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Old 12-15-2011, 06:15 PM   #26
Talon87
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On to Season 2! Watched Episodes 14, 15, and the first half of 16 before I had to stop to attend to some things. So, real quick, some thoughts --

Episode 14:
Spoiler: show
Not a bad first episode for the second season. We met some new ghosts, although who knows if we'll ever see them again, and it was mildly amusing to see a black Nyanko-sensei look-alike. The episode never really established well, though, whether the guy was sealed by Reiko or not. We know she put his name in the book, but the question as to who sealed him remains up in the air. The CruncyRoll translation also made it sound like he visited Reiko in this one line, but the time when the line was spoken, my impression of the Japanese was that he was talking about his original friend. (The one who took care of him and led him to become interested in / enamored with humans.)

Episode 15:
Spoiler: show
This was a pretty good episode. The problem with Natsume Yuujinchou seems to be, there are a ton of plot archetype repeats. 'Cause like, this episode felt an awful lot like like an amalgam of some of the stories we saw in Season 1, like, the episode with the koto player and the episode with the guy who could no longer see his love and Tsubame's episode and ... I dunno. It just felt not very unique. And yet at the same time, "a new spin" on an old story. That sort of a thing. Like ........ I guess the analogy I would use is, I feel like Natsume Yuujinchou has been feeding us very few fruits, and this was like the fourth orange we've had, but the way in which the fruits are prepared each time is quite different, and this orange was like an orange meringue pie whereas previous orange dishes had been things like raw orange, orange&BBQ chicken, and an orange lollipop. [/weird analogy] In any event, I enjoyed this one. Felt bad for Gen and Sei, but was happy for them both in the end.

Episode 16 so far:
Spoiler: show
Probably the most interesting episode plot-wise so far this season. Looking forward to seeing whose head is in the jar, lol, and what her story is and what Natsume plans to do vs. what Natori plans to do. I get the feeling that Natori was called in by this onsen specifically to exorcise the place and not that he won two free tickets as he told Natsume.

Sixteen episodes in and I gotta say, I still am not very fond of Nyanko-sensei's voice. ^^; The character is fine, but the voice ... yeesh. ^^; Had I been a hardcore fan of the manga first, as I'm sure some Japanese fans were, I think I'd be really jaded about the anime and be all like "The manga is 10x better! XP"

I still haven't scored Natsume Yuujinchou on MyAnimeList, but I think it's safe to say at this point that it's not going to get any higher than a 7/10 from me ever. That could change -- there's always the rest of Season 2 and all of Season 3 to discover -- but from what I'm seeing so far, it seems like Yuki's experience with Natsume Yuujinchou has been very different from mine and that we each come to the table with our personal experiences in life as we sit down to watch this one. For her, it appears to have resonated on a very personal level. For me, it's enjoyable but nothing terribly special.

Yuki: "Nothing terribly special"?!? You ... you ... *words caught in throat*

I don't mean to say it's bad. ^^; It's fine! But it's ... just sort of fine. From what I've seen so far, anyway. It hasn't changed my world or anything. I'm not getting "MUST ... OWN ... THIS ... @[email protected]" drives.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:08 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
I still haven't scored Natsume Yuujinchou on MyAnimeList, but I think it's safe to say at this point that it's not going to get any higher than a 7/10 from me ever. That could change -- there's always the rest of Season 2 and all of Season 3 to discover -- but from what I'm seeing so far, it seems like Yuki's experience with Natsume Yuujinchou has been very different from mine and that we each come to the table with our personal experiences in life as we sit down to watch this one. For her, it appears to have resonated on a very personal level. For me, it's enjoyable but nothing terribly special.
The point behind my rant was that the series actually isn't all that personal for me. I just really enjoy watching this kind of thing. To put it another way, Natsume Yuujinchou is the first to earn a permanent place in my top five for completely selfless reasons. Compared to Ano Hana, which I basically used as an excuse to channel my emotions, Natsume Yuujinchou is its own entity. My other favorites are favorites because I believe the characters share something in common with me, but Natsume is someone I can simply believe in.

The show's not special, but... I personally think that's why it's so special. Hard to explain. It does rehash a lot of the same storylines, but they always make me feel warm and happy and fuzzy regardless. I don't need to be "wow-ed" all the time, sometimes the small acts of kindness are more appreciable.

I understand it's not for everyone. From a pure objective standpoint, I'd probably rate it a 7 or even generously an 8. But we all have our preferences. Natsume Yuujinchou just happens to fall in line with mine. The show makes me smile, and that's a win in my book.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:53 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YUKI.N View Post
The point behind my rant was that the series actually isn't all that personal for me. [...] To put it another way, Natsume Yuujinchou is the first to earn a permanent place in my top five for completely selfless reasons.
Uh, what? I mean, you said in your "rant" ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by YUKI.N View Post
Semi-personal rant:

Spoiler: show
"Thank you... For not growing to hate humans."

This was the first line that stood out to me in a review on MAL, which really pushed me to want to watch the show. Tsubame's straightforward but honest feelings pretty much sum up my own as to why I love this series. I used to try and act cool by snubbing sentimentality and social relationships, shutting myself in especially after a rough year in middle school. But, at heart we all seek human contact. I can't help it, the truth is I like soft and warm things. I do like people. I really do. I'm willing to accept that now and no longer see it as a sign of weakness, but true strength and progress.

Similar to Zelda, Natsume Yuujinchou is a story I wish I might've encountered earlier in my life. I want to believe that there are kind people in this world. That we are all capable of healing, of giving and receiving help even if we might not know it. It's strange, that I've fallen for a series that I don't relate to as strongly as some of my other favorites. Perhaps I might've embraced the theme of loneliness once upon a time, but I like to think I've moved past that period. I can certainly understand and empathize with someone who's still struggling to open up though.

Now, I mostly admire Natsume Yuujinchou for what it essentially is: A good story about good people doing good things. Kanon's formula was actually quite similar... At least up until the end when it focused more on the tragedy and romance alone, though those aspects were powerful too don't get me wrong. ^^; XP What I mean is I loved the series for the sheer quality of its storytelling and characters, despite not finding myself personally invested in any of them. NY is the same, yet it I think it strikes an intermediate chord with me deep down. Natsume's peaceful and benevolent, yet still closely guarded world is a place I've both somewhat grown from and strive to reach.
"Natsume Yuujinchou is a story I wish I might've encountered earlier in my life. I want to believe that there are kind people in this world. That we are all capable of healing, of giving and receiving help even if we might not know it." To me, that sounds like the show is resonating with you on a very personal level. As if you're telling us in this self-titled rant, "I am a cynical person. I went through things in life which have led me to believe that people who act kind are just wearing a veneer of kindness underneath which lies selfishness and disinterest in the plight of others." Now, maybe I'm reading too much into your words -- I mean, you go on in the very next sentence to then swing 180° the opposite way by declaring, "It's strange, that I've fallen for a series that I don't relate to as strongly as some of my other favorites," but ... the part which came directly before it made it sound like the show is very much so appealing to you on a personal level because of a worldview influenced by something that happened in middle school or high school.

Just wanted you to realize that this is where I got the impression. Didn't want you to think, "Man, he didn't even read what I had to say." Oh, I read it! ^^; That's precisely where my opinion about why you like it so much came from.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:45 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Uh, what? I mean, you said in your "rant" ...

"Natsume Yuujinchou is a story I wish I might've encountered earlier in my life. I want to believe that there are kind people in this world. That we are all capable of healing, of giving and receiving help even if we might not know it." To me, that sounds like the show is resonating with you on a very personal level. As if you're telling us in this self-titled rant, "I am a cynical person. I went through things in life which have led me to believe that people who act kind are just wearing a veneer of kindness underneath which lies selfishness and disinterest in the plight of others." Now, maybe I'm reading too much into your words -- I mean, you go on in the very next sentence to then swing 180° the opposite way by declaring, "It's strange, that I've fallen for a series that I don't relate to as strongly as some of my other favorites," but ... the part which came directly before it made it sound like the show is very much so appealing to you on a personal level because of a worldview influenced by something that happened in middle school or high school.

Just wanted you to realize that this is where I got the impression. Didn't want you to think, "Man, he didn't even read what I had to say." Oh, I read it! ^^; That's precisely where my opinion about why you like it so much came from.
Okay, to clarify, I'm trying to separate "personal" into two categories, where I believe the connotation lends itself more to the first:

A) I can relate to the story/character.
B) The story/character inspires me.

The former is more likely to be because of shared past experiences, and while the latter may be affected by them, I don't think self-identification is necessary to admire someone or adopt their creed. If you want to interpret "personal" as incorporating a "change of world views", that's fine. But what I was trying to get at is that I don't particularly feel any special connection to the characters. I don't see myself in them - at most there may be distant reflections. That doesn't stop me from loving them and what they stand for though.

Perhaps my experience with Zelda would provide a clearer example. Though I don't feel quite comfortable discussing it openly here (if you really want to hear the whole speech I guess I could give it over Skype). Obviously, there's no way I could associate myself with Link, since he has such a hollow personality. Yet he's my hero, someone I look up to, who did radically change my views once. Natsume, on the other hand, is neither here nor there. What he demonstrates is what I currently believe in now, and already have for a while. He didn't rock my world or anything, he just quietly supports it - maybe even gave it a revitalizing boost when I needed it most. And I approve of that.

When I say that "I wish I had encountered [it] earlier", I mean that maybe back then I would've been able to more personally identify with the show and thus take its message to heart. Doubtful it would've been earth-shattering to me even at my lowest point, but who knows. That was then and this is now. No use looking back on what could've been. Besides, the show isn't even that old. Even if it had existed at the time and I'd known about it, other factors would've prevented me from watching it.

MY POINT BEING. Natsume Yuujinchou is just a sweet, lighthearted story for anyone who enjoys that kind of thing. You don't have to be a pessimist or a loner looking for ways to cheer yourself up, if that's why you think I liked the show. I just stumbled upon it randomly, grew intrigued since I heard it was good, and now agree with that statement. Others' opinions may vary.

Man, this thread wasn't supposed to devolve into another one of Yuki's personal rants™ but I guess it did anyway. >.>; Enough, back to on-topic discussion!
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:06 PM   #30
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Finished Episode 16 and watched Episode 17 as well. Thoughts:

Episode 16:
Spoiler: show
Called it. I mean, I guess it was pretty obvious, so I'm not claiming any Sherlock Holmes points here. Just sayin': Natori was called to exorcise a spirit in the first place, after all.

The highlight of this episode was really its second half. It was very interesting to see Natsume finally get burned by releasing a spirit. This hadn't happened to him yet, but it was something that really should have been obvious. Not every spirit Reiko defeated is likely to have been nice. It's surprising that she managed to get that ghost to give her her name in the first place, though, but that's neither here nor there: Reiko probably would have had some names of malevolent spirits written down in the book so as to bring them under her control whereby she could prevent them from harming others, and this ghost happens to be the first of those that we've met.

The exorcism chamber scene was cool. Interesting, well-animated, overall good. So too was the surprising arrival of that one epic ghost. He totally kicked the bad ghost's ass! XD It'll be nice if we get to see him again, but we didn't even get a name, so who knows.

Another interesting thing from the second half was when Natori offered to adopt Natsume. He seemed somewhat sincere about it, too. But what was even more interesting was his somewhat childish accusation that Natsume was lying about his current guardians being nice, loving people who liked him. I'm guessing that this is where things will be coming to a head in future episodes -- Natsume's guardians vs. Natori, each vying for Natsume. Obviously Natsume will pick the guardians, but it's going to be fun to watch things unfold either way. I feel bad for Natori though. He clearly had a rough childhood, as did Natsume, but in Natori's case it seems to have been something he never managed to escape, unlike the fortunate Natsume.

Episode 17:
Spoiler: show
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. That baby was adorable.

And then it went and evolved into something ridiculously ugly. ^^;

This was a cute episode. I really enjoyed it. As I was watching it, I even kept thinking "Favorite episode of the series so far." But in retrospect, it has stiff competition with Season 1's Episodes 06, 07, and 08 and Season 2's Episode 16. Still, a very nice episode.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:57 PM   #31
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Welcome back, Natsume!

Like I said in the chat thread, the fourth season really surprised me by opening with a two-part arc - unfortunately, not one of my preferred ones. Meh. OP's visuals make me squee though, and give me major hope for the later episodes. The song itself is back to ho hum ville, though it sounds pretty much as I'd expected from a two-man folk band. ED's cute, reminiscent of season two's closer. Yay snow~

Talon, remember how you told me iSketch thought "igloo" was an animé term? Well, I've seen my first igloo in animé now. XP ^^;
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Old 01-09-2012, 02:21 PM   #32
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Oh my goodness it's been a week already?

So many little hnnnng moments this episode. ...Although at this point it sort of feels like the animé is trying to cram in so much saccharine it's starting to get slightly corny. ^^; I like how the show tends to be a bit sweeter than the manga, but there's only so much "d'aw" I can take in one sitting.

Wasn't really feeling this supposedly "action-packed" arc last week, but seeing some of the fights animated today got me pretty pumped.

Spoiler: show
Those rubbery shadow youkai are dang freaky when they move lightning-fast and wrap around the monkey masks. It's like they're swallowing the poor things whole. o.o;

Speaking of creepines... YOUR FACE IS TOO CLOSE, MATOBA. Seriously, ever heard of a thing called personal space? I have a feeling this guy would get along great with Itsuki.


One thing I forgot to mention I did like about last week's episode is they included some insight into Natsume's (and Tanuma's, by proxy) line of reasoning from an early chapter. The finale of the first season was originally told from Tanuma's POV, so it's too bad they had to excise some of his inner monologue and personal analysis of Natsume. Rare to get another outsider's opinion on a main character, so I'm glad to see it finally made its way in somehow. Not only that, but it's no longer just musing to himself since he shares his findings with *spoiler*. Yay for friends and openness and bonding and trust and FEELINGS~

Kinda makes me wonder if they'll refer back to a shippy line that was removed from season two, where Natsume wonders if he could ever grow close/comfortable enough with people to be able to fall in lav lurve love and have a family someday. ...Nah~

From the preview, next week's episode is a one-shot, but again not one I was hoping for. It's a major one they skipped so its appearance was inevitable, but I would have preferred to see some of the more recent chapters animated instead. They might be too recent though, unfortunately.

...

FEELINGS~
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:03 PM   #33
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So I think I've recovered enough from the Another shock to talk about episode 04, which I didn't get a chance to yesterday.

Ha~ What a wonderful episode. I don't get those (manga-readers) who were so excited about last week's story but put down this one before it even aired. I was hoping this might be the first episode of the season, and they'd just ignore the Karu story altogether. I mean, it was cute, I guess? Didn't have much else to say about it though.

I did miss the "OMG THEY MULTIPLIED?!" line from Natsume during (I assume) mathmetics class from the manga though. That was pure gold. Unfortunately the subbers either didn't translate for maximum hilarity, or the original phrase itself isn't necessarily a math term in Japanese. Even harder to tell in the animé since they cut out the professor's reaction. If the latter case, major props to the scanlators for recognizing the potential for extreme lulz.

Anyway, episode 04. It was great, reminiscent of my old favorite 08 from season one. Which I guess is another example of how NY tends to re-hash storylines with different skins. But I don't mind. The roles are mixed up just enough to feel fresh, and I enjoy seeing different takes. Even though I knew what was to happen - or more often because I knew - this one-shot gave me that slightly misty-eyed, dreamy feeling once again.

Also excited to see some nicely animated portions in the beginning, the style of which reminded me of my other favorite episode (10) from season two. Was pretty disappointed by the drop of quality in the OP and first episode. First scene of episode one was a still shot of school letting out? Really? You didn't have enough budget to animate a few students waving and walking? =/

On a final note... Next week's preview. Looks like an animé-only episode. While I agree with some fans' concerns that all these one-shots means the plot isn't actually advancing anywhere, I'm sure we'll get there in due time. If not this season, maybe a season five?

But wait... What's this?

Spoiler: show
Emo-looking middle school Natsume with longer hair? Talking with a girl in the rain? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?


I, uh, what. Brain('s Base)... Cannot compute. I'm both wildly curious and nervous to find out what they've decided to introduce into canon. (Please no romance please no romance please no romance)

Oh, and a correction about the statement I made regarding episode one: I re-read the manga chapter, and it turns out the throwback reference was originally brought up by Tanuma himself there as well. Still, glad the animé was fnally able to work it in.

...

OMG THEY MULTIPLIED?!
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:36 PM   #34
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Quadruple-posting, but I found the chapter next week's episode corresponds to. Apparently it was another one of those omake I missed.

Reading it, eh... Not so much looking forward to it. Sure, it sates my fangirl curiosity, but that's just it. It's obviously pandering to the audience by projecting every member of the female banbase who wants to protect poor Natsume, and thus claims she'd understand his weird behavior right away if she were to meet him IRL, onto a fictional character. As much as I'd like to believe that could happen, it stretches my suspension of disbelief. And there's that corny "broken window glass on the inside" explanation... You can do better than that, Midorikawa-sensei.

Still, since it's such a short chapter, perhaps the animé will be able to add some things to spice it up and hopefully make it better. Though speaking of animé vs. manga comparisons, forgot one other thing I forgot to remark on regarding episode 02 and why I felt the animé was trying too hard this time to make it sappy. The final scene with the sweater was in the manga, only since it took place during summer it was Shigeru's kimono instead. The pinky promise wasn't in the manga, which was the last straw I felt pushed the entire episode over the edge into "gag me with a spoon" territory. Was disappointed to find they focused so much on that cutesie-wootsie gesture instead of the more subtle part that really made this scene touching in the first place: Saying "it'll fit you next year" implies Natsume will still be around by then, a notion that still seems to pleasantly stun him, judging by his expression in the manga. They just glance over this conversation in the animé by having it fade out to the next scene.

One more point in favor of the manga: Emo!Natsume's "fringe" is totally more adorable. -^^-;
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:37 AM   #35
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This week's episode... Was fine. I'm glad the show shifted the focus from the girl's rabid fangirlism in the second half (Lol @ Natori's poster in her bedroom though, nice touch) and offered an explanation for what was going on with Natsume ayakashi-wise at the time... Though I'm disappointed the plot thread they came up with was terribly uninspired. If Midorikawa is guilty of re-hashing plotlines, the animé writers are no better for following her lead in this case. It was just a mish-mash of several concepts we've seen before. Shame, they had some nice original ideas last season. Why they felt the need to play it safe and stick to the formula this time I have no idea.

Spoiler: show
I did like the idea behind the scythe spirit's origin though. Very cool to see such a popular cultural icon as a lion guardian statue given life. Plus the tennis ball was adorable. Great attention to realistic detail.

But ugh, Natsume's bishieness was played up even more than it was in the manga. At least when he smiles statically it feels genuine. However they coupled it with an ALMOST-FABULOUS HAIR FLIP WTF. He hasn't even met Natori yet, how could his dumb charm have rubbed off on Natsume? =x Was half-expecting him to start sparkling. The umbrella scene felt slightly more shippy too, with the way he politely asked, "Want to share?" as opposed to a dull-faced, "Want to come in?" - as if he didn't really care whether she did or not. Though perhaps there were simply differences in translation that colored the tone of the scene. In general, I think Natsume came off as a lot more apathetic in this chapter, similar to though perhaps distinctly different from how angry he was at the beginning of the manga. Whereas the animé went out of its way to portray Natsume as a "sweet boy" always, so much that his abrupt change in countenance when irritated felt jarring in contrast to the manga, where I've seen him make that kind of face before.

Viewing his aloofness from the girl's eyes alone is probably what led me to question some of the generous judgments she made initially. One logical flaw in her reasoning that bugged me was the idea that if he was trying to protect her from a monster by kicking her out of the way, why did he flee afterward, presumably leaving her to fend for herself? My assumption by the end of the chapter was simply that he did mistake her for an ayakashi. The animé addressed this issue by confirming Natsume was the attacker's main target, and that by running he could probably lead it away.

Though this still doesn't exactly jive with an earlier scene where the spirit gave up the pursuit and tried threatening a child to get Natsume's attention. *shrug* Maybe Natsume remembered the sting of that experience and decided discretion was the better part of valor. ...Or maybe he wasn't necessarily thinking coherently and simply acted on instinct, given he had just woken up. XP


A lot to say about an episode I don't really care about... The only reason I'm being so critical at this point is because I'm starting to feel the pressing anxiety others have had that we're not going to get as much hoped for plot development this season. If this storyline had showed up in an earlier season (when I had the fortune of knowing there would definitely be future episodes to look forward to), I could've mildly enjoyed it and moved on, or waved it off if I was as impatient to see more exciting stuff as I am now. With this, I'm increasingly aware of the time crunch, and I wish they would've passed this side-story up if it meant providing space for a more interesting arc.

Anyway. Next week's preview. YES. Now that's what I'm talking about. Oh, this is going to be so much win. X3

They struggled to squeeze Nyanko-sensei in this episode so they were hard pressed to find a hilarious line of his to quote, thus I was planning to provide an equally lukewarm conclusion, but the opportunity's too good to pass up:

ALMOST-FABULOUS HAIR FLIP WTF.

^ When I find a gif on Tumblr I will edit it in. One's bound to pop up eventually. In the meantime, have some roses.

Edit- Forgot to mention I read the latest chapter today as well. Yay more Reiko development!
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:31 PM   #36
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On a whim, I watched Episode 18 "The Tree of Promise" today. It was pretty good. I had one problem with it, but aside from that, it was pretty good.

Spoiler: show
Reiko is perhaps my favorite character, or at least the character I am most interested in, in this entire series. So any episode where we get fuller development for her than in most episodes gets a little +1 nudge from me right there. Her relationship with Hinoe was one I wanted to know about second only to her relationship with Madara, so getting to see how Hinoe and Reiko met was an unexpected and very welcome surprise.

I liked the premise of this episode -- that Reiko tried to help this boy out by tying his name to a tree branch and making him wait 50 years before retrieving it. She knew that the tree would grow quite tall in that time period and that there were two benefits to this. First, he would have to overcome his timidity / cowardice in order to retrieve his name. Climbing a tree that tall is no easy feat! Second, she knew that he'd be rewarded by getting to see the ocean from that height. So that was cute. What I didn't like, though, is this one plot hole: wasn't Reiko endangering this boy's life? All she did was to tie his name to a tree branch. No other protection afforded. So like, wouldn't this paper have been exposed to the elements for 50 years? Rain, snow, wind, birds, insects, mold ... it's a miracle that this boy didn't die during the interim. So that I didn't like, and I consider that an oversight on the part of the author (since I don't see any evidence that she intended this as character development for Reiko). I mean, I guess it's either one or the other's fault, either the author's or Reiko's. Either way, it's an annoying oversight. But aside from that, this was a good episode.

Intrigued by the girl we saw in the sneak peek for Episode 19. However, given what Yuki's mentioned on Skype about Season 4, and given what all I already have seen with my own two eyes, I'm not going to grow too excited or too attached. Sadly, it seems like Natsume Yuujinchou is remarkably episodic and that few characters are recurring. Even the ones who are (e.g. Hinoe or the little fox spirit) only show up every once in a while and don't get all that much development per episode. But yeah. Taki, is it? She seems interesting. To be honest, seeing her in the OP for Season 2, I mistook her for Reiko. The resemblance is striking.
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:09 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
On a whim, I watched Episode 18 "The Tree of Promise" today. It was pretty good. I had one problem with it, but aside from that, it was pretty good.

Spoiler: show
Reiko is perhaps my favorite character, or at least the character I am most interested in, in this entire series. So any episode where we get fuller development for her than in most episodes gets a little +1 nudge from me right there. Her relationship with Hinoe was one I wanted to know about second only to her relationship with Madara, so getting to see how Hinoe and Reiko met was an unexpected and very welcome surprise.

I liked the premise of this episode -- that Reiko tried to help this boy out by tying his name to a tree branch and making him wait 50 years before retrieving it. She knew that the tree would grow quite tall in that time period and that there were two benefits to this. First, he would have to overcome his timidity / cowardice in order to retrieve his name. Climbing a tree that tall is no easy feat! Second, she knew that he'd be rewarded by getting to see the ocean from that height. So that was cute. What I didn't like, though, is this one plot hole: wasn't Reiko endangering this boy's life? All she did was to tie his name to a tree branch. No other protection afforded. So like, wouldn't this paper have been exposed to the elements for 50 years? Rain, snow, wind, birds, insects, mold ... it's a miracle that this boy didn't die during the interim. So that I didn't like, and I consider that an oversight on the part of the author (since I don't see any evidence that she intended this as character development for Reiko). I mean, I guess it's either one or the other's fault, either the author's or Reiko's. Either way, it's an annoying oversight. But aside from that, this was a good episode.
Reiko is definitely the most intriguing character in this series, and I'm hungry for more development on her too. This was actually another made-for-TV episode, as for the most part the animé has provided far more insight into her backstory than the manga (though the most recent chapter/arc is about to even things out, I hope suspect).

I thought exposing the paper to the elements was dangerous too, but for better or for worse, you can take the issue up with the episode writer rather than Midorikawa. At least the overall explanation behind Reiko's actions was better than episode 05's of season one.

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Intrigued by the girl we saw in the sneak peek for Episode 19. However, given what Yuki's mentioned on Skype about Season 4, and given what all I already have seen with my own two eyes, I'm not going to grow too excited or too attached. Sadly, it seems like Natsume Yuujinchou is remarkably episodic and that few characters are recurring. Even the ones who are (e.g. Hinoe or the little fox spirit) only show up every once in a while and don't get all that much development per episode. But yeah. Taki, is it? She seems interesting. To be honest, seeing her in the OP for Season 2, I mistook her for Reiko. The resemblance is striking.
Taki~

Regarding season 4/later manger chapters:

Spoiler: show
Where is she? ;;


Been waiting to talk about season 4 until the current arc concluded. Still don’t have too much to say at the end, but I guess that’s because I’ve read the manga. =x

Episode 06:

BAHAHA. This was as great as expected, and then some. Loved all the humorous parts they added in. Poor Sasada. ^^;

Spoiler: show
Best moment was Natsume's scream when Nyanko-me threw open the classroom door and demanded for Sasada. That just killed me. Also staring at the beer bottle in front of the fridge... Bad Nyanko-me, very bad. XP

The scene with Sasada was gold. I can forgive a little shipping if used for comedic purposes. Wonder if/how Natsume will even be able to face her when he gets back.

Was really hoping for more Taki though, if they’re going to include extra characters. =| Why can’t the two girls ever show up on screen together?

Squeeee @ Tanuma flicking the bottle. “Nyah nyah, you can’t tell me what to do. You’re stuck in there and I’m gonna get you out whether you like it or not~”


Episode 07:

A little rushed, but good.

Spoiler: show
Was wondering how they’d mask Natori’s voice. Muffling works, but I think his identity was obvious anyway, as astute viewers had already pointed out the hair by the end of last week’s episode. Ha ha at how he scratched his chin through the paper bag.

(For the record, I didn’t realize it was him in the manga until Natsume started sulking after he saved them. ^^; )

I liked how this episode really drove home how terrifying and brutal youkai can be. I don’t remember being as impressed by the room of blood in the manga, but watching the poor little weaklings running for their lives, getting snapped up one by one… It made me shudder. It’s been a long time since the show has demonstrated the level of youkai-on-youkai violence seen in season two. The Matoba arc in season three focused more on teh ebil humans instead. All the fluffy one-shots in the meantime made me forget the darker edge to the story, how dangerous dealing with the supernatural can be. Tanuma’s right, this really isn’t something Natsume could just tell Touko-san about.

Nyan-Reiko was awesome as always. And Natori was fabulous as always. Enjoyed all the delicious character developments this story provides again: 1) Natori meets Tanuma, shows some signs of jealousy, but reaches out to Natsume at the end to convince him he needs companionship and warmth, which Natori himself cast aside. 2) Nyanko-sensei affirms that his human form looks like Reiko because she’s the only one he’d ever observed, as well as the fact that Natsume still hasn’t revealed anything about her to his friend(s). He also demonstrates respect for Natsume’s privacy by keeping mum. 3) Tanuma gains a much deeper understanding of Natsume’s world, and is horribly hurt and frustrated by his own helplessness.


A lot of manga readers have been worrying incessantly that the end of this chapter created an awkward divide between Tanuma and Natsume. …To be honest, I never sensed anything of the sort. If anything, I thought their relationship was strengthened by it. Yes, there was an outburst of angst and self-blame on both sides, but I didn’t think it would have such a lasting impact as fans seem to suggest. I believe they’re blowing things way out of proportion, but maybe they’re just recognizing something I’m not. (Still wonder where they got the idea that Reiko was found dead under a tree… Perhaps there are some other chapters I’ve missed.)

Next week’s preview:

Uh… What? A Nanase backstory filler? x.X Really? I sure do hope this means we’re getting a season five. =/



Nyah nyah~
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:23 PM   #38
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Watched Episode 19 late last night. What a mistake! One of the best episodes yet ... and it was a two-parter too! ;_; Looking forward to watching Episode 20 soon.


I really love Taki. She's very sweet, physically attractive, and she can even see youkai (with assistance, admittedly, but still) and share in Natsume's adventures that way. Would really love to see Natsume and Taki hook up but obviously the show isn't going to go in that direction,
  1. because Yuki tells me that the fangirls all glomp-claim Natsume for themselves, meaning he probably isn't taken yet
  2. because Yuki mentions the arrival of a new girl in Season 4 and how the fangirls were all "BACK OFF, BITCH! NATSUME-SAMA'S MINE!", indicating that by Season 4 Natsume and Taki must not be an item
  3. because Natsume Yuujinchou is sadly forever plagued by introducing nice characters to us only to then shelve them and allow them to gather dust for all eternity.
In other words, while I'm pleased to discover that we'll see more of Taki in Episode 20, I'm still not holding my breath about seeing her in Episode 21 and beyond in any capacity beyond what we've seen for Natsume's other human friends. (Prove me wrong, Natsume author! Prove me wrong!)

In case Yuki watched this on CrunchyRoll (as I am doing) or with somebody who ripped the CR streams, thought I'd throw out there that when Taki says her ancestors were "Onmyouji," they left that in and capitalized the O as if it were a proper noun. No idea why, although maybe it's because the occupational duties of onmyouji were covered in the West by various people and not usually one and the same person.

Spoiler: show
Onmyouji were people who performed magic, divination, and exorcism. I've usually translated the term as "exorcist" since that's usually what I've seen onmyoujis doing in most stories where I've encountered them. But as you can see from the Wikipedia article here, onmyoujis, in addition to exorcism, also perform other duties. Historical ones were said to be skilled in the ways of magic and divination. They were also said to be able to summon and control shikigami. In X/1999, these three roles are actually split up and distributed amongst three different characters. (The two three dreamseers handle divination, Yuzuriha has the inugami sidekick, and Subaru is the exorcist-magician and the only one labeled in-series as an onmyouji.) Most other stories where I've seen onmyouji, they've been hired to help exorcise a haunted mansion or temple. In any event, that would be the connection to Natsume Yuujinchou: the magical circle ties in to onmyoujis' magical side and the use of it to identify youkai was presumably to then be able to exorcise them. Maybe this is explained later on in the show (particularly if Taki ends up exorcising this ghost who is after her and Natsume), but I just thought I'd throw that out there now so you could know.

So with all this stated, on to Episode 20!
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:47 PM   #39
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I really love Taki. She's very sweet, physically attractive, and she can even see youkai (with assistance, admittedly, but still) and share in Natsume's adventures that way.
Taki is totally awesome. 'Nuff said.

Although to be honest, I find her far more gorgeous in the manga. -^^-; While I couldn't understand what made her stand out initially, seeing her manga design for the first time made my own jaw drop. She is quite stunningly attractive. o.o; It's the hair, I think. It's got such nice volume, which also helps the bangs to complement her facial structure, instead of sticking out awkwardly. Shame it looks so flat and dull by comparison in the animé. =/

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Yuki mentions the arrival of a new girl in Season 4 and how the fangirls were all "BACK OFF, BITCH! NATSUME-SAMA'S MINE!", indicating that by Season 4 Natsume and Taki must not be an item
For the record, I didn't see anyone really react this way (except maybe me on a subconscious level? ^^; ), and that wasn't the point I was trying to make. The girl you're referring to seemed to me like an obvious insert for fangirls to project themselves onto, imagining herself as the one who would still treat him nicely despite being unable to share his view. Hence the response was more, "Yeah, you go girl! Represent (our feelings to him)!"

Though as it turns out, the latter statement wasn't outwardly voiced as much I feared it might. So perhaps I was the only one who was insecure overanalyzing the implications. Most of the Natsume fans I've seen who aren't rabid yaoi fangirls (and even some who are) do tend to be pretty level-headed. Even if we sometimes wish he could be "ao husbando", we cheer for his own accomplishments and are simply happy for him when he connects with people... So I like to think.
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Old 02-16-2012, 03:21 PM   #40
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LOL. Loading up Episode 20 on CrunchyRoll, one sees this near the very top of the user comments column:

Quote:
K, Taki is the first to appear in 2 episodes in a row as a new character. Natsume, time to make her your girlfriend or you suck. Let's forget the fact she kind of looks like your grandmother.


Glad to know I'm not the only one who mistook Taki for Reiko.
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Old 02-16-2012, 03:27 PM   #41
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Glad to know I'm not the only one who mistook Taki for Reiko.
Again, hair too straight in the animé. =| The difference is much clearer in the manga. ^^; XP
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Old 02-16-2012, 03:48 PM   #42
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Was trying to find a manga picture of Taki Tooru. Figured there'd be one on the fan wikia but I didn't see anything. Clicked around some (no spoilers, don't worry), and then saw the list of episodes with corresponding broadcast dates. And noticed this pattern:
  • Season 1: Summer 2008
  • Season 2: Winter 2009 (two seasons later)
  • Season 3: Summer 2011 (ten seasons later)
  • Season 4: Winter 2012 (two seasons later)
See the pattern? Release a season, wait a season, release another season, and then wait a long time to give the manga a chance to produce more material. If this pattern holds up, then you're looking at a Natsume dry spell that won't end until--

Yuki: Don't say it! ;_;

... that won't end until Summer 2014.

Yuki: *The Scream face*

For your sake, I hope I'm wrong, but I just thought that I'd point this out to you. You were mentioning the other day how you were hoping that there'd be a Season 5, given how they're wasting so many precious Season 4 episode slots. Well, whether there'll even be a Season 5 or not, I don't know, but assuming that there is one, it may not be out for a number of years.

Anyway, halfway through Episode 20. Go ahead and respond to this though so I don't double-post with my Episode 20 thoughts. XP ^^;
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:21 PM   #43
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Yeah, I glanced around Google images before class to see if I could pull up a nice shot, but there were hardly any manga pictures. I'll look for an actual page when I get back (gonna grab some dinner first).

I'm aware the first two seasons aired close to each other as well. I'm prepared to see the show possibly go on hiatus at the conclusion of Shi, and will be content to follow the manga in the meantime. So long as they at least animate one specific arc this season, I'll be satisfied even if the story draws to a close.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:14 PM   #44
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What if she had been talking about Natsume here? XD

Episode 20 was good. I really liked everyone's roles in this one. It was also interesting to ...

Spoiler: show
... finally see a youkai who is genuinely evil, even if for good reasons, and who Natsume is forced to exorcise / banish / seal away / whatever rather than be able to help them to rediscover the light.

The sneak peek for the next episode looked like Boresville, but the comments at the top of the page for it were positively glowing, so who knows. If I knew or had good reason to believe that Taki was going to be a regular part of the cast now and was going to show up onscreen as much as Nyanko-sensei, I'd be jumping for the remote control to go ahead and watch Episode 21. But as it is ... it's probably going to take a little push to get me to watch 21. In the meantime, I think I might circle back around and polish off Shizune's route in Katawa Shoujo.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:34 PM   #45
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Oh? No comment about how...

Spoiler: show
Natsume lost his ability to see youkai?


So, trying to access an English scanlation site just gave my computer yet another dang heart malware attack. x_X Didn't even bother with the manual removal process this time. >_>;

Thus, the following example pages are in Chinese, but it probably doesn't make much of a difference since you saw the episode anyway. XP

Taki's first meeting with Natsume (She's blushing because she blurted out his name by mistake, and you know why that's bad XP)
Taki taking off her hat (Her hair looks soft and natural, not stiff)
Taki smiling
Taki in a kimono, hair done up
Taki in a kimono, hair down (One of my favorite illustrations of her - adorable expression, and the outfit really accentuates her feminine figure, compared to the baggy coat or uniform)

Sorry for the low resolution on the last one, but I dare not look for a larger version. =x

Btw, the manga is actually more suggestive towards shipping between Natsume and Taki. For example, when Natsume moves to protect her from the youkai, he covers her with his body rather than just blocking from the front. I think the look in her eyes speaks for itself.

I guess the trade-off is that Natsume doesn't collapse in her arms after banishing the youkai, but that felt more incidental. Here he's clearly her knight in shining armor. ^~ (Plus she can't even see the youkai coming yet either...)
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:56 PM   #46
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No comment on that simply because you know it's gotta be temporary, (a) because they tell you as much in the episode (even if it's only just them being optimistic) and (b) because you know there's no way the author'd permanently do that to him in the middle of Season 2. It was interesting, though. The scene with him in his bedroom calling out to Madara and then the camera shows how Madara is occupying the entire room was really sad. Probably more sad for Madara than for anybody else.

Y'know, you get more viruses than anyone else I know. FYI, it is not typical to get three viruses in less than two months. This coming from a guy who goes into the seediest sides of the Internet on a daily basis. I don't know what it is that you're doing wrong but you've got to figure it out.

Manga Taki doesn't really look like Anime Reiko, no ... but (1) I don't have an image of Manga Reiko to compare Manga Taki against, and (2) none of the characters look especially distinct or well-detailed in the manga. Now I see why you value the anime's existence so much. Like me with both Rozen Maiden and Minamike, here you are, a fan of a franchise that (no offense to the mangaka) isn't all that well drawn and really benefits from the transition to television.

Speaking of the manga's art, holy cow 'n' lol at Natsume's snake-slit eyes! He looks positively evil! Particularly in the one you linked and called "Taki smiling." Just look at him! XD (Also, the image of Taki right below him is particularly illustrative of what I just finished saying last paragraph. Those eyes ... this manga honestly looks like rakugaki (scribbles) you'd see coming out of an eromanga circle. Hell, I've seen rakugaki that looked better than this. ^^; )

Yuki: *kicks Talon* Quit making fun of my manga! *hugs manga*

Hey, it's nothing personal. I'm a huge fan of Minami-ke, I own the first four volumes (and would own all the others if only I could afford to ...), and yet just look at it. ^^; (Although in my franchise's defense, your franchise's manga art is ten times worse. *kicked* Ow! )
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:40 PM   #47
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No comment on that simply because you know it's gotta be temporary, (a) because they tell you as much in the episode (even if it's only just them being optimistic) and (b) because you know there's no way the author'd permanently do that to him in the middle of Season 2. It was interesting, though. The scene with him in his bedroom calling out to Madara and then the camera shows how Madara is occupying the entire room was really sad. Probably more sad for Madara than for anybody else.
It is a depressing possibility to consider for how the manga might end though, considering the firefly story confirmed people can lose their spiritual ability as they grow older. Anyway, I really just wanted to hear you talk about how sad that one scene was. XP

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Y'know, you get more viruses than anyone else I know. FYI, it is not typical to get three viruses in less than two months. This coming from a guy who goes into the seediest sides of the Internet on a daily basis. I don't know what it is that you're doing wrong but you've got to figure it out.
Hey, I wouldn't have gone to the site if it wasn't to look up images for you. >.>

Anyway, lol, don't get me wrong. The art kinda sucks, especially in the early chapters. ^^; Nyanko-sensei looks especially weird, not cute at all. =< Regardless, I find Taki's manga design more appealing than her animé counterpart's.

As with many series, the art has gradually improved a bit, at least to the point where you might call it decent. XD There are even a couple illustrations I liked enough to save (though I'm having trouble finding them now amidst my huge folder ^^; ), such as this and this. The lines are much crisper and somewhat more organized, and look how adorable the kitty is now that he no longer looks like a misshapen dumpling. <3

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Speaking of the manga's art, holy cow 'n' lol at Natsume's snake-slit eyes! He looks positively evil!
Toldja Natsume's expressions were scary in the beginning. XD His eyes tend to look much softer now (though still sometimes slitted). Of course, they're especially wider when he's being woobie. 83

Finding images of Reiko, particularly a good example, is kinda difficult since she doesn't appear all that often in the manga. Ah, here's one from a recent chapter.

You know, I never noticed the resemblance between Natsume and his grandmother until reading the manga, honestly. Then at some point I realized it really was the same face and bang part, just with longer sides. o.o; Now cannot unsee.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:05 PM   #48
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Episode 21. As predicted, it wasn't as entertaining as previous episodes. As predicted you might expect from the series by now, the episode ended up being better than its sneak peek made it seem it was going to be. Natsume is never really bad, but neither is it out-of-the-ballpark great. Make of that what you will. ^^;

I enjoyed Natsume's meditation on Nyanko-sensei's virtual immortality and what that means for Madara as the people he comes to love vanish from this world in the relative blink of an eye. It's something he's thought about lightly before but in this episode he really gave it some serious thought. When Madara told Natsume, "You coulda been immortal, XP" it almost made you wonder whether Madara was kinda secretly hoping that Natsume might stick around for longer than ~50 years. Poor guy. =\
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:48 PM   #49
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Episode 22:

Once again, Natsume Yuujinchou surprises me with it's "it's so boring ... and yet at the same time I keep wanting to say things like 'This was a really good episode!' or 'This was neat!'" character. I have no idea what it is about the show that makes me feel this way. You'd think I'd either be all for it or all against it. Instead, I find myself in this really weird, internally-conflicted setting where part of me feels like Natsume Yuujinchou is nothing special but the other part of me feels like each episode, consistently, is a cute little ghost story.

Spoiler: show
Episode 22 was an important episode if for one reason and one reason only: it really stepped up the underlying plot arc about Takashi's worry that his new guardians will abandon him, just like the other ones have done, once they find out that he claims to be conversing with spirits. Even if the scene where Touko is walking home from the village and discovers Natsume seemingly talking to himself in the middle of nowhere was brief, it was still poignant. Not sure if this was an anime-only touch-up or if it was in the manga too, but the look Touko gave Natsume seemed very knowing. Whether because she knows about Reiko or whether because she's heard from the other relatives who dumped Takashi onto her that he claims to be able to see spirits, who knows, but ... the look in her eyes seemed very knowing.

Anyway, the episode itself contained a story for which Natsume served as an interesting foil. You had a youkai who fell in love with a man but because she didn't want him to see her as she was (i.e. she didn't want him to discover that she was a youkai), she only rendezvoused with him in a cherry orchard, hidden amongst the branches by the luxurious cherry blossoms in full bloom in the spring. I was kind of hoping that the real guy had wound up inside the painting (somehow) since, even though that'd have been a terrible curse for the ayakashi painter to have played on him, it would have been setting us up for an All's Well that End's Well-style ending where the two lovers reunite, the youkai finally confesses to him what she is, he tells her he doesn't care, and they live happily ever after. So it was said when, around the halfway point, Nyanko-sensei informs Natsume that while the painting was painted by the painter Miwa claims it was painted by, it's just an ordinary painting and does not actually contain a human trapped inside of it. It was touching to see Miwa sacrifice her painting for Natsume's sake ... although I was kind of confused by the ending. The painting was still there. Just that the curse portion of it and Miwa were both missing. I thought she had intended to burn it? So ... what happened in the end? When Natsume fell asleep, did she somehow reunite with her lover? Did that somehow de-curse the painting and make it so that she didn't have to burn it? Kinda confused.

Two episodes without Taki, and I'm already feeling the same bummed-out longing for her character I was feeling for the fox last season.

Episode 23:

Wow. This was a great episode! Of course, it figures it would be: it's a Natsume Reiko episode, so you know it's bound to be good. And of course it is. Totally.

Spoiler: show
The part at the beginning with the axe-murderer throwing an axe at Natsume immediately set the tone for what an epic episode this was going to be. I'm not sure whether I like that Natsume's new foster father knew Reiko or not. I think what bothers me about it is the half-'n'-half nature of his knowing her: yes, he knew the person; no, he never knew her name. (Or if he did, he's long since forgotten it.) I don't like that. Either never have known her at all or else have known her quite well. I mean, one way or the other, you guys have to have a connection to the Natsume family, right? Because you wouldn't have received Takashi as a ward otherwise, right? So even if it's not you, Shigeru, and it's your wife Touko who knew the Natsumes, shouldn't that be enough to get you to realize/remember that the girl you knew as a kid was none other than Natsume Takashi's grandmother? But aside from that small gripe, this was an interesting episode.

(1) The youkai finally invade Natsume's guardians' home and cause serious damage. They also jeopardize the guardians' well-being. The stakes have risen for Natsume!

(2) When Natsume almost got eaten, that was pretty serious. I dunno why, it just felt a lot more serious to me than all the other times Natsume's life's been endangered.

(3) The exorcism he performed. It's about goddamn time this kid powered up. So far (Seasons 1 and 2), all he's been doing has been running around town having goof-off adventures with ghosts. That's cute and all, but part of the reason Natsume Reiko is infinitely more fascinating than her grandson is the mystery surrounding her power level. Certain actions, like defeating Madara and other high-level youkai, suggest that Reiko was exceedingly powerful. One gets the impression that she knew how to exorcise, how to seal, etc. even though we hadn't really seen it before today's episode iirc. Yet in this episode, sure enough she's shown in a flashback sequence constructing an exorcism circle and totally blasting that baddie to kingdom come. (Unfortunately, it didn't quite work? ^^; I mean, considering he came back 50 years later alive and well ... In-universe, they explained that Reiko had merely scared him away. I guess that's what she did? ^^; ) Anyway, Natsume Takashi sees Reiko's exorcism circle in the flashback and, using that visual imprint, he's able to recreate the circle and exorcise the youkai yet again. This is badass. This is analogous, even if it's a lot less GAR ^^;, to when Emiya Shirou looked inside of Ilya's mind in Heaven's Feel and recreated the Gem Sword of Zelretch after seeing the original inside her mind. Same concept, same level of awesomeness. So like ... yeah. I'm really hoping to see Natsume STEP IT UP from here on out! Please tell me the fluffy-wuffy stuff isn't going to comprise 90%+ of the next two seasons. Please tell me we're going to see an actual plot begin to develop!

(4) The ramifications of the exorcism. Namely, he destroyed his bedroom and his guardians found out pretty damn quickly. Yuki's played up in the past how Natsume is so afraid to tell his foster parents the truth about him ... except she hasn't? 'Cause Natsume really has been overly concerned about it these past few episodes? I guess my own expectations were just played up then. Because originally, I expected that they were going to be concerned about what was going on and he was going to be tormented about telling them. Well, he is tormented, so that's where she got that part from, but the parents don't seem phased at all. Both Touko and Shigeru have told Natsume, verbatim, "this is your [permanent] home now." It's not like there's any suspense waiting for me, the viewer, with regards to whether they're going to formally adopt Natsume or not. The only reason they have to not adopt him at this point is the fact that he's very nearly an adult and so there's not much point in it. But symbolically, it can mean all the world to the boy. And surely they recognize this. I expect a formal adoption either by the end of this season or else some time in Season 3. Would be shocked if he's still not adopted by Season 4, but again, it doesn't really matter anyway. Formally adopted or not, he's de facto adopted.

Episode 24:

What's this? Two episodes in a row that I'm going to call "great" and not complain about? What is this madness!?

Natori episodes are good. Natsume Reiko episodes are better. But a Natori episode with a dash of Reiko in it? The introduction of a new villain? Natsume learning more about exorcisms and sealings? This is the best!

Spoiler: show
Seeing that crow die was like watching a certain someone get her head bitten off in Madoka. I was like, "Awwwwww. " She was like, "Help me... ;.;" and then *CHOMPED*.

Natori is so untrustworthy it's ridiculous. Hiiragi is nice. And you want to like Natori too. But I swear to God, the man has always got these ulterior motives when it comes to Natsume. Why can't you just be a genuinely good onii-chan role model for Natsume? >_> However, in this episode, he was much more ally than enemy and it was pretty cool to see him helping Natsume develop his exorcism skills ... even if he let escape a few grumbly mumbly bits of envy here or there.

Don't remember the old woman's name right now, but man, what a villain! You knew she wasn't trustworthy just because Natsume is so naive and so when the anime made a pointed point of having him close his eyes and internal monologue-ly ask himself, "Is it okay to trust people?", you knew this was setting up for betrayal. And yet ... and yet that stated, I still didn't see the betrayal coming when it actually came. XD At the moment it actually happened, when she summoned the sealed flask to her hands and "mwa ha ha ha, gotcha, suckers "'d at Natori and Natsume, I was just speechless. What was cool was to see Natori inviting Natsume to leave the party with him rather than bidding Natsume to go back inside. It showed that Natori felt just as betrayed by this woman as Natsume did. In previous encounters, Natsume's been portrayed as the goody-goody who wants to give bad guys a second chance while Natori's been portrayed as the cynical antihero who exorcises them mercilessly. I think he probably would have wanted to exorcise this one too. But in this particular episode, that kind of behavior would have felt good / justified / noble. It's interesting how the writers were able to pull that off, partly by getting the viewer to hate the youkai so much (with the crow-eating scene) and partly by getting the viewer's hate to land upon an even more vile opponent (the old woman, who rather than be goody-goody to the youkai, and rather than euthanise the youkai, has every intention of breaking it to her will, making it serve under her, and then casting it aside once she finds a superior servant).

Thank goodness Madara didn't get sucked into the sealing flask too! @[email protected] I was worried about that very thing myself when I saw the hands reaching up out of the flask and into the sky towards the two fighting youkai. Definitely noticed Madara ducking out of the way, just barely. And so I appreciated the joke when Nyanko-sensei berated Natsume and Natori for hastily activating the seal and not giving him (Madara) proper warning. But wow! Once the plot twist was revealed, it became all the more important that they had not sealed Madara too! 'Cause what if they had? I don't think Natsume would have been able to get Madara back. At least not right away. He left the yuujinchou safely back at home, so he'd need to fetch it before he could summon that one horse spirit. And I don't think any of Natori's servants would have been a match for that old woman's. So yeah. It looks like Natsume and Nyanko-sensei are going to have to watch their backs. That old devil might have her eyes set on Nyanko-sensei next!

The end of the episode was quite the surprising cliffhanger. I had completely forgotten about the axe-murderer and/or I had just assumed that the youkai that threw the axe at Natsume was the same youkai who'd shown up in Episode 23. Man, after being boring for so long ...

Yuki:
Talon: Hey, it has been.
Yuki: Says you. XP~~~


... well, after for so long being not exactly the world's most exciting show , things look like they're finally starting to pick up for this franchise. Maybe. Possibly.

The quality of those last two episodes juuuuuuuuuuust barely promotes Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou from a "6 - Fair" to a "7 - Good" on MyAnimeList. I hope the author keeps it up. Not holding my breath, of course, but ...

*sees sneak peek for Episode 25*

TAKI!
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:35 PM   #50
lilbluecorsola
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Didn't reply to episode 21 since I wanted to keep one of your posts in between mine next Monday, but can't resist this content. XP

Just one question: Did you recognize the mermaid's voice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Episode 22:

Spoiler: show
Not sure if this was an anime-only touch-up or if it was in the manga too, but the look Touko gave Natsume seemed very knowing.
This was an animé-only touch-up, and a very clever one. Also clever of you for spotting it, how'd you figure? =.

I was also confused about the ending to this episode. Watched it again last night myself, and... Yeah, I still don't get it. ^^; Guess it's meant to be ambiguous? I'd assume they did end up happily ever after though, can't think of any other explanation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Episode 23:

Wow. This was a great episode! Of course, it figures it would be: it's a Natsume Reiko episode, so you know it's bound to be good. And of course it is. Totally.

Spoiler: show
I mean, one way or the other, you guys have to have a connection to the Natsume family, right? Because you wouldn't have received Takashi as a ward otherwise, right? So even if it's not you, Shigeru, and it's your wife Touko who knew the Natsumes, shouldn't that be enough to get you to realize/remember that the girl you knew as a kid was none other than Natsume Takashi's grandmother?

Yuki's played up in the past how Natsume is so afraid to tell his foster parents the truth about him ... except she hasn't? 'Cause Natsume really has been overly concerned about it these past few episodes? I guess my own expectations were just played up then. Because originally, I expected that they were going to be concerned about what was going on and he was going to be tormented about telling them. Well, he is tormented, so that's where she got that part from, but the parents don't seem phased at all. Both Touko and Shigeru have told Natsume, verbatim, "this is your [permanent] home now." It's not like there's any suspense waiting for me, the viewer, with regards to whether they're going to formally adopt Natsume or not. The only reason they have to not adopt him at this point is the fact that he's very nearly an adult and so there's not much point in it. But symbolically, it can mean all the world to the boy. And surely they recognize this. I expect a formal adoption either by the end of this season or else some time in Season 3. Would be shocked if he's still not adopted by Season 4, but again, it doesn't really matter anyway. Formally adopted or not, he's de facto adopted.
^-^ I knew you would like it when you said you wanted Reiko development. Was greatly looking forward to your response to this. =D This is my favorite episode by far, perhaps only just beaten/tied with the finale to season three for the number of times I've re-played the latter. (Just re-watched it yesterday when I was in a bad mood to cheer up. Never fails to make me smile.) A powerful story aided by some great animation - which I imagine is part of which made the chomping and exorcism scenes so strong. Strangely different art style than usual though, I wonder why.

Spoiler: show
Touko is a distant relative of Natsume's father, which is how the Fujiawaras heard of him. This is confirmed in the second-to-late episode of S3, don't remember if it was mentioned before in either the animé or the manga. At any rate, doubtful Shigeru would've made the connection until Natsume displayed the same behavior as his grandmother.

Did I ever play up that the parents were the problem? =x Natsume admits in the finale of season one that they'd probably accept him if he told them. But aside from his own lingering lack of trust, he has another reason not to tell them which shows how considerate he is of others/little he thinks of his own worth. It was brought up by him in the manga during the Tanuma chapter (which S1's ending was based off of), but not explicitly stated in the animé until S4 - and then not by Natsume himself. His greatest fear is that once they know, they will constantly worry about him. For now, Touko laughs and brushes his clothes whenever he comes home covered in dirt, but if she knew he was being exposed to danger she'd never rest. Because they're so kind, his reasoning is that he should avoid troubling them. He wants them to always be smiling... Which in a way could be considered a bit selfish of him.

When I first saw this episode, I honestly thought he might confide in Shigeru, and was extremely frustrated when he didn't. At that point, I didn't realize the above thought process, and wouldn't have understood it either. I thought it had to do with his own insecurity, so why can't he just overcome it already? =/ Hearing him say it wasn't for his sake, but theirs, was a humbling moment in the manga that I wish had been kept. Eventually, I began to see what he meant by it. There is a chapter/episode in S4 that reinforces just how beyond the scope of normal people's imagination/protection Natsume's dealing with spirits can be. To put the Fujiwaras in a position where they feel powerless to help their only son would be sort of cruel. They could try to forbid him from going out if they're that paranoid, but because they're the type of people who would recognize and respect his wishes, they're stuck at an awkard impasse. The best they could do is provide counseling and support, and while Natsume could definitely use some of that, the question is whether it's really worth the trade-off to pass a share of his pain off onto them? Considering he's been able to handle everything on his own so far (with Madara's help, of course), I can see where he's coming from in thinking now's not the time to get these nice, innocent folks involved. Maybe once he gives back all the names, he'll come round to admitting his secret - unless another incident like in this episode's forces him to do so prematurely.


I have a Japanese question for you regarding a line of Reiko's. It's been a while so I've forgotten the specifics, but here goes:

Spoiler: show
In the current subbed version I have on hand, Reiko says "this place is the home of a child whom I favor", but Natsume notes that usually you'd say "this is my friend's house". In the manga scanlation, she says "a kid I've taken a liking to", which is similar in phrasing. However, think in the first sub that I watched online, Reiko said "this is the house of the boy that I like". I think what confuses me is that the impression I got the first time was that she was confessing her feelings for Shigeru. And then I don't remember what Natsume said in response that time, but I think it might've been different than "friend", because that sounds like a step down from "liking" somebody, and yet his comment still seemed to make sense at the time. It just had a different connotation.

Judging from the fact I've got two votes leaning towards "boy/child I happen to favor" and "friend", I'd guess that was the original intent. Just want to confirm what you hear, and I'm curious as to how CR subbed it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Episode 24:

The introduction of a new villain?

Spoiler: show
Don't remember the old woman's name right now, but man, what a villain!
I won't remind you of the woman's name given something I said earlier, but did you catch...

Spoiler: show
...how Natori introduced her as working under somebody? You ain't even met the main baddie yet. XP ^~
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