“Don’t touch my cat!”
|The second episode is finally here! This part of the arc is actually my favorite since there’s this particular scene I like in this part. Now I can’t wait to see that scene animated.|
|So it looks like I’ll be a regular here alongside the lovely anaaga for Shi. I don’t have the manga reading experience that anaaga or any of the other Natsume fans on Meta have, so I’ll be interested to see what she (or any commenters) have to say in regards to story adaptation. What “She” says about “Shi”, haha, anyways, onto the conclusion of this first mini-arc.|
Seiji thinks that Natsume snuck into the Matoba mansion, not knowing that he was the guy that one of his own youkai servants dragged in. Hinoe finds out through Kappa that Natsume’s gone missing, and later the monkey people capture Ushikao and Hitotsume, thinking that he has sided with the “terrorist” exorcist clan. Being one of Natsume’s closest youkai friends, Hinoe doesn’t like how they misunderstand him. Misuzu arrives a bit later and along with Hinoe fly off towards the Matoba mansion to find Natsume.
Freeze, Youkai FBI!
An offer to join the Matoba clan? That’s what Seiji presents to Natsume as they sit and have a drink (at least Seiji indulges in his tea). It definitely does seem difficult to live the life Natsume does, but already hearing Tanuma describe how Natsume lives and why he doesn’t tell anyone about being able to see youkai, there’s no way he would give up everything he has just for a small sense of freedom from hiding the truth; not to mention that the practices of the Matoba clan are totally against his beliefs. Madara bursts in to defend Natsume, but Seiji quickly throws a seal at him which turns Madara back into that lovable fat cat. Seiji wants to kill Nyanko-sensei right there, but Natsume won’t let him.
Join the Dark Side or I’ll kill your cat!
Nanase is in the East Forest and the youkai servants are able to corner the monkeys trying to defend it. Turns out the reason for the Matoba clan’s presence there is that Seiji thinks Rokka is a powerful youkai he can possess. Hinoe and Misuzu arrive, challenging them to a fight. Nanase is later seen walking away as if not accepting the challenge, no doubt proof of how strong those two are. The monkeys reveal that Rokka had been asleep and they wanted the Book of Friends to help awaken him.
O hai thar
Natsume and Nyanko-sensei have been thrown behind bars along with one of the monkey men that had been captured and sealed. Kinda looks like Homunculus from FMA: Brotherhood if you ask me. Two of the monkey youkai find Natsume through an outside window and happen to see his bag. They think the Book of Friends is in there and try to take it away, but the sealed monkey lies to them by saying that he already checked and it wasn’t there. Seiji arrives right as they leave and chants a spell to punish the sealed monkey. Nyanko-sensei steps in and breaks out through the back of the prison.
Successfully spin the bottle by praying. Achievement unlocked!
The other monkey youkai are still in the dark about what Natsume has been up to and they keep trying to take the Book of Friends away, even with one of their own telling them that he helped him. Natsume wrestles with one monkey, falls off a small cliff and is cornered by even more of the tribe. Few would dare challenge Madara, but luckily for the opposing side, Misuzu arrives with Rokka on his back. The leader of the Eastern Forest seems like a good youkai, asking Natsume to forgive his tribe for their rudeness. The reason for Rokka’s slumber was the seals the exorcist had placed on the village, and Natsume’s presence/involvement in things has helped him enough to awaken. Hinoe and the other guys think the fight is still on, but Natsume quickly puts a halt to their violent plans.
“I-it’s not like I’m fond of you or anything!” *chomp*”
Natsume’s youkai clan aka Natsume’s Dogs then leave, destroying more of the seals that covered the forest as they fly over. Natsume would like to give the Book of Friends away, but only if he knew that they would give back the names in the book. Seiji deducts that with Rokka awake, there’s not much more they can do in that village.
This gives a whole new meaning to “body hair”
Next day, the monkey youkai pays him a quick visit to apologize for intruding on him while he was in school. Later that evening, the episode concludes with Natsume going stargazing with his human friends.
And the yaoi fangirls scream in joy
Confession by the riverbank
It’s tough for me to recall an episode of Natsume Yuujinchou that’s come close to having the level of excitement that this and the first episode of the arc had. With Natsume/Nyanko-sensei, the Matoba clan and two different factions of youkai (the Natsume side and the East Forest youkai), this episode gave me a bit of a rush I hadn’t experienced with the series prior to. I can recall a moment or two in Zoku where things got exciting, so this isn’t completely untread territory for NY.
What I really love about Misuzu and Hinoe coming to save Natsume is that it further strengthens not only how significant the feelings that Natsume has towards humans and youkai, but how those feelings are returned by the group of youkai Natsume has interacted with. Episode 39 seems like just a fun episode with a season-ending realization, but moments like this episode pay off when you see the other youkai coming to his defense and actually wanting to save him instead of the book. He may not have strength like the exorcists on the series, but Natsume’s friendships have really paid dividends for him and they are his strength as a person that can see youkai; and for that he can thank Reiko.
Another thing I took away from this episode was how strongly Natsume believes in keeping the Book of Friends. He does kind of wish he could give it away, but his strong desire to have the names given back keeps him from giving back the book, even if it does wear him out each time he uses it. As an anime-only fan, it’s tough to gauge what exactly Shi’s theme will be, but as I’m seeing things right now, the Book of Friends will be play a role moreso than past seasons.
I see what you did there Jrow. I don’t know what I should be feeling right now. Yes, that’s exactly what I’m feeling from this episode: nothing. How I ended up feeling this way, I don’t know. But I know for sure that this episode didn’t impress me that much. This is surprising, considering that this part is actually my favorite in this arc, manga-wise. Is this what happens when the anime isn’t like how one expects it to be? When someone is too stuck on the manga? Or maybe it’s because my internet refuses to let me read some yaoi?
Remember I said something about liking certain scene from the manga? Well, it’s the scene where Natsume went home with Madara, Misuzu, Hinoe, etc. In the manga, it was beautifully drawn. That scene is seriously breath-taking. Alas, the scene didn’t impress me that much in the anime. Somehow I was quite disappointed at how this scene isn’t as great as it looks, unlike the manga. As a fan, I should understand it because this is animation and not still images. I understand how hard it is to create beautiful animation and make it consistently beautiful throughout the movements. Maybe it’s impossible? But I’m still disappointed. That breath-taking scene is something I’m quite fond of, and somehow I feel robbed of that feeling.
Don’t worry, there are some moments I like from this episode. I love how Natsume refuses to accept Matoba’s help even when his past is already mentioned. The temptation of being in an environment where people actually accept Natsume’s unique talent is definitely irresistible for him. Thankfully, he already has friends from both sides of the world or else he might accept that offer already. A balanced support is definitely necessary in his case. And…That’s about it, I think. I can’t contribute that much in the end thoughts now. I still can’t get over that scene *sob* Lesson from this guys? Don’t get too stuck up with the manga only or else you might end up miserable like me.
Preview: The preview is a little bit vague, but I assure you it has something to do with saving a youkai. Maybe from another youkai too, in this case.