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Archive for the ‘Natsume Yuu-jin Chou’ Category

Natsume continues to be as sweet as usual. In the first chapter, Natsume gets turned into a child by a Youki he helped (the Youki really was trying to thank our hero!) and Nyanko-sensei along with Tanuma and Taki have to deal with the consequences. It helps us see how far Natsume has come by seeing how he used to be. In the next chapter, Natsume goes on a class trip, and he must figure out the mystery of a Youki at the place they are staying at, which is connected to four masks, the fourth one which only Natsume can see… In the following chapter, Natsume and Natori end up investigating the same house, whose owner is a normal person being haunted by Youkai. It is good to see how their relationship is now that Natsume has confessed the existence of The Book of Friends. Finally, we end with a chapter where Natsume decides to build a new, little flower garden for Touko, but some Youki interfere. Included are the usual notes from Midorikawa about life in the middle of each chapter, and notes on each chapter at the end. All in all, another wonderful volume.

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Ah, it is so wonderful to have Natsume back as an anime again. It may have been 2012 since the last one aired, and a side by side comparison may reveal differences, but from this distance at least I see no changes.

This season we see how much Natsume has matured. He is willing to start confiding in people about his yokai troubles – Tanuma and Natori in particular. Taki and Matoba are also back. One of the sweetest episodes shows Natsume from Touko’s perspective and also from her perspective how he came to live with her and Shigeru. We have brought up not only Reiko (so many conflicting stories!) but an idea that hadn’t been addressed yet. Reiko is Natsume’s grandmother, so she must have had a child. So who then is Natsume’s grandfather? Oh, and there are plenty of Yokai around, both old friends and new, to wonderfully complicate Natsume’s life.

By the end, Natsume has concluded that as difficult as separating his two worlds sometimes is, he doesn’t really want to go back to being a lonely loner.

The only questionable note is the fact that they showed the Nyanko-sensei special. It felt not a part of the season and rather odd and not a very strong story, though in its defense from what I understand that wasn’t its original purpose.

The best part – they have already announced season 6 for some time next year. More Natsume is always a good thing in my book:)

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This time we get another visit from Natsume’s old friend of sorts Shibata. Shibata ends up leading Natsume to a case of Yokai mischief, and so it is well that Natsume invited Tanuma as both someone to run interference with Shibata and as someone who knows something of the Youkai world. Then we get another story about a Youkai looking for his apprentice/friend. It is sad but sweet. Next, we have a story of Reiko actually creating peace in a portion of the Youkai world. Finally, Natsume gets called by the exorcist’s granddaughter to investigate an unnatural shadow at her deceased grandfather’s house. Of course, the then runs into Matoba there…

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So in the most recent volume we have one smaller story, one larger story, and one side story. In the smaller story, Natsume has to mediate between two Yokai who are competing for their master’s attention. However, not all is as it seems. In the larger story, Natori asks Natsume for help. It seems an old exorcist recently died, and his non-magical family want to sell the house. However, they realize there may be magical items left of a dangerous nature, so they are letting any exorcists who want to try and find the old exorcist study. Neither Natori or Natsume like the idea of the Matoba clan getting their hands on whatever the old exorcist has, so Natsume agrees to team up with Natori. Of course it is more complicated than that, and by the end Natsume makes a decision and acts on it – a decision which could have major repercussions. The side story is from the point of view of a girl who accidentally gets involved with a Youkai and who Natsume helps.

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In this volume, Natsume runs into a Youkai who wants help saying good-bye to a human. Only one problem – the human doesn’t want to say good-bye. Human-Youkai relations are often complicated, and no story explains this better than this volume. The Youkai has good reasons for wanting to say good-bye, but the human has equally good reasons for disagreeing with this. Of course, this complicates Natsume’s life, and he has to somehow tread the line between the Yokai world and the human world. The extra story is the tale of how Natori met Matoba. Yeah, Matoba has always been a bit of a creep, and Natori was nearly as headstrong as Natsume in his younger days.

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In this volume, Natsume starts wondering about Reiko – what was she really like? Things get complicated though when Natsume’s voice gets stolen by some Yokai who want the Book of Friends. Then Natsume runs into a cute Yokai who wants to find a man who once saw her (it was raining) gave her a towel to dry off with. But the real questions start coming when a Yokai accuses Reiko of being a thief and demanding what was stolen back – or else she will steal something of Natsume’s in return. We also get a little short piece that has Natsume having fun with some Yokai friends.

Ah, how I love this series. I love all the characters. Except Matoba. He is going to get stomped on figuratively if not literally one of these days. Still, he makes an excellent contrast with Natsume, even if he didn’t show up this time. I was glad to see Tanuma in this episode, though. He is a fun character, and it is interesting having someone around who knows Natsume’s secret but usually can do nothing to help.

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Here we are finally into territory not covered by the anime (though I would not object to another season . . . or three . . . of Natsume^^;)

In this episode the main story follows Natsume as he is blackmailed into helping Matoba. The thing is, this time Matoba does have a legitimate concern. Exorcists are being killed, and all the evidence is that it is by another exorcist – who is possessed by a Yokai. Not even Matoba can tell who it is, but as strong as Natsume is he just might. Can Natsume find the Yokai without getting further entangled with Matoba? We also get a glimpse of Natori.

We then have two side stories. Remember Natsume’s two school friends that he always hangs out with when not worrying about Yokai? Each story features one of these friends and when they first met Natsume. It is interesting how they have different perspectives. It is also interesting that they seem to be less clueless than Natsume would believe.

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