Natsume Yuujinchou San – 08 Review
Ahhh…. what a nice Natsume episode. I personally don’t think that it was as good as some of the other episodes this season but it was still a good one.
The main focus of this episode is on Time. The importance of relationship between the Yokais and Natsume is reinforced by the idea that despite both beings live on different planes of time, every single moment did exist and is important. The show portrays this by reintroducing Kogitsune and have the story revolve around him.
Natsume has been invited by his uncle to go back to the Onsen pottery place where the Kogitsune lives. After hearing that a herb that could be use to speedup Nyanko sensei’s healing process is out in that woods, Natsume decides to go along.
Back at that woods, Kogitsune has been waiting for Natsume to return and is still fixated on getting strong enough to be useful to Natsume. Whilst out in the woods, he stumbles upon a watch and decides to wear it after recognising it as a human item.
Whilst on the highest point that overlooks the train tracks, Kogitsune meets a God who is confined to the rock where they have a hearty talk about Kogitsune, yokais and humans. Kogitsune then spots Natsume from the rock and gets excited and decides to find him.
After arriving at the onsen, Natsume immediately attends the pottery class with his uncle, all this while Kogitsune is trying to attract Natsume’s attention but after failing to do so, he starts to question his importance in Natsume’s life.
While Kogitsune is busy talking to the god again, Natsume has manage to get some free time to search for the medicine for Nyanko sensei and for Kogitsune. Being the reckless character that he is Kogitsune gets all excited after hearing that Natsume has been looking for him and decides to be useful to Natsume by finding the medicine that Natsume wants.
A storm starts to brew and Kogitsune is in trouble. Natsume chases after Kogitsune after hearing about the storm from Nyanko sensei. (It never ceases to amaze me how main characters have a 6th sense about where everyone is when they need to find them but can’t seem to look find these people normally unless they are in trouble.) Just as Kogitsune was about to reach the herb, lightning strucks the tree and the God leaves his rock (thus dying) to save Kogitsune’s life. During this ordeal, Kogitsune smashes the watch that he has been wearing.
Just after being saved by the God, Natsume finds Kogitsune picking the herb. They then have a talk about time and that despite the different time planes they both live on, the very few moments are real and precious.
Natsume then leaves and Kogitsune sits on the rock on his own looking at the train leave. The episode ends with Natsume having left Kogitsune a precious handmade clay bowl with a drawing of a fox on it. T^T
We are back to the Natsume episodic storytelling style this episode. I felt that this was a nice lighthearted episode that takes us away from the intense atmosphere of the last episode. I loved seeing the Kogitsune again and I am sad that he is only going to be in this one episode. T^T The parting at the end of the episode really left an impact because of how much focus this story spent on reiterating the fact that Time is limited and precious and that partings, though necessary, will end up leading to sadness.
The story telling aspect was done quite well. By continuously hinting at the difference in the amount of Time Yokais have VS Humans throughout the episode, the full effect is felt when the story finally makes it point loud and clear (when Kogitsune said it out loud after finally getting to see Natsume). I liked how the watch gets intertwined into the story (though I don’t really understand the reason as to why it stops and starts when it does) and actually becomes a statement by the end of it.
Perhaps one of the downfall of this episode is the fact that because we have such few and short scenes in it with the rock God, we do not actually feel the impact of his death. Especially since his dying scene was over in a blink of an eye and the fox spirit just brushed it off by using the God’s death to state his point.
There were a couple of other things about the show that did not sit too well with me…Was it just me or was the backing soundtrack really loud in this episode? I loved the music because it did make the atmosphere all light and fluffy and fun with its quirky noise and sounds but it did feel a tad bit overwhelming. Also, the pottery teacher’s voice actor felt really monotonous and flat. I just could not get that out of my head.
Also, the lack of development the episodes with Kogitsune in it starting to get to me. The progression of the stories with Kogitsune in it usually starts off with Kogitsune getting into trouble and Natsume having to go after him. By the end of it all, Kogitsune ends up going back to being hung up on Natsume. It would be nice for there to be some sort of maturation in Kogitsune’s personality but I guess this just shows that perhaps change in spirits will take a longer time as oppose to change in humans.
I love that this series tries to make subtle hints on life without going overboard and sounding tacky. It also does not feel like the point is forced upon the viewer. Some shows should really take the hint and try and learn from this series. I can’t stand those shows that are so full of themselves by making everything they say sound so almighty and important.
Episode Rating: 7.5/10
Overall, it is another good episode (as one would expect out of a consistent series like Natsume). For those who did not like the tense and darker stories of the previous arc, you will like this as this is going back to the lighthearted bittersweet episodic style of Natsume.
Now where is my episode 5 of ouran?!