Thursday, February 2, 2012

Natsume Yuujin-chou Shi 5: A glimpse of the past

One of those flashback episodes where we get to know the old Takashi, the one that was scared of youkai and was not willing to give them even the time of day. The actually begins with a character we've never met before. It's Yukari, Takashi's former classmate. Apparently, it's become a habit of hers to visit the shrine every time she fails a test. She slips on the stairs on her way down and nearly gets run over by a passing truck, if not for some strange wind that lifted her out of harm's way. She gets out of the almost-accident with little more than a sprained ankle. As her friends question her about what happened, we discover how Yukari met and befriended Takashi.

The other half of the episode deals with Takashi's side of Yukari's story. His story, of course, involves youkai, called a "suneko" which is pretty harmless and clings to humans for protection, and another that wields a scythe. Takashi earns the ire of the scythe-wielder when he defends the suneko from it. As a result, the scythe-wielder puts a curse on Takashi, saying that the people around him will die. Since that moment, the scythe-wielder would chase Takashi around, causing him to act really weird in his classmates eyes, which in turn cause them to alienate him. Yukari is the exception.

As days pass, Takashi realizes that the scythe-wielder isn't serious and instead seems to be enjoying chasing Takashi around. But youkai are strange creatures and Takashi has yet to learn how to begin to understand them. The scythe-wielder eventually goes too far, which leads to Takashi being called to the principal's office and his guardian summoned to the school. Soon the inevitable happens and Takashi finds himself being passed on to another relative. Before he leaves town, however, he has a talk with the scythe-wielder at the shrine and there he learns that the youkai cannot harm humans and is in fact a guardian spirit whose duty is to protect humans from harm.

Another good episode. Perhaps not as good as the previous one but I like how the episode didn't tell us it was the scythe-wielder who saved Yukari from the bus and instead left us to interpret that. I like how Natsume Yuujinchou doesn't assume its audiences are stupid. Yay, show!

More screencaps from episode 5