1. N

    First and foremost, thank you very much for your reviews. I am happy that I can watch some Natsume now, because I know from skimming through the review that I have the corresponding manga volume.
    That said I sometime fear your reviews because of the critical reviews the more plot driven episodes get from you. And I would love to disagree with you about this, but how could I when I get the same feeling watching the anime.

    For me it is important to read the manga first, because I come to love Midorikawas style long before I even knew Natsume Yuujinchou. And I had ton of problems when watching the anime at first, the only episodes that I really liked in season one were the ones with anime original content. Watching season two made me warm up to anime and made appreciated the anime for what it is. The anime is very true to the manga, often even to the point where a camera shot mimic a panel from the manga. So how can they still feel so different for me?
    I like the short episodes with the youkai and the more plot driven episodes in the manga, there is no difference. Maybe it comes from the fact that I know her writing story manga and I love it, but shouldn’t that make me feel the same about the anime? My guess is that it is a lot easier to translate this special feeling I get, this mixture from warm and sadness feeling in the short Youkai episodes than in the story episodes.

    I didn’t like especially this episode too much, but not because it was fast paced, much contrary because the story was progressing so slowly. This episode featured only one manga chapter and what worked very well for me at the school festival episode didn’t work for me this episode. Maybe you will like part 2 from this episode better, as it will feature the possessing youkai and her reasons more. In the manga it was heartwarming enough for me.

    I liked this two chapter episode in the manga because it did make me feel what Yuki Midorikawa was trying to achieve (end of book comments). It was an important for episode for both Tanuma and Natsume, not because something big happens, but it was a story that has to be told. Watching the two makes me feel a bit uneasy and even I notice that it is not a normal relationship between guys, but for me the reason for this is because they are both feeling awkward talking to other people.
    When you are talking about others wanting to protect Natsume, it is not sort of shoujo mystique for me. (When it would be a shounen ai mystique, or a shounen/seinen from a female writer mystique), It is more a sort of reaction to his personality. Of course it is not the reality in life, but would it be really so bad if it was? At least in Natsume’s case this feels a lot more natural as if they weren’t trying to protect him and care for him.

    An explanation for this season being more of the heavier plot side is the 2008 manga change to Lala (monthly) from Lala DX magazine (bimonthly) where she didn’t have the chance to tell story arcs.
    There are some people who say that Yuki Midorikwa is a better oneshot writer than series writer, I personally can’t agree with them as I love her doing both things, for me she isn’t a one trick pony at all.

    I couldn’t help but smile at her comments regarding the school festival episode, where she said, that she thought she shouldn’t write episodes that don’t revolve about youkai, but was given a go-ahead to do a campus story. And she was worried that it would get too human centric.
    That said, the Tatsumi episode you mentioned is perhaps my favorite episode in the whole manga and I certainly wouldn’t mind more episodes being like that.

    My hope for the rest of the episodes is that the anime will contain the last two chapters of volume 8. On the one hand because it is the only other non animated manga part I own and on the other because it is a story part I was always hoping seeing to be told. It was scary, more than any other story in Natsume Yuujinchou, sad and still very warm. I really hope it will be animated and I hope it will translate well in the anime format.

  2. Niana, thanks for a really informative and well-considered post. I was very interested to hear about Midorikawa-sensei's comments especially.

    It's funny (maybe it was the ED animation of the first series) and I've never seen anyone else agree, but for some reason this series has always reminded me of Winnie the Pooh (the original Milne books, not the Disney). And when I see Natsume growing up and becoming more comfortable with humans, I can't help but thing of Christopher Robin leaving the Hundred-Acre Wood behind, and how sad that it…

  3. N

    I really like her comments. They are always very interesting and sweet and she sounds like such a nice person. I know a story has to stand for itself and an author’s comment shouldn’t be needed to understand a series, but I like to read her comments anyway. It is like an additional layer to the stories that make them only more beautiful in my eyes.

    When she writes her commentary you can see that the characters are alive inside her mind and have their own will. (she ones said that she would tell the characters where to go, but leave the dialogues and actions up to them)

    At the end of volume 8 there is an interesting comment from her about Natsume and his relationship to human and youkai

    She says that during the Matoba episode Natsume became painfully aware of the harsh nature of humans and yokai alike and she thinks that he’s finally decided to pay closer attention to those around, but she felt that it was still difficult for him to do this without fear and that she hopes that she can thaw him out a little bit at a time.
    It has become more fun for Natsume to hang around yokai, but he also realizes human relationships are very important. She thinks he’s going to start serious contemplating his future course of action and she would like to draw all the difficult things and the fun things with utmost care.

    To the second part of your comment. The ending animation was a thing I really liked in the first season and I would probably agree with your view, if I only would know the original Winnie the Pooh books. Sadly I never got the chance to read them when I was a kid. (They were not popular here). I loved books as a child (well, I still do) and the theme of growing up and leaving your childhood behind is often depicted in children books. Whenever I got around such story I would cry so much because it felt so sad for me.

    Nyanko Sensei’s saying the Yuujinchou gets thinner and thinner, whenever Natsume gives a name back, often makes me sad because it feels like one step closer to the time Natsume will say goodbye to Nyanko sensei and maybe even to all youkai. Perhaps this is the reason I am happy that there are some episodes not involving the Yuujinchou, because that means there are still other stories to tell.

    Watching anime/reading manga is always a balance for me with wanting more but not too much. It is always sad to part with a story you loved but sometimes it is better than watching its decline and repeating itself. I am not talking here about Natsume Yuujinchou as it is now because I feel that there are still much more important and beautiful stories she can tell, but you have to consider that it is popular for a shojo manga and I fear a bit that the same thing will happen that happens to most successful shounen which would have been so much better have they only been a bit less successful and therefore shorter. But for me these thoughts are still far in the future.

  4. You know, you can always read the Milne/Shepherd "Pooh" books as an adult – many people do. I think you get something different from them that way.

  5. N

    I will try to look for them.

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