Natsume Yuujinchou San – 09 Review
Episode 09 (35)
This show always does a good job at lifting my spirits after work every Tuesday. I am not sure what I am going to do when this season is finally over.
Another week and another consistently good episode of Natsume that does not disappoint. I felt that this episode is a turning point for Natsume’s character as he learns his place in the lives of others and vice versa.
On the way home from school, Nishimura and Kitamoto spots Natsume on the bridge acting all weird and falling into the river below. After seeing Natsume fall, they panic and rush to Natsume’s help. Natsume then invits them to his house to clean up to avoid catching a cold in their wet clothes.
Later that night whilst nursing Nyanko-sensei, Natsume’s bag starts to twitch and a stone yokai crawls out of it. Apparenly, Natsume picked up a weird yokai whilst he was in the river.
Hinoe shows up and kicks the stone out the window. The rest of the merry gang shows up to visit Natsume and Nyanko sensei.
The next day at school, the students have to decide what they would wish to do for the upcoming 52nd Cultural Festival and Natsume’s class ends up deciding on a Bazaar and Natsume was appointed the head of the stall.
Natsume discusses what the different classes are doing for the cultural festival with Taki and Tanuma. (this scene seemed like it’s main function was to reintroduce the characters back into the minds of the viewers to build up towards an impactful ending.)
The next day at school, a girl possessed by the rock spirit comes up to Natsume and hands her the rock. Natsume starts to talk to the rock to find out what is going on and the spirit asks him what his Secret was. Natsume gets attacked but Sasada comes appears and the spirit runs off.
Don’t you think that Natsume’s left eye look weird in the top-left image?
Natsume gets a visit later that day from Nishimura and Kitamoto who asks him if something was wrong, they have noticed how pale Natsume was and was concerned that perhaps Natsume was unhappy about being appointed to look after the stall for the cultural festival. They expressed their concern and even volunteered to take over the role. This moves Natsume and Natsume clears up all their doubts.
Later that night, Natsume cries himself to sleep because of how happy he was at the concern that the guys showed him.
It is the day of the Cultural Festival and Natsume is a hit amongst the girls. He then takes a break but gets attacked by the same girl from the previous day who is once again possessed by the spirit.
Nyanko Sensei appears and saves Natsume after Natsume gets knocked out by a bunch of falling boxes. (Those boxes must be made out of lead even though they look like they look like cardboard.)
Whilst unconcious, Natsume remembers his relationship with his friends and how they helped me learn to ride a bike.
After waking up to the faces of his worried friends, Natsume realises that Humans are unable to live alone and that even though he wants to protect his friends; he realises that his friend too want to protect him and that everything was about mutual give and take.
This episode covers Natsume once again trying to figure out how his friends play an ever-changing role in his life. It seems to be the underlying motif of this season and I am starting to wish that the story will change and mix things up a bit. Though the moral of this episode was nice and the execution was up to the usual Natsume standard, the obviousness of every story this season revolving around Natsume and his relationship with the other characters also means that there won’t be any surprises in-stored for us.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel that it is a good thing that there is a level of consistency and despite the fact that everything revolves around Natsume and his r/s with the other characters, there is progress in his way of thought and his acceptance towards the role that every character plays in his life. I like the fact that we are forced to grow alongside the characters in this series.
I also like how all the different groups of people are slowly introduced separately throughout the episode. The yokais are introduced when only Yokais are around, then you have the Taki and Tanuma group of people who know about the existence of yokais but are human, followed by the normal friends of Natsume who do not know anything about the existence of Yokai and then finally Sasada on her own as she falls into the “suspects something is happening” category. It was a very smart way of telling the story and it makes a bigger impact when everything comes together at the end of the episode as a symbolism of change.
I get so mesmerized by the animated sparkles in the ED song every episode. It really does a good job at setting the ending atmosphere, leaving the viewer with a lasting impression of the show. This show has got to be one of the best at picking out songs that compliment the style of the show rather than throwing in some random nice-to-listen song.
However, there were a few weird things with this episode. The animation felt weak in this episode with characters looking partially deformed and unlike themselves at certain angles, and also the animation seems over simplified this week. Perhaps I am just too tired and am imagining things but I am sure that the animation quality is lower than the previous episodes.
I really could not stand Natsume crying in such a girly manner in the middle of the night because of how touched he was. I expected him to have a few tears streaming down his face in silence and not bawling his heart out in the middle of the night up to the point of waking up Nyanko-sensei (who has been sleeping like a pig to recuperate.) I thought it felt out of character for Natsume.
Also, I found it weird that Nishimura and Kitamoto were not more curious than what they were about what Natsume was doing on the bridge. But I guess that is acceptable since their characters seem to be very conscious of Natsume’s feelings.
Overall it is another good Natsume epsiode. Despite this story not being one of the stronger ones, the change in Natsume is significant as this episode signals his acceptance towards the people around him. He has finally come to the conclusion that humans need other people and that he is unable to do anything alone and it is alright to depend on others for support.
Episode Rating: 7.5/10
P.S: This episode seem to really like to slow-pan upwards for some reason. There were a lot of scenes where they panned upwards. lol. (e.g. when Natsume brought his drenched friends home and when he was standing alone after they went into the house and during the ending scene when they panned towards the sky. I am sure there were others but those were the more obvious ones too me because of how slowly they were panning)