Natsume Yuujin-Chou: Episode 1
I really like this anime. And by really like, I mean I REALLY LIKE this anime! Review for Natsume Yuujin-Chou is behind the cut!
OP: “Issei no Koe” by Shuhei Kita
I liked this song, and the OP sequence that went with it. It was a calm, flowing song that, based on what we’ve seen of this anime, seems to fit the story pretty well.
More than the song, though, I liked the animation that went with it – I thought that there were some really pretty illustrations in that bunch…I also liked the look of the characters that we have yet to meet. Most specifically, the guy with the lizard on his cheek and the wolf-girl holding the mushroom (I’m pretty sure she’s a “friend” we’ll get to know later). And, once again, you can refer to my killer montage to see (what I thought was) the best of the OP.
Our introduction to Natsume begins with him running through a forest to escape…something. He runs into (literally) two of his classmates, but doesn’t seem to be friendly with them at all. He asks them where the nearest shrine is and runs off. The expressions and reactions of the classmates infer that they aren’t particularly close to Natsume.
Natsume ends up getting caught by the strange creatures chasing him, but breaks free by kicking the larger one in its one eye. Most importantly, the monsters refer to him as Reiko (a girl’s name…lol) and suggest ripping out his tongue (owwww! >.<). Natsume runs into the nearest shrine and is safe, we assume. Unfortunately, upon entering the shrine, Natsume trips on a rope and breaks it. We discover that this is the rope of some kind of spiritual barrier, and Natsume has just broken it. The closed doors rattle and black smoke pours out! The smoke clears to reveal a ferocious…
…lucky neko! No really, that’s what happens – it turns out to be the cutest cat I’ve seen in an anime since Azumanga Daioh! I took like a bazillion screenshots of this cat! XD
Back to the story. The cat tells him a bit about the monsters that are chasing him, and reveals that he knew Natsume’s grandmother, Reiko. Natsume takes the mind-numbingly adorable cat back home and they chill in his room, eating watermelon while the cat tells him the story of the Book of Friends.
We learn that Reiko was a lonely person because, like Natsume, people feared her because she could see the “monsters” that others couldn’t. However, unlike Natsume, she never feared them – in fact, she turned to them for friendship. She made a book, which she used to go around and collect the names of her new “friends;” once she had their names, though, she also had power over them. One by one, she defeated them and added their names to her Book of Friends.
Natsume and the cat are interrupted by someone at the door…someone who turns out to be another of Reiko’s friends trying to get back the Book. Natsume escapes, and decides that he wants to make it his mission to give back the names his grandmother took. He begins with the one chasing him – by striking a strange pose and blowing on the piece of paper, Natsume returns the name to the monster and gets a lovely flashback of Reiko in return. This only strengthens his resolve to return the names to everyone in the book, and the cat (who is now called “sensei” by Natsume – haha!) is along for the ride.
I was far more impressed with this than I was with Natsu no Sora, which surprised me. Of the three anime I’m blogging, I had expected this to come right in the middle – a little better than the Himitsu one that I’m pretty much watching because I like otaku anime, but far behind Natsu no Sora. I was happily surprised to see Natsume Yuujin-Chou do so well. I really enjoy the idea of the story – I think it’s truly unique, which is hard to find in an anime these days. The music and art gives it a very laid-back, almost Mushi-shi feel, which I enjoy immensely. Quite frankly, it’s just pleasant to look at. I really enjoy it and can’t wait for more!
4.5 / 5 (but only because it has to truly astound me to be a five…)