|Emotional episodes, great characters, great character development||One-shot story style might not be for everyone, ED not as impactful as earlier series|
I mean it’s Natsume. That by itself tells you what kind of series it is and if you are going to enjoy it or not; since this third season of Natsume didn’t really break away from the themes and styles of the previous two season. Nothing wrong with that either, since I’ve loved the series for sticking to these values and themes. Watching Natsume develop from a frightened guy to someone who can play games with youkai is a dramatic character development. But it’s never felt weird since they have slowly brought him along and taken us along for the ride. In the end this season lived up to expectations and it’s a shame that it’s already over….at least for now.
This season really delved more into Natsume’s childhood than the previous ones. We got to see how he ended up with the Fujiwara family, the kinds of people he used to live with, how other children treated him, and how he got along with some of the youkai that approached him. Really this season was full of young Natsume and I really felt sorry for all he endured. Seeing frightening things that you can’t understand is bad enough, but being rejected by everyone else because you tell the truth makes it even worse. It’s sad that he couldn’t accept the feelings of some youkai who approached because they cared. Of course some proved to not be so friendly it just meant everyone was hurting. I’m glad that at least now Natsume has people around him that care about him. He even got the chance to meet up with one friendly youkai from his past which was nice.
Really there was good balance in meeting up with various characters from Natsume’s past and making sure they got some focus. Tanuma, Taki, Natori, the fox kid, the Fujiwaras, his classmates, all of them got some episodes to show what they mean to Natsume. It’s rather amazing when you think about where Natsume was when the first season got started. Now he has all these bonds and friendships around him. I’m glad everyone got some focus since this show has a lot of good characters. Everyone has their own past and why they are connected to Natsume now. It’s not just him being supported, but them as well.
The cast overall was a strength for the series. A lot of characters in Natsume don’t stick around for very long. Some are just around for an episode and have to make you care about them in that short period of time. This third season let us come back to older characters and continue their own character development. We learned about Taki’s grandfather, Tanuma got possessed, Natori got into a dangerous situation with one of the major exorcist families. You can see how characters outside of Natsume growing up and getting stronger.
I knew when this sequel was announced that it would be fun to watch. This show has a good talent for making you care about the characters even if they are only around for an episode. Maybe another strength of the show is how Natsume has grown as a person. He keeps taking those steps forward and becoming better for them. Compared to before he’s gotten better at letting his friends in and allowing them to get involved when they want to. Just sharing what he is thinking and trying not to take everything onto his shoulders is hard for someone who has been so isolated for so long.
Music as usual in the series was pleasant to listen to. They just had the good simple tunes that remain familiar to fans from the earlier series. The tension is picked up when dangerous situations come up, but they don’t overdo it. Really you could say the series just does a nice job of having the right piece for the right situation.
There weren’t many moments when I thought the music didn’t fit. Maybe that only time was the ED. Natsume has had some top notch ED’s that just made the episodes that much more emotional. This time the song while not bad, just didn’t have the same impact. Now the OP was definitely a success in my mind. The reference to the first season especially with those images was a good touch. This series has had great moments and paying respect to that is always appreciated.
Surprisingly a series with youkai doesn’t really need unbelievable animation. The visual styles of the different youkai were pretty nice from the teacup youkai to Madara’s true form. There’s rarely a need to go too fancy even with these fantastic creatures. Sometimes Nyanko might light up an area to drive away a youkai, but other than Tanuma’s strange moment there isn’t much firing of beams at things. Everything flows well and even though I’m not the most focused on minor details I think they handled those just fine.
You could say that Tanuma had a greater presence this time than in the earlier series and not just because he fired a beam from his mouth XD. A few episodes showing his being stuck in the middle between where Natsume is and where Taki is. He can tell things are there, but can’t see or talk to them which has to make it frustrating. The episodes also showed how the two guys have a lot of similarities. Because of their pasts they found it hard to bring things up and get the other one involved. By the end some ground had been made in their friendship.
In terms of recommendation I’d start with telling everyone to watch the first two seasons. You will understand better what is going on and really the stories being told are so good that they deserve to be seen. If people have already seen them then they have already seen this since no one would stop to read a review about a season they know is going to be good. Maybe the last recommendation is having patience for the fourth season. With all expectations that it is coming that leaves me much happier as the series comes to an end.
No matter what happens later on I’ll say this sequel was a good one. The ED might not have been my favourite compared to the others, but it was still fine. This just adds to the Natsume library and makes it a stronger series to rewatch and enjoy later. With a fourth season coming it just means I’ll have even more episodes to watch in preparation for it XD. I have to thank Natsume for another good series. And for all that it gets an A grade.
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