This episode was so amazing, it’s being posted today..and it’s a loooong post with lots of images. Plus, hover over the images for some snarky captions that are more lighthearted because this episode was all sorts of bittersweet, emphasis on the bitter. Expect this kind of post to be the norm next season, hopefully..
So last week AnoNatsu pulled off a perfect score from me, and last week I said i was very interested for the latest episode of Natsume, because we’re getting two episodes devoted to a topic that this series never goes in depth on: Natsume’s past. Put those two things together and we got ourselves another 5/5 episode, from a series I always knew would keep growing stronger and this episode brought out so many emotions, that I wonder how it was physically possible to be laughing, crying and scared in the course of 24 minutes.
From the very beginning, I stated that the only real issue with the series as a whole is that it focuses more on the youkai and less on the humans. Not to say that the youkai aren’t interesting, but seeing one side of the coin doesn’t show the whole picture behind this series. The concept of family doesn’t really show up as an issue or a topic to discuss frequently in this series. So the fact that this episode was centered on a missing picture of Natsume’s parents was the first time this series has ever treaded into this territory, you know a series that has just aired its 50th episode today. Only the beginning of the episode and a brief scene in the halfway point of the series featured any sort of youkai, which was a big hint for those who didn’t watch last week’s preview that something was going on. It was really interesting to use Natsume’s human friends to search for the picture, because this could have easily been about the youkai searching for it instead and would have still brought the same emotional impact. But I’m glad what happened in the manga happened in the anime, as I feel that Natsume’s friends don’t get enough screentime when they absolutely should. Kitamoto (Hisayoshi Sugayama), Nishimura (Ryohei Kimura, so under-rated..), Taki (Rina Satou), Sasaki (Miyuki Sawashiro !!) and Tanuma (Kazuma Horie) are all very fun characters to watch when they’re on screen, as shown with Tanuma finding a dirty porn magazine, much to Kitamoto and Nishimura’s delight. Of course nothing tops Taki’s obsession with fluffy Nyanko-sensei, something that never fails to amuse me.
But the real standout people ought to be Touko and Shigeru, how I wish people in real life were as so understanding and caring as these two constantly show. It’s because of them that Natsume’s been able to open up more to everyone, as opposed to being constantly on the move like we saw a few episodes back.
I think this series ought to spend more time with Natsume’s friends on the human side of the spectrum, again it’s not because the youkai aren’t interesting to watch but because we never really see alot of the friends. Just spend a few episodes here and there, and I’ll be a happy camper. But still, even if that doesn’t happen I would still love this show no matter what. This is a series that although occasionally may slip up at times, never stops to grow and evolve into something that even transcends the most beautiful of art. Indeed as Natsume grows and changes, so does this series..fitting because his name is in the title! Next episode will surely no doubt continue onwards with such grace that my expectations for it are extraordinarily high, the kind of expectations you have when so many competent people in the staff are committed to not only getting the job done but by turning this adaptation of a popular shoujo manga into something of standalone value, with animation that keeps on getting better and better each season.