The first 3 seasons of the Natsume Yuujinchou series sowed many seeds from which to develop the story and characters. All of us have secrets that can sometimes make us feel alone in this world. There are somethings that the rest of the world won't or simply can't understand. Can you truly have friends who don't know important things about you? As Natsume gets more involved with the world of Youkai these questions are explored.
The series continues to follow a slow-paced episodic style. What makes this season my favourite is the balance between tales of interesting Youkai with and the story of Natsume's growth as a character.
The standard of animation follows the previous seasons. There a range of interesting character drawings, nice backgrounds and occasional action scenes. It is largely flawless but nothing spectacular. Nonetheless, its a joy to watch.
The sound track is appropriate, with a nice OP and ED. The voice acting is also flawless.
Character development is arguably one of the greatest strenghts of this show. Natsume is continually tested and grows as a person. However, there are many other well rounded interesting characters we learn more about during this season. The characters are often asked to make decisions with no right or wrong answer. Although some Youkai are simply evil, we most characters are an interesting shades of grey.
Its rare for Anime to go beyond 2 seasons and maitain such a high quality. However the fourth season of Natsume has proven to be the best so far. This is largely due to character and story development in the earlier seasons. Nonetheless, this has been one the most enjoyale series I have watched and I can't wait for the next season!
The fourth season of Natsume Yuujinchou is here. But is it as good as it's predecessors? The answer is "I guess..."
Natsume Takashi has the ability to see spirits, which he has long kept secret. However, once he inherits a strange book that belonged to his deceased grandmother, Reiko, he discovers the reason why spirits surround him. Containing the names of these spirits, a binding contract was formed between the spirits and the owner of the book. Now, Natsume is determined to free the spirits and dissolve the contracts. With the help of a spirit cat - Madara/Nyanko-sensei, his days are filled trying to return the names to these spirits.
Quick recap of my feelings on the previous seasons:
First season - Great! Relaxing, fun and heartwarming.
Second season - Almost as good. Pretty much more of the same.
Third season - Pretty good. It went for a more serious storyline, which it suffered for.
So how's the fourth season? Well, honestly it wasn't all that good. I did like it better than the third season. But not by much. For some reason it was somewhat dull. I can't quite put my finger on why, but I suspect it's because I'm simply tired of this series by this point. It's not particularly "heartwarming" at any point in this season (with the very last scene being a possible exception), and all the scenes of this kind revolves around Natsume - his past and his feelings. I would prefer to have stories that focused more on the spirits - and we would get to experience these stories through Natsume's point of view. The spirits aren't very imaginative either anymore. It's kind of just trodding along in the same manner it always has, but it needs to be new and creative in at least some way for it to work. And if not, then it should excel at being heartwarming (get used to seeing me write this word) or emotionally gripping or having some sense of urgency.
However, if this is really how it is, then why do I consider the third season to be the worst when it actually tries to introduce a slightly more serious and lasting story line? Honestly, I can't say exactly what it is that bothers me with this season - but there is something with Natsume Yuujinchou that simply doesn't work for me anymore. And it's not because I don't like slow paced Slice-of-Life series. If they excel in some particular field then they could be some of the better anime series out there. The Aria franchise is one of my favorites within anime. That's because the entire series is so heartwarming (there's that word again) and nice and pleasant and sweet. I feel so good inside when I watch that series. Then again, another reason why I love the Aria franchise so much is because it has such an amazing ending. And by ending I mean half the last season - Aria The Origination. So it didn't exactly trodd along the same path forever. If it would, then I'm sure I'd grow tired of it as well.
But this review is supposed to be about Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - so I'll stop bringing up Aria now :P
If anyone else is having the same thoughts as I am, then please let me know why you're thinking this way. Or let me know if you merely have a theory on why I'd be feeling this way about the series.
Ok, so that's what bothered me with the series - but that's not to say that I didn't like it overall. In fact, I did. I found it to be pretty good. It never outright bored me, and Nyanko-sensei is still as fun as he's ever been. He's entertaining in every single scene he appears in and his the greatest aspect of this entire season.
My second favorite character is Natsume's friend Tanuma - because he gets some pretty good development as he ventures further into the world of spirits in order to discover more about what Natsume goes through.
Despite it's flaws it is still quite enjoyable for me and I will definitely watch the fifth season if they ever make it.
More of the same
Just more of the same...
Not as heartwarming as it could be
Spirits aren't imaginative
I liked every season of Natsume Yuujinchou but this one was by far the best one in my opinion. The story itself is very compelling and allows for the development of several characters (namely youkai) along with the potential for many adventures for Natsume (main character). I got to say that I was never bored with the episodes and this season was my favorite as it dives in Natsume's past some more. I wonder how Natsume's grandmother died and how was she able to find someone to form a family with. Perhaps these questions are answered in the manga which I am yet to read or perhaps this will be explained ina later volume as the manag is still ongoing. Either way I think the story is unique, fun, and plays to the audience's feelings as you see many happy and very sad moments in the story.
The animation was great and so was the music. The opening and ending themes were fantastic!
The characters were very well developed. Natsume and Reiko are well explored throughout the seasons and are very well liked along some of the youkai that often makes an appeareance other than Madara which is a main one. Madara is fun to watch and veyr lovable in its own way, he grows to care for Natsume (or so it seems) and it makes you wonder what will happen if Natsume returns all the names of the book to their respective owners. I like the dynamic of the exorcist with Natsume and the so called "balance" they provide to one another. There seems to be more topics to be explored when the new clan members comes to the picture and is seen once in a while. All in all it feels that the story has many good points and ways to continue developing. The characters are awesome and with such good animation and sound I could give nothing less that a 10/10 for this anime along with kuddos and a high recommendation for anyone reading this review!
No. of Episodes: 13 episodes
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Shoujo, Slice of life, Supernatural
Plot:The story is an extension to the original Natsume Yuujinchou series dealing with Youkai and Humans. "Natsume" named after his grandmother inherits the book of friends which contains the names of youkai(Demons in japanese Mythology) defeated by his grandmother.The holder of the book weilds the power to command youkai and as a result the book becomes dangerous in the hands of a wrong person.Teaming up with a fox demon(disguised as a cat who he calls sensei),Natsume tries to return the names of the youkai written in the book of friends.The story also concentrates on how natsume overcomes his weaknesses against evil youkai.
The Good and the Bad:
In my view, there aren't any weak points about this anime.Only that the viewer might find Natsume undepowered but that's how the anime rolls!
Overall Rating:8.5 is a good enough number for this pleasant anime.
Final verdict: If you are a fan of "slice of life anime", this one is a must watch!
First of all, I'd like to mention that I watched all of the Natsume Yuujinchou series in a short amount of time and if they would release another sequel I would watch that one as well. This anime is just so captivating that it leaves you wanting more and more episodes to watch.
We follow the teenage boy Natsume and his cat Nyanko-sensei around in their daily life, which is almost normal. Natsume can see spirits, his cat is one too, and he inherited the "Book of Friends" from his grandmother. The spirits have a great interest in Natsume's heirloom and that causes the boy to get mixed up in their lives, we get to see how Natsume deals with the spirits in an episodic way.
Natsume Yuujinchou has a certain style of animation that fits the series really well because it looks like the story feels. Light and simple but it delivers the story with great elegance.
The opening and ending songs are ones you don't really want to skip, they fit the feel of the anime well. The voice acting is also quite good, although sometimes the spirits fail to deliver the serious tone that once in a while is needed.
If you really like to see some serious character development then look no further, this is it. We really see how Nastume grows from a shy and quiet character into one that laughs openly with his friends, be it humans or spirits.
The side characters aren't left out either and we also see how they, along with Natsume, grow up and go about their daily lives.
This is a pretty good anime, aside from some minor faults, the big thing that bothers me the most is how some plotlines aren't resolved in the end. But we did get to meet Natsume and watch him grow up, which I think was really something incredible.