Natsume Yuujin-chou San – 01

Categories: Natsume Yuujin-chou San | July 20th, 2011 | No Comment

It’s been some years since the first and the second season of Natsume Yuujin-chou aired but even after all those years I still rank this series as one of the best I’ve ever seen. The setting, the soothing and mystical mood, the simple but very touching stories, Natsume Yuujin-chou almost always delivered and powerfully at that.

You cannot imagine my happiness when I read on the net that this series would be back for a third season. Therefore let me shout it out once: Goddamn hell, yeah! It’s finally back!

That felt good. Okay. On to the episode.

In a way, this third season can labeled as “more of the same” but this is not bad at all because why should you change a winning team anyway? Brains Base really made the right decisions. From the soundtrack to the voice cast and art direction everything feels at home and so it didn’t even take ten seconds to be right back into the series. Besides the overall production decisions this is also thanks to the fact that everything ties into the end of the second season. The second season mostly dealt with Natsume’s growing number relationships, his growing affection for other humans and therefore his slow transformation from a loner to someone who has friends on both sides.

This season’s main subject seems to mostly deal with the consequences of his relationships: because of him and his involvement with Ayakashi his friends can be endangered, he can bring disaster. Natsume now has to deal with that very important issue and find a way to somehow let both worlds coexist while preventing a disastrous clash. I think this development is a perfect extension of the other two seasons and Natsume’s overall character arc so kudos to Brains Base for pulling that off.

Of course the story (and especially the first half of it) is mainly used to reintroduce us to Natsume, the awesome as ever Nyanko-sensei and the book of friends Natsume inherited from his grandmother Reiko. But at the same time it’s so much more because it still manages to tell an extremely touching story. Seriously, the quality of writing is on a completely different level compared to many other series. This time the plot is about two Ayakashi. The first one is a “tea cup spirit” that seeks the company of other creatures and therefore takes shelter below the house of Natsume. As Nyanko-sensei tells us in his awesome way this Ayakashi not only harmless but even a very good Ayakashi because it warns the inhabitants of a house from a disaster and even sacrifices itself to save them. The other Ayakashi has the form of an old lady who forces Natsume to help her in finding a dangerous Ayakashi that helped her many years ago.

When you think that only the subplot with the old lady is touching then I have to correct you because even though the tea cup plot is rather short in terms of screentime, the emotional impact at the end couldn’t be bigger. If you want to see awesome writing, watch this series because…heck, bringing out so many emotions for a funny but silent tea cup with two legs is nothing else than impressive.

I also loved to see Reiko again. She’s really an omnipresent being in this series because although she died many years ago you can feel her influence almost everywhere: her book of friends, her interactions with Ayakashi, old issues that never got resolved until Natsume steps in, and of course the similar situations both are/were in.

In that regard this episode also makes clear Natsume is gradually drifting apart from Reiko because where Reiko seemingly failed, Natsume succeeded. He has a caring family and quite a number of friends on both sides. Some of his human friends even know about his secret and accept him for what he is and can see. That’s quite a difference to Reiko and I can’t wait to see if and how this will develop in this season.

Well, what else can I say. Natsume Yuujin-chou is finally back and it’s as wonderful as ever!

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