Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09

[HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.45_[2012.02.27_17.18.00] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.09_[2012.02.27_17.19.25] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.37_[2012.02.27_17.24.53]

Is it me, or are we seeing an awful lot of Nattori lately?

Another Nattori ep, another two-parter, more plot…  As we’ve progressed through “Shi” it’s begun to look more and more like “San”.  That’s not necessarily a good thing from my perspective, as that was my least favorite of the three completed seasons, though I still liked it very much.  That special magic that the first four eps of this season had is what I crave from Natsume Yuujinchou, and the last four haven’t really had it.  While this episode is a little too linear for my tastes, I see potential – this first half was good, though not life-changing in the way this series can be when it’s really on.

What stood out for me here was the setting.  I’m a sucker for forgotten festivals and ancient Gods no longer worshipped by humans, and this ep did a nice job setting the scene for the Moon-splitting Festival, a battle between the two Gods of Mt. Misumi.  It was once a major festival for the local humans, but in the rush and tumble of the modern world it’s been forgotten by them – but not by the local youkai who love the splendor of the every-ten-years battle between the Gods Houdzuki-sama and Fudzuki-sama (Touchi Hiroki).  There’s a problem though – this time Houdzuki-sama is missing, and if Fudzuki wins, the area will be stricken by drought.  A mysterious man (Taniguchi Takashi) hires Nattori to find the missing and presumed sealed Houdzuki-sama, and to seal Fudzuki-sama if he can’t.

Meanwhile, Houdziki’s followers – the “White Hats” – have begged Natsume to help them by pretending to be Houdzuki-sama.  Natsume has trouble saying no, as always, and he tries to play the role the best he can – much the Nattori’s surprise when he spots the boy in the procession at the start of the matsuri.  Fudzuki’s followers – the “Black Robes” – sense something is up but can’t prove it.  The battle – determined by a divination – is the hunting of an ayakashi that looks eerily like a silver-grey version of Madara.  But where things get most interesting is when Hiiragi reveals her suspicion that Nattori has been set up – with the task of finding Houdzuki in a day impossible, the real job is to seal Fudzuki so this problem won’t come up every ten years. 

I suppose this more or less supports the growing theme of this season, which is exploration of Natsume’s possible futures.  Hiiragi openly wonders – even hopes – that Nattori might be growing softer, more like Natsume.  Whether or not he chooses to seal Fudzuki would be quite a test of that, since Fudzuki isn’t evil by his nature – just a Kami doing what Kami do.  As Matoba appears to be growing more and more extremist, perhaps Nattori is growing more moderate – and if so, it’s no doubt his exposure to Natsume that’s causing it.  Since Nattori has been set up as a possible future path for Natsume right from his introduction, the implications are obvious here, and this is interesting stuff – but it doesn’t really touch the soul for me.  It’s always hard to say just what element causes some eps of this series to be transcendental, and some just good – it’s an elusive quality.  But transcendental this is not, at least not yet.  There’ll be three eps left after this story concludes, assuming it’s a two-parter.  I hope we don’t get another plot-driven multi-episode arc to end the season on top of that, because that would pretty much eat the remaining time.  Plot is fine, but with this show a little goes a long way.

[HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.50_[2012.02.27_17.14.05] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.07_[2012.02.27_17.14.22] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.05_[2012.02.27_17.15.21]
[HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.35_[2012.02.27_17.15.50] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.37_[2012.02.27_17.16.52] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.05_[2012.02.27_17.17.21]
[HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.05_[2012.02.27_17.18.21] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.10_[2012.02.27_17.18.26] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.55_[2012.02.27_17.19.11]
[HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.10_[2012.02.27_17.19.26] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.00_[2012.02.27_17.20.15] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.17_[2012.02.27_17.20.32]
[HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.48_[2012.02.27_17.21.04] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.13_[2012.02.27_17.23.28] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.10_[2012.02.27_17.24.25]
[HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.14_[2012.02.27_17.25.30] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.38_[2012.02.27_17.25.53] [HorribleSubs] Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.56_[2012.02.27_17.26.12]


7 comments:

  1. Heh, my favorite episode so far, but I like the heavier plot elements myself, and I enjoy seeing further into the world of the exorcists.
    I thought the visual elements were absolutely beautiful, especially the backgrounds, the monsters and Natsume's glorious dress.

    One thing I love thinking about is how Natsume's adventures with Youkai often symbolize something in his own life. Here we have two opposing forces competing at the festival, while at the same time both Natsume and Natori were recruited by two different parties to different ends that may or may not become at odds with one another.

    It is hard to talk about a story arc mid-way through.

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  2. Too many two parter this season.

    on side note, I cant help notice the inconsistency on how strong nyanko-sensei is. on some episode he is described as very strong. and on some episode like this one, a mere touch from nattori's sealing paper reduce him to uselessness.

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  3. ode_hagaren@yahoo.comFebruary 29, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    I like this story in the manga and I think they(Brains Base) also did a good job in this ep. Although I love the episodic&the heartwarming eps/story of Natsume Yuujinchou, but I also love the main/heavier story of it since the material is so good, especially the background story of Reiko though we'll probably won't get it in this season. I predict this season also only had 13 eps like before since there isn't enough material for 24/26eps unless they makes lots of filler(not that I mind if it's done well), then I think I kind of know how they're going to end this season, especially since they focussing a lot on the exorcist-matoba-natori stuffs.
    By the way Enzo, if you also read the manga then you'll already know the reason why we have lots of Natori(and also Matoba)this season cuz the latest chps in the manga also focussing on them more(there're arcs/story involving Natori)that haven't been animated anyway, so that's why this season you're seeing lots of Natori(and Matoba also). I think if they're going by the manga material closely, then in the remaining 4eps we're still going to see more Natori&Matoba gain, hope that isn't going to make you less interested in watching/finishing Natsume-Shi.
    Also since we're talking about Natsume, I'm just curious if you're going to review Hotarubi no Mori e Movie or not?? It's by the same mangaka of Natsume(Midorikawa Sensei)and also by Brains Base. It has the same atmosfer with Natsume, plus it's simple,short but still beautiful movie anyway^-^

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I will blog Hotarubi when time allows. Looking forward to it.

      This season is definitely 13 eps, it's already been announced. I certainly won't lost interest or drop this show, by any means. I do tend to find the stories that focus on Nattori, Matoba and heavy plot less gripping than the others, because they feel more conventional to me. I can get that kind of stuff from many series - but there's an essence of Natsume Yuujinchou in the episodic stories I can't get anywhere else. It's purely a matter of personal preference.

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    2. ode_hagaren@yahoo.comFebruary 29, 2012 at 7:35 AM

      Ah..I see, in that case I'll be looking forward on your review on Hotarubi then, when you're not too busy with your schedule,take your time anyway^-^
      And regarding Natsume, yeah I know everyone have their own preference of their own favorite materials from the series, but still overall it's an excellence shoujo series&I'm glad you decided to blog the entire season anyway, hopefully this season they(the studio)still make a heartwarming episodic stories before this series end(I would love another filler ep of Kogitsune just like the one in -San), but we'll see about that.

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    3. As always, needs more Kogitsune. The filler Kogitsune eps have been as good as any canon material the series has adapted.

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    4. Considering Hotarubi no Mori e came out before Natsume Yuujinchou was put to paper you can see the heavy inspiration it gave Midorikawa for the worlds Natsume is set in. Seeing it animated felt like the episodic nature of the fist season. Plus having Uchiyama, Kouki as the lea doesn't hurt either. ;)

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