First Impressions – Natsume Yuujinchou Go

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Nyanko-sensei is literally the best at house-sitting.

Natsume is back with a fifth season and it’s as surreal as before. It’s rare to see a niche franchise getting such continuation but Natsume is loved not only by the fans but even the creators (He won our Top Model ANTM contest, don’t forget!). Takahiro Omori is a big fan of the feel-good manga and even when he’s no longer working for Brains Base, he’s continuing his love for Natsume under Shuka. Now this is called dedication.
If you’ve already watched the last 4 seasons, you don’t need us to explain why this show is so good. If you haven’t…go watch them now! It’s like a lighter, less abstract version of Mushishi (with more people, and a cute drunkard cat).


Natsume Through the Ages

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Tanuma has been very patient at raising dem flags

Kyokai// It’s back to the daily life of Natsume, who is ever ready to help youkai out in their troubles. Sure, he would not accept this statement but deep down, he ends up doing just that. Every time. This season however, there is a slight change and only the people who have been following this series would notice the difference. Our Natsume has grown up. The Natsume we knew was a lone wolf, who didn’t trust anyone and kept to himself. I can make a lot of “I see dead people” jokes here but it is true for him because he sees supernatural beings, visible only to him. No wonder he had a rough childhood, being shipped to one house to another. However, being adopted by the Fujiwaras was the best thing that happened to him because they gave him a normal teenage life, unlike previous families who adopted him as a burden.

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This changeover to a trusting friend from a lone wolf came gradually but naturally with Natsume finally accepting a few people in his close circle as parents figures and friends. The boy who did not even talk to one person for a few minutes now shares a part of his family history with a friend (bromance with Tanuma continues). Something he didn’t even share with his friendly guardian, Nyanko-sensei, who has been putting up with him for years. Such a beautiful thing to see though, him finally opening up to people. Not to mention, worrying about Fujiwaras to the limit of leaving their house to find a solution and guarding over them as a protector. Natsume has come a long way and I hope there’s more than just helping out youkai but actual plot progress on the Book of Friends and Reiko, this season.

A New Future for Natsume

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…How many acorns does this dude need to eat to stay alive?

Overcooled// While the individual youkai vignettes are mostly episodic, the process of watching Natsume struggle with his emotions has been ongoing for several seasons. Now that he’s started to get the hang of relying on his friends (both human and youkai), this season is taking a slightly divergent approach and focusing on Natsume’s feelings towards his deceased grandmother, Reiko.

Natsume’s thoughts have always drifted towards Reiko. How could he not when he carries her book around and is constantly harassed by demons who mistake him for her? However, Natsume has always just sort of dealt with it with a mix of exasperation and awe at his grandmother for being such a tough, yet kind person.  Now that he’s become more mentally stable, he has the strength to learn the truth about what Reiko was really like. With a circle of supportive friends, goofy demons, and the sweetest foster parents imaginable, he can afford to be a little more adventurous.

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The problem is that Natsume may not like what he finds. Reiko was very kind to youkai, but not well-liked by humans. That’s what makes it all the more scandalous that she had a kid before getting married, and no one knows who the father was. I imagine a big chunk of this season will involve Natsume finding out who his grandfather was and why Reiko was such a loner. Since Reiko is repeatedly shown as being a misunderstood softie, I don’t think we’ll find anything that would make Natsume hate her. However, there is a pattern of Reiko’s reputation being tarnished (eg. being accused of stealing a doll) and then being immediately proven innocent (eg. ohhhh haha wait the crazy pot bitch stole it in the first place!). So we might get a little scare partway through, but I’ll be prepared to deny it immediately! Reiko did nothing wrong!

Final Thoughts

As a fan, I am extremely happy to see Natsume return. Since the beginning, Reiko has been portrayed as an enigma, a superhuman girl who beat up youkai for fun and took their names in return. She sure was badass. And for the first time, we have glimpsed her softer side, a girl who couldn’t figure out a boy being extremely nice to her. It’s called courtship, fool, but her not knowing is actually quite endearing. I hope this season, Natsume discover more about Reiko, who was like him but still very different. He can learn more than a thing or two from her. I also hope we get a signature punch from manga, the punch Natsume uses on pesky youkai. That would be great but I’ll be happy with some progress and few more feel-good stories alone.

Natsume Yuujinchou is an extremely consistent series. It knows what notes to hit, and it always sings them on key. This means we don’t get much improvisation in the melody, but that’s ok, because you don’t have to change something that already works. This season should be a predictable mix of more youkai shenanigans, more of Natsume bonding with his human friends, and some more dramatic dilemmas thrown in partway. It should be interesting to learn more about Reiko and her secret lover too!

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Keep a vigilant watch for the next post!


We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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14 Responses to “First Impressions – Natsume Yuujinchou Go”

  1. Highway says:

    I had only seen a couple episodes of the show before, but in general I like shows like this (I don’t know how many people watched Fukigen na Mononokean last season, but I enjoyed it). I thought this was good as well, although it brings a lot of baggage from previous series that a new viewer like may not really care about (and despite your exhortations, going to watch 50 episodes of the show isn’t going to happen). They did well playing up the importance of the Fujiwaras (and I’ll listen to Miki Itou do just about any character). And I think the rest of the context will fill in as the show goes along.

    • Overcooled says:

      I watched that one too and I quite liked it – it’s really similar to Natsume Yuujinchou. I feel like you can kiiiind of watch this without watching the previous seasons. You’ll understand the plot, you’ll just miss the nuances.

      Haha, it’s ok, 50 eps is a big commitment. I sat down and sorta marathoned the whole thing over a month, but it’s a big time sink. You gotta be super into it for it to be rewarding.

    • akagami says:

      I wish I could do what both you Highway and skylion did and skip the previous series four seasons and just start with this. But on principle I refuse to start anything without going in order if it’s a related series (and that applied to tv shows, movies, games, manga, books, etc.)… so as much as I want to check this out, I must see the original first!

      I did like Fukigen na Mononokean, Ashiya Hanae is just this little kind crybaby Show ▼

      that somehow is fun to watch. Usually wimpy characters really annoy me but he didn’t somehow.

      • Kyokai says:

        It’s worth the watch though. Maybe try a few episodes first and see?

        • akagami says:

          Hmm, what better time than the present? I’ve just loaded the first season and plan to finish it this weekend! Mushishi was also a great show, and I like yokai. ^_^

  2. skylion says:

    I have to agree with Highway. Also it’s a rare IP that can extend both this long, and manage to keep itself both simple and fresh and stay engaging.

    Also, like Highway, I don’t think that I’ll be watching the backlog. I really enjoyed this one, as I’ll watch countryside, laid-back youkai do just about anything…

    • Overcooled says:

      You would think that after so many iterations of doing essentially the same thing, it would get dull. Nope! At least not for me.

      It’s aight. I recommend watching it, but I wouldn’t force anyone. It takes a lot of time!

    • Kyokai says:

      My suggestion for both yourself and highway is to start watching previous seasons but rather than a marathon, watch few episodes here and there, parallel to this season.

      This way you would catch up at a point and not lose all references. It’s not a shounen series that you have to marathon and see one after another, rather it makes you want more for the surreal feel-good moments. Not to mention, the characters are highly likeable. E.g., Nyanko-sensei is <3 even with all his grumblings.

  3. ClementIV says:

    After all these years I’m glad that Natsume is back!! This is one of the few series that I enjoy rewatching an episode every now and then. I do not follow the manga (tried but did not find it translated years ago) so I’m looking forward to this season.

    I’ll have something to look forward to every Wed for this season!

    • Kyokai says:

      Indeed. It’s one of the few rare series, which I never get tired of.

      Manga is now translated and you can check it out once this season ends. Most of the chapters are now animated but I did find a few old chapters, which were never adapted.

  4. akagami says:

    Partway into season 1, enjoying it!

    But it’s kinda weird, I keep picturing Orihara Izaya talking to yokai.

    • akagami says:

      I think I liked the show the more I watched, although I still can’t dissociate Orihara Izaya from Natsume Takashi =PPP

      I will say that Book of Friends doesn’t look to be very thick, I would have thought he’d kill through the book by the end of the first season considering he was spending like every evening returning names…

      Next up, Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou! Once I get my hands on the show, that is.

      • Overcooled says:

        Nice job akagami! You’re movin’ fast!

        I know. Kamiyan always sounds the same in every role he plays so I always hear him as the most recent anime I’ve seen him in…

        lol yeah, I keep wondering how he hasn’t straight-up ripped out all the pages yet. It’s very deceptive.

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