In fact, it’s so magical I can’t even get down to writing this entry because I keep on listening to the OP over and over again. So much for being productive. I first discovered Natsume Yuujinchou through the shoujo magazine Lala. Having no knowledge of Japanese, I was drawn in by the beautiful and sparse art alone. Then, the second series started airing. I loved it. I then went out of my way to watch the first series. If you’re scared of jumping into the third season of Natsume Yuujinchou…don’t be. The first episode does well enough to establish the characters, the setting and the atmosphere of the show.
Natsume Takashi has the ability to see youkai. One day he inherits the Book of Friends from his grandmother, Reiko Natsume. Reiko too had the ability to see youkai and challenged them. If the youkai lost they would have to write down their names in the Book of Friends and be forced to do her bidding. The show focuses on Natsume who is constantly tailed by youkai, all of them may have different agendas but most of them seek Natsume in order to dissolve the contract with Reiko.
Natsume is a lot like Mushishi. In a way, Natsume is like the younger, more optimistic brother. Now before anyone jumps at me, I mean this in the best way possible. Mushishi is one of my top ten shows, and for good reason. The two are very similar but the atmosphere and themes explored are completely different. However, both are very good at taking full advantage of a 24 minute episode. In each episode both are capable of depicting wonderful characters and spinning very emotional tales.
The first episode to the third series is no different. Reiko is almost like an omniscient presence in Natsume Yuujinchou, there isn’t a lot revealed about her through out and the focus is mostly on her younger self but regardless, she plays a huge part in the series. The huge difference between her and her grandson’s personality works very well for providing the parallels between Natsume and her and the third episode tackles that in the typical Natsume Yuujinchou way: Simple and subtle. What’s even more impressive is that behind the main story is the subplot regarding the teacup. I think this did very well in expressing the strange but deep bonds youkai and humans share.
Reiko’s disappointment upon realizing the kindly old lady she thought was human, had indeed been a god was great development on her part. It’s also interesting how despite knowing the truth, she banished that evil spirit possessing the cherry tree and how she never revealed to the old lady that she was a human being. The teacup subplot was wonderful as well. These two stories reminds us of the delicate relationship between youkais and humans but at the same time, it hits close to home.
As usual, the visuals are superb. This show is beautiful to look at and easy on the eyes.
It feels like we have another great season for Natsume in our hands. With beautiful, soft colored art and an equally beautiful score to accompany it, this is a perfect watch for those of you who want to unwind and reflect.