“Joy and sadness, I embrace them together and keep going” ~Kobato
|It’s actually the last episode of Natsume… It actually made it into the end of fourth season… Wow… Didn’t expect it to be this long. I’ll definitely miss my weekly dose of Natsume ;___;|
|And it’s a sad day for us Natsume fans (especially those of us anime-only folks). It’s the last episode of Yuujinchou we might see for a couple of years, and it’s a tearjerker on top of that.|
Flashing back to Natsume’s childhood, we see a couple of boys making fun of him, but little do they know Natsume is able to see a youkai just chilling beside a house. It’s not new for us to see Natsume being teased by kids, though here it feels like we get a greater sense for how scared Natsume was about the situation. He finds a shrine after running away, and it’s there that Natsume feels safer and he can get away from it all.
Miyoko, noticeably upset with Natsume living with them, passes on eating her dinner and leaves the room. The next morning, Natsume walks to school alone and walks across an udon store and is all but drooling over the food choices. The boys from early notice him and once more make him feel nervous, but when Miyoko walks by, they harass her about how she and Natsume are living with each other. She runs away in frustration, and though he’s certainly not to blame, Natsume feels responsible. After having an episode during dinner, she sleeps with her parents later that night. Before bed, Natsume wants to see the picture of his parents, but feels the same pain he probably feels in the current day.
The next morning Miyoko decides to walk “with” Natsume to school and asks about how his parents were. After he says how his dad was nice even though he didn’t know him much, Miyoko gets angry at him and runs off. After thinking about a way to remember his dad, Natsume asks for the directions to his old home.
Natsume reads the directions while at the shrine, and a huge storm system comes in, scaring him and forcing him to stay put until a search crew finds and brings him home. After the parents apologize, Miyoko becomes upset to the point of beating on him with her fists and tells him to go away. He runs off, and as the present Natsume explains, he never made it to the house. At this moment, he’s able to force the Mushikui out of his body and Madara handles the rest.
Natsume finally arrives at his old home and takes a walk around. He’s not really able to recall anything, but does notice a crayon drawing he apparently had drawn by the sink. He later remembers that his mom had set some flowers out, and as he remembers his dad talking about them, he cries. He says goodbye to his old home, returns the key to Miyoko and heads back.
Time to find that soda spring! At a split path, Natsume notices his youkai buds going right and suggests to his human friends going that way; Taki and Sasada are already their talking about how hot Natori is.
Looks like Shigeru fixed his camera, so it’s time for a family picture.
Welcome Home, Natsume:
It’s only proper that such a strong season of Natsume Yuujinchou close with what I feel is its strongest finale episode yet. We saw in San how emotionally investing these episodes of Natsume’s childhood can be, and this one was really great in how it developed Natsume as a character. This episode reminded me a lot of episode 11 of San when it comes to Natsume dealing with his youkai vision, and this one kind of supplements San.11 by focusing on him from a different angle. In Shi.13, it went much deeper into Natsume’s feelings as a child and not only how humans around him reacted to his presence, but with Miyoko we see how it affected a family. You see how kind-hearted he was even through having to deal with children making fun of him, seeing random youkai around town and Miyoko’s feelings about him being around. This episode brought me to a realization of how much I like Natsume as a character and how far he has progressed during the course of 4 seasons.
The scene of him crying at his old home and saying goodbye was such an incredible scene emotionally. It’s a very brief moment when he breaks down and it comes with little warning, so when it hit me, it really hit me. Walking around and only noticing a drawing he only could think was his didn’t quite provide the solace he was hoping for; I also like the drawing Nyanko spotted behind the closet door, which Natsume still does today as seen in #51. His childhood scenes show that he’d been wanting this moment for several years. Only able to recall so few memories of his family, I felt really sad for him. At the same time, I felt happy for him because that scene was terrifically balanced out by when he arrives back at his current home with the Fujiwara’s greeting him and the picture that he grabbed Nyanko-sensei for. It’s a heart-warming moment knowing that Natsume is in a good place and has friends, both that he can share his secret with and those he keeps it from. His monologue at the end was very telling of how he has the right perspective on things. He knows that their will still be good and bad days, but he feels more ready than ever to face whatever life (and the afterlife) throws at him.
Shi was a sensational season that spent most of its focus on the human side of things. I enjoyed the development that Natori and (especially) Tanuma received this season, and in retrospect I think the episode with Nanase has value to the overarching story, even as an anime-original episode. With this season much more arc-centric than in the past, it was able to spend more time to develop the 3 main guys (Natsume, Natori and Tanuma) in their specific arcs and has immersed me much more in the world that Midorikawa has created. Nyanko’s most defining moment was when he transformed into Reiko and how he mentioned that he only really knew her and Natsume. It plus the scenes of him calling out to Natsume in this finale episode showed how he continues to grow closer to Natsume. Having Nyanko in that picture is a sign of how highly Natsume thinks of him. Like family.
Now that season 4 has ended and considering the potentially long wait for season 5, I think it’s time for me to start reading the manga. It was a pleasure to cover this show with anaaga who I thank for inviting me on (and also Kyokai for an episode 8 tag).
Such a perfect episode to end the season. So beautiful. So great. After 52 episodes, Natsume was finally able to look at his past and accept it. Of course, 52 episodes might seem like a long time for some people. But really, remembering Natsume’s timeline, it’s not. Did he even pass his first year yet? Nope. Anyhow… Going to his old house was definitely something big for Natsume because, well, his parents are dead. I bet memories were flooding his mind like mad when he cried (I cried too). Did he do the right thing by going to his old house? Yes he did. Throughout all four seasons, he went through lots of things and gained lots of things the same time. He slowly grows up as the time passes by. But how can Natsume move on if he’s not over his past? And this is what makes this step important. This is the last step where Natsume moves on, where he can finally say “I’m no longer alone.”
Looking back at all four seasons, I realized how, like I said, grown up Natsume is now. When he appeared in episode one, he was just a shy and meek teenager who tries to have a new life, only he failed to do that thanks to his meeting with Madara. He grumbled about it at first, but then he slowly accepted his fate and went along with it. Later on, he tried to make his “youkai life” better by making friends, both youkai and exorcists. And finally, he faced his past in this season. Wow… Natsume went through such great character development. He is a perfect example of how a character should develop. Not too fast, but not too slow. Realistic yet unreal. This is why Natsume is such a likeable character. The fondness the audience has on Natsume is not just some momentary feeling. It will start that way, but then his character will go deeper into the audience and catch their hearts. Well, at least what how he catch mine. It all started as a mere anime crush, but later on it changed into a family love. Yeah, I know it’s weird, but I can’t help it! He’s just so relatable! The animation and art style made it “worse” too since they were always able to picture Natsume’s feelings properly. The animation might not be the best, but the artwork is just beautiful. Damn it, I’m liking Natsume more and more now. This is not healthy.
Natsume has been something memorable for me now. It was pretty hard to write about it since I always ended up being emotionally involved, and plus with all the procrastination me and Jrow did teheh. But I was able to overcome that feeling. I might not be the best person to blog Natsume, but I didn’t regret it. I love Natsume, and I want it to go on. I hope there will be a season five soon. Heck, I bet there will be a season five.