I am BACK with a parsley smile! (Everyone, eat your veggies because they are good! :3)
What a bunch of tiring weeeeeek! Ugh. Sorry, readers for my a few week long absence from the Natsume love. I tried quite hard to keep up with this but workload and then Fall Anime Review took all of my free time. If I didn’t have help from Ness and Cools for Anime NTM, this post still couldn’t have seen the light of the day. Anyways, let’s catch up to the last few episodes quickly and move on to one of my most favourite stories from the Natsume-verse that was animated as the twelfth episode. But let’s backtrack a bit with my thoughts on the previous episodes before I delve deeper and get all emotional.
Episode nine is all about Natsume discovering the importance of friendship. It’s not like he doesn’t know but rather the change of atmosphere and people he has been experiencing in this small town has made him a changed person from the morose kid, who was deemed creepy by the rest of class and families that took him in. To-ing and fro-ing between towns and running away from the frightful youkai was never easy but with Nyanko-sensei as his guardian, Fujiwaras as his foster parents and many friends in school and even youkai have grounded Natsume into being comfortable and finally ‘have some fun’. School festivals are quite common, yet for Natsume, Tanuma and Taki, participating in them was quite a big deal. They did well becoming cashier, backstage technician and cross-dresser respectively with a dash of youkai trouble for our protagonist in the entire hubbub.
Episode ten and eleven are again one of those rare arcs that get two episodes and am I glad it spanned that much (I can hear Hime cheering with me for the adaptation of these chapters. Yep, we love Tanuma <3). As you’ve guessed, it was all about Tanuma and how he gets possessed by a powerful youkai, who is in search of broken mirror shards, which dispersed over their village when she was struck by lightning. To retrieve all the pieces, she possesses Tanuma who happens to take the trouble in saving Natsume from harm’s way. Both remain silent and hide things from each other so the other remains safe; however, things usually don’t go as they plan, right? There’s another youkai who wants to acquire this powerful mirror and in fighting it, the trio of Natsume, Tanuma and Taki find out that the possessing youkai isn’t that bad as she’s doing all of this to save her friend from a long-term illness.
Why so moe, Tanuma? HNNNGGGG.
Knowing Natsume, you probably know that he volunteered to help her out. This time he has a motive of his own: saving Tanuma from youkai trouble, but it’s business as usual for him. This unique situation gives both of them a new perspective of understanding each other. If in one hand Natsume is worried about Tanuma, he in turn is worried about Natsume for being a total shut-in and not sharing his troubles with anyone. Seeing youkai is a big deal for Tanuma who could only see a blurred outline; though, with the youkai power, he can finally see what Natsume sees. You can easily say, this was a big bonding progress for the both of them, who fought an adversary together and solved a mystery as well. Of course, Nyanko-sensei helped with his bossy self by delegating shard finding to all his minions finally restoring it to its full glory.
This finally leads me to the current episode involving Fujiwaras. This is ideal for everyone who wanted to know about how Natsume ended up with them in the first place. Did they have any connection to Reiko? Do they even know that he has a special ability? Well, things are revealed but not fully as usual for the back story of Natsume. We all know that he has been passed around in his relatives circle after the demise of his parents. So, from a very young age, he was forced to mature not only because he could see youkai but because of seeing the true faces of his relatives to whom he had always been a nuisance. Thankfully, there’s a silver lining.
We start off with a normal day at school when Natsume is hanging around with his friends Nishimura and Kitamoto (I had SO written Taniguchi and Kunikida at first as I’m reading the Haruhi novels these days), during lunch. His friends wonder what keeps him all grounded and not screwed up at all with his background. Well, dear sirs, he’s a cute bishie that’s why! Naah, if only things were that easy. It’s all about him being humble about life after solving so many youkai problems and remaining unloved for a long time. He just coped well but never knew that a past memory would literally come knocking on his window to terrorize him.
This episode has one of the most emotional flashbacks, of his early teenage days when he was living with a distant relative. And as usual, he’s being talked behind his back in school (don’t you just hate it, whenever this happens? Personally or even in anime?! Ugh!) and whispered about. Things get worse when he starts to get targeted by a creepy stalker youkai, who narrow downs lone souls like him and probably eat their heart/souls. Not to mention, the youkai in question has a creepy eye and follows around every move that he makes from the shadows.
During all the running away, he comes across Touko-san, who introduces herself as a distant acquaintance of his father and delighted to see Natsume all grown up. She asks him if he wanted to come live with her and Shigeru if he so pleases. She informs him that she would soon be visiting his relatives with an offer to adopt him. Of course, all of this seems too good to be true to Natsume and even if he thinks she might be another youkai, his heart lifts with the hope of living with people who actually want him rather than as a nuisance-filled responsibility.
Though, things are not as easy because of the stalker youkai, who might follow him even if he moves out or can wreck havoc at the current family’s place in his absence. He goes out of his way to talk to some local youkai and finds out that there’s a fox boulder nearby, where he can seal this youkai. While being followed, he finally accomplishes in his goal but the powerful wave of sealing sends him falling off the cliff from its force. He’s admitted into hospital due to his injuries. Before he gets all morose for being unable to return to the current family, Shigeru and Touko-san visit him in his room, inviting him yet again to come live with them.
Hey, even I couldn’t stop my tears at this scene…. *sniff*
So, this is how he ended up in this small town, living with the very lovable Fujiwaras. According to them, they say they knew his father but we know from previous seasons that Shigeru had met Reiko but it’s still unclear why they took him in. They are not directly related but you can pretty much see them doting on Natsume and why not? He deserves it. Everyone deserves to be loved and return to a home they are welcome in.
And yes, Nyanko-sensei did a good number on the stalker youkai, banishing it for good.
These are the times that I literally want to do a Taki. Nyahahahaa~
Extra Natsume Love~
BL Moment #1 – Nobody touches Natsume…. but me!
BL Moment #2 – I WANTCHOOO
BL Moment #3 – Internal Confession of having MANY fantasies~
Nyanko-sensei: STOP!!! Only I have the rights to harass Natsume like that!
Natsume made so many adorable faces that I HNNNGGG’d nonstop
I would have loved it if this episode was the end of this season because it has such a beautiful closure feeling of Natsume discovering the family love. He has faced so many hardships in life so being taken care of and loved is something that he has deserved like anybody else. But, I guess Omori wants to end it with a high celebratory note as the fourth season has already been confirmed. This should be one of the FIRSTS for Brains Base, who usually announce second season wayyyyy after (still no Durarara!, Baccano! and Kuraghime news… ;-;). So, fans, rejoice that you are getting a very rare treat of FOURTH round of Natsume in the Winter season (the promotional ad had Matoba in it, so expect more of him, fangirls~ :3). With Nisemonogatari and Fate/Zero still going strong, Winter is looking so good that I see stars shine everywhere while I write this. >,<
These last couple of episodes have been quite epic; after the current one, my second favourite has to be Tanuma-possessed arc because you could really see their bromance friendship progress. The pink flowers killed me and the way Tanuma was all MANLY in protecting Natsume made me DAWWW too hard. Shipping aside, among the people who know his secret, minus the youkai including his guardian, no one has experienced how he feels except maybe for Natori; though, he has evolved towards ‘commercialized’ exorcism. So, the pure feeling of awe and terror that Natsume feels with each of his youkai encounter was finally felt by Tanuma, who has no ulterior motives similar like him. Not to mention, the mirror youkai’s story was quite heart touching because she struggled a lot to obtain the precious mirror my preciousssssss! (Sorry, I couldn’t help but remember Golum here), to heal her friend who strikingly resembled Tanuma. Coincidence? Well, in this case, maybe it is.
Coming to the current episode, the feeling was of utter bliss and happiness, seeing Natsume let go and cry his heart out after he was offered by Fujiwaras to stay with them. After knowing so much about him, you already know how he feels on just being loved (remember, episode nine? He couldn’t believe when his friends came to offer to take his place as cashier if he didn’t want to do it), because he still hasn’t gotten used to people caring for him. DAAAAAAAWWWW! /crying forever. This is what you call feel-good of Natsume, because even bad memories come with good ones and by the end, you are left feeling all mushy inside and hugging whoever is near you. Someone commented on twitter as this being a story for teenage girls but I disagree, this can’t be type-casted; this is pure WIN. Anyone can watch this for their dose of feel-good. All the bromance jokes I make are just that; jokes. There’s nothing canon available so if this facts shirks you off this series, you are missing out on something pretty damn awesome.
As you can tell, I have a lot of love for this series so I would soon be conducting a series ender podcast like we did for Steins;Gate to commemorate it’s end and celebrate the next season announcement. If you have any questions you want to put up for the hosts about this series, comment away and look forward to the last episode, which might be just fun and games.
Celebration for Natsume are in process. For what event exactly? Is it going to be a school of furballs or another youkai sake party? Not sure but we’ll find out soon enough. Ja ne~