Young Nanase vs. Youkai, now playable in Natsume Yuujinchou Fighter!
|Have you downloaded the OP single that came out this weekend? After several episodes, songs to tend to grow on me as I watch each week. I mention this on G+ previously, but I’d rank the OPs as Season 2 > 3 > 1 > 4. Anaaga’s out. I miss her already. However, I have Kyokai with me this week. She’s a part of why I started watching Yuujinchou. ^_^|
|Heyo, Jrow~ I’m so glad you took up Natsume after my nudges. I think it worked on Ness too as she’s almost over the second season herself. Now if only you guys start on Kara no Kyoukai soon enough but I can’t be too greedy. :3 Let’s get this tag started then.|
Back to an earlier time when Nanase was a young, up-and-coming exorcist, she’s seen being chased in a forest by a hungry youkai. She leads it to a seal she’s prepared and starts a chant as the youkai approaches and eventually gets trapped. A nearby youkai is flying with some fish, notices what’s going on, and gets grabbed by the seal. Nanase loses concentration upon seeing this which frees the bigger youkai, who gives her a Falcon Punch. He’s about to eat her, but voices can be heard so he (and the other youkai) flee.
Present Time – Nyanko wants some food. Natsume notices a black feather on his shoulder and gets grabbed by the flying youkai w/ Nyanko holding on by Natsume’s leg. He’s looking for Reiko, but the weaker Takashi will do. He wants him to use the Book of Friends to help a youkai that had been sealed away in a stone; problem is… he lost the stone.
And now we’re several pounds lighter.
Nyanko trips on a rope and unties it from the nearby post. He notices it leads into a well, gets curious, and falls in. He’s surprised that he can breathe, quickly realizing it’s a barrier. Nanase’s been chilling there for a while, and now she apparently can’t leave thanks to Nyanko. They talk about the many seals on the ground and that she is looking for a specific one. So while they look, back to flashback story…
Furball in the Water. Coming soon to theatres near you!
Nanase finds the flying youkai again and asks him where Natsume Reiko is, carrying him around like a pet while they search. While they’re searching in a forest, the big youkai from earlier comes back and knocks them down, but this time she is saved by an exorcist named Mikage, who’s been mistaken as Reiko.
The reason why Nanase wanted to meet with her is due to learning which youkai are good, can be servants, bad, etc., though she thinks it’s best that they all be sealed. Seems like Mikage’s a strong believer in karma. He grabs his chest in pain, noting that each time he uses his power to seal a youkai, his “method tears away”. After promising to seal him away should something happen, she runs off.
Nanase stops by the well asking where Mikage is. Yeah… you should’ve sealed this youkai earlier, bro. It grabs her hoping for a bite, but Mikage once again saves her, this time sealing the youkai into a stone. After another moment of being in pain, his eyes turn yellow and purple markings surround his eye. Two guys come rolling up, and through them she learns that Mikage is actually a youkai servant of an exorcist who has already passed away. Per his request, Nanase seals him in a stone.
Present Time – Nanase has fixed the barrier and is entrusting Nyanko-sensei with the rope to help them get out. She teases for a second time about going up against him, but walks away knowing that for one, she wouldn’t be able to, and two, that Natsume wouldn’t be pleased.
Searching in the forest, Natsume finds the stone and gives Mikage’s name back to him. Mikage gives his thanks and is freed from this world. Now onto that food Nyanko-sensei was asking him for…
Nanase, why does your pet have a goatee?
Lovely scenery. Looks very peaceful.
Then vs. Now
Judging from comments last week, it seems that this episode is an anime-original. It keeps with that Natsume feel, which isn’t too hard a task since Omori and his team seemingly have excelled in the craft of creating a great atmosphere for the anime, but if you made me rank Shi episodes, I’d put this one in the bottom half. Not to say it’s bad, just that I’ve felt Shi has been excellent and this episode was a bit of a step back.
Nanase’s past is kind of like watching Natsume’s dialogue at the end of episode 7 play out, where he referred to the pasts that Natori and Reiko dealt with to get to where they ended up. Nanase seemed like she wanted to understand the youkai better, but her family roots had guided her down a narrower path, to the point of just exorcising all youkai. I wonder if this is something every exorcist has ever had to deal with, or if there’s been any exorcists that have immediately wanted to rid of them without thinking twice.
I had never really thought about episode placement in the Natsume Yuujinchou series before. These seasons are kind of like records where you have the songs you love, others you like and maybe one or two songs that have you pushing next on your iPod, and track order is like music Feng Shui; good track placement can enhance the album and tell a good story. With Shi wanting to address this point about the choice between the different feelings toward youkai, this episode is placed in a fine spot after the events of episode 7 with Natsume’s dialogue. I think they’ve ironed out a lot of details for the time being, though there’s a couple more perspectives to look at it from. For the time being, I’d kind of like a switch in theme for the next couple episodes.
I assume Shi is going to be 13 episodes like previous seasons, but I don’t see MAL with a total episode listing, and ANN has only 12 as of this posting. I’ll just continue thinking that Shi will be 13 episodes.
This episode shows how perfect this series can be. The charm of a single beautiful episode that will touch your heart and in turn show a completely different picture of how you perceived a certain character. Personally, I never liked Nanase because she has always been in the thick of Exorcist circle and seeing Matoba, I’ve really sworn off them. Sure, Natori is an exception but however bishie he is, I will remain wary of him just like Natsume. Not to mention, Reiko never became an exorcist in her day and however snobbish she was, you have to trust her judgement about people and youkai in general. You can argue that she was harsher than Natsume and usually beat up anything that was unusual but in contrast Natsume is the ideal youkai seer, because even after going through many dangers, he has never felt bitter about his experiences or blamed it on other people/youkai. He’s the best coper you can say due to his kindness and acquired knowledge.
The let’s-sit-down-and-talk-about-an-old-time-story is nothing new and it even felt a bit forced in terms of Nanase deliberately starting off but by the end, you know she had to do it just to remember how Mikage had helped her. This story gave more insight towards how an exorcist’s life starts (I’m reminded of InuxBoku’s throwbacks’ story here), because they are never given a choice of doing something else. In comparison to Natsume, who didn’t know what the hell youkai were, Nanase knew the types and her family’s eliteness in grouping the useful, useless and serviceable youkai (damn you, jiji!). If you are born in a family which discriminated and treated youkai like tools, no wonder she grew up to despise them to the degree of sealing all of them, whatever type they were. Of course, that was a scared kid’s judgement but she did walk the path that was laid out by her family rather than making her own mind like Natsume.
I really liked how Mikage’s character was brought up. He’s the ideal loyal youkai, who did his master’s bidding even after he passed away. A good youkai, who takes his word seriously so even if there are bad/evil youkai out there, there’s youkai like him, Hinoe, Misuzu and many more to balance out good from bad. The reasoning of Karma brings to light the fact of “you reap what you sow”, clearly enacted by the birdy-youkai, finally freeing Mikage with the help of Natsume’s Book of Friends. I’ve caught up to the manga recently and I heard the recent chapters (60 onwards), finally reveal some facts about Reiko. I can only wish, they are scanlated soon enough because for this series, she has been an ever looming enigma and this episode has reminded of the fact yet again. And Jrow, there will definitely a change of theme for the next two episode with Houzuki-sama arc and I can only hope this season ends with Natsume’s parents arc because that story is seriously full of manly tears.
Episode 9 Preview:
Kyo: The arc I’ve been looking forward to since season two. Natsume will get involved in a godly youkai business aka Houzuki-sama.