Natsume Yuujinchou Season 3 Episode 2
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: Natsume Yuujinchou, or “Natsume’s Book of Friends” is an anime series based on a long-running manga of the same name. The first 13-part series aired in 2008, followed by a second season in 2008, and a third season subtitled “San” from July to September 2011. Natsume Takashi is a teenage boy with the ability to see spirits; after inheriting a book from his grandmother filled with the names of spirits, he spends his time dissolving the contracts bound within.
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Spoiler-free Episode Summary: Tanuma, who is Natsume’s friend who lives at the local temple, has been sensing something is amiss. Meanwhile, all of the local forest demons are concerned about the rumor of a powerful demon has returned, who emits a poisonous miasma that affects them all. On the way to school, Natsume is approached by a wayward spirit. Assuming that she wishes for him to return her name, he meets with her later; but he soon learns that she wishes more from Natsume than he bargained for.
My Impressions: If there was one word to describe Natsume Yuujinchou, I would have to pick “subtle”. Forget about any big battles or explosions, you won’t find those here! (Well, unless by “big battle” you mean a rock-paper-scissors war, that is.)
So far I’ve seen two episodes, and in both cases the episode centers around Natsume returning the name of a demon from his book handed down by his grandmother. I suspect this will form the episodic basis of the series — but that’s not the real story. Instead, the true story here lies with Natsume, as he finds his own place in the world, defines his relationship to his family (especially his dead grandmother), and forms bonds with those around him.
To truly appreciate Natsume’s journey, I would no doubt have to go back and check out the first two seasons, so I can see exactly where he started from. I just might do that, if I have the time. But from my limited exposure I can already tell he’s struggling to come to terms with his special ability and obligations, as well as his relationship to his friends. I’m not sure what else to say, I guess I have to watch more to get a better handle on the show to give a reasonable impression.
- Previous reviews:
- Episode 1 (November 3)
- Info resources:
- If you like this, you might also like: Mushishi or Kamichu
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “This was yet another very strong story, right in the sweet spot for this series. Kanawa was a great character design, with his rusted body ringed with iron looking like something torn from the pages of a Tezuka manga. But the telling moment of the episode came as he offered Natsume the chance to go with him to his beautiful village, as Reiko had hinted she might.” – Random Curiosity
- “Of course, there is the standard youkai story that we’ve seen countless times in this series as well, but the story itself is pretty much just an extra element that is meant to showcase Natsume’s growing ties with his human friends, which is a rather stark difference in comparison to Natsume’s rather gloomy disposition towards humans in the beginning of the anime series.” – Emory Anime Club
- “The way the story telling in Natsume Yuujinchou manages to make Yokai’s seem more humane than the human characters is so magical and I think that that is why I love this show so much.” – Otakuness
- “It’s still amazing how many touching stories Natsume can squeeze out of the Arakashi of the week formula.” – Anislice
- “This episode really reminded why I originally fell in love with this series. When this episode aired, I felt completely refreshed. It had this completely refreshing atmosphere that I haven’t felt in a long time. This was a simple, yet wonderfully paced story about another youkai that crosses Natsume’s path. I really liked how nothing was really what it seemed: this episode dealt a lot with superstition and rumours.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
ROUND TWO RESULTS FOR SUMMER 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round Two: Mawaru Penguin Drum, Kamisama Dolls, No. 6, Dantalian no Shoka, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee, Nekogami Yaoyorozu, Kamisama no Memo-chou, Nurarihyon no Mago Season 2, Natsume Yuujinchou Season 3
Thumbs-down for Round Two: Blood-C, Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love 1000%
Coming up next: Usagi Drop