OMIGOSH! Nyanko-sensei and Takashi-kun are back. *Dances with elation*
My favourite anime of 2008/2009 returns for a 3rd installment and is one of the series I look forward to the most, from the 2011 Summer offerings. The other being Usagi Drop (another manga to anime adaptation). Seeing as I have very little time to blog about anime I’m watching these days, this series will probably be the only one I’m going to share my thoughts on at any rate.
View EP 01 Screencaps Here:
The first episode rekindles fond and pleasant memories of what made Natsume Yuujin-chou such a pleasure to watch before. The recurring theme of loneliness and yearning for a place to belong, is the essence of what the series is about and episode one continues this nature by intertwining a wee tale of a spirit-imbued broken teacup with a story of an old shrine spirit whom Reiko (Natsume’s grandmother) had helped in the past. Very simple and yet effective in conveying the lonely plight of two spirits that wish to seek the company of others.
In the case of the teacup, it chose to be close to the home and inhabitants that it is trying to protect whereas in the tale of the Obaba, she sought out Natsume because he smelled like the ‘youkai‘ who had helped her in ridding a foul spirit that resided in her beloved Sakura tree a long time ago. The grateful Obaba had wanted to return the mirror which the friendly ‘youkai‘ gave to her but she never saw her again after that. It just so happened that the ‘youkai‘ she was referring to was Reiko whom she had mistaken for a kindred spirit.
In meeting Natsume, the shrine spirit learns that Reiko is no longer amongst the living and in the process, got her name back. Through Obaba’s wistful tale, a bit more of Reiko’s past is revealed to Natsume as he tries to understand what kind of person his grandmother was. Their lives seemed to parallel each other as both Reiko and Natsume went through the same predicament of being thought of as weird and shunted because of their special ability. Both suffered the pangs of loneliness and both are afraid to reach out to others for fear of bringing them shame or harm. I, however, like to think that some where down the road, Reiko did find a a slice of happiness that eventually leads to a grandson that takes after her even though we might not get to know the truth. But that’s the charm of the story really.
What of the teacup? It did its good deed by shielding Natsume from an attack by a mean evil spirit that tries to eat him. Ah…poor teacup is all shattered but not forgotten.
As usual, watching an episode of Natsume Yuujin-chou often leaves one with a pleasant feeling of having been on a sentimental journey of sorts. This one is no different. It succeeded in subtly stirring the emotions of viewers like me, without having to draw on heavy handed dramas. The background art is as lovely as before and the wonderful music (oh how I missed hearing NYC’s theme) enhances the mood of the show. Yoshimori Makoto is back on board as the composer. I also love the way Kamiyan (Hiroshi Kamiya) voices Takashi-kun. He’s really meant for this role and he won the 2009 Best Voice Actor award for doing so. Of course, I cannot forget the lovable old fluff that is Nyanko-sensei. The fluffball is as wise-cracking as ever. I’m so glad to be back aboard another ride with Natsume and friends. \(^_^)/ Welcome back!
OP: “Boku ni Dekiru Koto” by HOW MERRY MARRY
This bright and cheery intro theme reminds me of Shuhei Kita‘s 1st season OP song ‘Issei no Koe‘. It’s an apt choice to open the anime.
ED: “Kimi no Kakera” by Kousuke Atari feat. Miyamoto Emiri
Kousuke Atari returns to perform the ED song for NYC. Like the previous two outro themes, ‘Kimi no Kakera‘ is a relaxing ballad that is well suited to wind down the episode. It isn’t as strong as the previous two EDs but I love how they managed to transition the ending of the episode gently into the ED theme, making it an integral part of the episode. The ending visuals evoked a warm and fuzzy feeling that puts a smile on my tired face. I gotta say that to this day, Atari’s first ED song ‘Natsu Yuuzora‘ still touch my heart with it heartwarming sentiments and remained one of my favourite ED songs of all time.
::Next Episode Preview::