out.
– Natsume confronts Shigure, returns his name and frees him from his self inflicted banishment
– Before he vanishes, Shigure thanks Sasada.

My thoughts;

My initial impression of this season wasn’t a very good one seeing that I thought it was kinda weak. However, what it lacks in oomph it certainly makes up for in downright heartwarming stories. Though the whole concept of Shigure’s detachment from humans seems kinda overused and the way he was freed, yeah, kinda corny, I really felt for him. One probable reason for this is because the youkai in Natsume Yuujin Chou all seem so much more realistic, and they definitely have alot more emotional baggage to deal with.

Shigure has a weird sense of style. I mean a bucket?! You need inspiration my friend!

Although only four episodes in, Natsume Yuujin Chou is definitely stepping up as a contender for best Ayakashi/Youkai/spirit anime of the year. Not surprising considering the good response I’ve been reading about all it over the anime blogging community. That aside, this episode also demonstrated that this anime is capable of something most serious Ayakashi anime are generally incapable of; good slapstick humour. I really laughed out loud at Natsume’s reaction to seeing that Kappa on the road. His exasperated rehydration of the poor thing was kinda funny as well.

That Kappa made me LOL. It also reminded me of Gintama. xD

This episode also fleshed out another member of it’s cast, Sasada, or better known to some as the class representative. Up till now, I’m still kinda unsure about the direction this anime’ll be taking since the episodes have been rather episodic in nature. This makes me wonder if the directors are heading for some big finale, seeing as they bothered to deal with the backstories of the minor characters. Also, seeing that Sasada now knows of Natsume’s secret I wonder if we’ll see any romance in the future episodes? It’s a possibility, after all everyone loves romance. xD

Lastly, I just want to say that I found Madara’s transformation kinda interesting because that girl he shapeshifted into was clearly a reference to Reiko. Once again, I’m wondering what his connection to her is? Is his name in the Yuujin Chou? If it isn’t why is he so desperate to have it? His story is definitely something I want to see explored. Also, man was Reiko/Madara cute! The man (uh man is the right word, right?) has good style! xD

My goodness, s/he’s cute. O_O

So, I’m off to study now, but before I go God bless and cheers to all of you. Heres to hoping I don’t mess my test up. >_<

Natsume Yuujin Chou – 3

July 24, 2008

If I were to vote on which summer season anime I like the most so far, Natsume Yuujin Chou would win by a landslide. That said, this episode was just brilliantly heart-warming.

Summary;

Word has been going about in the youkai community that theres a spirit exterminator whos going around indiscriminately attacking/purifying spirits. At the same time, Natsume finds out that theres a new guy, Tanuma, who’s just transferred to his school and that this guy may be able to see spirits too. Meanwhile, Natsume keeps having dreams of his past, in which he met with a woman he thought could see spirits too.

After much pestering, Natsume and madara decide to check the place, called the Fields of Eight, out. They arrive only for Natsume to get assaulted by the youkai there, who think that he’s the exterminator. Out of no where, a massive burst of purifying energy is released and all the youkai scatter. They try to pursue the culprit but he’s disappeared. In school he finds out more about Tanuma, who apparently came to visit him earlier.

Back at the Fields of Eight they continue their search but are interrupted by Misuzu, a large youkai who’s come to get his name back. Being occupied at the mometn, Natsume asks Misuzu to wait but Madara sets him off on the wrong foot after he tells Misuzu about the youkai exterminator. Misuzu tries to attack the man, who turns out not to be Tanuma but his father, but is stopped by Natsume’s command. Apparently Mr. Tanuma can’t see the youkai and is just purifying the place blindly. So the problem is solved when Natsume asks him to keep his purification to a minimum. At school Natsume finds out that Tanuma can see youkai, but not as wells as Natsume.

My thoughts;

Wow, I don’t know if anyone else noticed it but this episodes production values went up quite alot; especially during the parts about Natsume’s past. I think they got that whole evening sun shading thing down quite well. I won’t comment on the music since I’d just be repeating what I’ve said in my reviews of the past few episodes.

One thing that struck me as interesting this episode was Natsume’s eagerness to find someone like himself. Or should I say that it’s kind of expected? I like how the director emphasizes Natsume’s loneliness, especially when it’s done through flashbacks as in the other episodes we see little snippets of Reiko’s life through the memories of the youkai Natsume free. Granted that in this episode it was Natsume’s own memory, but the story of that spirit who, taking human form, tried to comfort Natsume was so sad to watch. T–T

Excuse me for a moment while I restart my heart.

The conclusion to this episodes theme, the whole rogue youkai exterminator deal, totally took me by surprise. I was half expecting (probably due to watching too much anime with psychotic antagonists) Tanuma to be a villian of some sort. You know, with the whole “I hate youkai because they’ve made me an outcast and are evil” backstory. Instead we find out that his dad is the one going around purifying the area, whats more, he’s doing it unknowingly! I like how this series hasn’t created any arch nemesis’ for Natsume and I certainly hope they’ll keep the flow of this episode.

So, yeah, great episode, great music, great whatever. I think you’ll find that Natsume Yuujin Chou is quickly becoming my favourite anime of the summer, for those exact reasons. Anyway, until next time then! =D

Natsume Yuujin Chou – 2

July 23, 2008

The second episode covers a little more on the dynamics of the Yuujin Chou and the returning of names.

Summary;

While talking to his friends at school Natsume gets chased by a demon who wants the Yuujin Chou but gets saved by Madara right on time. Over dinner he gets visited by Tsuyukami, a spirit who wants Natsume to return his name. Natsume tries but he can’t because the page with Tsuyukami’s name on it it stuck to another page. The next day he goes to visit Tsuyukami’s shrine and meets Hana, an old lady who worships at the shrine, on the way. At the shrine, Tsuyukami tells Natsume the story of how he came to stay at the shrine. A long time ago, someone prayed at the shrine because of a drought and coincidentally it rained the next day. That was a long time ago but Hana is the only person who worships at the shrine now.

Upon Natsume’s suggestion, Tsuyukami tries to help him find the spirit who was captured by Reiko before him, but with nothing but his drawn picture they don’t have much to go on. Though they try to search for it they come up blank. They see Hana at Tsuyukami’s shrine and Natsume talks to her on the way back. She tells him that she’s been worshiping at the shrine since she was a girl because she saw an apparition of Tsuyukami, though she didn’t talk to him out of concern.

The next day, after Tsuyukami tells them he’s found the spirit, they set off to find it. While running through the mountain, they spot the spirit, whom we later find out is known as Susugi. While being strangled, Natsume is shown Susugi’s memory of Reiko. Madara then transforms and frees Natsume, who returns both Tsuyukami and Susugi’s names. As he does he also sees how Reiko met Tsuyukami. Soon after, as Natsume visits his shrine, Tsuyukami starts to disappear because Hana, being the only person who’s worshiped him, has passed away. Natsume offers to worship him but Tsuyukami declines saying that Natsume is his friend. In some place, we see Tsuyukami talking to the younger version of Hana.

My thoughts;

Now this was a brilliant episode; being both heartfelt and informational at the same time. Up to this point I’ve found Natsume Yuujin Chou and Mahou Tsukai Na Taisetsu Koto ~ Natsu no Sora to be the more solid shows of this season. I hope it continues like this!

Anyway, this episode we find out more about Madara, though most of the information came indirectly. He seems to have known Reiko rather well seeing that he knew of her bad habits as well as the method used to deal with Susugi. This makes me wonder what his connection to her really is? Well, that should be a good backstory for this series to deal with.

Looks nothing like the picture.

Tsuyukami and Hana’s story was really touching as well. Being alone all the time, I guess Natsume would be able to understand Tsuyukami’s feelings. Once again, I’m wondering how the human-spirit relations in this anime work. Do all the spirits get theur energy from human worship? Or are there other methods? Eitherway, the scene in which Tsuyukami’s decided to go on with Hana was really was executed very well.

Another thing I noticed was how well the music blended with all the scenes. I wasn’t thinking about it much during the last episode but the realization hit me rather hard in this one. I also like the way they transition from the end to the ending theme, which I totally love!

So, yes, I did enjoy the episode alot and I’m hoping the directors keep the pacing of this show as it is. After all thats what gives it that cool, laid back vibe its been giving off so far. Anyway, until next time then! (I’m still sick! >_< )

Natsume Yuujin Chou – 1

July 11, 2008

What an inspired show! I loved it so much I felt like watching it again. xD

Anyway, along with Tetsuwan Birdy Decode, I’ll be blogging this on an episodic basis. Hope you guys enjoy my reviews as much as I enjoy writing them. =)

Summary;

Seeing as I’ll be quite busy this month I’ll be making really brief summaries. So I suggest you watch the episode before reading this since my summary really isn’t much to go by.

So, Natsume Takashi who has the ability to see Youkai (spirits) is running away from two of them who keep coming after him. Heading for the shrine, which wards those demons off, Natsume accidentally breaks a seal containing a fortune cat shaped Youkai, who tells him about the Yuujin Chou (Book of friends) and how it’s related to his dearly departed grandmother, Natsume Reiko.

He manages to find the Yuujin Chou after ruffling through his grandmother’s mementos and is immediately assaulted by the cat Youkai, who asks Natsume to call him Sensei. Natsume explains that the Youkai have been more violent towards him since he shifted to this area, after the passing of his parents. Sensei goes on to tell him that the names written in the Yuujin Chou all belong to the Youkai  Reiko had supressed in her youth.

The bell rings and Natsume attends to it, only to be chased by the two Youkai who were after him earlier. Seeking help from Sensei, who for some reason wants the Yuujin Chou too, Natsume decides to return all the names in the book to their owners. Sensei takes care of the one who wants to misuse the book while Natsume returns the name of the long haired one, Hishigaki. He’s sees a vision from Hishigaki’s memory of Reiko whom she befriended long ago but never returned. Hishigaki dissapears, finally finding relief and Natsume cows to return all the names in the book together with sensei.

My thoughts;

I’m a sucker for Ayakashi stories, always have been, and Natsume Yuujin Chou in particular is a good example of one. One probably reason for this is that Ayakashi based anime, not the usual shounen demon fighting ones (bleach, D-gray man and many others which I make an explicit point not to watch), those such as mushishi or even Kamichu! have a tendency to be more slice-of-life based, which in my books is a good thing.

Okay, the most striking thing about this animes art is it’s colour palatte which comprises mainly of really light colours. I’d say it made the countryside scenery come alive in the sense of the word. Fluid and detailed, the animation sticks out when it needs too although it isn’t on par with most other shows this season.

Musicwise, the soundtrack is standard fare for such animes with relaxing tunes most of the time. The opening and ending are quite well done too although not really memorable. I liked the ending sequence though because of it’s pastel themed style. Anyway I’m more interested in the voice actors, mainly Natsume’s, Hiroshi Kamiya who has an impressive resume having voice acted in series such as Honey and Clover (as takemoto), Macross Frontier (as Mikhail) and even Gundam 00 (as Tiera, now this threw one me off a bit). Needless to say, his voice as Natsume’s is really quite believable.

The general plot of Natsume Yuujin Chou seems good so far although I’m not exactly sure of the direction it’ll take. Based on my initial impressions I see two possible directions the plot could take; first would be the slice-of-life approach, which would mean Natsume dealing with the Youkai episodically (cue Mushishi) or secondly, it could actually have a structured plot with some sort of conclusion (Amatsuki anyone?). Either one would work fine by my standards though.

So, as you can probably guess I’m very impressed by the first episode. However being the horrible skeptic I am, I can’t help but judge it prematurely, which would probably be one of my biggest faults. Eitherway, I’ll be looking forward to each episode.