Mar 4, 2012
13 of 13 episodes seen
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Natsume Yuujinchou is possibly the most powerful, thought-provoking anime I've ever seen. The amount of emotions you'll experience is nothing short of incredible, especially when you consider the anime's 13 episode length.
Pity, anger, sorrow, astonishment, and absolute elation are to name a few.
And some tears on the side...Manly tears, obviously.
Natsume Yuujinchou is episodic, there is no defining plot line. The most common, unifying theme is Natsume's ultimate goal to return all the Youkai names that his Grandmother Reiko took and stored in the Book of Friends. The episodes range from various Youkai simply wanting their names back, to far more complex issues such as
lonely spirits longing for companionship, desperate to relive the memories that are so precious to them.
Each episode is wrapped up so masterfully, so beautifully, that it's nearly impossible to not spend the next few moments contemplating what you've just seen. The messages and lessons conveyed are just as pertinent as they are meaningful. At some point in everyone's life, there will be something (a problem, ability, anything) that they feel is impossible to talk about, that no one can relate. As Natsume Yuujinchou illustrates, isolation is rarely the answer, and through purposeful human (and maybe not so human) interactions, inner peace can be achieved.
The art in Natsume Yuujinchou is phenomenal, depicting a gorgeous countryside town. Each aspect of the landscape is drawn with amazing attention to detail, the large plains of grass not just being lush green, but also golden, with a few shades of light red. The bodies of water are drawn to ripple realistically with the hustling and bustling of fish (and water-related Youkai). The light from the sun pours through the openings of the trees in a divine manner. The human characters are drawn with that middle of the road style of animation, where they aren't too realistic but they also aren't too cartoonish, too cartoonish being enormous eyes, no visible nose, etc. Youkai are drawn in almost every way imaginable, the sky was the limit in creating these spirits as each episode continuously provides unique designs. The artwork never falters, and remains beautiful at every attempt made, from fireworks in the night sky, to majestic, elegant Youkai.
I fell in love with the opening song upon first listen. Without thinking about it, I always found myself singing along, the tempo getting faster and faster, my excitement growing more and more. This opening is truly the perfect fit for Natsume Yuujinchou, as it is expressive of my anticipation for the upcoming episode. This was the same case with the end song, perfectly fitting, as it always sums up the current episode, allowing you to become engrossed in your own thoughts. The almost nostalgic way the music starts quietly playing right before the end of the episode, a slightly melancholic acoustic guitar chimes in, and emotions begin to overflow. A memorable end for an unforgettable anime.
Most of the Youkai encountered are, aside from the general superiority complex over humans, very different. Their personalities are what keeps the show fresh. A Youkai that first appears to be nothing but malicious may actually have a much more complicated character, though that isn't to say there are no instances of purely malevolent Youkai.
Despite that superiority complex, most of the Youkai do in fact have human tendencies. Love, loneliness, and real bonds of friendship are all things that Youkai are not entirely devoid of. It becomes obvious that, despite differences in appearence, powers, and social norms, humans and Youkai aren't so different...
This is an anime that is enjoyable from start to finish, and as someone who is more prone to believe in the existence of the supernatural, I was enthralled. From now on, I'll think twice about those moments where a cold chill overcomes you, or when a blast of wind hits you on a relatively calm day.
This show is a fantasy masterpiece. If you're in the mood to cry tears of happiness (manly tears, naturally) or just see a great show, then this is a must watch.
"I can hear the footsteps of Winter, the cold night...But, this place is warm"