As I said last time, any day with Natsume Yuujinchou in it is a good day. And while this OAD may not rank with the elite chapters in the anime’s history, it’s still Natsume – and that’s enough to put a smile on my face. Sadly, this may be the last new Natsume Yuujinchou we see for quite some time in anime form – I think it’s going to be at least a year until the manga is far enough ahead to consider another season.
Without a doubt, the “Itsuka Yuki no Hi ni” OVA was the more substantial and emotionally powerful of the two new Natsume specials. I haven’t read deep enough into the manga to know for sure, but I’d guess that it was manga canon and this OAD anime-original – though Brains Base has actually managed to make its original episodes some of the very best in the anime’s run. “Itsuka” had the feel of a fully fledged story and considerably better production values, not surprising as it was a paid release in its own right. “Nyanko-sensei” was a bonus disc for magazine subscribers, and it has a more “OVA” feel to it – a side story that’s designed to give a survey course in the series’ charms and a cameo to every major character.
Information on the LaLa Special is fairly hard to find – I’m not even 100% sure it was directed by Omori Takahiro – but it’s a pleasant and not terribly ambitious effort that gives Kazuhiko Inoue a chance to show off his comedic chops. The plot is pretty straightforward – while walking with Natsume, Nyanko-sensei runs off chasing a butterfly and winds up stumbling upon two lost kids (full credit to Brains Base for casting two actual children for the roles), a brother and sister of about five or six. They’re on their way to someplace called “mitsumonster” to buy ham and milk. And “Pokori Choco”. And, clearly having been softened up in more than just the belly by his time with Natsume, Nyanko-sensei resigns himself to keeping an eye on them until he can hand them off to someone better prepared to do so.
That proves to be quite a challenge – the boy is a handful and the girl a crybaby (which sets off her brother every time). Along the way pretty much everyone in the regular cast makes an appearance, and Nyanko-sensei grows increasingly desperate to get these ragamuffins where they need to go. Turns out it’s a place called Mitsumori Store – the boy had a shopping list all along, though even in ultra-safe Japan these tots seem pretty young to be shopping by themselves (though first-graders ride the train by themselves in Tokyo, so who am I to judge?). It’s definitely on the lighter side of the Natsume oeuvre – no mono no aware here – but as a showcase for Nyanko-sensei, it’s plenty entertaining.