I’ll have to change my opinion and make this the best episode of Natsume’s fourth season. I really didn’t think the series was going to tell us about Natsume’s parents. But more than that this was an episode that really delved into Natsume and his feelings towards his family. We’ve seen a lot of his past and a few of the people that ‘took care’ of him, but never his actual biological parents. The memories and the feelings towards his parents was an emotional can of worms that Natsume thought he was ready to deal with. What became clear though was that he of course wasn’t “ok.”

I’m glad we got an episode more focused on Natsume as a person. We’ve had a lot of things going on with various characters, but its always great to look at our main character. Little insights like how Natsume puts pictures in his closets are interesting. It really shows the kind of life he’s lived to this point. His privacy was probably pretty limited when he was being passed around between relatives. Natsume likely made a habit of hiding anything that was important to him since you never know what might be taken by other children those relatives might have. Besides he probably couldn’t trust many people so he wanted to keep things out of view. There is less of a reason now to do it other than being embarrassed about showing how much those little moments mean to him.

This episode wasn’t just about Natsume and showed how Tanuma and Nyanko have developed. Nyanko might have been willing to let things go when they first met, but now he was more than willing to tell Tanuma what happened. He knew that Tanuma would force Natsume to talk about what happened. It was important for Natsume’s physical and mental safety. Natsume could get himself killed if he was wandering around in a daze with youkai aiming for him, but I’m sure it was more about wanting to help Natsume face himself. Tanuma has grown from the point where he would be worried about how to approach Natsume in that situation. Instead he told him that he doesn’t have to lie, not about something like this. With youkai sure it is understandable to hold some things back, but this wasn’t the time for lies. If Natsume walked away then one day he would look back and regret it.

It really is touching to see the close friends Natsume has. They had no issue at all with looking around for that picture. Really they were more upset that Natsume had tried to walk off without saying anything to them. Natsume is getting used to having a real home and friends, but he can still hold himself back. Seeing youkai almost demands that he does so at times, but it is good that he has friends that will force him to speak when necessary.

Poor Natsume

But I’m really glad we got to find out things about Natsume’s parents. It is sad that he never got to know his mother with her passing away soon after he was born. At least there are some memories left of his father and he has that picture. Seems like his father worked really hard to take care of Natsume and really cared for him. We don’t know how he passed away, but that isn’t the most important thing. Those are precious memories, but I can understand how the whole situation is painful for Natsume.

Natsume is trapped in a painful position when you think about it. He can never see his parents again, he will never know his mother as anything more than a picture. No matter how much he acts like it doesn’t affect him, it hurts to think about that. Just because he has a warm family and great friends doesn’t mean the thought that he can’t see them again doesn’t hurt. Natsume was going back to a childhood defense of trying to forget about his parents. Forgetting is easier than taking that pain and knowing he can’t change anything. It is a dilemma between taking away the pain or holding onto those precious memories. I’m glad in the end Natsume didn’t just forget. Even though it hurts at least he can still find some happiness in knowing that his parents loved him. Maybe for a kid that was all alone that wasn’t enough of a comfort, but the Natsume of today can handle that because he isn’t alone.

The series just reminds you of how painful loneliness can be. The idea that he should have been in that picture smiling with his parents had to be incredibly painful. It must have been especially painful when Natsume was being passed around between people who didn’t believe him (when he did talk about what he could see).

I was really glad when they found that picture. It wasn’t a surprise since it was bound to be recovered, but just seeing Natsume’s expression was touching. This series is great at invoking emotion and making you care. Natsume made the right decision to go and visit his house while he still can. It will be another emotional moment, but he needs to go there.

The episode did have a lighter side and that came with the appearance of Taki. I really wish this season had given her some more moments, but I’ll take what I can get. When Taki freaks out over Nyanko’s ‘cuteness’ it really is hilarious. She can act pretty relaxed and calm at times, but when she finds something cute the girl snaps. It definitely gave Nishimura a shock to see her act like that. Though I suppose it could have been jealousy that Nyanko got that kind of attention from her.

This was one of the best episodes of the fourth season. It just hits you to see Natsume dealing with those memories and knowing he had that picture. That picture helped him remember, but it was also a source of pain. Everything of course came together thanks to that phone call from the relative caring for the house. I’m glad that Natsume will go and visit the house and that trip will probably take care of the remaining episodes.
Score: A+

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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