Review: Natsume Yuujinchou San

Natsume’s Book of Friends 3

Alex: Natsume has had two seasons before this, and this marks the end of the third, with the fourth season announced for January. There are two other reviews on Natsume, one by me and one by Mimi. If you’re interested, Season 1 is here, and Season 2 is here. The general consensus on the series is that it’s utterly, utterly heartwarming and a real heart-puller at times, and something which is gonna go down as an anime classic.

Series 3 is where they slightly change the formula. If you look at the formula as a “Youkai and I”, revolving around Natsume and the Youkai, this series revolves more around the “Me and the Youkai”, as in Natsume takes the central focus in the majority of the stories, unlike the Youkai. You even get treated to several backstories of Natsume, dating to the time before he had Nyanko-Sensei to help him with the youkai, and how he’d deal with them on his own, and they’re some of the best ones.

You also get a return of one of the most loved characters in the Natsume anime, the Kitsune spirit. Natsume’s meeting with the Kitsune spirit almost marks the end of Natsume’s solo development, being on his own and being afraid of the world. You even have a few school episodes in this series, focusing more on Natsume and how he interacts with his friends outside of Youkai problems. Not to say that you don’t have any youkai problems involving his friends, you even have an example where Tanuma gets possessed by a youkai, and is able to see the world that Natsume can see.

Examples of that is just what the series is brilliant at. It’s beautiful, and well…it’s almost art. There are strong episodes, weak episodes, but these 13 installments into the Natsume Yuujinchou franchise are episodes which will help cement the series as something that’s stored in every anime watchers heart.

Alex’s Score: 10 Meeps out of 10 (Masterpiece)

Liam’s Score: 10 Meeps out of 10 (Masterpiece)

Natsume Yuujinchou-San Episode 13

Natsume’s Book Of Play

Alex: Awww~ Now that I’ve found that the fourth series is coming, I don’t have to worry about this being the ending of the franchise, but this episode was so good that I wouldn’t have minded if it WAS the end of the franchise.

With a load of fun and light hearted play time with all of the youkai and Natsume, t he episode almost put an end to Natsume’s development over the last 13 episodes, and showed what a changed and adorable character he’s turned into.So, you know, I’m wondering what the fourth season is going to focus on. Series 1 and 2 mainly focused on the youkai, and Series 3 focused on Natsume. Is Series 4 going to focus on the dark hearted side of things hinted at?

Oh, and off the record, Nyanko had me in hysterics this time.

Natsume Yuujinchou-San Episode 12

A Place To Call Home

Alex: Aww~:3 Natsume hits the ball out of the park with a flashback episode from when Natsume didn’t have his kind and caring family or even his cat. And there was a lot that was brilliant about this episode.

I mean, it may have been very Natsume-centric, and completly centered around the “He’s weird” part of things, but the lonely youkai who developed an obsession with him because he was similar, and Touko’s interest in Natsume was well. Heartwarming and adorable. Natsume acted like a lost kid without a home for the majority of the episode, and it all fitted perfectly to create one of the best episodes of the franchise so far.

Natsume Yuujinchou-San Episode 11

What The Mirror Shows

Liam: This episode is pretty heart warming. Well, the entire series is. It can be a tear jerker and all that. So, Natsume is worried about Tanuma staying alone since he was possessed and there was that crazy/wacky youkai looking for the mirror. He always creeped me out when I saw him for some reason.

During the night, the youkai dreams and Natsume is sucked into it, and learns about her, wanting the mirror to save her friend that has a disease. It was really sweet and shows that she cared for her friend to go through all of that trouble. The bond between Natsume and Tanuma has gotten stronger. They’ve gotten closer and Natsume really cares for him.

Natsume, Tanuma, Taki all help eachother search for the missing pieces. It funny how some people at the school must think they’re crazy for what they do sometimes. Feeling mirrors, digging on the school grounds…Yeah, the kids must think they’re insane to do all of that. They’re responses are funny though. Anyway, Nyanko-Sensei finds the last piece and the youkai leaves Tanuma.

Natsume Yuujinchou-San Episode 10

Broken Mirror

Alex: I’m not saying that this isn’t nice and all, but another Natsume based development episode? It almost feels like everyone else, including the loveable Nyanko have just been pushed to side characters…>>

Pretty standard story, too. Whats unusual is that it’s a two parter which won’t be focusing on politics or any of that nonsense, it’s a straightforward episode featuring Natsume and his friends, as Tanuma gets possessed by an angry youkai who wants her mirror repaired. I’ll have to wait and see if this lives up to the other episodes, but i’m already slightly annoyed at how everyone’s been relegated to a supporting character…D:

Natsume Yuujinchou Episode 9

The Fading Autumn Wind

Alex: In contrast to the emotional climax of last week, we have a really calm and laid back episode which focuses solely on Natsume’s development from the last 9 episodes. And what better way to do this than via a culture festival at school. Considering that Natsume would normally stay detached from these events, it was really rewarding to see his first culture festival as he worked a shop with his friends.  Emphisis on friends.

It was a really rewarding and sweet episode…~ I mean, you get the really bad festivals where things do nothing but annoy you, and you’ve got a bunch of chicks wondering around trying to do stupid things and get close to guys like such. But this episode, where Natsume actually invited his friends around to his house and seeing his mothers reaction, and when his friends confronted him about what he wants to do in the festival…it’s moments like that where the power of friendship (lolcheesy) manages to stop your heart, even if it’s just for the slightest of moments. Coupled with the amazing OST which captures every mood, it’s…brilliant~

Natsume Yuujinchou-San Episode 8

The Little Fox’s Watch

Alex: Given that the episode with the fox cub youkai was my favorite Natsume story, I was pretty overjoyed when the preview showed the fox cub again. And, surprise surprise. It was a wonderful episode, and probably one of the better ones.

What sold the episode, hm? Many series nowdays try to make a character “cute” or “adorable” in the same old way, with the blushing and the stuttering. The Wolf-Cub is adorable because of his child-like innocence. It makes you reflect on yourself, on days at the beach where you’d run around like that, or watch other kids running like that. It’s a hard concept to capture, but Natsume managed it not once,but twice. The concept of understanding “Time” between the Humans and the Youkai, growing up, being stronger and generally being different, it was a heartfelt episode from start to finish, and something which could touch even the coldest of people.