Natsume Yūjin-Chō San Episode 01 & Thoughts

Natsume Yūjin-Chō | Natsume’s Book of Friends | 夏目友人帳

Season 3 – Natsume Yūjin-Chō San | 夏目友人帳 参 : Episode 1

Director: Omori Takahiro

Original Creator: Midorikawa Yuki

Animation Production: Brains Base, Aniplex

Genres: Fantasy, Drama, Supernatural, Comedy

Rating: G – All Ages

Cast:

Kamiya Hirohi as Natsume Takashi

Inoue Kazuhiko as Nyanko-sensei

Ishida Akira as Natori Shuichi

Suganuma Hisayoshi as Atsushi Kitamoto

Horie Kazuma as Tanuma Kaname

Kimura Ryohei as Satoru Nishimura

Kobayashi Sanae as Natsume Reiko

Suwabe Junichi as Matoba

Sypnosis:

Third season of Natsume Yuujinchou. Since he was young, a teenage boy named Natsume Takashi has been able to see spirits, but keeping this ability a secret has now become a heavy burden for him and has made his life difficult.

This begins to change when Takashi inherits his grandmother’s “Book of Friends”. He discovers that she, Natsume Reiko, shared the same ability as him and starts to understand why he was always targeted by both good and bad spirits.

After learning the true meaning behind the Book of Friends, which allows him to manipulate the spirits listed within its pages, Takashi undertakes a journey with his bodyguard, the infamous spirit Madara, to free the spirits of their contracts with Reiko.

———–

Welcome back.

An episodic post! This was one of my summer challenges, to write consistent episodic posts. I’ll go through the entire episode briefly(like a summary) along with my opinions along the way. So, there are spoilers, be warned!

You can read Arawr’s 1st impression rant here.

Allow me to begin with comments about the OP which I’ve embedded below:

The OP was good, the piano in the beginning really set out that sentimental mood in which Natsume Yujincho brings to the table. The vocals were boy-ish and young and in contrast to the toned down playing of the instruments, it captured that essence of the Natsume Yujincho in which it is a story of a young boy of a rather different background. It’s a song that will you make you think of perhaps, troubling things, challenges in life but with a great deal of faith which I think really represents how Natsume has progressed since the beginning.

—–

Now on to the show and let’s have a little recap!

The episode begins with the fun quality of the demons/youkai(I’ll use the term youkai from here onwards) petrified by a blob-of-a-stronger-demon who’s looking for a yummy Natsume. It was a great way to get back into the series with a light-hearted atmosphere, but then this lovely pocket of mystery enters as Natsume descends from the heavens(trees). He turns back and fixes a ‘keep quiet’ gesture; finger to his lips.

What an entrance! Enchanté!

We meet a little cup of awesome-ness which is one of the main features of this episode. An old rekindled tea-cup which according to Nyanko-sensei, goes on a running spree to warn a household of danger and may even sacrifices itself to protect those when neccessary.

Natsume was quite the worry-wart in the 1st half of the episode as he shows his deepest concern for the house-hold. Below is the iconic Natsume Yujincho scene, where Natsume looks distressed while Nyanko-sensei pigs out and looks all smug and tells him the tea-cup is harmless. Yeah, take your time Nyanko-sensei, no wonder Natsume’s hair is grey. It was a nice and playful scene which just makes you go ahhh~. I was literally sipping this Sapporo brand, vanilla float x 7-cup/sprite tasting drink, so how very perfect.

It was a good way for the audience to re-enter his world with little musings, Nyanko-sensei being a douche, that short interaction with friends in school, having din-din with foster parents. Then we move onto the next feature of the story with a grandma youkai! Then we get all panicky, ‘get your hands off him you hag!’ But then we grow to like her since she plays tricks like – ‘if you don’t help me, I’ll come into your room!’

Stay back, crazy woman!

Of course, Natsume is forced to agree, who won’t help an eccentric old lady? We have the old lady guiding Natsume to a pretty place where she met this powerful ‘youkai’ that helped her in the past. It was filled with butterflies and it emphasises this lonely atmosphere as what’s a pretty place if you don’t have anyone to share it with? The scene was beautiful, you just have the old lady telling Natsume about her encounter and it was serene. Maybe a short a sequence of the old lady and her beloved cherry blossom tree could’ve made it a little more memorable…

Pretty and serene.

Regardless, the animation and visuals were really nice.

Suddenly, big-blob-of-evil appears and attempts to eat Natsume! Hmm..there doesn’t seem to be this element of danger anymore. During the action sequence when Natsume was attacked by that big blob-of-a-demon, it was a tad slow and I was anticipating a more dramatic of a reaction. I was wondering why Natsume isn’t struggling. But of course, Nyanko- sensei transforms and saves the day. The big-blob-of-a-demon just disappeared, just like that. Made it feel a bit proppy, that his sole purpose was to be owned by Nyanko-sensei.

I'd give you my name Natsume, just so you can give it back to me over and over again...

Then, we discover how this old lady actually had her name collected in the Book of Friends.

The old lady was a witness to Reiko’s kindness, who disposed the evil spirit which had prossessed the old lady’s friend, a beautiful Cherry Blossom tree..

When Natsume and Nyanko-sensei reaches home, they find the tea-cup shattered on the ground. It has supposedly, sacrificed itself to protect Natsume when the nasty blob-of-a-demon bit him. Poor tea-cup 😦

This episode saw to make us learn more about Reiko, that she at this point during the flashback was lon-ier than ever before. At a decline in faith. A longing for someone who could maybe she could share and be accepted into her own version of Eden. But with the encounter of the tea-cup at the beginning and the end, I suppose that could tell us that there are instances where spirits and mystical beings will protect something, or just do something to the best of their ability, regardless of whether you’re a member of the supernatural or just the plain ordinary.

Even youkai gets lonely and needs friends people. Have a little faith in them. The message I’m getting is that Reiko began to rely a little too much on the Book of Friends which backfired…

I was sort of confused at the end, I’m not altogether positive about the way the episode tied itself together. The tea-cup part was a bit disjointed while the big-blob-of-a-demon felt proppy. It’s either I’m being a block-head or I’m just not getting it.

 I’m glad that the series retained that mellow, blown-into-the-wind atmosphere that Season 1 & 2 pride itself with but it’s leaning on the weaker side for me. The BGM was wonderful as always. It’s overall a good but not as an impressive re-introduction to the series. If you’ve watched the 1st two seasons, the one thing that you’ll will notice is that Natsume has become less distant and more accepted and that he really wants to protect what he has gained. I don’t think the manga has reached this far in the story yet, but through this episode, I’d like a arc about who Reiko had a child with. I’m sure it’d be beautiful.

—–

Comments about the ED:

I didn’t have as of a fantastic opinion of the ED, I mean, it was great that it was Atari Kousuke and all; his unique vocals was what made it very much in line with Natsume Yujincho. However, it didn’t come even close to the genius of the 1st season’s ED which was also by him. In my opinion, the music generally sounds more suitable for some live-action romance drama. I really loved the animation in the ED though, it was all nostalgic, melancholy with the film reeling effect going on with some added blurri-ness. I’m sure there should be a term for that…

———-

Next segment of this post!

As part of this post I’m gonna put up some news pages I scanned off Monthly Lala Issue 8 just for viewing pleasure. Gotta heighten the love for Natsume Yujincho right?

Although I get Lala magazine, the story was already well on it’s way and I haven’t really read much of it since I plan to get the English version some point in my life. Saying that, the great and unique aspect about Natsume Yujincho is that anyone could begin watching it – any season, any episode, and you’d still get it. They can be seen as  individual one-shot stories, episodic, but of course if you start from the beginning you definitely see how Natsume grows. I guess that aspect makes the story always refreshing, in which we’re ready to stroll into a short or long, peaceful or turbulent journey with Natsume and Nyanko-sensei.

I’ll do a round-up of Lala 8 sometime next week, so stay in tune for that.

Although I get Lala magazine, the story was already well on it’s way and I haven’t really read much of it since I plan to get the English version some point in my life. Saying that, the great and unique aspect about Natsume Yujincho is that anyone could begin watching it – any season, any episode, and you’d still get it. They can be seen as  individual one-shot stories, episodic, but of course if you start from the beginning you definitely see how Natsume grows. I guess that aspect makes the story always refreshing, in which we’re ready to stroll into a short or long, peaceful or turbulent journey with Natsume and Nyanko-sensei.

——–

Thinking beyond…

As usual, my brain thinks beyond me and I’m probably making some big claims here, but I felt like including this in this post since I thought about it while typing out this post.

When the earthquake occurred in Japan in early March, many animes toned down content that featured distruction and disasters. No, I’m not talking about airing dates, I’m talking about how the content was changed/removed.

Then I thought, maybe it was a good idea to bring back Natsume Yujincho back onto the screen in a social context. Thinking about earthquake that hit Japan, perhaps society needs some time to heal. For lives to recover physically and mentally. With the serene atmosphere in which Midorikawa Yuki invites us all to dwell in, maybe it allows some kind of solace since we look for a better tomorrow.

What do I mean by giving people time because they don’t have it?

Many of us are busy people, we don’t just sit down and think about things. We’re always doing something, even in our free time. We’ll be playing games, working , or even watching anime. But sometimes, a particular thing allows us to unwind, to not think of anything else, inspire us to ‘think.’ I see Natsume Yujincho as a show that offers a relaxing and calming time, perhaps it even offers it for those who need this ‘calming’ period but do not have it.

Natsume Yujincho features some very simple actions that can be contrasted with our own real lives. The lives of the youkai is simple, in this episode we witness two youkai stressed out simply because they couldn’t catch anything to eat. Natsume shown to be joyful while having dinner with his foster parents.  Maybe Natsume Yujincho, is to be this season’s comfort food with a zing.

I feel like quoting Marina Abramovic here, but nevermind. Let’s have a moment where everything is stripped down, maybe then we will be able to think through everything properly and obtain a peace of mind.

There are many things that affect us, but we just don’t notice them. Maybe I’m just doing a lot of big talk, or maybe you’re gonna ask me to stop yapping and just enjoy the anime. I probably just think too much.

Post.

Fin.

P.S Do vote in our poll which is found on the side-bar! We’d like to know what sort of posts you’re interested in 🙂 We also gave an ‘other’ option which you can fill out yourself 😀

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Anime Related, Episodic Anime, Manga Related

5 responses to “Natsume Yūjin-Chō San Episode 01 & Thoughts

  1. I’m not sure if there really has been much of a decrease on disaster content in shows…. I mean, a series like Coppelion’s even going to air next season… and it’s about radiation.. talk about timing ^^;

    Natsume’s a very refreshing series. Have fun doing episodic blogs of it~

    I hate your poll though. It only allows me to check one but I want ALL 😛

    • emysan83

      I agree with the poll comment!! I had no idea what to choose because I wanted all of them!

    • from what i understand right after the quake, stuff tat were going to air had tone down some stuff and some shows tat were currently re-airing were cancelled but i dnt know the details tho :O
      i dnt know much about coppelion ^_^; so i cnt really comment but my whole rant in the last part of this post is speculation but i do very much feel they hav an impact on society . maybe we can even see some series hinting a opinion about the handling of the crisis…or other stuff

      thanks! my summer challenge! xD

  2. @emysan @sapphire pyro
    thanks for supporting the poll xDDD i’ve completely refreshed it now so u can vote again and it has a max choice of 3
    thank you <3! !!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s