Natsume Yuujinchou San Eps08-10

It feels like it's been a ages since I last wrote about this anime. That probably has to do with the fact that it's in batches of 3 and I'm really behind; 6 weeks (for 6 episodes) is a very long time.

This batch was very focused on Natsume's friendships, as two of the three episodes dealt with this idea. Ep08 featured Natsume hanging out with Shigeru while also showing a fox spirit (that Natsume met in a previous season's episode). Ep09 used a rock demon as a plot device in order for Natsume to assess his friendships (which had grown by leaps and bounds) and feel extremely happy, while ep10 featured Tanuma in great length. The next batch should finish off the story of Tanuma's possession (as well as this season as a whole...).

The warmth...

Ep08 featured Natsume spending some time with Shigeru, since the male guardian was heading off to a weekend of pottery classes at a friend's place and asked Natsume to come along. There was also significant continuity from the previous episodes, as Nyanko-sensei's wound didn't magically disappear. The spirit seemed in considerable pain over it, which worried Natsume to no end. A final plot point was that the place Natsume and Shigeru were going was a place where Natsume had visited in seasons past (to pick up something for Shigeru), and also where he met a fox spirit whose mother had just died. I had no recollection of this happening, but the characters mentioned it.

I wish I remember you...

The underlying tones of sadness and loneliness always gets to me; I don't know why I keep coming back for more. I felt the fox spirit's pain throughout the episode; he didn't feel as though much time had passed and was hoping that Natsume would come visit soon. Even when Natsume showed up, it didn't seem to be for him. His daredevil and dangerous venture to get some magical herbs to facilitate Nyanko-sensei's healing was very touching - what really got to me was the rock spirit sacrificing his life for the young fox. Throughout the entire episode, it had been the rock spirit that had been warning the fox spirit about friendships with humans ending in sadness. The fact that Natsume clearly remembered the fox spirit and actually went looking in the forest, though, was just the happy bit I needed to not feel agonizingly sad at the end of the episode.

It's so easy to get rid of demons, Natsume.

Ep09, to an extent, was about the trouble that Natsume got up to while Nyanko-sensei was still resting and healing. On another level, it was a direct look at Natsume's friendships and his desire to protect not only his loved ones but also just everyone in general. A demon began following him around, taking the form of a small rock with a face that could possess people, and this continued throughout the episode until Naynko-sensei sent it away at the very end. The looming threat of such a powerful demon is what caused Natsume to think about his friendships.


It's clear that Natsume's come a long way from his childhood, but it's also clear that he doesn't see that very well. When Kitamoto and Nishimura arrived at his house to ask if he really didn't want his role in the Culture Festival, Natsume cried tears of joy that night. (Quite literally; Nyanko-sensei woke up from his deep slumber to take note, but said nothing. It was an extremely touching scene.) When he ran off after the girl that the rock had possessed, Kitamoto and Nishimura came running after him and were able to get to him quickly after he went unconscious due an accident with toppling desks and chairs. The fullness of the nurse's office was an extremely telling scene; there are just so many around Natsume that care about him, knowing about him in various degrees and ways.

New genre!

Ep10 was a focus on Natsume and Tanuma (finally). Like I've mentioned before, Tanuma is one of my favourite characters and the one that I've been most anxious to see. This episode basically developed their friendship a little bit, with the subplot of demons. After a demon was struck by lightning and had her mirror shatter, she possessed Tanuma in order to find the shards to put it together. Natsume had the misfortune of his eye turning into a settling grounds for one of the shards (it was much less graphic than it sounds), and so he could "sense" the presence of the others since his eye began hurting when he was nearby. Thus, by the end of the episode, Natsume and Tanuma (along with the eager Taki) set off to gather all the pieces.

Holy shit, that must look weird.

It's really good to see Natsume and Tanuma increasing the strength of their friendship; with both of them feeling so awkward due to it being their first real friendship, they both have pretty similar desires but are unable to voice them. I had genuinely thought that Tanuma's strange behaviour in staying away from Natsume for the first few days after his possession had to do with the demon, but it apparently was his way of trying to keep Natsume out of it. It was really nice to see them talk through their problems and misunderstandings; I've been on edge waiting for Natsume's friendships to grow. It always happens suddenly with one good interaction, just like in real life.

Taki grows ever cuter with each appearance.

With ep10 ending on a cliffhanger, I'm a little excited that the next episode will also feature Tanuma. It's nice to have Taki around, as well; she's one of the few female characters that I don't inherently abhor.