Episode 12: 廃屋の少年 The Young Boy in the Empty House
Meeoooww…I’m a lost kitty. Please take me home! 😀
Sasada got Nishimura and Kitamoto to trick Natsume to go to a supposedly haunted empty old mansion so that she could spend sometime alone with him (lol). But fortunately for Natsume, Tooru Taki spotted the three boys earlier on and followed them to the house, thus foiling Sasada’s attempts. 😛
Well, this episode certainly has a couple of interesting twists with another cliffhanger ending to boot. It’s the first time we have such a plot too…which sort of reminds me of a film called ‘The Others’. To be honest, I thought that Kai was really just another kid who could probably see youkai and that it’s great for Natsume to meet such a little boy. After all, Natsume came away from his experience at the Conjurer’s meeting, feeling somewhat discouraged and doubtful about trusting and opening up to other humans. So, what better chance than to meet a boy who can see spirits like him, to help him gain back his confidence. Even with a glimpse of Natori lurking in the shadows at the beginning, I didn’t suspect anything amiss except having the impression that Natori was after the axe-wielding youkai…lol.
But I started having a slight inkling that all is not as it seems when Natsume found Kai in the coffin and noticed that the latch wasn’t locked. He recalled this bit later on in the episode. I’d also noticed the tiny word ‘Seal’ when Kai was lying inside the coffin. That and his parents were never seen and he was always alone at home. The only thing that threw me off was the fact that Kai can be seen by other humans. He goes to school and he has lots of friends who even seemed protective of him. He simply looks and acts like any other kids. I mean, not even Nyanko-sensei can sense anything different about Kai and Nyanko-Madara is not your average ordinary spirit either. Indeed, the unexpected revelation at the end was very well done as it surprises most viewers.
Judging from next episode preview, most of us will be wondering what Natsume’s answer to Natori’s question will be. What’s more important to him, humans or youkai? It’s almost similar to the question he’s been asking himself in the last episode…who does he wants to protect the most? The people he loved or something else? Does he think any less of his guardians and the friendships that he’s made because they can’t see what he sees? I can say for myself that it would be rather disappointing to see his character go back into a shell and disregard all the gradual progress he’s made towards being accepting of the humans that he has formed a bond with. So, I am hoping that despite the setback he has experienced from before, he’ll find a more mature resolve to seek a place or a stand between humans and youkai. This would be the kind of ending that would justify the very consistent theme the series has been projecting from the beginning.
The other question is relating to Kai of course. What is he exactly and why does Natori wanted him sealed? It can’t be just because he is a youkai unless he posed a danger to the human kids. Appearance can be deceiving and Natsume is too trusting towards youkai. His first and immediate reaction will be to protect Kai from Natori without giving a thought to the ‘what if’ factor. Although, it doesn’t look like Natsume could be in any danger, he might be force to face something he has never dealt with before. Come to think of it, he might even go as far as to put Natori in harm’s way just to protect Kai. You know, one can’t help remembering Nanase-san’s cryptic warning ‘such gentleness will be the death of you’. As I mentioned in my previous episode post, Natsume has to learn that not every fragile looking youkai is as trustworthy or lonely a being as he deems them to be. I can’t help but feel that he equates his own feelings of loneliness to that of the youkai which is one of the reasons why he finds himself feeling more compassionate towards them. You find this thought running in his mind in the episode.
It’s kind of sad that this series is coming to an end. I’d love it if there’s a 3rd season. There’s so much still to uncover especially on Reiko’s past and the question on how she died. Natsume has so much more to learn and grow in terms of finding his place among humans and youkai with that special powers of his. But anyway, I look forward to a satisfactory finale next week to close out the current season.
Play ZNYC’s theme:
Haru wo Shiraseru Mono-ZNYC no Theme
Natsume heard some noise that sounds like a kid calling. He and Nyanko found a coffin in big room. Noise came from coffin. Latch isn’t lock. Natsume braved himself to open the lid and to his surprise, a frightened young boy was lying inside. The kid screams and suddenly jumps out of the coffin and ran off, knocking Natsume down on the ground. Natsume found the kid’s name tag with the name Ishio Kai written on it. Meanwhile, Taki has a cuddly reunion with Nyanko-sensei. xD
Natsume tries to find the boy to return his name tag but instead got a bunch of insults from a group of kids who are friends of Kai…they thought he was the pervert who’s been after him. (lol) Apparently Natsume doesn’t take very well to being called ‘beansprout, washboard boy, pervert, girly man’ by those kids. 😀 And Nyanko being called the ugliest cat…muahaha. Hilarious. Although he still accept the ¥200 offer Natsume made for him to find a way to return the name tag to the boy.
Tanuma didn’t do much in this episode. It’s like his appearance is merely acting as Natsume’s listening post or sounding board, if you like. He didn’t get to say very much either. In the scenes above, Natsume met up with Tanuma whilst out walking and they both walked and chat together. Natsume heard a voice coming from behind an undergrowth and took a peek. A peculiar looking youkai was mumbling something about eating a kid. The youkai took off after hearing rustling and voices. Taki though ran into both boys and warned them not to linger at the area for it’s a bad place that supposedly attracts youkai. It’s especially dangerous since Natsume’s hand is bleeding from a cut cause by the youkai.
It’s interesting how Tanuma is being somewhat ignored by Taki here. Taki is just so eager to help Natsume and dressed the cut on his hand. Whilst Natsume talked about getting mixed up in up in people’s problems and being a magnet for trouble, they suddenly saw the boy peeping out from behind the flower box. The boy ran off but a small dark shadow suddenly flew out in front of him,tripping him. Well, it turns out to be Nyanko-sensei with an envelope in his mouth. Neko-san certainly discovered a crude manner to return the name tag and he demands the ¥200 from Natsume on top of earning another hug attack from Taki…haha.
So yeah, Kai the boy wants to apologize to Natsume for the name calling insults by his friends earlier on…making Tanuma, Taki and Nyanko-sensei crack up laughing. Natsume felt that Kai should report to the police if there is any stranger following him around but the boy adamantly refused saying there isn’t any point. This caused Natsume to yell at him and made him cry later on. Apparently Kai thought that Natsume got hurt by whoever is after him because he tried to save Kai. So he followed Natsume in order to protect him. Natsume thought that it’s the first time someone said they want to protect him which prompted a retort from Nyanko…has he forgotten that’s what neko-san has been doing all along. Poor Nyanko, he’s been taken for granted…lol. Oh yeah, it’s creepy hearing a sharp scraping sound behind you when you turn around and see nothing at all.
More creepy scraping sound but this time, Natsume and Nyanko-sensei spotted the youkai responsible following their trail. Nyanko declares the youkai as small fry trying to talk big and asked Natsume to ignore it. Lots of youkai eat kids. Uh ya, all the more not to have them around, neko-san. But Natsume then mentioned that it was the same one who caused the cut on Natsume’s hand. This made Nyanko go on a verbal tirade…saying he can’t even leave Natsume for one second and does not wish for Natsume to be eaten by a despicable low level runt cos it will be such a great insult to a mighty being like him…hahaha. Nyanko truly has the best lines in this episode.
Since then, Natsume has been spending most of his time with Kai everyday after school. Funny he didn’t mention Taki cos she seems to tag along with them too. On one of those outings, Natsume prodded Kai to tell him how he got trapped inside the coffin. The kid explained that for a time he felt like he was being watched and one day, something chased him. That’s how he ended up at the empty mansion and hid inside the box. He said the box was locked so he couldn’t get out. But Natsume recalled seeing otherwise and thought that it was strange. But while they were talking, the axe wielding youkai appears out of nowhere and started attacking Natsume. Since both Kai and Natsume can see the youkai, Natsume decides to take Kai and run and yells for Taki not to follow them because she can’t see the youkai.
Unfortunately, they both ended up at the deserted place which Taki warned Natsume about. The axe-wielding youkai appears and attempts to attack them again. Pushing Kai out of the way, Natsume tries to punch the youkai but was pulled instead…just when the axe is about to hit Natsume, Madara appears and forcefully grab the youkai in his mouth, absorbing its spiritual powers, rendering the youkai powerless. It was Taki who alerted Nyanko-sensei to Natsume’s predicament. She appears shortly afterwards, happy to see that Natsume and Kai were alright. Once again, Nyanko-sensei earned more cuddlies from Taki…lol. She can’t helping showering her love for the round fluff of ball. 😀
Natsume sensed a strange feeling that things aren’t quite over yet when he spotted a shadow running away towards the woods. He gave chase but lost sight of the figure at a clearing. He felt a hand suddenly grasps his and turns around. To his utter surprise, Natori-san stood in front of him. He asked if he was the one who locked Kai in the coffin. Natori said he did no such thing…instead he sealed him. Natori warned a very bewildered Natsume to stay away from the boy because he is in fact….a youkai!