Natsume Yuujinchou Shi – 04

Someone had a wild night

It’s the fourth episode of the fourth season!… I’m sorry I just had to say that. Before this post starts, I would like to apologize in advance in case I say something weird later on. I had three cups of coffee yesterday, and I didn’t sleep peacefully. I’m not sure I was sleeping. I slept at 10PM and woke up at 12 AM, again from 2 to 4AM, then sleep until 7AM. So, if I say something weird, blame the coffees for it.
12 hours from this blog posting, I’ll be seeing the FMA Brotherhood movie. Until then, let’s talk about Natsume and this week’s episode.

Natsume’s in his room when he  hears Touko-san asking him to open the door. He notices that the door’s already unlocked and when he opens it, a gust of wind blows through as a youkai enters the house. It’s looking for the Book of Friends and pins him down, but Natsume gives him a punch that even Kamijou Touma can respect. If you can’t beat ’em, bribe ’em, right? Yobiko is the youkai of a thousand voices… and no, I would not like to hear the other 997.

anaaga thinks this scene was romantic

Yobiko wants the Book of Friends because he wants Natsume to summon Karikami, whose name is written in it. Yobiko has a very old letter that he wants restored. He tells Natsume of the story about a girl (Youko), who used to walk in the mountains towards an old shrine where she had a tryst with a man (Takahiko), she liked very much. The youkai used to keep a close watch on them and when she left for the road, Yobiko being a nice youkai would clear the path for her to walk safely back home. Natsume explains that he can’t just summon youkai without knowing their face and name, but after having a dream about her sitting alone at the shrine, he decides to help Yobiko out.

Sorry, Natsume, no red envelope for you this year

Poor girl got ditched even in a dream

After a good night’s rest with a youkai and a neko, they all walk back to the forest. A violent youkai appears behind Natsume, but Nyanko-sensei jumps up and makes easy work of it. Yobiko who had saved Natsume suddenly realizes where Karikami might be and takes him towards the shrine thinking that it might ask for its name back. Yobiko reveals why he wants that youkai to be summoned, so that Karikami can restore the old letter.

There’s a biiiggg surprise for you, Natsume!

As it turns out, Takahiko stopped meeting the girl at the shrine after a while. He was a part of an influential family and had gotten married through an arrangement to salvage his family’s reputation. With Youko all alone, Yobiko used his voice ability to pretend he was Takahiko. He lies to her saying that he’s sick and she shouldn’t open the door to the shrine. The meetings went on for a while until she starts to feel more closer to him and wishes to see his face. He throws open the doors and flies off, explaining why the man never came back and apologizing to her for impersonating him.

“I must leave, MY PEOPLE NEED ME!”

After what us humans call a long time, Yobiko returned from his journey to see the old paper sitting in the shrine underneath a rock. Unsure whether the note was for himself or for the man she’d been seeing, Natsume decides to help him by calling for Karikami. Nyanko-sensei meets up with them a bit later and Karikami makes a grand entrance.

*insert depressing K-pop song*

Karikami right away senses an aura somewhat different than Reiko’s. Natsume asks for a favor in exchange for returning its name. Natsume could’ve ordered him to do so and then give the name back, but Natsume’s a really kind fellow as we all know, so he gives the name back nicely. In the process, he sees the visions of Reiko winning Karikami’s name. As though they’d just opened a chest like Link, the paper is restored and given to Yobiko. Karikami reveals that the writer of the letter has long since passed on.

Shining envelope > Red envelope

Two strong women that are graceful from every angle

Yobiko cannot read the letter and asks Natsume to help him. As snow starts to fall, Natsume opens the the letter which simply says, “thank you for telling me the truth.”

Jrow lied, the letter said “Y U NO TELL ME THE TRUTH!?”

The Other 997 Voices:

OYAKATA-SAMAAAAAAA– wait, wrong anime

Natsume Yuujinchou, where stalking is totally alright

“This is my number. CALL ME.”

Congratulations, you won the first prize, three tickets to an onsen!

I want to start by saying how nice it is to see Reiko make a brief appearance in Shi. She’s no longer a part of the OP theme, but I really like how Natsume Yuujinchou has managed to develop a character like her whose time has long since come and gone. Even if her appearance this episode wasn’t too different from previous episodes, it’s always nice to see a youkai’s past experience with her.

On the subject of being long gone, this week’s episode. While it may have not have some of the intense moments like the opening arc or cute fluffy things like last episode, this episode was really vintage Natsume Yuujinchou. Going through so many of these stories and learning more about the youkai and the relationships/fascinations they sometimes have with humans, the feelings I’ve gained for each new character in the series adds up when I see how Yobiko interacts with Youko and starts to feel regret for leading her on, thinking she’d been talking to Takahiko all that time. And even more, the letter she wrote accepting his apology shows how appreciative she was of his admittance (and also showing her a glimpse of his youkai self). It goes to show how the two different kinds are able to get along, but Youko’s passing displays how short human life is; most youkai would not put themselves in the position Yobiko did of somewhat falling for her, as it can only end with the human dying and youkai having to move on with feelings of sadness. Not all youkai are of the hateful kind. They’d rather just not lose themselves to human emotion.

After 3 weeks of Nyanko-sensei being the powerful Madara, it was pleasant to see the pace slowed down and not need the services of Madara to save Natsume. I thought Yobiko’s introduction was pretty funny, trying to bribe with food that Mr. Fat Cat ate before Natsume could even accept and then later trying to squeeze himself into Natsume’s sleeping quarters. I also really like that we got a brief shot of his eyes; so many characters in Yuujinchou have covered their face and just barely reached the episode’s ending without having their eyes revealed. And the restoration of the paper and everyone’s reaction will be one of my favorite images from this season.

That feeling when you guessed wrong for the preview, and you were the one who wrote it. Oh well, this episode is about a love story, so I was partially right. Better than fully wrong. Ehm, anyway, I really underestimated Natsume. I’m so used to simple episodes to the point where I forgot where Natsume actually has complexity, and it can go deeper. A love story that’s born out of another love story? That sounds like ROMANCEPTION for me. Or is it? *drum rolls* Oh man, I need sleep.

It’s not hard to see that the relationship between the two human was “illicit” in some way. One can guess that the male is somehow committed with another woman based on the location where they meet. And just by looking at the couple’s outfits, it is obvious that this is a love story of the previous generation.… One would expect them to be together; that’s how most stories are. However, responsibility is something that played a huge part in our couple’s breakup. The man chose logic over emotion, “family” over love. Sounds simple, but it’s a very hard thing to do. Because this is one episode only, and everything is told from one party, we will never know whether the man was actually serious or not. From the marriage, I don’t think he was. But really is it a bad thing to choose arranged marriage over one’s own love life? It’s sad how arranged marriage has been portrayed as something where the bride/groom has no say whatsoever. I don’t think that’s the case. Every human being has a chance to rise up his voice. It’s just a matter of the person’s decision to do it or not, and this applies to arranged marriage too. The marriage might be arranged, but the groom was doing it out of his own free will. So I pretty much don’t mind with him marrying his “fiancée.” I do mind at how the guy didn’t tell his lover though. It is the same with playing with her feelings, and I don’t think she deserved that. The groom lied to her. Not only that, the groom didn’t tell the truth to his family and “fiancée” too. It amuses me how little things like that can create something big.

As seen from my previous long rant how did that happen, is it because of the coffee!?, I’m not a fan of dishonesty. So I wasn’t amused when the youkai impersonated the male’s voice just to make the lover happy. Lying so that the momentary feeling is there? No man, something’s not right there. Even if it’s for love. Heck, did the youkai love the girl? I don’t think so. From the description of the couple whatsoever, it is obvious that the youkai rarely sees that kind of thing. It was a new experience for him. Just like a child, he was subconsciously attached with the girl because it was something new for him. Moreover, the youkai didn’t specifically say anything about some “special feeling” or “love” or stuff like that. All he did was to see her smile. It’s normal wanting to see someone smiling right? I want to see my family smile too. The youkai himself might think of his feeling as love, but I’m pretty sure it’s just sympathy. If it’s just sympathy, then why did the youkai brood for a looonngg time? Because he is a youkai, as simple as that. Their sense of time is different of human’s. And obviously, he was feeling guilty because of his lie.

Man, this episode raised up lots of questions for me. Is it right to go along with the flow, arranged or not? Is it right not to tell the truth for one’s happiness? How can one tell the difference between sympathy, friendship, and love? Nevertheless, this episode was satisfying, just like the usual Natsume. Natsume’s exchange with the youkai was still enjoyable. Moreover, there was the Reiko bonus that has not been seen since last season. It would be nice if Reiko’s past can be explored more thoroughly, but I’m happy with the way things are right now, so everything is all good. Just like the usual Natsume. And I think I need sleep.

Preview: No, I’m not guessing whether it’s anime original or not. It is clear though that next week will be an episode about Natsume’s past. I swear, I, anaaga, am not distracted with Natsume’s long hair


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12 Responses to “Natsume Yuujinchou Shi – 04”

  1. Kyokai says:

    HNNNGGG. This was such a sweet episode. What is up with Natsume episodes making me emotional? I should get used to it though. I do agree with anaaga’s take on dishonesty which I completely abhor. The guy should have at least told the girl that he couldn’t continue their relationship even if he had to marry a well-endowed girl to keep his family’s status in society. Man, I hate such traditional oppression.

    • anaaga says:

      My hunch is that the guy wasn’t serious about the relationship, that’s why. Or maybe he’s the type of guy who can’t really “man up” and stand for himself, which sucks.

      This might sounds weird, but if my parents tell me to marry the guy they choose, I would do it.

      • Anonomyous says:

        I disagree. The guy was not smiling at all at the wedding reception. From the chatter from the guests, it seems that the guy poor and the bride is rich.

        Its a common plot point in old japanese dramas where the guy has to marry a woman who is not who he loves for the sake of his family. The parents throw a huge guilt trip on the guy, point out he’s now the head of the family (and thus has associated responsibilities), forcefully locks the guy or the girl up to prevent them meeting or uses other such tactics. My guess is that’s the situation here.

        • anaaga says:

          His smile doesn’t anything about his seriousness with the lover. It showed that he didn’t like the wedding, but that’s it. When people don’t like something, they won’t smile. But it does not say anything about his seriousness with his other lover. Whatever the situation was, he shouldn’t have lie to the girl.

          I don’t think he was locked up. The place where he met the other lover was an abandoned shrine in the forest, where people barely (or maybe don’t) go. Not to mention that the guy never stayed long with his other lover, so the chance of him being found out was little. Although it did seem that he didn’t go to the shrine few days before marriage. Either that’s the time where he was locked or that’s when he was preparing for the wedding, but I think it’s the first one

  2. Snowley says:

    Cool episode, even if it was “Youkai falling in love with human” arc AGAIN. There was a lot of awesome animation too (Nyanko is a blob, lol). The scene when they stare an the letter like it was God-know-what and Nyanko’s “wth” face are hillarious.
    I’m really curious about next episode (Natsume’s hair… Persona 3 references coming this way…) and I think it’s really neat you can actually see he’s much younger in there. It’s rare for animators to make a character grow up when it’s not little child -> teenager case.

    • anaaga says:

      I think that Nyanko-sensei is getting fatter and fatter. Ever episode I see him bigger than how he was last week
      Oh, you, don’t make me blush *///* The modern complex and the crowded hallway in Natsume’s old school helped me. And long hair bang covers his eyes, something that non-friendly people do ^^

  3. sakura_fai says:

    It’s a mix of anime-original and manga bonus chapter. Lol, I think it’s going to be a frame story next week.
    x’3 I love the double voice over when the guy flew away to go to his people.

    • anaaga says:

      Story within a story. STORYCEPTION.
      I didn’t focus at the voice, but I love the girl’s expression when the “strong wind” was blowing out of the empty room

  4. Ying says:

    I love these small stories in Natsume even if 90% of the time they are about love XD. I’m a romantic so I don’t really care.

    To clear things up the youkai wasn’t in love with her, and didn’t believe himself to be. He just didn’t want her to be sad. I personally saw it sort of how you don’t want to tell a kid that Santa is really daddy. Even so i didn’t like that he lied to her for so long or that the other guy never told her anything.

    In regards to the guy’s story. I think he did love her but choose his family’s well being over her. The guys family had become poor so he needed a rich wife. There was no choice for him in that if he choose the girl he loved his family would have been poverty-stricken. This is a choice many of us would make if we truly love our families.

    • anaaga says:

      Youkai’s true feeling wasn’t told in here (maybe in the manga), so I’m not going to think that he knows what his feelings are. It was pretty ambiguous because his actions can be considered as an “action of love” too, but I believe he was sympathetic only.

      It’s understandable when he chose his fiancee, but he had the choice of telling his lover the truth. Which he didn’t, sadly. If only he told his lover, the youkai wouldn’t have to “lie” to the girl too. One lie leads to another.

      • Ying says:

        Yeah i know the youkai’s feelings weren’t told but to me, the way he described the story made me feel like he wasn’t in love with her, but was still close to her *shrugs*

        That i agree on. He should have gone back and told her what was going on.

        • anaaga says:

          Such a pity that this episode is told from one perspective only. It would be interesting to explore the other characters’ tangled feelings. I’m really curious about the youkai’s face too! I’m sure he’s good-looking 😉

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