I have a lot to say here, but I guess I should say the most important thing is that there is a second season of Natsume Yuujinchou. Yup, so don’t expect the plot to finish over this and the next episode. Just expect QUALITY. Because yes, Natsume Yuujinchou has really turned out to be a very enjoyable show. In fact, I think I will bestow upon it the award of best anime tv series of the summer season of 2008. Admittedly summer was fairly horrible altogether. Xam’d is also a better show but Natsume gets the award because Xam’d isn’t technically a summer show, it just got the nod to be available to that elite group of Americans who own PS3’s, Xam’d has only begun to air on Japanese tv recently, making it an Autumn anime.
But yeah, enough of that, onto the latest episode!
The episode begins with Natsume meeting this indistinct blob. Yeah, they don’t put too much effort into certain youkai do they. Well anyway, it attacks Natsume and leaves him with a blood-red tattoo.
Actually it’s some dangerous curse mark that Nyanko is worried about enough to get Natsume to call for help. Again he uses the ‘Book of Friends’ reason for wanting to help Natsume, but by now we know how much he cares for him. For one he has to take the ridicule from whatever youkai he summons for 1) not being able to protect Natsume and 2) being this size
Yeah, Nyanko reacted badly to touching the curse mark. So Natsume finally uses the book of friends for the use all those nasty youkai’s want it for, to summon nasty creatures and make them do your bidding. So all mighty Natsume summons a certain powerful youkai who we have seen before…guess who?
Kudos for Natsume not flinching in these instances. Turns out this guy ain’t much use, so he sends them someone else who is good at these curse things. Well, by now I think there is only one character in the opening song who has yet to appear.
Now here is where the episode begins to get interesting. Natsume is starting to be loosely followed by this shadow thing, another simply animated youkai type thing. Except this time there is something sinister about this guy. It’s a play off the ghost story that everyone knows. Natsume calls it Merry, where you get a phone call and it says ‘It’s Merry here, I’m outside your house’. And then the next day he calls saying he’s outside your door etc.
Merry is a much different problem from the type he usually has to face. Hinoe did her research and found out that the tattoo is a 5-day mark that means if Merry touches Natsume in the next 5 days, Natsume dies. This means Natsume can’t use him power punch he has used on oh so many occasions. Also, nobody other than him can touch it, so Nyanko can’t help him this time either. Hinoe is still a bit huffy with Natsume so she’s not much use either at this stage.
Natsume decides he can’t stay at his house so he makes up some bogus excuse and leaves. Problem is the curse is getting fairly painful at this stage so finally Hinoe, seeing a bit of Reiko inside of him, shows him how to summon a light spirit.
So Merry appears and Natsume goes to summon a light spirit, which turns out to be…
But if Nyanko has taught us anything from this series it’s that don’t judge a youkai by it’s size and this little dude turns out to be more than enough. So now we find out why Natsume has gone through all of this. It’s simply because the overgrown ass wanted to see if he was worthy enough to hold his name.
Now that was a good episode. It was different from the last few episodic tales where Natsume affects the life of certain youkai’s, in a Mushishi style. It was more a story about Natsume himself. But what made the episode for me was Merry. Damn, that guy was freaky!
Another thing quite important here was Natsume’s relationship with his family. In the Manga Natsume is angsty and violent, solving a lot of his problems by just hitting things. They played down his angst a lot in the anime but remember, he was tossed around by different relations, not really wanted by any of them. So his relationship with his family is very important to him here. Just the act of being told off for running off was a sign to him that they cared.
Only one episode left, and then we have to wait till 2009 for the second season. Oh well, here’s a picture of Nyanko to make up for it