What a stark contrast from last week: if that was just barrels of laughter, with a pinch of trouble mixed into it than this episode was the bittersweet and depressing finale. For those that watched the preview and guessed Natori would be involved, well you’re right! Honestly I wasn’t too surprised to see another Natori appearance, sparklies and all. But what I didn’t expect was the amounts of blood spilled in this episode as Omibashira had eaten the weaker youkai to get more stronger. I feel bad for Tanuma, he finally gets to see youkai and it turns out to be a pretty brutal experience.
But what I’m realizing more and more is that Natsume is stuck between both the human world and the world of the youkai. I think Guardian Enzo‘s post sums it up pretty nicely: you have the viewpoint of Matoba that the youkai are pure evil and ought to be dispelled, and then we have Natsume’s pure kindness to accept anyone and give them more chances than they ought to and finally Natori is somewhere in the middle. He tells Natsume that if he keeps on the same path, he will eventually fail (fail, in this case symbolizing death) like Reiko and Natori himself failed before. Of course, Natsume showed a lot of concern for Tanuma’s safety and I feel that it’s going to be a recurring issue in this season (and hopefully the fifth..). I understand Natsume’s concern to protect the most important people to him, but I also agree with Tanuma that it was his own decision to help Natsume – in this case by going against Natsume’s definition of “protect” Tanuma himself was able to “protect” Natsume – and my hope is that this issue will be explained further. On the lighter side of things, we saw Reiko! Well, we saw Nyanko-Reiko who explained to Natori that it’s super easy for him to change into a human as demonstrated last episode. However, it’s only humans he’s able to recognize immediately that he can only transform into.
I think i’ve said this too much (i mean Yuujinchou = Book of Friends, part of my title) but Natsume Yuujinchou is a show that continues to get better overall each season. There are times when it’s kinda weak (mainly season 2), but since that season it’s been nothing but uphill progress. I do try to be impartial, and those who’ve seem my monthly summaries know that i constantly put Natsume at the very top of the list. You can obviously argue bias, but what this show does it does really well and it’s been doing that for four seasons (aka, over 50 episodes!): can any other show claim to do the same thing in the same length of time? Not that this show will please anyone, but it’s one of the most heartwarming and thoughtful series to come along in a long time. Forgive my showering of praise, it’s just that good.
So, next episode we get a backstory to Matoba’s assistant, Nanase? That actually sounds kinda interesting..