Natsume Yuujinchou Go – 08

natsume yuujinchou go 8011

Sometimes, senpai notices you TOO much and starts stalking you

Whoa this was a really good episode! This is prime Natsume Yuujinchou territory right here…and this episode didn’t even have Natsume in it!

Natori is the stand-in main character for Natsume this week, although it’s hard to tell the difference at first since the two look so strikingly similar. Natori’s features and mannerisms are just a little more sharp. They’re also both good kids with some similar morals, so it’s not surprising why the two get along so well. What makes Natori an interesting MC replacement for Natsume is that he has rejected friendship whereas Natsume has embraced it.

natsume yuujinchou go 8006

“Natori’s Book of Forever Alone”

Natori works as an MC, even if he is a bit different from Natsume. He’s a dedicated, good-hearted guy who wants to protect his family and learn more about his strange ability to see youkai. Unlike Matoba, he’s not involving himself in this youkai arms race for glory. He’s in this to protect his family, those close to him, and even innocent bystanders if he can. It’s a noble motive. He could have easily gone on a path of vengeance to try and restore his family’s honour, but the thought doesn’t seem to even cross his mind.

As for Natori’s personality well, he’s not exactly as nice on the outside as he is on the inside. Whereas Natsume constantly puts up a pleasant act and forces himself to be polite as much as possible, Natori is moody and purposely rude to people. He puts up a wall between him and others – especially those who can’t see youkai. Natori has absolutely no interest in forming relationships that are of no benefit to him. This is why he constantly ignores his classmates, and yet is so desperate to be in the company of exorcists. The latter group can tell him more about his powers, and make him feel less alone. Although he doesn’t seem to do much talking, just simply being there seems to put him at ease.

natsume yuujinchou go 8009natsume yuujinchou go 8008

The Shizuo vs Izaya vibes are pretty strong here

It’s easy to criticize him for basically digging his own grave of loneliness, but at the same time, he has good reasons for doing so. Not only does he have a contagious, evil lizard thing crawling all over him, he also attracts more malicious youkai than most given his family’s history. Getting close to anyone who can’t see youkai would just endanger them. Natsume went through this exact problem (minus the evil lizard thing), but his solution was to trust his friends to not die off so easily. Being able to confide in people like Tanuma and Taki helped him feel less alone, and in certain cases, they actually aided him with various youkai affairs. Natsume is still technically putting them in danger, but he realized that it wasn’t good for his mental health to only surround himself with youkai and people who can see them.

Meanwhile, Natori is off on his own not even asking his exorcist buddy how the business works. He’s so stubborn that he learns the whole trade himself, and then goes off hunting to try and seal this strong youkai that no one else has been able to capture. It’s foolish, and he could have easily died. In fact, if no one intervened, that would have been the end of his exorcism career (well, any career) right then and there.

I never thought I’d say this but…I’m glad Matoba was there.

natsume yuujinchou go 8013

Matoba protects Natori and seems oddly intrigued with him throughout the episode. It’s similar to the way he stalks Natsume, except he’s a lot less cruel in the way he courts Natori. It almost seems like a genuine friendship proposal instead of a boy from a powerful family looking to gain equally powerful allies as quickly as possible. Whatever the case, I really liked seeing young Matoba and Natori interact. It’s different here because whenever Matoba speaks to Natsume, he acts like a big pin villain in a Hollywood movie, making all sorts of direct threats. Plus, Natsume is constantly balling his fists and basically screaming in response to everything he says, so it doesn’t make for the most nuanced interactions. But Natori has a much more conflicted relationship with Matoba. He wants to learn from him, but he also doesn’t want to admit that his skills are inferior and that he needs help. As such, he switches between deferring to Matoba and defying him at the drop of a hat. It’s interesting. And since Matoba is not quite as power-hungry yet, he looks more like a lonely prodigy than a megalomaniacal asshole. The two of them make a perfect pair.

natsume yuujinchou go 8015natsume yuujinchou go 8014

It was great to see such a different mood to a Natsume Yuujinchou episode. Natori, our hero, had good intentions, but he has such stormy moods that it’s hard to see him as this hero. He’s a good person, but he has so many weaknesses. I think Matoba can relate to Natori’s weaknesses, as he is also lonely, has vengeful youkai after him, and gets gossiped about all the time at these meetings. However, both are comfortable being alone, so they’re not quite sure how to reach out to one another without seeming desperate. And when the opportunity is gone, it’s not a friendship worth chasing after for them. It’s a darker episode because basically at the end of it all, friendship doesn’t prevail. The two of them achieve their goals using their own strength. I don’t think they’re much happier for it, but they are able to obtain a rather hollow sense of reward.

Now it makes a lot of sense why Natori ripped up that letter to Natsume. Natori does not like Matoba for looking down on him, although perhaps deep down he regrets never getting closer to him. Either way, Natori would loathe for Natsume to become friends with this jerk. …perhaps he’s a bit jealous too.

Melancholic yet powerful, this was my favourite episode of the season thus far and I can only hope for more of the same.

natsume yuujinchou go 8003

By now I’m sure they have youkai contact lens


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.
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

Leave a Reply