Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Zoku Natsume Yuujin-chou 08: Something in the Water

Natsume meets a mermaid and an old lady while on a study retreat with his friends....
EPISODE 08: Emotions Undying
More Screencaps from Zoku Natsume Yuujin-chou 08

The episode begins with Touko-san giving Natsume a lot of junk food. She claims that it's for his study retreat. Later in his room, Natsume tries to cram everything into his bag but ends up with one bag of chips extra. Nyanko-sensei is only too happy to take care of it for him. It turns out that Natsume is going with Nishimura and Kitamoto to some sort of resort near a lake for their study retreat. While walking along the bridge on their way to the place, Natsume notices a shadow in the water and it does not take him long to figure out that it is a youkai.
Later, Nyanko-sensei, who snuck into his Natsume's bag without his knowledge, enlightens him about the mermaid legend in that place. The owner of the place is one Sakanaka Chizu and she seems to recognize Natsume on sight. The boys have a lot of fun while on their study retreat. Then one night, Natsume notices a fish in the lake. What is odd about it is that it blinks, much to Natsume's disgruntlement. Nyanko-sensei says that it is a youkai in disguise. That same evening, Natsume has a close encounter with said youkai, which turns out to be a mermaid and is after the Book of Friends. Their talk, however, is interrupted when Chizu-san appears in the doorway. The mermaid escapes, leaving Natsume alone with Chizu-san.
The old lady then tells him how according to legend, people who drink the blood or flesh of a mermaid will gain unaging immortality. She says that she once saw a mermaid in the lake and gave its blood to someone she knew. Natsume reminds her so much of that someone and that is why she reacted that way when she first met him. The next day, the boys leave for home. Along the way, however, Natsume and Nyanko-sensei notice that they are being followed. So instead of going all the way to the station with his friends, he decides to go back. Sure enough, the mermaid appears and demands that he give her the Book of Friends. Natsume punches her soundly in the face but later wipes the sore spot with a wet handkerchief. He tries to ask for her name and whether or not she is the mermaid that Chizu-san met, but the mermaid is evasive, saying only that she does not have tell a mere human anything. So Natsume stops insisting and instead tells her that he can't give her the Book of Friends. Before leaving, he tells her not to follow him anymore.
Later, Nyanko-sensei reveals that mermaids hate humans above all. Apparently, humans hunted mermaids for their immortal flesh to the point that there is only very little of them left in the world. Nyanko-sensei then adds that Natsume shouldn't have let that mermaid go if he wanted to become immortal. But Natsume only says that if he did that, then Nyanko-sensei would never get the Book of Friends. At the station, Natsume sees Chizu-san standing there, as though looking for someone. It turns out that she has heard that the man she is looking for has been recently seen in that station. She finally tells him that the man was a childhood friend of hers who was very sickly. Afraid that he would die soon, Chizu-san went to the lake where the mermaid lived and asked it to give her some blood. The mermaid heard her cries and gave her blood, which Chizu-san then gave to her friend. After that incident, Chizu-san's friend moved out of town and she spent all these years since believing that she had unknowingly cursed him with immortality.
After Chizu-san leaves, Natsume realizes that the curse of immortality is to see all loved ones die. He wonders if this is how Nyanko-sensei feels. Back at home, Natsume can't stop thinking about the mermaid and Chizu-san. Finally, he decides to go back to the lake with Nyanko-sensei in order to confirm whether the mermaid did give Chizu-san her blood. The mermaid says that at first the girl did not know she was a mermaid but when she showed her (the girl) her real form, the girl asked for some of her blood. Now the mermaid realizes that the girl is regretting having given the blood to someone else so she decides she wants to end this girl's suffering. And with that, the mermaid flies out of there.
Meanwhile, Chizu-san is again at the bus station when she sees a young man who looks exactly like her friend from long ago. At the sight of him, she realizes in anguish that the legend was true. The mermaid later catches up to her and attempts to eat her when she stops because Chizu-san seems to recognize her voice. Natsume then arrives at that moment to grab the mermaid. He drops the Book of Friends in the process and it reacts to the mermaid's presence, making him realize that the mermaid's name is in it. But the mermaid reveals that everything she did -- fighting Natsume Reiko and giving that girl her blood -- was just to kill time. And when she realizes that Natsume is Reiko's grandson, she wants to eat him. Fortunately, Madara appears and rescues Natsume from her.
Natsume takes advantage of this moment to return the mermaid's name, Sasafune, to her. When he does this, he sees into her soul and finds out that Sasafune wanted to befriend Chizu-san but when Chizu-san asked for her blood, she mistakenly believed that it was all she was after. In her anger, Sasafune gave Chizu-san a vial of grape juice. However, when she saw how grateful Chizu-san was, Sasafune regretted what she did. The old Chizu-san then appears at that moment and recognizes Sasafune immediately, calling out to her. Sasafune disappears not long after, but not before saying "Take care" to her old friend. Later, Natsume introduces Chizu-san to a young man he met at the station. The young man turns out to be the grandson of Chizu-san's friend. Much later, Natsume sits by the lake with Nyanko-sensei and tells Sasafune everything, including Chizu-san's promise to come back to the lake.

Nice. I like mermaids and I like how they ambiguously portrayed Sasafune in this episode -- inherently kind but also inherently a trickster.

I just noticed, Touko-san is getting cuter by each episode. I don't mean like her face is cute but that her attitude is becoming endearing. I think this is an indicator of how Natsume is beginning to open up to his foster mother, which is basically also an indicator of how he is growing as a character.

Anyhoo, I liked this episode. It had a lot of people jumping other people. LOL. It had its funny moments, too, especially that part with the blinking fish and how Sasafune exposited about her ravishing beauty and nobility of character but Natsume wan't even listening. That was funny.
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