Natsume Yuujinchou Go – 09

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I’m not sure he needs a mask when what’s underneath is the same

So many good Natsume episodes start with this really cheesy scene of Natsume being chased by some nondescript fuzzy youkai with big teeth.

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Ohhh boy, this was another good one! The featured youkai was an incredibly tiny (and incredibly adorable) mushroom thing with a strong desire to reunite with his friend. It’s yet another episode that reinforces the theme of longing to be with someone who is basically living in another world. They’ve really been trying to hammer it home with this theme, just approaching it from slightly different angles each time. In this case, it’s not a human and a youkai trying to bond, but two youkai from different social strata. I forget their names, so they shall be Mushroom and Monk for the rest of the post. I’m already in Christmas relaxation mode, cut me some slack.

The friendship between Mushroom and Monk is a very precious one. Monk helps Mushroom when he can, and Mushroom slowly starts to learn some of his teachings through simply being around his friend so much. We see this later when, without thinking, Mushroom goes out of his way to return a spider to its web. Although he’s not the brightest or the most humble youkai around, he’s open to learning new things. This is important, because it shows that he’s not just lying about undergoing spiritual training to hang out with his bestie. Mushroom would genuinely like to learn what on earth it is his friend finds so important to study for himself (and of course, being by his side is a very big bonus). Otherwise, his intentions would have felt a lot more cheap, and his reluctant acceptance into the group would have felt undeserved.

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Speaking of which, I kind of wish it didn’t end with Mushroom getting a last minute OK from the group as long as he complete some basic training. It was a more powerful message when they showed the two being from such different worlds that even dogged attempts from Mushroom could never bring him to same place Monk was headed towards. It was dramatic, and it felt bittersweet that Mushroom lowered his chances of joining Monk by not offering Natsume up as a sacrifice. It showed his own growth, his kindness, and how he was fighting his own battles. Plus, after he’s done bawling his eyes out at his rejection, he resolves to still chase after Monk, which is still kind of noble in a stalkerish way. It was a fine ending. But then they go a little farther and straight up toss a training manual at Mushroom so he can join the club. I guess they need some happy endings to balance out the sad ones could have done without that extra bone thrown my way.

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This extra “twist” also takes some emphasis away from a little bit of the story I really liked, which was Nyanko-sensei being fully aware that Mushroom was thinking of sacrificing Natsume. Nyanko-sensei is not the silent, watcher type. Not at all. He constantly busts in whenever Natsume needs him and tries to solve all his problems by eating small fry youkai (or even threatening to gobble up unruly humans). It’s very unlike him to try and protect the reputation of a spoiled youkai he sees as nothing more than a hassle, so I believe he’s doing this to support Natsume.

By not revealing this, he’s allowing Natsume to trust in this small demon and maintain a positive relationship with him. If he had revealed it sooner, Natsume may have run away, and they’d never see this through to the end. Of course, if Mushroom had actually pulled anything funny, Nyanko-sensei would have intervened. He just waited until the last second to see if he had to do so. I thought it was nice that he helped things move along so smoothly for both Natsume and Mushroom, even going as far as to stop Mushroom from apologizing for ALMOST killing him.

Nyanko-sensei has been one of the most static characters in the show. He waddles around, drinks sake, and runs his mouth whenever he gets the chance. That’s pretty much it. Unlike Natsume, he’s almost always opposed to helping out youkai (or humans) who have nothing to offer in return. It’s nice to see some development to his character, especially since he’s such an important character to the show. It’s no doubt he’s grown more fond of Natsume as the series has progressed, but this is a very rare occasion where he held back his hostility for other youkai.

I never thought I’d end up discussing the complax character development of a cat, but there you go.

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Nyanko-sensei sees all


A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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2 Responses to “Natsume Yuujinchou Go – 09”

  1. anaaga says:

    Is it strange for me to laugh so hard when I read “eat my dust”? But yeah the manual part was unnecessary. Was it even in the manga? I forgot but it was cheesy as hell. Well, I guess they want to give the whole “we can surpass the difference between us!” vibe, which can be related to Natsume’s conflict about human world and youkai world.

    Yeah Nyanko’s character is very different this episode after five goddamn seasons THANK GOD FOR THAT. But we all know this is just a one-episode thing and he’ll turn back into a lazy-ass bum.

    I caught up with Natsume today, and it seems that they left out lots of things? Such as Natori’s letter and the cloakShow ▼

    . I’m not sure about the cloak part since it was years ago, but the letter is definitely about that. Pity, since those things are pretty pivotal for the future events.

    • Overcooled says:

      I’ve never read the manga, but either way, it felt like a tacked on happy ending to make everything better and cheer Natsume up.

      LOL that’s the sad reality…he’ll go right back to his usual self now. It was nice to see a change once in a blue moon though…

      Wow, they left it out…Weird. Maybe they’re not expecting to have a season 6.

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