Nurarihyon no Mago – 18

I am…Galactic Ika!

Nurarihyon continues its strong run this week with an excellent episode that calls Natsume Yuujinchou to mind. And that can never be a bad thing.

I love anime dealing with Kami, the local deities of Shinto. There’s something incredibly powerful and moving about those little shrines hidden in the woods, mostly neglected and overgrown, or huddling on a busy street corner in a city. They represent a connection to the past that it’s hard for non-Japanese to really grasp, I imagine. As an added bonus, the episode gives one of those two nameless (to me) pretty girls in the supernatural squad a chance to shine. Turns out she has a name, Natsumi, and she has herself a pretty good mini-arc to boot. She’s been the only one praying to the local deity Samba, whom she credits with saving her grandma from illness when she was a child. Her offerings of origami cranes and general kindness seem to be all that’s keeping Samba from fading away, and with the Shikoku nasty Sodemogi going around cursing people and destroying local Kami things are looking grim. When Natsumi falls victim to his curse, it’s an offering of cranes from the Squad that gives Samba the strength to heal her. But not before we see another mostly background character come into the spotlight – Kuro, one of the Nura’s inner circle.

Mick & Keith

I was really beginning to wonder why Natsumi and her friend were even in the story, other than for occasional comic relief. I love it when characters like that get fleshed out, and it didn’t even feel arbitrary here. The story of Natsumi and Samba was straight off the pages of Natsume Yuujinchou, and held it’s own in that company. While there’s still no sign of the Supreme Commander (still chilling in Shikoku, presumably) Rikuo seems to have really pulled the Nura together and even gone on the offensive against the 88 Demons of Shikoku. My biggest worry at this point is time – if this is two-cour and out, we’re running out of it. I hate to see this story cut short in an anime-original ending just when it’s starting to get really good.

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