Time for some MOAR youkai and kidnapping of Natsume~
|Hiya there Winter~ I like you a lot but I’m unable to enjoy you much this time around I’m on the move YET I still can’t stay away from Metanorn and it’s awesomeness. So joining the team to show some Natsume love and I am so proud of Jrow right now because he actually caught up rather than scoffing at it. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover and when we say this is very good, we very much mean it.|
|Y’know the other day I saw someone refer to Natsume as a “hipster” anime, and I nearly died. Only because…it’s kind of true. Well, not anymore actually. Because here we are in the FOURTH season, can I get a “hell yeah”? Who would have thought it? I’ve been following this show since way back when (apparently when it was still a hipster anime, does that make me a hipster? God no.) and it’s hard to believe that in only a few short years its popularity would have sky-rocketed to the point where it was pushing the 40 episode mark. I’m so excited!|
|A new Natsume fan appears! I made my 3-season catchup of Natsume a slow one that I could savor the taste of, and I’m really glad I’m at where I am now: ready to help cover Season 4 of Natsume (aka Shi) on Metanorn!|
|Natsume is finally in its fourth season! All the joy is erupting right now because I just friggin’ love this anime. Honestly, Natsume should go on FOREVER. If Bleach can do that, then Natsume should too. Maybe that’s the plan? Whatever the plan is, I’m just glad I can finally see Natsume’s not-so-daily daily lives again.|
OPENING Show ▼
The episode starts with Natsume on his way home from school with his friends and they talk about a meteor shower soon. Typical Natsume opening. Separating his way from his friends, a jiji-youkai appears and asks Natsume to save his trapped friend. After saving jiji-youkai’s friend and giving the jiji his name back, suddenly a group of masked youkai ambush and try to take the Book of Friends from Natsume; though, before something dangerous happens, Nyanko-sensei comes in to save the day.
Natsume, what did Metanorn said about talking to strangers?
Curious about the youkai who attacked him, Natsume tells Taki and Tanuma to cover for him the next day in case he couldn’t make it for the meteor shower. Though Tanuma shares his worry with Taki about Natsume being fatally attacked by youkai because he knows about his power. Even if Natsume’s choosy about what he tells his friends, they still worry and have their own theories about him not telling the truth to Fujiwaras just so they don’t get worried about him.
As he was about to leave his class, suddenly one of the masked youkai attacks Natsume yet again and this time, in his class! Natsume runs into the woods of course, but that ends up with him being knocked off and getting kidnapped by the group. When he wakes up, he’s cornered by the monkey-faces, threatening him to give them the Books of Friends so that it can be used by their leader. Natsume escapes (again), but he finds himself in a place that’s surrounded with barriers and supernatural traps. Oh, he also runs into Nyanko-sensei.
Quick, punch the invisible air behind Natsume!
Is Matoba posing?
Natsume and Nyanko-sensei just before getting captured by the monkey-faces are saved by one of them getting attacked by a tadpole-looking youkai, transforming the capture into a little pot. The hunter of the black pot appears, and it is… Matoba! Unfortunately, Natsume and Nyanko-sensei are still captured even though they already escaped from Matoba previously.
Supernatural Movie Survival Guide: 1) Don’t visit ruined houses. If you do, 2) Take Natsume with you
Matoba admiring his own bishie-ness but catches the intruder instead
It’s not Natsume unless he does his Punch no Jutsu of course! After getting himself out of his prison, he roams around for a while until he has to hide and escape from Matoba, again. What is this, hide and seek anyway? Natsume finds Nyanko-sensei in a trash can, and both of them look around the house for the paulownia room (where his bag is along with the precious Book of Friends), until they enter a room full of pots… Jar kind of pots. The captured monkey-face is there, and he reluctantly cooperates to find the paulownia room (while bickering with Nyanko-sensei, of course). So, Nyanko-sensei goes on a mission to get it, while Natsume waits in the same room. After a brief conversation with the monkey-face, informing it that the Book of Friends won’t restore his forest, Matoba creeps behind his back. Yep, Natsume’s really captured this time.
Need…To resist…Yaoi joke…
ENDING Show ▼
Why we love Nyanko-sensei
I found you, my princess
Oh hello there, Natsume! So glad to see you again and soon too! Sure, I would like Brains Base and Omori to hurry it up with the much needed sequels of Durarara!! and Baccano! on priority. But of course, they have to make money and if an inflow is coming in, why not keep encashing it? However you may scoff, this is a classic example of a long running series in recent times, which is actually good. Don’t even get me started over Queen’s Blade, Sekirei, Seikon no Qwaser, Ikkitousen, etc. Such atmospheric anime are delicacies these days and when you have a lovable protagonist like Natsume Takashi, his sidekick Nyanko-sensei and a truckload of interesting supporting cast, what else do you need? This is love bate for straight and homo fandoms both, pun intended. I can assure this, you won’t ever regret embracing this atmospheric brilliance.
Coming to this season, it sure started with all guns blazing as we didn’t even get time to take in the scenery, which is usually pretty good. Just when I was thinking; hey, typical Natsume beginning with him returning the name of a youkai, when BAM, we have a bunch of monkey-faces ready to molest him. Of course, Nyanko-sensei’s entry was appreciated but everyone knew that we’ll be seeing the group very soon and that is what exactly happened. The hide and seek game throughout the episode was definitely not typical Natsume and I for one am not complaining. Sometimes pacing is required to deal with plot pointers and hanging around some lazy monkey-heads was no fun. I liked how they inserted Tanuma, Taki and the two baka friends because they always balance the chasing and danger out. Getting some understanding is also very good because we finally see Natsume being grounded rather than hiding things and bearing it all by himself.
And you know who we missed in the villainous role nominations? MATOBA. Aaargghhh, how could I’ve forgotten Junichi Suwabe smexily voicing this dude and creeping up behind you to give you a start? Like any other ‘evil’ character of Natsume, there’s always a reason but his apparently is still not clear and the fun he has while capturing strong youkai and makes more of his shiki minions, you can’t treat him as an average Joe rather a calculating exorcist, who strategizes his every move. I literally facepalmed when he was shown going from one room to another (seemed totally uncool as per his personality) but the payload was sweeeet because we got to see him creep up behind Natsume like the slick evil dude we knew from before. Like I predicted before, we will definitely be seeing more of Matoba and Natori because some long arcs are expected to be animated. Though, I don’t see any dearth for the usual one episode wonders of Natsume.
The only complain I have is the OP/ED music, it’s missing that Natsume upbeat touch. I’m not saying it’s awful but from previous seasons, I’ve just come to expect some more pizzazz. The animation was really good though, especially of OP (Chibi Natsume ftw~) but I guess, I was expecting Atari to sing another theme song. Overall, I’d say this is a good start to another Natsume season, which can finally boast 50+ episodes. If only Yuki Midorikawa would hurry up with chapter updates, we might actually get a fifth season or a movie even!
FUUUUUUUUUUUUU~ MATOBA YOU SNEAKY SNEAKY MAN! Yup. Episode was perfect. Moving on~ C’mon, what do you expect by now? This show IS perfect, it just breathes, it has atmosphere, it has heart, is has danger (now) and it just seeps into you and wraps you up in all it has to offer. Which, lets face it…all relies on Hiroshi Kamiya as Natsume. You can’t NOT like him. He is too thoughtful and sweet to hate. He’s not stupid but he is naïve. He is just the ideal bishie for any fangirls mangarden. We all want one. Don’t lie. We do. The only thing I find weird about these past few seasons, and it’s not nessessarily a complaint, is that …wow, we have an honest to god villain in Natsume now. Matoba, you dog. He is just so devious. I know it’s Natsume so he will probably end up being lame and just misunderstood. But, for the moment, fuck that, this guy is EVIL. And I love it!
Those monkey yokai, which look more like owls to me but whatever, were very freaky. I love their designs, it’s nice to see creepy yokai outside of Matoba’s shiki demons, like the one that was tying Natsume up. Lucky thing! Ugh…Natsume, stop being so vulnerable. Don’t you know us sados find it hot? Burrr. Anyway, it’s nice to see Tanuma mancrushing on him some more, now if only Taki wasn’t there…I like the contrast of how Natsume deals with his two sets of friends, it’s subtle but it’s there and a nice point to show how he is still only half way towards being fully comfortable with people.
DAT OPENING. It’s so cute! Chibi Natsume huggling Nyanko-Sensei was so squeeable. I’m not the only one who thought so neither as there are .gifs of it everywhere. I saw the .gif before I saw the episode, I wondered “when did Edward Elric have a cat?” but still, it’s a very nice inclusion. Overall this episode was great, it didn’t ease you slowly into the world of Natsume like the others so much as it hurled you in head first, but they can afford to do that by this point. And when Matoba’s involved…. my dirty mind has a new pairing to feed off of. Ooooooohohoho.
Definitely not a long wait for season 4 for fans, especially myself who was catching up just last week. I was surprised to see Shi start with what looks to be a multi-episode arc right out of the gate. I had gotten used to the single episodic arcs that started each season and found them to be a nice icebreaker, but after San’s finale episode of Natsume coming to the realization that he likes both humans and yokai, Shi looks to get started right away with the Matoba clan, who’s stance seems pretty firm against both camps and would be the main villains of Natsume Yuujinchou at the moment. The past couple of seasons spent a few good minutes going over the main plot of the series, but this time Natsume narrated those points rather quickly since there was so much going on this week.
Tanuma explaining to Taki why Natsume doesn’t tell everybody about seeing Yokai is a nice footnote to the Mirror arc near the end of San, which they couldn’t really get to at the time due to the development of Natsume & Tanuma’s friendship. Sounds like the struggle of a superhero, but it only adds to how pure a person Natsume is when it comes to keeping the ones he cares about happy. It’s good for him that he kind of gets the best of both worlds: Touka and Shigeru and his school buddies can stay happy and oblivious while he’s able to talk to Tanuma and the others about the yokai to some extent. But as seen with the yokai going literally into his classroom and grabbing him, how much longer can Natsume keep the others he loves in the dark?
The new theme songs are miss and hit this season. I generally have liked the songs chosen for each season of Natsume (Ano hi Time Machine being my favorite), but this season, I really only like the ED song. While the OP song doesn’t tickle my ears as it probably does others, one thing that the OP does do is show a lot of childhood Natsume, even with Nyanko-sensei. Two of the better, if not best episodes of San were stories of when he was young and first dealing with his ability to see yokai, so if there are more episodes of Natsume’s past, I’d love to see them and am curious if Natsume and Nyanko have actually met once before. Absent from the OP is Reiko, whose character development has been pushed to the side ever since the first episode of San.
And let the shipping began. I’m sure by the end of this episode, loads of fujoshis already ship Natsume with Matoba already, just like what I did (heh). However, I don’t like the how they started this season with the Matoba Arc already. This is a big change compared with before, how they used to start the season with a single episode. I am probably one of the very few who prefer the old way of starting the season. This episode is like a big bang for the new viewers who decided to start season four right away. Sure they manage to cover the basic plot of the story already, but I like it when they start it with something calming and heartwarming while building up the pace for the action arc, like the Matoba story (usually it’s in the middle of the season). I don’t think I’ll be able to get used with this start.
The ending song is beautiful, and so is the animation they used for the ED. What’s nice in the ED is how the youkai is actually in the scenery too, showing that Natsume is finally comfortable being in both worlds. I’m not really impressed with the opening though. I’m not into songs with that kind of vocals, and somehow the OP song doesn’t fit with the animation for the OP. Moreover, they actually used some still images in some of the scenes, something I rarely see in Natsume, and that’s a big MEH for me. It was touching how they used Natsume’s childhood in the OP, and it expressed Natsume’s loneliness well, especially the part where chibi Natsume is running in the crowd all alone.
It’s nice to see the change in Natsume here. Now he talks with youkai normally when he’s alone. I remember when he used to refuse to talk with youkai even if nobody was there. Natsume asking Taki and Tanuma to cover him is a BIG change because it shows how Natsume is actually opening up to others. By asking them to cover up for him, Natsume is indirectly involving Tanuma and Taki in his youkai expedition, and he never did that. Remember before he didn’t tell others about his ability because he doesn’t want them to think that he’s a weirdo? Now his reasoning is because he wants the others to keep smiling. I like Natsume, but I like the new Natsume even better.
Yuno’s not the only one that looks good with knives
Preview: Whoa, Matoba what are you doing with the knife? Based on the preview, it seems that he is trying to gather strong youkai and humans. The most basic guess right now is that he’s trying to create the ultimate exorcist group?