Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Zoku Natsume Yuujin-chou 07: Fighting Blind

Natsume ends up in the hands of the nasty youkai. Worse still, he has lost his ability to see youkai and ayakashi. Will he be able to recover in time to save Taki?
EPISODE 07: That Which You Must Not Call
More Screencaps from Zoku Natsume Yuujin-chou 07

Picking up from the previous episode, Nyanko-sensei goes around searching for Natsume. Taki, who is busy making more magic circles, sees him and goes after him. Meanwhile, Natsume wakes up to find himself in a cave where he is held captive by the nasty youkai. The youkai reveals that it hates humans but that it hates Natsume more because he (Natsume) can see youkai without aid of the magic circles. At first, Natsume tries to fight back but the youkai has put a rope around his neck, restricting his movements. The youkai then grabs him and licks his eyes. Natsume, however, manages to escape and makes it out of the cave, running into Nyanko-sensei and Taki in the process.
Nyanko-sensei gives Natsume a thorough scolding while Taki guiltily listens. Then, Moustache starts to speak, much to Natsume's surprise since he does not see him nearby. This leads them to discover that Natsume has temporarily lost his ability to see youkai. Taki apologizes to him, blaming herself for what happened but Natsume assures her that it's alright. Much later, Natsume wonders why he can still see Nyanko-sensei, who answers that his cat form is just a vessel. When he transforms into his true form as Madara, Natsume can't see him anymore.
The next day, Natsume and Nyanko-sensei set out once more to put a stop to the nasty youkai. On their way to the riverbank, Natsume notices curse marks on Nyanko-sensei's back. Apparently, Taki has mentioned his name. At the time, Nyanko-sensei is not too worried since it's not his real name. However, it turns out that the curse attaches even if it's not his real name. Later, they meet up with Taki, who is unable to look Natsume in the eyes. Natsume notices this so he pulls up her cap and discovers that she has been up all night making the magic circles. Then, Nyanko-sensei strides in and at the sight of him, Taki has an intense debate with herself whether or not to hug him.
Nyanko-sensei has discovered that the youkai is a manifestation of negative elements coming from a broken mirror. And the only way to seal it is to recite a mantra while its image is reflected on a mirror. But how can they do this if neither Natsume nor Taki can even see the youkai? This is where Taki's magic circles come in. But in order to get the youkai to enter the circle, one of them has to stand as bait. Taki volunteers but Nyanko-sensei overrules her, saying that Natsume is a better bait since he is stronger and he has the Book of Friends. Taki asks what the Book is and Natsume just tells her that it is the only thing that his grandmother left him. This prompts Taki to say that it must be precious to him.
While they are still talking, Nyanko-sensei senses too late the presence of the youkai and gets thrown away. With Nyanko-sensei gone, Natsume and Taki are practically fighting blind. The youkai tries to sneak behind Taki but Natsume, who notices its movement through the grass, uses his own body to block the attack, causing him to fall down and drop the sealing mirror in the process. With Natsume down, Taki tries to make a run for it, heading towards a plain area with the youkai fast on her heels. Taki stops when she arrives at the center of the circle and waits for the youkai, which then appears not long after. Taki then quickly takes her stick and uses it to trap the youkai within the circle, saying that she has won the game. But the youkai has no intention of making good its promise to lift the curse if she manages to capture him. It says that it wants Natsume's Book of Friends as well as eat the two of them.
Natsume, who finds himself tied down with a magical rope, desperately struggles against his bonds to reach the sealing mirror, while all the time, the youkai has Taki in its grip. Natsume then feels something free him and lift him up on its back. It's Nyanko-sensei! After grabbing the mirror, Natsume and Nyanko-sensei head towards the magic circle where they rescue Taki and finally manage to seal the youkai. After this ordeal, Natsume collapses into Taki's arms. But to her relief, she finds out that he is just resting. Taki soon follows, with Madara watching over them.
A few days after the incident, Natsume slowly recovers his ability to see youkai and all this time, Nyanko-sensei as Madara continues to watch over him. One evening, Natsume wakes up to find that he can see Madara. The expression on Madara's face strikes Natsume as weird but he does not say it just as he does not say that when he could not see Madara and the other youkai he felt lonely. The next day, Natsume meets up with Taki, who is delighted to find out that Natsume can see youkai again. Feeling grateful for all that he's done for her, Taki offers her help in case Natsume needs it, but he only says that it is enough that Taki called the Book of Friends 'precious' to him. Moustache then appears behind Taki to greet Natsume and walk them to school. But the whole time he gets into an argument with Nyanko-sensei, prompting Natsume to leave the two of them. Natsume and Taki soon meet up Nishimura, Kitamoto and Sasada. Nishimura has by then recovered from his broken heart and everyone else is as happy as they can be.

And that ends the Taki mini-arc. I can't say that I didn't enjoy it, because I did, very much, but.... I really think that Natsume is a series that you have to watch in one go. That way, the momentum from one episode can be carried over to the next and the one after that and so on and so forth. Because the way the series is played out, no single episode really stands out so it's kind of hard waiting an entire week for an episode that isn't in any way special nor distinct from the other.

Anyhoo, I'll continue blogging this for a while until it really becomes unbearable. After all, I did give Casshern Sins the benefit of the doubt and look at where the series is heading now: it's actually going somewhere and it's good. Also, now that Taki seems to be a mainstay in the series, I can't wait to see how her relationship to Natsume and his friends will develop. I'm hoping for a bit of romance, even just a little, because I'm a sucker for that.