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EP. REVIEW: Natsume Yūjin-Chō Roku


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Elves



Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 248
Location: USA
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:31 pm Reply with quote
I love Natsume's Book of Friends so much!

I agree that referring to the Stonewasher's apprentice as "it" was downright annoying, and distracted me enough that it took away from the story, but it's still very heartfelt!

I've been keeping up with the current manga so it's a real treat to these later stories animated. I still can't get over how lucky fans are to still have all the original cast in this sixth season which is airing just under a decade from the show's original first season back in 2008! Very Happy
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6545
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:54 am Reply with quote
I found the timeline in the 2nd episode confusing. It seemed to take place over a period of a few days or a couple of weeks at most (seasons didn't change that I noticed). But if that's so, how did Azuma paint the stones by the river if he'd been sealed for 6 months? Had he escaped before they unsealed the rock? They made it sound like he'd been there but sneaked off without being seen once the seal was broken.

I got a big smile out of Natsume telling the Dog Circle that it might be worth their effort to have him owe them a favor. He's never been so calculating before, and since it wasn't for evil, I thought it was a nice bit of humanizing character growth for the otherwise nearly perfect Natsume. He also seems to be becoming a little more cynical (I don't do favors for youkai (who are you kidding, Natsume), it's best to stay away from things you don't understand), not out of distrust or fear as he was before, but out of lessons learned.

Those flowers (and the whole concept) really were lovely, especially when freshly glowing.

I think I could watch every episode of this series 30 times and never tire of it.
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chaccide



Joined: 16 Aug 2016
Posts: 282
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:58 am Reply with quote
I thought he had managed to escape because the exorcist was so weak but that he hung around the place because he couldn't return home and he couldn't continuous his journey. His paintings were still beautiful but they were ineffective.

I wonder if Natsume's use of the dog circle as its leader is going to increase in the future. It didn't seem like a position he'd ever wanted to hold, so I am not sure I would like seeing him go that route. I'd rather have them all continue to just be a circle of friends.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6545
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:33 pm Reply with quote
Maybe my confusion lies in the boulder at the beginning of the episode. Since they were on a bridge (over a river), I assumed it had to be Azuma who painted it. It disappeared as it was supposed to once the rock was purified. Did Azuma not paint that one?

Also the seal was still intact even if it was weak, so how did he escape it on his own?
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chaccide



Joined: 16 Aug 2016
Posts: 282
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:15 pm Reply with quote
I thought the one on the mountain looked different, like the old man's work, with bigger, loopier petals and broad strokes. The ones in the river looked sharp and new. The old guy only said he hadn't been in the river bed.

I have no idea how he escaped, but they did say (was it in the manga only?) that there was a gap for someone to get out next to the boulder and the trace they felt of him must have been when he escaped.

This really was a weaker story, even though it hit some nice emotional notes.
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Merida
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Joined: 21 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:51 pm Reply with quote
Lauren wrote:
Quote:
It was an interesting experiment, but now I'm ready to go back to the series' more standard warm, gooey stories about feelings.


It's not like this show never featured creepy youkai before and there were plenty of warm feelings in this episode as well, so it didn't seem like much of an "experiment"...to me it was less of a horror story and more about Natsume continuing to expand his circle of (human) friends and i enjoyed it quite a bit.
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chaccide



Joined: 16 Aug 2016
Posts: 282
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:29 pm Reply with quote
Merida wrote:
Lauren wrote:
Quote:
It was an interesting experiment, but now I'm ready to go back to the series' more standard warm, gooey stories about feelings.


It's not like this show never featured creepy youkai before and there were plenty of warm feelings in this episode as well, so it didn't seem like much of an "experiment"...to me it was less of a horror story and more about Natsume continuing to expand his circle of (human) friends and i enjoyed it quite a bit.


That's what I took from this episode as well. It was Natsume coming to terms with someone who belittled him before wanting to be friends, and that same guy coming to terms with his wanting that. The supernatural part was just an excuse. I love when Natsume and his friend grow. In the end he won't need a book of friends like Reiko did because he'll have all his friends around him.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6545
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:06 pm Reply with quote
Is it just me, or has the animation been kinda phoned in this season? It seemed especially bad for this episode, and I'm not usually one to notice small lapses, or care much when I do, which suggests to me that maybe the lapses aren't so small?

This is 2 weeks in a row where Natsume stated firmly that he's not going to help (doesn't do favors). It feels like he's trying out saying no just to see if he can (spoiler: he can't).

The whole Doll Battle Royale thing should've been horrifying, but somehow I found the idea amusing. Though I suppose I wouldn't if I came home to find my doll collection wrecked, with the only two intact ones smirking at me.
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Yttrbio
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Joined: 09 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:13 pm Reply with quote
Nothing about this episode was nearly as disturbing as the image and sound of that guy trying to peel the paper off the wooden ceiling by scraping at it fruitlessly, again and again. Oh, man, I can see it in my head now. Make it stop! I was ready to bail and never come back to this series.
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chaccide



Joined: 16 Aug 2016
Posts: 282
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:41 pm Reply with quote
^^The animation was particularly bad this week, but I've noticed it this season and somewhat last season too. Some episodes they try harder but they use an awful lot of stills and what they're animating is kind of minimal at times. I'm pretty forgiving because I love the stories and the characters so much so you know that when I stop and stare because the animation is bad that it's pretty bad. And I've been stopping and staring a lot the past couple of weeks.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6545
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 7:39 pm Reply with quote
It seems like the animation has recovered this episode, which is a relief, because this was terrific from start to cliffhanger! I don't think I understand the grade though, since there was nothing but praise in the review. And for the record, Natsume has never come close to overstaying its welcome! Humpf.

I loved the whole movie bit, with how creepy that lizard mark was during the romantic scene. How Natsume keeps from gawking at it when he's with Natori, I'll never know. And the signature roses and movie music after he catches Natsume was a hoot.

I was suspicious of the maid right off of course, but I didn't expect that reveal. It's odd that Nyanko-sensei apparently couldn't tell either.

And I guess the cat's partly out of the bag now, at least with Natori (and possibly Takuma, depending on how this turns out and how blabby his familiar is). Knowing this series, it's going to stay like that for a long time. Smile

Quote:
The episode begins with a grandfather clock I've never seen in a home that's never been featured, prompting an unfamiliar man to embark on an errand.

Not quite that unfamiliar. Yousuke Takuma is the exorcist that took young Natori under his wing in episode 8 last season, and we got to see Tsukiko and a little bit of the house then too. But we didn't see any of his familiars then. We do know who knocked Natsume off the roof though. As to why, I can't wait to find out.
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chaccide



Joined: 16 Aug 2016
Posts: 282
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 3:31 pm Reply with quote
So if the film can capture the yokai on Natori's face that means that yokai must be visible in every single movie we watch if only we could see them. I can picture the two middle grade guys wandering through the backgrounds of Godzilla or the foreground of a romance and screwing everything up, at least for Natsume. Laughing

They did a great job of animating this particular chapter. I can't wait to see the next episode to see how they finish it.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6545
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 6:16 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, that's probably something better not delved too deeply into. Like wouldn't the lizard accidentally get airbrushed out of some of his advertising stills? Very Happy Does it crawl over his skin (and over makeup) or underneath the top layer like a tattoo, in which case makeup ought to make it fuzzier on screen. Which would probably be an even creepier effect for Natsume. Laughing

It is weird to see someone you know personally in a movie though. No matter how good they are, you can still see them acting. But the fact that Natsume even goes to see Natori's films is interesting in a lot of subtle ways.
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tophg



Joined: 22 Apr 2016
Posts: 21
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 1:23 pm Reply with quote
Episode 5: I understand the disappointment in this episode not making much of the atmosphere of mystery built up in the first part, but otherwise I agree it was an emotionally pleasing episode with a definite uptick in animation and art quality. The manga is not particularly well drawn for the most part, but this episode really brought it off the page.

Some other enduring Natsume mysteries that I find somewhat maddening after so many series: Who was Natsume's grandfather/Reiko's lover, and where is he? How and why did Reiko die young ("under a tree" doesn't count), and what happened to her daughter before she married? It seems like at least one relative should have known and be able to tell Natsume these facts (and Nanase was right to be incredulous about Natsume not knowing). Why does Natsume use Reiko's family name rather than his father's? Why do none of the exorcists seem to know anything about Reiko, given how powerful she was, as recognised by all yokai who met her? Why do none of the excorcists know about the Book of Friends, including Natori, even though knowledge about it seems widespread among yokai? Haven't their familiars picked up any gossip about it yet? Why do certain exorcists lose their powers out of the blue? Will this be Natsume's fate? Who sealed Nyanko-sensei in the shrine for all those years, and why? What exactly was his relationship with Reiko? And on.
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Northlander



Joined: 10 Feb 2009
Posts: 601
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 5:28 pm Reply with quote
It's a relatively minor scene in the movie that doesn't matter in the long run, but try as I might, I can NOT make any sense out of a yokai being visible on film, even if just for people who can see yokai in the first place.

Other than that, I don't really get why it would be disappointing that Natsume's Book of Friends didn't feature an Agata Christie-styled "whodunit" mystery when that's not what the show does at all. When I read the review for episode 4, I was wondering whether I should say anything, since I already knew how that story ended up from having read the manga version. ^^;;
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