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Old 02-19-2012, 12:13 PM   #51
Talon87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YUKI.N View Post
Just one question: Did you recognize the mermaid's voice?
I did not. At the time I watched the episode, it did not stand out to me. Re-listening to it last night, there were hints of a familiar voice but nothing I could pinpoint. I was pretty sure at one point that it was the same person who voiced Horo in Wolf & Spice, but I guess that turned out to be wrong. Hirohashi Ryou? Never heard of her. Roles she's voiced that I'm familiar with include Fujibayashi Kyou (Clannad), Azumaya Koyuki (Keroro Gunsou), and Rakka (Haibane Renmei), but none of those voices really strike me as a match for the mermaid's. The mermaid sounded much more adult and gruff. Certainly the voice is different than the voice she provides for Koyuki. See sample here. Koyuki is the girl with the black-blue hair and the large pink ribbon in her hair. In the first thirty-three seconds, she talks a fair bit (first at the start, then after a bit of a pause once again at the end of that window of time), giving you a chance to hear what she sounds like. Skip ahead to 1m10s for a bit more. As you can tell for yourself, she sounds nothing like the mermaid. So I'd never have placed that in a million years. Kyou is certainly who she sounds closest to, but I'm not so sure I'd even say that those two share 90%+ the same voice. I think there are whispers of Kyou in the mermaid (and vice-versa) but that's about it. If you were able to sound-match the two just by watching the show, then good call!

In other news, I think I may have identified a subliminal reason why I love Taki Tooru so much (in addition to all the other deserving reasons): she's voiced by none other than Satou Rina, a.k.a. the voice of Minami Haruka. Didn't notice it for myself while watching Natsume Yuujinchou, but now that I've found it out, I can certainly hear it if I make the effort to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YUKI.N View Post
This was an animé-only touch-up, and a very clever one. Also clever of you for spotting it, how'd you figure? =.
I dunno. I'm just very good with faces. No, but in all seriousness, I thought the eyes said it all. Eyes are the most expressive part of the human body (imo) and if a good animator is given control over them then he can tell you exactly what you need to know. I can't tell you what exactly it is that Touko knew -- does she know that Natsume is suffering all on his own? Does she more specifically know that Natsume can see ghosts and is keeping this a secret from his new guardians? Has she seen what the burden of being a spirit-seer can be on people? (Reiko? Takashi's mother? Someone else?) Was Toukou herself once able to see spirits? -- I mean, there's a million and one possibilities, some outlandish and dumb, others sensible and intriguing, and I have no way of knowing which is what the look signified and which are not. But I just ... saw that look and thought that it was a very, very knowing look. *shrug*

Quote:
Originally Posted by YUKI.N View Post
^-^ 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.
I enjoyed it a lot, but I don't think it beats out the fox spirit episodes from Season 1, the Tsubame episode from Season 1, or even Episode 24 which followed it. It may tie with them or weigh in slightly beneath them, but it doesn't beat them for me. To do that, it would have needed to give me even more Reiko development. For any other series, the amount she was developed in this episode would be considered par or subpar. It's only because Natsume Yuujinchou practically starves us when it comes to knowing about Natsume Reiko that even the tiniest morsels are gobbled up by us so ravenously. ^^; Nonetheless, it was a good episode for a variety of reasons. Good to see Reiko development, good to see Takashi development, good to see Takashi kicking ass, good to see one of the just plain bad spirits that are so rare in the Natsume Yuujinchou universe, etc. I didn't really notice any animation changes whatsoever, but I guess what you're saying about the way the monster was animated as it tried to devour Natsume may be correct. That being so visceral in the animation may have elicited a more visceral response out of me as a viewer. In any event, if the series were to always be Fox Spirit, Taki, 23, and 24, I would be a ridiculously happy camper. But I know better than to expect that, so ... ^^;

Quote:
Originally Posted by YUKI.N View Post
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.
Read all this. Nothing really to say in response though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YUKI.N View Post
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.
What I hear: ここはあたしの...御気に入る子の家なんだから。
Romaji: Koko wa atashi no ... o ki ni iru ko no ie nandakara.
Translation (lit.): Because this [place] is my ... kid I've taken an interest in's home.
Translation (gen.): Because this is ... the home of a boy I've taken an interest in.

In the CrunchyRoll version, she says "This is where the boy I like lives."

Now, keep listening to the episode. At 18m00s, you'll hear Nyanko-sensei use the exact same verb to describe the ghost, Karime. (Listen for ki ni itta ie no mono, or "the people in the house he's taken an interest in.") Just like in English, "to take an interest in" in Japanese is full of ambiguity. It could mean "to fancy," it could also mean "to be curious about," it could also mean "to be pleased with." There's no romantic implications definitively in it ... but neither are there not. It's dead neutral, either side could argue it either way. Just like in English if I were to say "I'm interested in Megu," you don't know whether that means I fancy her or whether I'm curious about her and her abilities or whether it means that I do like her but aromantically -- not without more context to inform you, anyway.

CR's translation is fine. It's a little cheeky -- before you asked, even I had smiled to myself and kinda rolled my eyes at them for going with such a leading English translation that'd get fangirls to ship Reiko x Shigeru -- but it's really not bad. To say "she likes him" is definitely right. The problem is, their translation then makes Natsume's follow-up where he says, "Reiko, normally you wouldn't say that about a friend, " get lost in translation. IMO, they probably should have just translated it literally as "the boy I've taken an interest in" / "the boy I'm interested in," let the fans squabble over what that might mean from there, and then it would have made Natsume's line make more sense. Because it'd be the very same attitude he'd have had in English: "Grandma, normally you don't describe your friends as being people you have taken an interest in. "

In fact, to me, rather than romance, the direction I would probably fan-run with Reiko's line is that she's saying she's taken an interest in him sort of like property or like a surrogate little brother. That he's one of the very few humans whom she's ever liked and who's ever liked her back, so she's interested in him, has a reason to fight for his happiness, and won't let anything jeopardize that. This is no more romantic than it would be if Takashi were to have used the same verb to describe his feelings towards Shigeru and Touko. Or if Madara were to use the word (and I bet he very probably has ) to in describing Natsume. But I'll repeat: it almost has an air of "this is my property, and I won't let you have it" when Reiko chooses those words. Again: fan girls could then speculate that a girl who lays dibs to a guy as her property is claiming him romantically, but I think you and I both know that there are plenty of other circumstances under which a person may lay claim to another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YUKI.N View Post
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 ^~
Yeah, I did. I don't remember the name of the family, only that it starts with the letter M. I imagine it'll come up again in a Reiko flashback. Presumably they're an important clan in this neck of the woods and have been since or before Natsume Reiko's time.
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:24 PM   #52
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Looks like I'm gonna have to double-post again on Monday anyway, dangit. XP

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Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
I dunno. I'm just very good with faces. No, but in all seriousness, I thought the eyes said it all. Eyes are the most expressive part of the human body (imo) and if a good animator is given control over them then he can tell you exactly what you need to know. I can't tell you what exactly it is that Touko knew -- does she know that Natsume is suffering all on his own? Does she more specifically know that Natsume can see ghosts and is keeping this a secret from his new guardians? Has she seen what the burden of being a spirit-seer can be on people? (Reiko? Takashi's mother? Someone else?) Was Toukou herself once able to see spirits? -- I mean, there's a million and one possibilities, some outlandish and dumb, others sensible and intriguing, and I have no way of knowing which is what the look signified and which are not. But I just ... saw that look and thought that it was a very, very knowing look. *shrug*
To clarify, I wasnt zeroing in on the look necessarily. I just meant that pretty much the whole comparison between Natsume and Miya was fabricated for the show. It was very clever of the studio to make that connection of "not being able to tell loved ones your secrets" and run with it.

Whether Toukou does know something is hard to say. Seems impossible after a while that she'd really not recognize any strange signs though...

This is a bit of tangent, but here's a theory that's been gnawing at me for a while:

Spoiler: show
To be honest, I find Toukou's motherly doting almost a little overbearing at times. Like she's desperate to win Natsume's affection. Maybe she's just nervous because she's never had kids before, but... I dunno. I can't shake this anxiety that there may be a deeper reason to her actions, that she does know more than she's letting on. Maybe not even spirit-related, but perhaps she feels she owes something to Natsume's father/family. I really want to believe that the Fujiwaras are simply kind folks who took Natsume in out of the goodness of their hearts, but I have my concerns - especially given an episode in S3. Maybe Natsume's not the only one keeping secrets in this household...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
I didn't really notice any animation changes whatsoever, but I guess what you're saying about the way the monster was animated as it tried to devour Natsume may be correct. That being so visceral in the animation may have elicited a more visceral response out of me as a viewer.
The hair and faces were often off-model throughout this episode for some reason. ...To be honest, I thought the chomping scene looked kinda silly when I first saw it, since the monster was clearly chewing but Natsume wasn't hurt at all. XP He was just sort of rolling around in its mouth. ^^;
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:11 PM   #53
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I of course haven't seen the relevant S3 episode, so I don't know, but here's a possibility I'd throw out there given what you've said:

Spoiler: show
Maybe Touko and Shigeru had a child. And this child died for some reason. (Spiritually-related or not, shouldn't matter.)

To be honest, though, I haven't gotten the overbearing impression at all. (Not through where I am, anyway.) Touko strikes me ...

Spoiler: show
... more as a woman who is delighted to finally have a child of her own, rather than a woman who is treating Takashi as a replacement for her lost son. And as a woman who is doting normally on a newfound son, and as a woman who has always wanted one but never got to have one, than as a woman who is doting excessively on Takashi.

I mean, I haven't seen all that you've seen, but these are just my impressions from Episodes 01 thru 24. But like I said ... if you're right about her being overbearing, then the theory that I've provided in Spoiler Box #1 would be my leading theory.

Yuki: Urge to reply ... must ... resist! Mustn't ... post ... before ... Monday's post! X_x

It's fun to have someone who engages you in discussion about a show you really enjoy, isn't it? ^_-

Last edited by Talon87; 02-19-2012 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:15 PM   #54
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Episode 08:

This was a nice enough episode.

Spoiler: show
The framing setup of the backstory felt rather awkward and obvious. "Well, cat, looks like you and I are stuck together. I know, why don't I tell a story to pass the time?" That being said, the story itself was all right. Given that Talon just reinforced how ebil Nanase is in her introduction (and knowing this story doesn't take place in the manga), I find it hard to sympathize with her character just yet.

Suppose it's just a little confusing how, having met such a kind youkai in her past, she could still turn out to despise them. Or rather, treat them as objects. I guess her stance is similar to Natori's though. Just perform your job, your "karma" (according to the subs), and not think too hard about making distinctions. After all, he was also a nice boy once who took time to bandage a youkai's hand, but grew into a cynic. That is, until he met Natsume. Perhaps it's a trend in exorcist families to raise the kids to be mercenaries and not ask questions.

I did like the story behind MAGATAMA~ Mikage. The animé writers' ingenuity is commendable when it comes to creating original types of youkai. Very interesting to meet a shiki who carries on his master's duty by sealing youkai using his own body.

I was half hoping expecting a grim twist at the end where it turned out the friend the black-winged youkai sought to release was the one trying to eat Nanase. ^^; Would've been pretty epic if she appeared then to seal (both of them) again with ease, and chide Natsume for his naiveté, reaffirming her pessimistic position.


Who knows. Maybe I'm just the biggest skeptic. XP Oh, well. Fluffy happy endings are nice too~

Next week's preview:

Ah, had a feeling it would be the moon-splitting festival. I know a lot of people have been looking forward to to this arc, but I guess once again I'm the odd one out, since this story never really captivated my attention in the manga. >.>; Even tried reading it again the other day, and still zoned out a few pages in. x.X Here's hoping seeing it animated will keep me fully engaged. =x

Still, I'd rather it only be one episode. ^^; Would actually prefer to trim some fat here if it means getting more plot-relevant content, such as - dare I say it - the next Matoba arc? *dodges bullets* What? This one was actually interesting, and today's episode was a perfect lead-in.

At least next week is sure to bring us the infamous "I'm not fabulous because I want to be!" line (the only memorable part of the chapter for me *shot*), assuming the subbers are in on it. XP

...

MAGATAMA~
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:38 AM   #55
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Zzzz...

Nyanko-sensei has the right idea, practically remaining comatose through most of the episode. The beginning was handled well and perked me up a little, but after that it just kinda went back to snoozeville.

Spoiler: show
I really liked how the exorcism request scene clearly portrayed Natori's growing hesitation about his job. The manga was much less overt. I felt quite bad for him at the moment he realized what the man was actually asking of him. Even without Natsume's presence to influence him, some of the boy's humanitarian philosophy must've rubbed off on Natori, making him start to question his own motives. He probably feels caught and confused since being an exorcist is what he was raised for, therefore it's all he really knows. Acting is obviously just a side gig, it's this which consumes his life. (Even in private as a later arc will tell - I wish we could've gotten to it this season, but it doesn't seem likely given the time remaining. =/)

Come to think of it, Natori reminds me of a certain other FABULOUS bishounen whose life is constantly domineered by outside forces...

Sir Suave's visible shocked reaction to "TOMORROW?!" was rather amusing as well. His face wasn't shown in the manga during that dialogue. XP To see Itsuki taken aback like that, just once... *shakes fist at his pretty smiling face*

Speaking of FABULOUSNESS, the only other scene I was looking forward to was... Slightly underwhelming, though I'm not sure whether it's due to the delivery or the subs. I anticipated the translation to be a bit different, but it was still disappointing.

After that, things were pretty ho-hum. I don't know what to write or why, it just didn't interest me. I feel like the mutually protective interaction between Hiiragi and Natsume has been covered already, arm charm included. Strange how it was nonchalantly brought up as if it never had been done before. Did they block that embarrassment from memory? XP Yet I guess Hiiragi did remember since she demanded for his arm first, so maybe they just tacitly agreed not to mention it again. It was cute how Natsume offered to draw it for her this time too.

As I said, I enjoyed the key development of Natori in this story, but after the first instance it was pretty much just restating the obvious. Hiiragi doesn't even have to point out that he's growing softer like Natsume. Anyone with eyes can see it.

The animé writers couldn't even seem to figure out something amusing to do with Nyanko-sensei again so he just served as dead weight. I feel like the poor studio is trying too hard to force the fat cat funny at this point.


I dunno what it is about this plot. It's supposed to be super-epic and exciting, but it puts me to sleep. I just can't seem to get into it. *sigh* Up until the end it appeared it might not be a two-parter either, but alas.

...Can't believe I'm saying this, but ______, get your evil sexy ass back here already and cause some trouble to liven things up. I'd rather hear more of your story than more of this, sorry Natori. =/ (Or rather, sorry to Natsume and Nyanko-sensei, for once. o.o; The pair was the dullest part of the episode IMO. ^^; )

...

TOMORROW?!

P.S. I saw the draft you did of Honey's drawing in your Natsume folder in Photobucket, Talon. ^~ Thanks for thinking of me~
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:06 PM   #56
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Okay, not yet, but I assure you I will be saying those words soon.

IT'S HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERE!

Oh gosh oh gosh oh gosh. I have no words to even describe. And it's only going to get worse with the next two episodes. ;;

Ah. Before that, episode 10. Uh, the arc ended. Yay. NOW BACK TO DISCUSSING FEEEEEEELINGS~

Spoiler: show
As soon as the episode opened with a shot of gorgeous cherry blossoms, I just had a good feeling. The quality and care put into this arc would not disappoint.

Ooh, the camera makes an early entrance. D'aw at Shigeru playing around with it, capturing Natsume's good side~

...Is it just me, or has Natsume gotten a bit taller? He certainly seemed to tower slightly in comparison when he sat down to eat with Touko and Shigeru. There was a shot of Touko obviously looking up at Natsume with sad eyes too. She's always been shorter than him, but here she almost appeared more... "Girlish", for lack of a better descriptor - even disregarding the height difference. The animation did seem a little off in places - not less by any means - but different enough to be distracting, similar to episode 10 of season two.

Then again, perhaps the staff saw fit to demonstrate Natsume really did experience a growth spurt over the winter. It might not just be him either. Hard to tell when they're in a group, but all the kids looked a little more mature (compared to their new designs as of S3 at least). Not just by height but also expressions and choice of clothes. On that note, how nice it was to see Taki again. And with Sasada too this time, no less! "I don't see you two together often", indeed. Lol at Nishimura's shocked face when Taki ran after Nyanko. I lost... To a cat? D8

That being said, I'm so pleased to see how even though the gang is growing older, they're all able to joke and play with each other freely like kids, including Tanuma. Especially Tanuma, since as Sasada observed in the finale of S3 he always seemed a bit aloof, so it's nice to know he can be sociable with others too. He must also feel relaxed and comfortable enough in the Fujiwaras' house to snoop around ask them directly about issues regarding Natsume. Though the phone call was clearly a sensitive matter, Tanuma doesn't seem to think he's overstepping bounds in the two's relationship by eavesdropping asking about it.

I was half-surprised he even followed Nishimura's lead to poke into Natsume's closet haha~ Knowing Nishimura, I expected him to automatically assume Natsume was hiding porn mags (which he might well have been thinking by how his face lit up). ^^; This made it funnier when Tanuma actually found one in the woods later and seemed indifferent. XP

This scene being an animé-only insert, my first thought was that they'd actually prematurely stumble upon the memoir box (only to realize the box was off to the side in plain view the whole time, which I guess goes to show they do respect the privacy of something clearly labeled "Takashi's things)". But wow, what a cute surprise to find all those photos of Natsume and his friends pasted on the back of the door. Perfect place to reference the "surrounded by warm people" feeling that was prevalent in S3.


Before the episode aired I was beginning to think this arc should have rounded off S3 instead since it suited the overall theme so well, but this is fine too. I was also anticipating whether or not the whole arc would only last two episodes, and if so what could possibly fill up the final slot. Since the OP suggested they'd use the Kitamoto/Nishimura backstory chapter at some point, was half-wondering if they'd really potentially end the series with it, ha. But no, the preview seems to indicate each chapter of the arc will indeed get its own episode. Which is good, wouldn't want them to rush this. But oh gosh, that also means the pain will be prolonged. Ung, I don't know if my poor heart can take it.

Not much else to say about the episode, it really speaks for itself. Just want to comment on how much I admired...

Spoiler: show
How the flashback in the woods was handled, and Natsume's desperate efforts to run away from the memories. T-T Bawwwwwww


Just this morning I discovered one of the other songs on the OP single is a beautiful ballad, and was blown away. The lead singer does have a rather strong stand-alone voice, I liked the sound of his solo at 0:12 of the full OP. The rest of it is so nasally though, especially when combined with the other guy I didn't bother to download the album yet... But I'm definitely going to have to get it now.

Upon reading a rough translation to the lyrics of the former song (spoiler tagged below), I near broke down at how perfectly it fits Natsume's situation right now. ...Okay fine, it's apparently about the Little Mermaid, which becomes more and more obvious as I re-read them. ^^; Better than that other "Ningyo Hime" though. *cough* Still, I half hope/dread they may play this song during the finale. If they do, I... I... Swear I will not start sobbing uncontrollably. T______T

Spoiler: show
So much I could start hating my destiny,
My chest helplessly hurts
Memories are such hazy things,
But I don’t think there’s any way I could forget you.

I can’t breathe well
It seems it’s sunk deep, deep

In the deep sea that no one’s voice can reach
I count my heartbeats ticking away
If I can meet you by losing my voice,
I’ll give it up right away

I’ve completely lost my way
The world in front of me is so bright I can’t see well
Feeling my way, I walk on the edge of a cliff,
Pretending the blue sky is the sea

I can’t go back
Can we always, always be together?

If I could convey these feelings through words,
I’d like you to know the truth
Even if I feel a pain like being stabbed by a knife,
I’ll walk with you

That by betraying you I could stay alive
If I did that, having wanted you would lose its meaning
Even if I disappear quietly in foam,
It’s all right

Holding the shell of my feelings against my chest


*deep breath* Okay, I think writing this post has made me recover enough to watch Another. >.>; <.<;

...

...

BAWWWWWWW
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:13 PM   #57
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Haven't made any progress, of course, but just reading the first few and the last few sentences of this post, you've got me wondering if something crazy-bad happened like ...

(pure speculation)
Spoiler: show
... Nyanko-sensei dying, one of Natsume's guardians dying, one of Natsume's school friends dying ... basically SOMEBODY DYING.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:48 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Haven't made any progress, of course, but just reading the first few and the last few sentences of this post, you've got me wondering if something crazy-bad happened like ...

(pure speculation)
Spoiler: show
... Nyanko-sensei dying, one of Natsume's guardians dying, one of Natsume's school friends dying ... basically SOMEBODY DYING.
Goodness no. ^^; I emphasized "feelings", not "tragedy". That'd be terrible. =< Besides, can you even imagine such a thing happening with this series? XP It just takes what we've seen so far... And multiplies it. Actually, it is a new direction that's never even so much as been hinted at before, which is why it's such a welcome development. Er, let me try and put it this way... Natsume's level of woobieness skyrockets tenfold during this arc.

You can probably tell by the tone of my posts I'm half-exaggerrating the fangirl spazziness. But it is one of the best and most heartbreaking stories of the series - depending on how much you care about the protagonist.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:39 AM   #59
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Tadaima.

It's been over a week and everything's already a blur, but it's time to finally put this review to rest.

First things first: I didn't cry. At least not during the finale. Like how Talon described Another, it was... Purely cerebral in its sadness. So it's not that I've needed time to recover or sort out my feelings when it seemed like there weren't many to begin with. Though perhaps that conflict is what confused me, seeing as whenever I stared at screencaps afterwards, mulling over memories... Just the thought of it puts a pang in my gut. Something pricks at my eyes, though I'm not sure what I'm feeling for exactly. Sadness at the knowledge that the animé is over? A deeper latent sense of sympathy for Natsume's pain? Most likely a combination of the two.

With that, I haven't much to say about the last two episodes. It's a sobering and simple story, as with all of Natsume's adventures - much of its effect doesn't rely on words, and can't be described as such. It's the subtle gestures that make the magic. Not tragic, but, well... You'll just have to watch and decide what, or how much, it means for your own self.

Episode 12:

An intermission episode, basically. Personally, I don't feel particularly strong overall about the girl character one way or the other, grown-up or as a child. Her actions are understandable, I feel. Only major comment I have to say is...

Spoiler: show
I'm disappointed they removed the line about the house being free of bugs. Don't see why they decided they couldn't have done with that bit of extra foreshadowing.


Episode 13:

What can I say but...

Spoiler: show

Welcome home, Natsume.

The part that really got me was Nyanko's discovery of child Natsume's family portrait... On the back of the closet door. The same place where he still puts all his treasured photos. The revelation that the animé did that careul placement on purpose touched me. I had completely forgotten where the drawing was in the original house.

The second addition they did to this scene of having Natsume sob openly on the front porch, I'm not sure how to feel about. ...Well, it's not really an addition, since I just checked the manga and it's clear Natsume was crying there too from the previous panel. The purposeful long pause of a still, full-page spread seemed more... Peaceful though. Like he was calm enough to finally come to terms with his past, putting it to rest as he fell asleep. Hearing his audible sniffles and seeing shudders was impacting in a different way.

And of course I was happy to see all of Natsume's friends, human and youkai alike, make it to the soda tasting party at the end. Lol @ how Taki made it sound like she was waiting for Natsume and was about to embrace him. There's your shiptease, Talon. ^~


For Natsume it's been such a long journey, my time with him in comparison seems like the blink of an eye. Waiting for news of season 5 will be agony, though I'm sure it's been harder on fans who've followed this series from the beginning. Still, I've greatly appreciated getting to know Natsume and his friends over the course of a few months, and look forward to the day we meet again here. In the meantime, I shall continue watching over this series in another time, another place. (Raws for the latest manga chapter are just out, in fact, and I hear there's some very interesting Reiko development...)

The Book of Friends closes on another chapter, for now.

...

Sayonara, my friends.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:22 PM   #60
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On a random whim, I decided to watch Episode 25. As the ending credits roll right now, I'm left wondering how I burn out on this series so easily. Episode 25 was a really solid episode for this series. Why is it so hard for me to like Natsume Yuujinchou more? I don't know. But this was a wonderful episode filled with excitement and fan service and everything.

Spoiler: show
The episode toyed with us but in what I consider a pretty fair way. No one said we had to agree with Natsume's train of thought but typically when the main character declares something as fact you just go along with it. So when Natsume initially suspected that Kai might have been a youkai but then realized that he was a student, you didn't question it. And when you thought to yourself, "Well, Kai obviously can see youkai," but then later Natsume rules that theory out when Kai doesn't seem to notice their cleaver stalker, you didn't question it. So it was kind of like a mountain of progression:


(click me)

'Cause I pretty much fell for it hook, line, and sinker when Natsume said "he's just a regular boy" that he was a regular boy. When he was watching Natsume from school, sure, I thought it was kinda odd, but I told myself "Maybe he had a half-day or something. Or maybe he just skipped school so he could spy on Natsume. Who knows." It didn't occur to me that Natsume might have been wrong about everything. So when they revealed that Kai could in fact see the youkai with the cleaver, I was surprised; and then when Natori revealed that Kai was in fact a youkai, I was surprised yet again! (I had been thinking that Natori was chasing after Kai because he wanted a pupil, sort of like how he offered Natsume the same role, and -- for whatever reasons, I have no idea! -- he locked the boy in a chest.) It's really too bad for Natsume that he keeps thinking he's found someone else like him and he keeps getting burned! ^^;

his guy friend - like him but has way weaker powers and so no, not quite like him at all really
Natori - same powers as Natsume but not like him; exorcises youkai rather than befriending them or leaving them be; kind of an ethically neutral character in this series
Taki - like him except the descendant of exorcists and has really weak powers, so if anything, she's more like a weaker version of Natori with a purer heart ^^;

And now we have Kai, who Natsume thought was basically a younger version of him except with a happier childhood. And it turns out that, no, this is basically your experience with the swingset youkai woman all over again. ^^;

But enough about that. What else did I like about this episode?

First off, TAKIIIIIII! ^_____^ This was more or less another Taki episode and it was glorious. So many Taki cameos or joke-references with her and her obsession with Nyanko-sensei. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I also loved how they toyed with the idea that what's-her-face has a crush on Natsume, that so does Taki, and so Taki shows up and leads what's-her-face away. And what's-her-face is all "BUT I WANNA BE WITH NATSUME~! >_<" And the two boys (Natsume and Madara) suspect nothing about Taki's motives, instead believing that she did this so that Natsume could make a clean getaway. (Uhhh ... ) I know this is not that kind of a series, but good God do I wish that it were the kind of series that really builds up people's interpersonal relationships. Because good Lord would I like to see Natsume and Taki become boyfriend and girlfriend. Anyway ...

Second off, NYANKO-SENSEI! This was an excellent episode both for his silly Nyanko side and for his badass Madara side. I loved the part where he kept repeating the word bimyou over and over again, stressing to Natsume how what appears to be Madara liking the boy is really a more complicated issue. But yeah, he had good moments throughout.

Looking forward to watching 26. Let's see how far I can get this time before, pleasurable series though this has always been, I burn out once again. ^_^; (I really have no idea why it happens, especially after seeing an episode like this one.)
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:11 PM   #61
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On a random whim, I decided to watch Episode 25.
Somehow I had a feeling you might be whimming for more Natsume soon. ^~ Was it because of my AB post? XD

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Spoiler: show
The episode toyed with us but in what I consider a pretty fair way. No one said we had to agree with Natsume's train of thought but typically when the main character declares something as fact you just go along with it. So when Natsume initially suspected that Kai might have been a youkai but then realized that he was a student, you didn't question it. And when you thought to yourself, "Well, Kai obviously can see youkai," but then later Natsume rules that theory out when Kai doesn't seem to notice their cleaver stalker, you didn't question it.
It's been a while, so I loaded up the episode to refresh my memory on some of the events, and randomly skipped to the scene where the kids were defending Kai against Natsume. I never realized this before, but...

Spoiler: show
Immediately after Nyanko-sensei bristles from being called "ugly" and opens his mouth to retort, Kai is shown on the wall looking on the scene with an awed expression. It stands to reason that if he can see/is a youkai, he would be able to understand Nyanko-sensei. So it's at this moment that Kai himself realizes there's something special about Natsume too.


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It's really too bad for Natsume that he keeps thinking he's found someone else like him and he keeps getting burned! ^^;
Sad, innit?

Spoiler: show
It does sure seem like every other person who has strong spiritual powers gets sucked into the exorcism business. Even Reiko could be considered a bad guy sometimes depending on your view, as you once pointed out. She certainly wasn't adverse to resorting to more advanced techniques of ridding a youkai. On the other hand, Natsume might just be a little too pure and naďve for his own good, as you've also observed.

Funny. Humans always warn him not to open his heart up too much to youkai or he'll get hurt, but the same thing often seems to happen when he trusts the exorcists...


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But enough about that. What else did I like about this episode?

Spoiler: show
First off, TAKIIIIIII! ^_____^ This was more or less another Taki episode and it was glorious. So many Taki cameos or joke-references with her and her obsession with Nyanko-sensei. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I also loved how they toyed with the idea that what's-her-face has a crush on Natsume, that so does Taki, and so Taki shows up and leads what's-her-face away. And what's-her-face is all "BUT I WANNA BE WITH NATSUME~! >_<" And the two boys (Natsume and Madara) suspect nothing about Taki's motives, instead believing that she did this so that Natsume could make a clean getaway. (Uhhh ... ) I know this is not that kind of a series, but good God do I wish that it were the kind of series that really builds up people's interpersonal relationships. Because good Lord would I like to see Natsume and Taki become boyfriend and girlfriend.
Ha, I didn't get that impression at all.

Talon: You're as dense as Natsume! >_<

I still believe Taki's intentions in leading Sasada away were as pure as Tanuma's, but you're free to interpret it how you want. XP I also like to think Sasada's only curious about Natsume's powers, but there is a serious(ly hilarious) incidental shiptease in season four. It's animé-only though, so consider it canon if you will. ^~

And now to really whet your palate...

Spoiler: show
In the manga, when Natsume was spending time with Taki and Kai, he actually wondered to himself if he could someday fall in love with someone and have a family of his own. =O He realizes he doesn't want to be alone anymore, as he's now experienced having people precious to him who he wants to protect.


Sappy as it is, I wouldn't have minded if they kept that line in the animé too. It is a really nice thought for him to hope for, and hopefully it does come true someday. ^-^

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Looking forward to watching 26. Let's see how far I can get this time before, pleasurable series though this has always been, I burn out once again. ^_^; (I really have no idea why it happens, especially after seeing an episode like this one.)
Think you'll start season three? 83 You'll probably like the first episode. ^~
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:42 PM   #62
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Episode 26 was full of surprising developments. Though there was one thing I could count on ...

Spoiler: show
... and that's Natsume's refusal to pick between youkai and humans. XD Totally knew he'd be like that. Didn't think he'd declare it verbatim in front of Natori though!

It was sad to see Kai feel hurt and betrayed like that. It was realistic, though regrettable, that he ran off without hearing Natsume out and how he wouldn't trust Natsume once they reached the well. It was also believable to see him wanting to take a "light" revenge on Natsume by hiding the Yuujinchou ... only to then see the flower inside and be like, "Okay, fine, I won't hide it. But I'm also leaving. Good-bye, heartbreaker. " It was frustrating that they didn't manage to find Kai before the season ended -- one wonders if he'll be forgotten to time or whether he'll play a big role in a future episode -- but I certainly hope he and Natsume kiss and make up because hot damn could Natsume use an ally like Kai on his side. Any spirit who is so powerful that it can manifest as a human, fool humans into thinking it's one of them, and even fool a powerful spirit like Madara into thinking it's a real human is a damn powerful spirit.

I liked how Natori, once again showing his ethical neutrality, declared that he wouldn't continue the job once he learned that Kai was really a kami and not just some random youkai.

It was a good episode but I don't have as much to say about it as I did 25. I guess it's on to 27 now. But oh ... one last thing:

DAT FINAL SCENE.

Spoiler: show
When Natsume saw his wind chime blowing near his bedroom and nobody was there, and then afterwards the camera cuts to a view from within the bedroom and we see Natsume Reiko sitting on the windowsill ... was this just them being artistic or is this foreshadowing that Reiko became a ghost? I've wondered for a long time that since Reiko seemed to prefer the company of youkai and ayakashi and whatnot to that of humans whether she might not become a yuurei herself after she died. And I've wondered how, if Reiko did end up becoming a yuurei, what that would mean for her and Natsume should the two of them ever meet. Now the final scene of Season 2 seems to be hinting at that possibility. I'm probably just reading into things but ... still. (Though I guess I'd have to wonder: if Reiko did become a ghost and she was lingering around this town, why would Madara not have found her by now? or why wouldn't some other youkai have found her and reported what they found to others, and those others to others still, and so on and so forth until word reached Madara's ears that someone had spotted a ghost that looked an awful lot like Natsume Reiko? I guess the one saving grace against this theory is that it's already been established in this universe that, to youkai, all humans look the same: so maybe the same thing would hold true for human ghosts as well. *shrug*)

In any event, it's on to Episode 27.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:00 PM   #63
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DAT FINAL SCENE.

Spoiler: show
When Natsume saw his wind chime blowing near his bedroom and nobody was there, and then afterwards the camera cuts to a view from within the bedroom and we see Natsume Reiko sitting on the windowsill ... was this just them being artistic or is this foreshadowing that Reiko became a ghost? I've wondered for a long time that since Reiko seemed to prefer the company of youkai and ayakashi and whatnot to that of humans whether she might not become a yuurei herself after she died. And I've wondered how, if Reiko did end up becoming a yuurei, what that would mean for her and Natsume should the two of them ever meet. Now the final scene of Season 2 seems to be hinting at that possibility. I'm probably just reading into things but ... still. (Though I guess I'd have to wonder: if Reiko did become a ghost and she was lingering around this town, why would Madara not have found her by now? or why wouldn't some other youkai have found her and reported what they found to others, and those others to others still, and so on and so forth until word reached Madara's ears that someone had spotted a ghost that looked an awful lot like Natsume Reiko? I guess the one saving grace against this theory is that it's already been established in this universe that, to youkai, all humans look the same: so maybe the same thing would hold true for human ghosts as well. *shrug*)
Artistic license, unfortunately. ^^; The whole picnic wasn't in the manga. They just threw that in to make the conclusion feel more like a series/season finale. XP Still, you never know...

One other intriguing difference I found is that...

Spoiler: show
In the manga, Natsume specifically says that he wants to go see Kai in order to apologize, and muses that he's never had the experience of seeking forgiveness from a friend before. I like this promise to patch up the relationship better, as in the animé it simply sounds like he's making plans to visit for the sake of keeping in touch.
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:59 PM   #64
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Episode 27 was pretty typical. ^^; It was boring and super-mellow in places, it was mildly exciting in others, we got some marginal development for some of the main characters, and the Youkai of the Week wasn't all that interesting. Definitely a pleasant but forgettable episode. I'm surprised that they decided, after such a long hiatus, to start back up with a story like this one. But then again, this episode is so typical of the franchise overall that I suppose it would have been like candy for most Natsume Yuujinchou fans. *sigh*

One thing which has been nagging at me for so long, and the issue sort of came up in this episode, is Madara's power level. I know, I know: this isn't the sort of series where we're meant to get into power level debates. But still: I'm quite intrigued to know how it was that he was sealed and by whom and for what purpose. And I'm very curious to also know what exactly he is. Most of the gods in this series, ŕ la Kannagi, are depicted as having withered away into powerless beings due to the people of the land forgetting about them. But by that same token, we've yet to meet a youkai or kami or any sort of ayakashi which has been more powerful than Madara. And the reason I bring this up now, having just finished Episode 27, is because of the old woman and Natsume's attacker.

Spoiler: show
Natsume is quite alarmed by the old woman's power. When he notices that all Nyanko-sensei does is growl at her but doesn't actually dispense with her, he questions whether Sensei could have dealt with her at all. Nyanko-sensei explains that the old woman is a forgotten kami and thus, even though he could take her on, she'd be pretty formidable against most creatures, including humans. So then along comes Natsume's assailant and the old woman just stands there, powerless and unable to help. It's up to Madara to save the day, and save the day he does. The attacker is scared so badly by Madara's awesome power that he flees for his life. So here's the thing ...

If the old woman is supposed to be really powerful ...

And if the attacker is so powerful that the old woman can't help out ...

And if Madara is so powerful that he scares the attacker shitless ...

Then Madara must be very powerful, much more so than he lets on. I mean, sure, you could say he was being polite in describing the old woman's power level and that the reality is that she's really quite weak; but, I don't think that's the case. I think she's meant to be somewhat stronger than your run-of-the-mill youkai, that the attacker is stronger still, and that Madara is stronger than them both. So ... just what is he? I want to know! Because if he's a god, then given the age and times he must (like all the other gods) be a forgotten one; and yet, given how powerful he remains even now, it means that he must be a major deity character. More likely imo is that he isn't a kami but instead is some sort of youkai or other ayakashi -- but in that case, he's still so powerful that he borders on being a kami. That means that whoever sealed him away had to be a very powerful exorcist. Like, we're talking this (rewind to Episode 26): if Kai was so powerful that he busted Natori's traps, and if Madara is so powerful that he could take Kai on and protect Natsume from him, then yeah, Madara is already bordering on kami-like power. Indeed, we saw this in 26 when Nyanko-sensei accidentally tripped one of Natori's traps, found himself caught in it, but then when he detected Natsume was in trouble he was like, "Okay, fun time's over," transformed into his true form, and totally burst out of that trap. Meaning that an exorcist like Natori, who let's say is an average-quality exorcist (neither poor nor exceptional, let's say), is not capable of sealing Madara. Meaning you'd have to be a grade-A exorcist to do it. And so ... I am intrigued. :3 Who was that grade-A exorcist? Was it Reiko? Was it the villain woman? Was it somebody else? Questions, questions!

One last thing:

Spoiler: show
I hope that that "scar" on Reiko's face wasn't a true scar. That'd be sad for such a pretty face on such a sweet girl to be marred by a scar like that forever. One wonders how she got it. Boys throwing rocks at her seems the likeliest bet. But the episode seemed to be trying to set itself up for Reiko's "not liking" youkai. (Uhhhh... , didn't Reiko prefer the company of youkai to humans, we were told?) So who knows.

As the credits for Episode 28 just loaded up, I spotted the author's name and ... LOL, yuki, is this part of why you like this series so much? XD
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:39 PM   #65
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Episode 27 was pretty typical. ^^; It was boring and super-mellow in places, it was mildly exciting in others, we got some marginal development for some of the main characters, and the Youkai of the Week wasn't all that interesting. Definitely a pleasant but forgettable episode. I'm surprised that they decided, after such a long hiatus, to start back up with a story like this one. But then again, this episode is so typical of the franchise overall that I suppose it would have been like candy for most Natsume Yuujinchou fans. *sigh*
It's not one of the greatest of the series, but seeing as it's a Reiko ep I figured you'd be pleased. In the manga especially it could be seen as more rewarding, since the other two stories that focused on Reiko helping youkai were animé-only. Up to this point only the Shigeru chapter provided any major insight into what she was like, and then she was seemingly on the humans' side.

I think it's a good episode to start with since it re-introduces the entire concept of the Book of Friends and the importance of Natsume's grandmother, as well as his relationship with the Fujiwaras. The opening scene is fitting too since it shows just how accustomed Natsume's grown to dealing with youkai. You almost get the sense that he's grown up a bit since we last saw him (despite his more youthful appearance XP).

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One thing which has been nagging at me for so long, and the issue sort of came up in this episode, is Madara's power level.

Spoiler: show
Natsume is quite alarmed by the old woman's power. When he notices that all Nyanko-sensei does is growl at her but doesn't actually dispense with her, he questions whether Sensei could have dealt with her at all. Nyanko-sensei explains that the old woman is a forgotten kami and thus, even though he could take her on, she'd be pretty formidable against most creatures, including humans. So then along comes Natsume's assailant and the old woman just stands there, powerless and unable to help.
I sort of had more the impression that the woman - like most youkai - just wasn't of the mind to use her powers to help out a human child she just met, nice enough though she is. By chiding Nyanko for his incompetence as a bodyguard, it makes it sound like she could've taken it on, but since someone else was already assigned that role why should she step in? She's not responsible for his safety. In addition, "I thought you got eaten by it" is a pretty casual response, and quite typical in the youkai world. Even if he was eaten it probably wouldn't have bothered her that much. Much like how Misuzu would've left Natsume for dead if he couldn't fend for himself against the youkai in S1.

And besides, she herself seemed a bit clumsy and slow to react, whether due to her "old age" or what. ^^; She failed to steal a mirror from a little girl after all. XP

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As the credits for Episode 28 just loaded up, I spotted the author's name and ... LOL, yuki, is this part of why you like this series so much? XD
Are you talking about the manga author, Yuki Midorikawa? No, but it's a cute coincidence.

Speaking of, the next episode is animé-only again, and a rather weird one at that... Setting aside the main plot, I'll discuss some of the subtler implications of it afterwards.

Season three had some duller arcs IMO, but makes up for it with a few really special gems. Episode 04 is another one of my overall favorites.

Edit- Btw, forgot to say the teacup youkai is one of my favorites. <3 It's not sickeningly cute like some of the other creatures we've seen, but its intentions and actions are so earnest it's naturally endearing~
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:56 PM   #66
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"You're mine. :3" - Yuki

I forgot to talk about Episode 28 here after I saw it, though I know I did discuss it with Yuki on Skype. I actually enjoyed it more than I did 27. It's a little surprising to learn that it was a TV-only story because usually those kinds of episodes tend to be crappy in any franchise but this one was actually a pretty good episode and I never suspected that it was made for TV. (In fact, I didn't even remember Yuki telling me this until literally seconds after I told her on Skype that I'd just watched it.) Not much to say other than that I liked it. Oh, and Natsume Reiko showing up two episodes in a row certainly didn't hurt matters either.

Episode 29's what I just watched right now. Going into it, I thought I was going to dislike it. I really, really tend to hate episodes where some random kid from the protagonist's childhood shows up. But the episode surprised me with a story that had little to do with this kid being a former acquaintance of Natsume's and more with the ghost story at hand, namely ...

Spoiler: show
... that a schoolboy Natsume knows has fallen in love with a youkai who plans on devouring him.

It could have been anybody -- a no-name classmate of Natsume's, one of his friends, Tanuma or the glasses girl, even Natsume himself -- and this episode still would have been fascinating. (I omit Taki's name since I don't want her having eyes for anyone other than Natsume. ) What made it interesting wasn't who was involved but rather what they were involved with.

Spoiler: show
When Natsume handed him the letter, I thought "Wouldn't that be funny if it was just scribbles because she isn't human? " And then ... scribbles.

When Shibata then ran to Murasaki and she was like, "You shouldn't have come ..." I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if she was then like, 'rrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAWR! >3' and ate him? XD" But that of course was too unlikely, hahaha, and so did not happen.
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:16 PM   #67
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"You're mine. :3" - Yuki
Me: Yum. 83
Nyanko-sensei: YUM. *chomp*


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Episode 29's what I just watched right now. Going into it, I thought I was going to dislike it. I really, really tend to hate episodes where some random kid from the protagonist's childhood shows up. But the episode surprised me with a story that had little to do with this kid being a former acquaintance of Natsume's and more with the ghost story at hand, namely ...

Spoiler: show
... that a schoolboy Natsume knows has fallen in love with a youkai who plans on devouring him.
Surprised you didn't dislike it for that reason, considering the similarities to the firefly episode from S1. o.O;

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When Shibata then ran to Murasaki and she was like, "You shouldn't have come ..." I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if she was then like, 'rrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAWR! >3' and ate him? XD" But that of course was too unlikely, hahaha, and so did not happen.
I sort of wish something like this had happened to Natsume (not literally, but at least attempted) in an episode of S4. XD Would teach the kid another lesson about being too trusting, and actually help reinforce another character's philosophy.

One of my favorite episodes coming up next. <3 Look forward to it!
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:20 PM   #68
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I don't understand. You know that I enjoyed the firefly episode, so why would you question that I would like what you're arguing to be a similar episode? Even more confusing to me, though, is that you're comparing these two episodes. I ........ am not seeing the connection.

(Note: just because I far preferred the swallow episode doesn't mean I didn't care for the firefly episode.)
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:24 PM   #69
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I don't understand. You know that I enjoyed the firefly episode, so why would you question that I would like what you're arguing to be a similar episode? Even more confusing to me, though, is that you're comparing these two episodes. I ........ am not seeing the connection.

(Note: just because I far preferred the swallow episode doesn't mean I didn't care for the firefly episode.)
Well, because you're often harping on the series for re-hashing storylines. ^^; Here we have another human-youkai love story. I mean, I think it's different enough to be considered on its own value... But you compared the firefly episode to the swallow episode and I personally didn't see the similarity there, so I dunno. XP
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:11 PM   #70
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Those two were incredibly similar and one followed pretty closely on the heels of the other. This is either (1) different enough from them or else (2) viewed so long after the other two that I was able to enjoy it. *shrug* In any event, 27 remains the weakest episode so far for Season 3.

Just finished Episode 30. It was good. Rather different sort of story both in presentation and category than what we usually get with this show. I can see why Yuki liked it so much though :

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Chibi Natsume


I liked the spirit in this one quite a lot. It's too bad she lives so far away from where Natsume resides now since it all but guarantees we're likely to never see her again. I mean, I guess I should be grateful that this author has any recurring characters at all. XP ^^; But it sure would be nice if so many of the cute, powerful, or tragic spirits we meet weren't one-time deals.

Just started up Episode 31 and L-O-L at what was on the other side of that door. Good lord do I love Taki.
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:03 AM   #71
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Just finished Episode 30. It was good. Rather different sort of story both in presentation and category than what we usually get with this show. I can see why Yuki liked it so much though :

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Chibi Natsume
Just expanding on some specific parts I liked:

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Chibi Natsume breaking down and declaring "I hate you all!" still breaks my heart, everytime. ;___; (I don't like how the subbed version I have specifies that he's talking to youkai, since I think it's more dramatic and perhaps sadly part true if the human child interprets it as directed towards himself.) What did the poor boy do to deserve this? Nothing at all, and that's why it's so painful to see him suffer for it. It's also sad that he considers it a curse, knowing how kind he becomes because of it later.

Up to now we've heard the rumors of how kids (and adults) mistreated Natsume when he was younger, but rarely seen it firsthand. And then only from the humans' perspective. Like the swingset woman, this scene really drove home how difficult it must have been dealing with these kinds of encounters everyday. (Speaking of, now you know why I wish Natsume could also meet up with her again to make up. But alas, it's probably impossible, compared to this lucky case where he knew her true form and was in the right place.) Even youkai with good intentions end up inadvertently hurting him, just by nature of their very being. This situation was even worse since it was purely an accident with no one to blame, but the hurt emotions building up from both the human and youkai worlds colliding come spilling out anyway. Even such a little thing can seem strange enough to set off a trigger, which feeds into a vicious cycle. You'll see this later as well.

One small but curious change from the manga is that the coat the uncle gave him originally belonged to his son, who's also in grade school. The boy walking with Natsume to school then asked why he had his coat. This adds a new layer of shame and embarrassment when Natsume not only dirties the coat, but the cousin it belongs to - whom he would presumably have to face at home, as well as the doting parents' ire. Plus, I think this makes much more sense than having one of the bullies randomly take an interest in where Natsume the Liar got his new duds. Even if it was some other kid, it seems a bit out of place to introduce the potential of a new relationship, when someone who's familiar enough with Natsume to know he never wore the coat before would probably know about all the creepy rumors surrounding him and stay away. Though I suppose inopportunely cutting off the possibility of a friendship is tragic in its own way.

Speaking of changes from the manga, I was reminded while revisiting the episode that there was an addition that didn't sit well with me even when I was watching the first time, and that's Touko's story from childhood. Actually, I didn't mind the comparison to Natsume's situation for comparison's sake so much as her humiliation over it. Touko had nothing to feel sorry for; it was the other girl who was being a brat. I was hoping she'd reveal at the end that the friend was feeling just as guilty over the years, but nope. They just left it that.

This overly humbling demeanor is part of what led me to suspect if Touko might not be smothering Natsume wth affection as part of an unpaid favor to someone - whether it be his father or Reiko. Like she owes an apology for something that wasn't even her fault. At least it's animé-only so its overall bearing on canon can be taken with a grain of salt, but still. It worries me slightly.

Anyway, one other thing I enjoyed about the story that (I assume) was also in the original was Natsume's implicitly referring to all cats when small as "Nyanko". D'awwww. Then Bawwww as it's revealed why he likes cats so much: Because they're solitary creatures.

I also really liked the small touch of describing the new people taking Natsume in just by their outstanding features. It conveys a lot of things at once: How superficial they are, how even though youkai have trouble telling humans apart, even they can sense these people aren't caring, and how Natsume has gone through so many foster families that they're not even worth bothering to tell apart.

Ah, so many things I keep finding. I also enjoyed the running "joke" with the man breaking the tree branch, and the youkai's angry but gentle response to it. It's nice how the author even managed to work in a subtle message about environmentalism, in a way that's not nearly as overbearing as most Miyazaki films. XP Overall, the whole concept of an invisible entity wanting to be seen and heard, to help either through modest means at hand or directly reaching out to someone, was done quite well. It really is interesting and somewhat disheartening to view the ugliness of the world from a spirit's perspective. But like how the Fujiwaras' kindness probably saved Natsume from turning his back on society, so too did his warm smile save a truly purehearted soul from loathing humans. Hatred only begets further hurt, but love can also come full circle.


Well, I said I'd only talk about little things... But it ended up being a long post anyway, since it's the little things that make this episode (and the series overall) IMO. ^^;
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:56 AM   #72
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I paused the episode and shouted out loud when Touko said that. "I feel so guilty!" I was shouting "WHAT THE HELLLLLLLLL? " quite a few times. Touko takes Japanese humility to a whole other level. This was just absurd. You were the victim here, Touko, not the victimizer. What the hell. That girl was a total bitch to you. She should be the one haunted by this experience, not you. But I totally forgot about it by episode's end, whoops. ^_^;

The nyanko thing is a bit of a Japanese lesson. Not too long though ...

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The Japanese word for dog is 犬 inu. The Japanese word for a puppy, thus, would be 子犬 koinu. But you don't really hear people use that term very often. Instead, you'll often hear people use the term, whether for a puppy or for a tiny dog, わんちゃん wan-chan. This comes from the Japanese word for the sound a dog makes, わん/ワン wan. An English approximation might be "Barkie" or "Woofy." Less common still, but not unheard of, is for people to call a small dog or puppy わんこ/ワン子 wanko.

With cats (猫 neko), it's much more common to hear people refer to kittens as kittens, 子猫 koneko. However, what I have heard people say on rare occasion is what Natsume is doing here: applying the same unspoken rule to cats as they do to dogs and using [sound it makes]+ko as the name. So since cats make the noise にゃん/ニャン in Japanese, you get にゃんこ. See: Nyanko Burger.) It's just like wanko only with cats instead of dogs.

So while it's definitely not common to hear someone say "nyanko," it's not like it's a neologism of Natsume's. It's a pre-existing term that he apparently happens to like. *shrug*

Have to say, though, I'm not sure I've ever heard somebody say nyan-chan, so why the less common wanko gave rise to nyanko but the more common wan-chan failed to give rise to nyan-chan I have no idea.

That's interesting to learn that the coat was originally ____'s instead of ____'s. That certainly does make the original walk back home awkward. (Small gripe: you reminded me that the sub I saw translated 埃臭い hokorikusai as "dusty" but really it's "smells like dust," which I think you could appreciate from how Natsume was sniffing it as he fell asleep.)

You hit on a lot of good points. Given what you said last night, I guess you just didn't want to write up a huge post ............. but then your desire to do so overwhelmed your desire not to do so. But yeah, you clearly had a lot to say about this episode: a lot that would have gone unsaid had you never posted. So, cool that you posted.
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Old 04-14-2012, 11:38 AM   #73
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The nyanko thing is a bit of a Japanese lesson. Not too long though ...

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The Japanese word for dog is 犬 inu. The Japanese word for a puppy, thus, would be 子犬 koinu. But you don't really hear people use that term very often. Instead, you'll often hear people use the term, whether for a puppy or for a tiny dog, わんちゃん wan-chan. This comes from the Japanese word for the sound a dog makes, わん/ワン wan. An English approximation might be "Barkie" or "Woofy." Less common still, but not unheard of, is for people to call a small dog or puppy わんこ/ワン子 wanko.

With cats (猫 neko), it's much more common to hear people refer to kittens as kittens, 子猫 koneko. However, what I have heard people say on rare occasion is what Natsume is doing here: applying the same unspoken rule to cats as they do to dogs and using [sound it makes]+ko as the name. So since cats make the noise にゃん/ニャン in Japanese, you get にゃんこ. See: Nyanko Burger.) It's just like wanko only with cats instead of dogs.

So while it's definitely not common to hear someone say "nyanko," it's not like it's a neologism of Natsume's. It's a pre-existing term that he apparently happens to like. *shrug*

Have to say, though, I'm not sure I've ever heard somebody say nyan-chan, so why the less common wanko gave rise to nyanko but the more common wan-chan failed to give rise to nyan-chan I have no idea.
Oh, I figured it was a pre-existing term. In my mind I translate it as "Meow-meow", although I suppose that would be "Nyan-nyan". XP "Meowsie" just sounds too girly even for Natsume though. ^^; I wish the subs had carried the reference over or made a TL note of it though, don't think I noticed it the first time.

At any rate, I just find it cute that Natsume would hold onto that nickname from childhood. ^-^

Aw and D= @ "Nyanko Burger".

I didn't expect to say that much about the episode, considering I forgot about the Touko issue myself until I revisited it. >>; But yeah, that was weird to me when I first saw it.
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:32 PM   #74
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31 was an okay episode. Kind of like with Reiko, any episode featuring Taki is instantly +1'd, but to be quite honest the episode wasn't nearly as exciting as I think it was intended to be.

One thing that also bugs me about Season 3, and we saw it in this episode too, is that out of nowhere Natsume is suddenly coming on really strong about not liking youkai, what with lines like "nothing good ever comes out of seeing youkai." This is kind of absurd for him to be saying at this late stage of the game. It would have flown maybe back around Season 1 Episode 5 or earlier, but by Season 3 Episode 5, Natsume has been rescued so many times by Nyanko-sensei and has made so many sweet friends or had so many dear adventures with various kinds of youkai (like the fox spirit or the chick-dragon spirit) that lines like these just seem bizarre to be hearing now. Not to mention that Season 2 wrapped up specifically with ...

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Natori giving Natsume an ultimatum ("choose: the youkai or us humans") and Natsume outright refused. To hear his Season 3 self talk, you'd think he'd have signed up for Team Humanity in a heartbeat!

I dunno. I don't like it, but meh, maybe some of these Season 3 chapters showed up earlier in the manga than the finisher to Season 2 and that might explain the seeming contradictions. *shrug* If not ... then I guess I just get to be frustrated with the author's wishy-washy development for the boy's attitude towards youkai.

Anyway, back to Episode 31. It was kind of sad to see that Taki's lineage died out so long ago, that even Taki's grandfather was perhaps less spiritually able than Tanuma is, never mind Natsume. It was also kind of sad to learn that her parents found this stuff creepy and didn't like her messing around with it. It's a shame that the family estate fell into the hands of such individuals. (Then again, perhaps Taki's is a branch family? Hell, that could even explain why they once had spiritual power but no longer do. Maybe. Possibly.)

Kinda disappointed that Nyanko-sensei failed to detect the youkai. He was all like, "Yeah, there are some small fries here, but nothing too serious." And yet ... I dislike it because it enters into canon the idea that Madara isn't powerful enough or skilled enough to be able to detect serious threats that are masking or have had their spiritual energies masked.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:32 PM   #75
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31 was an okay episode. Kind of like with Reiko, any episode featuring Taki is instantly +1'd, but to be quite honest the episode wasn't nearly as exciting as I think it was intended to be.
I quite liked this episode, personally. I loved Taki's development and the little youkai who knew her grandfather (something about the black blob youkai's voice tickles me in particular <3). It was especially heartwarming when...

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The youkai tried to heal Shinichiro using their makeshift "stethoscope". "It's boring without you" indeed. This goes back to the idea I liked about last episode - "guardian spirits", if you will, trying to help us in what little ways they can. Even that term is too strong, since it implies they actually have the power to protect the ones they love which, as you see here, isn't always true. Just like humans, they ultimately experience attachment, loss, and sadness. They too can feel weak to stop the pain. It's been an overarching theme of the series, but is especially strong with these two episodes.

D'aw... I just skipped to the scene where Natsume was helping clean the storehouse, and noticed for the first time he actually picked up the "stethoscope" and examined it, wondering what it was. (What is it?)


Plus, Team Takinatsuma ftw. It should be +3, lol. XP

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One thing that also bugs me about Season 3, and we saw it in this episode too, is that out of nowhere Natsume is suddenly coming on really strong about not liking youkai, what with lines like "nothing good ever comes out of seeing youkai." This is kind of absurd for him to be saying at this late stage of the game. It would have flown maybe back around Season 1 Episode 5 or earlier, but by Season 3 Episode 5, Natsume has been rescued so many times by Nyanko-sensei and has made so many sweet friends or had so many dear adventures with various kinds of youkai (like the fox spirit or the chick-dragon spirit) that lines like these just seem bizarre to be hearing now. Not to mention that Season 2 wrapped up specifically with ...

Spoiler: show
Natori giving Natsume an ultimatum ("choose: the youkai or us humans") and Natsume outright refused. To hear his Season 3 self talk, you'd think he'd have signed up for Team Humanity in a heartbeat!

I dunno. I don't like it, but meh, maybe some of these Season 3 chapters showed up earlier in the manga than the finisher to Season 2 and that might explain the seeming contradictions. *shrug* If not ... then I guess I just get to be frustrated with the author's wishy-washy development for the boy's attitude towards youkai.
This was a rather strange comment at this point even in the manga, and you're not the only one to have remarked on it. *shrug* Maybe he was just having an off day where it only brought up bad memories. It happens to the best of us sometimes.

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Kinda disappointed that Nyanko-sensei failed to detect the youkai. He was all like, "Yeah, there are some small fries here, but nothing too serious." And yet ... I dislike it because it enters into canon the idea that Madara isn't powerful enough or skilled enough to be able to detect serious threats that are masking or have had their spiritual energies masked.
Keep in mind the house was revealed to have all sorts of half-assed barriers and charms set up over the place. It's probably not a stretch to think they interfered with Nyanko-sensei's powers. Plus, the youkai was effectively sealed until Natsume took down the poster, by which time Nyanko-sensei had left. I think it's all right to cut him a bit of slack for not picking up on a "currently harmless" youkai whose spiritual energy has been masked well enough - or in this case, actually scattered about the house. Besides, he was lazy and full on sweet bean jelly. XP

Honestly, I think you give the cat too much credit. ^^; He's probably not the most powerful youkai in all the land. Even he can be deceived sometimes, especially if he's not paying attention. Just like top predators can be fooled by simple tricks like camouflage, which prey have adapted to survive. There are always exceptions to the rule. He was sealed once too, remember? So he can be overpowered even by humans, meaning he's also susceptible to their spells.
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