Review: Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou

Natsume Yuujinchou is originally a manga, which is still ongoing. Hence, it wasn’t much of a surprise when a sequel was announced…nor is it a surprise that it still hasn’t reached a conclusion. And since there’s more to the story, this will be short.

As with the first season, Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou continues in episodic fashion, which could really make it incredibly boring, like a certain other anime I’m floundering on atm. However, this sequel actually succeeds in developing first season ideas further through Natsume’s new and continuing relationships with the people and youkai around him.

The thread of development starts to show up relatively early. In contrast to the first season, where most of the youkai Natsume meets are relatively harmless or benevolent (barring the last one), our protagonist meets hostile adversaries quite quickly. Whilst those like Sui can be saved, there are others who live only to distress humans and other youkai. As Natori points out, Natsume’s compassionate nature almost gets him killed on several occasions, as not all youkai are as soft-hearted as he is: the time will come when Natsume will be forced to choose between protecting humans and protecting youkai.

Yet, when ultimately faced with that choice, Natsume makes the only choice that someone of his character can make. Rather than lose either of his friends, he chooses instead to risk himself. This kind of behaviour can be incredibly detrimental – the chances are that you will get hurt, whether by the ungratefulness of those you are trying to help, or even by others who might think you are crazy. However, what is important is that you do it for your own feelings, regardless of what others think. As Natsume notes in the end, “it doesn’t matter if they are human or youkai, only whether they are important to you or not. And if they are, then you should accept the feelings and joy that come with knowing them, without any hesitation.”

In summary, Natsume Takashi’s story continues to impress. 7.5/10. I may well pick up the manga one day and start reading, but as for the non-story related stuff… As always, the seiyuu were an important part of my enjoyment of this series. Whilst Kamiya Hiroshi is actually quite abrasive – try listening to his radio shows – I love it when he uses the kind of quiet, contemplative voice that makes Natsume such a caring character. The first season was the main reason I wanted to give Kamiyan my fav seiyuu award for last year. But now in hindsight, I absolutely ADORE Inoue Kazuhiko’s turn as Nyanko-sensei – his squeaky sacarsm was just fantastic!

Finally, I love the ending themes to this series, 夏夕空 by Atari Kousuke for the first season, and 愛してる by Callin’ (高鈴). They sum up this series perfectly as something that’s almost what Western anime fans call the iyashikei sub-genre of “slice-of-life” (not quite right because there is conflict in the story), and is just the icing on the cake for a series that I went to to relax.

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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