“Ima, Kono Toki.” by Hiiragi
Short Summary: Natsume returns another name to its rightful owner, suddenly to be cornered by a stronger group of youkai. After the same group of youkai enters his school, Natsume runs into the forest to escape and later finds himself trapped in the Matoba household. Needless to say, Natsume does not want to see Matoba after what he did before.
Thoughts:Well, first off welcome to 2012! It’s very fitting that my first series that i’ll be blogging also kicks off the new year as well. Anyways, i’m a bit surprised to see Matoba (Junichi Suwabe – Archer from Fate/stay night) already in the first episode. My feelings towards last season’s arc involving him was that it wasn’t as emotionally powerful as opposed to the other arcs of the season and i felt it was the weakest of season 3. But i really liked how the show started off with Natsume and his friends, something i’m glad that has gradually increased since season 2 and it’s a stark contrast to the first season. This first episode started off strong with good amounts of action and some suspense, but with a little bit of comedy to balance it all out. Again, not so much of a Reiko presence so far just a flashback and a brief description of the Book of Friends from Natsume. I had totally forgotten that the youkai could enter Natsume’s school at any time and it was really portrayed well here: Natsume had to keep his cool in front of Nishimura and had to make it look like he was mearly in a hurry for something (to escape, obviously). Of course, it’s good to see all of Natsume’s human friends again – Taki, Tanuma, Nishimura, Kitamoto, Sasaki – and their plans to see a meteor shower later in the season (?). At the last half of the episode, Natsume is trapped in the Matoba household and later runs into Nyanko-sensei, laughter in hand. They finally reach a dark room containing the youkai that Matoba caught during the first half of the episode and offers to show Natsume to the room containing the Book of Friends…in exchange for taking him as well. Of course Natsume is suspicious and just when they start to continue their conversation, Matoba appears and we’re left on a cliffhanger.
As for the OP and ED: I don’t really like the OP. The vocals are..okay at best and it feels off a bit, much like season 2’s OP was. But the visuals for the OP were really amazing (little Natsume!) and i think the OP really did a good job in showing every important person and youkai to Natsume. The ED was much better though the visuals were much more simpler as a result. I liked the vocals much more than the OP, but the visuals in the ED were smaller though i did like how it emphasized more with Natsume’s human friends as opposed to the youkai.
Next week: More Matoba action, with an appearance from Hinoe?
Takaramono by Marina Kawano