Spring 2017 Week 4

Pretty sure the watch list is set at this point. There’s a handful of shows that I’m still kind of thinking about dropping even though we’ve past the three episode point. I guess it really depends when they push me past being just kind of bored with them into disliking them. The rest of the shows I am most likely going to finish. Though with 8 shows as either Must Watch or Usually Entertaining I’m really enjoying Spring so far. That said, with writing anniversary posts, some of the shows I watch on Sunday haven’t been watched yet or updated on this list. Will fix that for next week. How are you enjoying the Spring season?

As always, I would love to know your thoughts on the shows this season so please leave a comment below.

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Must Watch

Natsume Yuujinchou 6 (Episode 3)

Natsume continues to be its usual self and was just the fun and relaxing watch I needed this week. Still no complaints about how this season has started as it is very much what I would have expected going into yet another season of Natsume.

Kado: The Right Answer (Episode 4)

After saying this show was not in any kind of a rush, episode 4 felt like it was speeding along nicely. Events are fully in motion (I guess you can’t offer humanity infinite energy and have them just sitting around). This story continues to be fairly intriguing and quite clever, though it is still very dialogue driven and there is quite a heavy political focus at times.

The Eccentric Family Season 2 (Episode 3)

Benten is back! Okay, that statement alone would probably be enough to keep me going another week with this as a must watch regardless of how scattered or absent any kind of overall plot has been so far. Throw into the mix Nidaime’s very cool personality and to be honest I’m pretty happy to forget about the Tanuki and focus on those two for awhile. Still, it will be interesting to see what Yasaburo chooses for his next move after all of this.

Attack on Titan Season 2 (Episode 4)

Okay, it took 4 episodes but Attack on Titan is getting better each week. The slow start to this season is paying off as more and more pieces are coming together and the show is finding its pacing and tone. I really enjoyed episode 3 and episode 4 was better. Hoping this can maintain for the remainder of the season. Plus, the opening song is finally growing on me.

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Usually Entertaining

My Hero Academia Season 2 (Episode 18)

The kids have gone all out with their quirks during the second part of the cavalry battle and, despite the lack of danger being faced, they managed to build some real tension in those final moments. Again, this season continues to be entertaining and enjoyable even if it is also fairly predictable.

Sagrada Reset (Episode 4)

Episode 4 was somewhat less satisfying and has given me some concerns about the intended future of this show. There’s still a lot to think about in terms of what it is doing and where it is going, but for the first time, this show felt like it was rushing to get information out to the audience and as a result it all just felt kind of messy.

WorldEnd (Episode 3)

Much better third episode. After the weak second entry I was kind of fearing that I’d have to drop this show down. While the first episode was great without a decent follow up that’s all it would be, a great first episode. Third episode put some of those fears to rest by dealing fairly decently with the characters and pushing the story along a bit. Hopefully this show can continue to build from this beginning.

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor (Episode 4)

Akashic Records has finally moved from Okay to Usually Entertaining and other than the entirety of episode 1 and Glenn as a character, the rest of this show is quite entertaining (and even Glenn has his moments, I just personally have issues with him). Kind of looking forward to how the rest of this show plays out and still wondering what they have in mind for an end game.

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Okay, I Guess

The Royal Tutor (Episode 4)

Last week I said that I wasn’t really interested in this show, but episode 4 finally feels like we’ve past the introductions and I did find myself quite enjoying this episode. It still isn’t really my kind of thing, but it has its own appeal and this week I found quite a few sweet or funny moments to enjoy. Unless it takes a serious nose dive in quality, this one may end up in the usually entertaining category because even though it really isn’t my thing, it is working hard to win me over.

Granblue Fantasy (Episode 4)

Last week I said, “There’s no reason for me to drop this but little reason to recommend it”. I’m just going to leave that as my description of the show at this point. It is working well enough but it isn’t exactly great.

The Laughing Salesman (Episode 4)

This has pretty much settled here. It is okay to watch and fun while its on but it isn’t exactly blowing me away with any particular element. It is 20 minutes each week I will enjoy and then I’ll probably forget about it until the next week.

Grimoire of Zero (Episode 3)

It didn’t get any worse this week, and as an individual episode the third one was probably the most interesting. However, the world and overall plot of this story remain pretty flat and as I am only passingly interested in the characters there really isn’t a lot of appeal in this show. Still sounds like it should be far more interesting than it is.

Alice & Zoroku (Episode 4)

I realised that at this point I don’t care about this show or its characters. There’s a tiny part of me still vaguely curious about where they are going with this whole dreams of Alice thing which is why I haven’t dropped this, but I’m not emotionally invested in the slightest. This realisation came as I watched twenty minutes of a young girl being treated cruelly after being kidnapped and not once did I care about whether she was rescued or not. I legitimately felt nothing for her plight. This one may not survive the whole season because usually this level of detachment comes right before I start making excuses to avoid watching the next episode.

The Silver Guardian (Episode 4)

This finally clawed its way out of the ‘They Made This’ category as it finally looks like they are actually going to tell the story they promised us at the start of episode 1. All and all, episode 4 was a pretty interesting episode (not great by any means but compared to episodes 2 and 3 it was pretty good). If the show actually builds from there it might even become passably entertaining.

Sword Oratoria (Episode 3)

Sword Oratoria is dangerously close to hitting the ‘They Made This’ category, because really, why did they make this? They’ve given us no new perspective on Ais, there’s no actual plot being constructed yet, the events that have been retold have been less satisfying from the new viewpoint, and even if we ignore that this is a spin off and simply view it as an entirely new show, it is still flat and uninteresting. The couple of seconds of entertainment that you gain from seeing Bell or hearing a line from the original show, does not make up for the rest of the episode.

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They Made This

Nothing at the moment that I’m watching.

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Tried and Dropped

Tsukigakirei (Episode 2)

Eromanga Sensei (Episode 2)

Armed Girls Machiavellism (Episode 2)

Sakura Quest (Episode 1)

Love Tyrant (Episode 1)

Clockwork Planet (Episode 1)

And now the shows have made their initial impressions and are pushing on with their stories. Which plot has you most interested this season?


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Natsume Yuujinchou Roku Episode 3

Review:

There’s something very cyclical about the nature of Natsume Yuujinchou. Events have a way of repeating and characters who have long disappeared from the narrative return at the most unexpected of times. Admittedly, Shibata wasn’t from that long ago, but he had a decidedly single episode air about him so his return this season is something of a surprise though perhaps shouldn’t be when this season has so far been about connections. Shibata knew Natsume back when everyone still thought he was a liar and only called on him for help when he was in trouble. Unlike Tanuma and the others who now know Natsume’s secret, Natsume regards Shibata with a great deal of suspicion and it is hard to take his overtures of friendship as anything other than being driven by guilt of past wrongs.

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As a result, I quite enjoyed this episode as it brought Tanuma and Shibata face to face and made the contrast between them clear, even while it has moved Shibata closer to becoming an actual friend.

Natsume Yuujinchou remains a sweet and pleasurable viewing experience and I have no complaints about how this season is going so far.


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Spring 2017 Week 3

The Spring season continues to be entertaining, which is great afer the relatively slow Winter season. My list is pretty much consolidated now though there are still a handful of shows that I’m not convinced I’ll watch through to the end. That said, I have 15 shows at the moment that I’m going to be reviewing episodically this season. Looking forward to what everyone else has decided to follow.

As always, I would love to know your thoughts on the shows this season so please leave a comment below.

yuri10d

Must Watch

Natsume Yuujincho 6 (Episode 2)

So sweet. Okay, I loved this episode as it kind of touched on everything I love about the Natsume series and following on from such a great first episode, this season is really starting well. Absolutely love this series.

Kado: The Right Answer (Episode 3)

This show is definitely in no rush to move the plot along. It is taking its time with each scene and the waiting in between. Rather than finding this dull or boring, I’m actually finding that it is adding to the tension of watching. There’s so many answers you are waiting for and hoping the next conversation will reveal. While not everyone is going to love the pace of this, there’s a fairly compelling story being set up here.

The Eccentric Family Season 2 (Episode 2)

Episode 2 introduces yet more characters and plot threads into the mix and this really feels like it is going to go the same path as season 1 where lots of ideas slowly develop before coming together at the end (or at least lets hope they do). Pretty much is you enjoyed the humour and tone of season 1, season 2 is much the same (which means I’m having a lot of fun with it so far).

Attack on Titan Season 2 (Episode 4)

Okay, it took 4 episodes but Attack on Titan is getting better each week. The slow start to this season is paying off as more and more pieces are coming together and the show is finding its pacing and tone. I really enjoyed episode 3 and episode 4 was better. Hoping this can maintain for the remainder of the season. Plus, the opening song is finally growing on me.

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Usually Entertaining

Sagrada Reset (Episode 3)

Given my episode review on this took me clear over 500 words and I still wasn’t sure I’d said everything I wanted to and given right now I’m desperately awaiting the next episode, I had to move this up the list. It isn’t highly recommendable given the incredibly slow pace and unrelatable characters, but I’m really enjoying picking at the mysteries being presented and still trying to piece together where this story is going. Part of me kind of wishes they’d started with episode 3 and just filled in some of the blanks rather than having us sit through the first two episode before jumping two years.  This episode really got the story moving and while the characters still have as much personality as your standard talking toaster, when they are surrounded by intrigue you can kind of get behind the pair.

My Hero Academia Season 2 (Episode 17)

I’m feeling that while I’m going to mostly enjoy watching this season, a common complaint is going to be whether or not we actually needed to watch something. There are so many scenes and conversations where I just have to wonder what they are adding to overall character development or plot and mostly they aren’t. They are just there getting us from A to B but we could have easily skipped straight over it and just figured out that a conversation or a scene had happened without watching it. Still, it is good fun even if it isn’t the most compelling viewing.

WorldEnd (Episode 2)

This second episode wasn’t bad, but it definitely had a lot more work to do filling in story than episode 1, and as a result, it wasn’t as interesting. That said, there is still quite a bit of promise in this show and I’m hoping now that its gotten through some of its explanations we can move forward.

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Okay, I Guess

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor (Episode 3)

So this went from the bottom of this category to the to and if it keeps going I may have to move it to usually entertaining. The various fights around the school were well done with enough variety that it didn’t feel like Glenn was just pulling the same trick on each villain. Admittedly, that final win was a bit convenient, but it is only episode 3 so I guess you can’t go killing off your title character.

Sword Oratoria (Episode 2)

And down it goes. To be honest, I enjoyed this episode less than the episodes of Alice & Zoroku and Granblue Fantasy, however Sword Oratoria still gets a few points for being a spin-off of a show I loved. Still, once we get past episode 3 if the series hasn’t managed to find its own feet (or anything of interest to present) I can see this show diving well to the bottom of my watch list. This second episode was almost painfully dull to watch as it contained everything I didn’t like about DanMachi and none of things I did enjoy.

Alice & Zoroku (Episode 3)

Right, so this is staying on my watch list but it is pretty ordinary. The ideas are good (or at least interesting) but the narrative and tone aren’t settling as we jump around and it makes the viewing experience less than thrilling. I get some people will be enjoying this more but I’m finding myself bored during the comedic stretches and less than impressed with the attempts at drama.

Granblue Fantasy (Episode 4)

Last week I said, “There’s no reason for me to drop this but little reason to recommend it”. I’m just going to leave that as my description of the show at this point. It is working well enough but it isn’t exactly great.

The Laughing Salesman (Episode 3)

I don’t think this will ever come up on my list of must watch anime and even saying it is entertaining is a stretch. What it does is formulaic cautionary tales but there’s something satisfying about watching it. The visuals aren’t great (but they are consistent), and with the exception of the Salesman there aren’t any recurring characters so character development is non-existent. That said, this is twenty minutes of viewing where I can switch off and happily watch and let the story just kind of roll over me and sometimes that’s enough to get out of a show.

Grimoire of Zero (Episode 2)

This one is slowly moving downward. There’s still a possibility that after it gets through these early episodes it will pick up, but to be honest, I’m not very impressed so far. It really sounds like it should be more fun than it is.

The Royal Tutor (Episode 3)

The Royal Tutor isn’t badly done. It’s perfectly nice to look at, the jokes are there and only a few are actually cringe worthy, and the characters are slowly but surely taking shape. That said, I am watching this with about as much interest as I watch the sports section of the morning news at this point, which is I’ll sit through it because it is there but barely remember it once it leaves the screen. One more episode (I say this week and probably for the next three weeks after that).

The Silver Guardian (Episode 4)

This finally clawed its way out of the ‘They Made This’ category as it finally looks like they are actually going to tell the story they promised us at the start of episode 1. All and all, episode 4 was a pretty interesting episode (not great by any means but compared to episodes 2 and 3 it was pretty good). If the show actually builds from there it might even become passably entertaining.

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They Made This

Nothing at the moment that I’m watching.

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Tried and Dropped

Tsukigakirei (Episode 2)

Eromanga Sensei (Episode 2)

Armed Girls Machiavellism (Episode 2)

Sakura Quest (Episode 1)

Love Tyrant (Episode 1)

Clockwork Planet (Episode 1)

Week 3 over – what made it onto your watch list for the season?


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Friday’s Feature: Discussing Sequels, Prequels and Spin-Offs

When it came to movies, I was always wary of sequels growing up. It was more or less universally accepted that the sequel would be weaker than the original with a few exceptions (which of course proved the rule). I was less aware of prequels until the Star Wars franchise essentially hacked the heart out of their own series by delivering 3 very underwhelming movies that pretty much told us nothing that we hadn’t already figured out from watching the original series. Since then we’ve had plenty of other examples in movies of prequels and sequels just not quite hitting the mark.

So how does this translate to the anime watching experience?

Well it doesn’t really because anime sometimes wraps up the story in one season, but often it doesn’t. What we usually call a sequel in anime is regularly just an ongoing continuation of a story that wasn’t finished. Which means that sometimes that second part is awesome (or third, or fourth, or whatever in the case of very long running series). However, sometimes even if the story isn’t finished it feels like the characters have said everything they needed to and we’re just getting put through the motions of yet more fights and battles for the sake of it.

That said, some sequels are amazing. Higurashi’s second season is fantastic, and totally necessary if you ever want to know why everyone keeps dying in that story. Meanwhile, Black Butler 2 I probably could have done without (and Darker Than Black 2 and quite a few others). What it comes down to is while I will watch a sequel to a series I enjoyed, I always watch with the assumption that there’s a good chance it will go downhill fast, that way if they manage to pull off something decent I’m always pleasantly surprised. And I know some people are screaming Endless Eight right now which is probably another reason to be wary of some sequels.

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The occasional prequel that shows up (such as Handa-kun) doesn’t really register given how infrequent they are. Generally, any backstory that is needed is told through flashbacks and prequels just aren’t needed. That hasn’t stopped various ‘young’ insert character name stories cropping up but they aren’t exactly flooding the market (and please don’t).

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Then, we’ve also got spin-off series which are extremely hit and miss. Some manage to surpass the original where others just end up looking like a watered down imitation. A Certain Scientific Railgun is an excellent example of a spin-off that kind of left the original material in the dust. While I like A Certain Magical Index, the need to explain magic, esper abilities, and Touma’s weird ability which falls into neither category, meant the whole thing was very crowded. Also, Touma regularly faced magical villains which meant despite the show being set in a city of espers, esper abilities sat more as a background setting than a focus. Railgun deals pretty much exclusively with the espers and esper issues and as a direct result the world building is significantly stronger and the conflicts are far easier to convey and explain.

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This season we’ve got Sword Oratoria giving us a different view of the world from DanMachi (Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?). Where Sword Oratoria concerned me even from its announcement was in the focus character. See, Railgun took the most interesting character out of Index and gave her a chance to shine. Sword Oratoria takes the least interesting character out of DanMachi and so far hasn’t done much with her. That isn’t to say it can’t pick up, but you have to wonder why we didn’t just get a continuation of DanMachi given Bell’s story wasn’t yet done.

What it means is, there’s no hard and fast rule in anime (or in movies really) as to whether a sequel, prequel, or spin-off will work or not which leaves a lot of fans wading through poor follow up seasons in the hope of stumbling across a good one.

Winter 2017 gave us a number of sequels to consider and to be honest I found them all lacking. Tales of Zestiria the X had been reasonable in season 1, but season 2 lost all focus and forward momentum before rushing to a conclusion that made very little sense to those who hadn’t played the game because so many things happened just because. It was kind of a let down even for those of us with minimal expectations of it. Iron Blooded Orphans similarly kind of faded during its second season. While it maintained a reasonable storyline, it just lacked the punch of the original. Meanwhile, Super Lovers 2 just left me wondering if the characters actually had made any headway at all and Blue  Exorcist just felt like they thought they could just throw any random villain at the characters because the audience would be happy with whatever.

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Then we got to Spring 2017 and while I’m watching the spin-off Sword Oratoria, in terms of sequels the load is heavy. My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, The Eccentric Family and Natsume Yuujinchou are all trying to draw me back into their worlds. Natsume has the advantage in that it’s up to season 6 (and I’ll come back to Natsume in a little bit). The Eccentric Family made a strong start. Both My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan have done a reasonable job (and I’ll admit My Hero Academia seems to be getting stronger by the episode), but at this point neither has really convinced me they can surpass the first season (I’d love to be proven wrong and for both to end well).

For me, the main issue always seems to be that unlike a new series, a sequel is stuck with all the expectations of the audience and preconceived notions. We’ve watched part 1, we know these characters and this setting. It limits where the story can go but it can still be very good if there is character development to be found or more story to be told.

There are three series that I want to discuss in regards to sequels.

Kaname

Starting with Full Metal Panic, this series had a season 1 and then we got Second Raid. There’s also a filler comedy season which should be regarded in its own way (its hilarious) but I’m not discussing that here. Arguably, you can stop watching at the end of season 1. You can. Chidori realises she’s got all this stuff in her head and she uses it to save the submarine. Sousuke beats the guy he’s been wanting to beat. They celebrate and then they go back to school. Yeah, Chidori is still going to be targeted and Sousuke still knows nothing about living in the real world, but essentially, it’s a good stopping point.

So why Second Raid?

Because what does Chidori want to do now that she knows she has this knowledge in her head? Is Sousuke actually just going to play the good soldier forever? And what is their relationship? There were plenty of character points still open that had more than enough points of interest to explore and certainly more than enough villains in the world to get the plot moving again. The reason Second Raid works though is Chidori and Sousuke both get pushed to their limit. Chidori is forced to fight for her own life because Sousuke doesn’t instantly save her. He’s too busy going through his own little mental break down which is spectacular to see given everything he’s been through. And while he recovers just a little too fast, it is a mecha series and mental health was never supposed to be the main focus (it isn’t Evangelion).

However, then there’s the announcement about yet another season and the only question I had was why? While season 1 set the scene and the plot really well while introducing us to the characters and season 2 showed us the true effect of everything they’d been through on the characters, what will season 3 offer us other than either more of the same or just another random villain? As much as I love this story and these characters, I’m not convinced yet that another season is needed. Though, there also haven’t been any details about season 3 released (other than a delay) so maybe they have come up with something worth saying.

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But all of this contrasts with my view of SAO in terms of sequels. Sword Art Online was fantastic when it came out. The entire first arc, playing Sword Art Online, was good (I know some people have issues with it but it works). I loved it. Then Kirito beats the game and they all wake up. That’s great. We’re trapped in a game that can kill us and someone finally let us out. Whoo-hoo.

So why isn’t that the end of season 1?

Because some people didn’t wake up. Okay. Fine. Why not?

Technically, this could have worked as a continuation. It could have. But most people will agree that Fairy Dance is the weakest of the SAO stories. While it does tie up a loose end or 2 from SAO, it isn’t necessary. The story could have ended with them waking up and being reunited. They added an additional complication for no reason other then to force a continuation that wasn’t needed, turned a reasonably capable female character into a damsel in distress, and introduced a villain who was so immature and cartoonish in his villainy you couldn’t have taken him seriously if you tried.

Then we have GGO and the Mother Rosario arcs, both of which I kind of regard more as Spin-offs given how little in common they have with the original story at this point. More importantly, Kirito pretty much stops developing as a character (and I know some people will argue he didn’t develop in the original, but we’ll save that argument for later). Essentially, he freezes at the end of Fairy Dance. There’s nothing more to say about him. He does stuff, but he no longer changes as a result of his actions or decisions.

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The last series I want to touch on is Natsume Yuujinchou which is already 5 seasons, with season 6 getting underway. Natsume in terms of story has never really felt like it is driving toward anything. The conflict has always been Natsume dealing with how to live. That isn’t something that can be ‘solved’ or ‘overcome’ and it isn’t something that ends. And it is a conflict that continually sees the main character reflect and grow (admittedly in very slow and small steps). What that ultimately means is that despite the number of sequels, this story still doesn’t feel finished and this character is still evolving. Spending more time with him on his journey is always fun.

Basically, anime sequels (or prequels or spin-offs) all need to be considered in the light of the series they are attached to. For me if they actually are needed or are adding something of value to the character or the story then I will usually find them highly enjoyable. But if I’m just expected to swallow lack luster story telling because someone slapped a name on it I recognise, I’m going to move on.

How do you feel about sequels and prequels in anime?


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Natsume Yuujinchou Season 6 Episode 2

Review:

I don’t even know why Natsume reiterates the point that getting involved with unknown yokai is a bad idea. After 6 seasons we know he’s going to get involved so he may as well just accept that fact. Still, after last week really only mentioning past characters in passing, this week Natsume’s school friends, Touka, and the mid-level yokai all play a role as Natsume helps locate a missing stonewasher.

NatsumeS6E2

While the hunt for a missing yokai is standard enough, this episode continues to look at Natsume and the fact that he doesn’t just blindly help whoever. Once again, Natsume relates to the yokai way too well as he thinks about his own loneliness and how happy he was at finding a home. It is that emotion which drives him to help find the lost yokai.

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Throw in another Natori reference and the fact that the yokai only got lost because of an exorcist and I’m still hopeful we’ll get more of the exorcists in general later in this season. Really enjoyed this episode.


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Natsume Yuujinchou 6 Episode 1

Overview:

Okay, if you haven’t watched the previous 5 seasons, there’s very little reason to care about season 6. However for everyone else, Natsume is back and he still sees Yokai and he is still stuck with Nyanko-Sensei. Let’s see what they get up to this season.

Review:

Episode 1 is as true to the formula of Natsume as you would expect. Natsume and Nyanko are out running an errand (yep, the cat ate the snacks again) and they run into a yokai. Natsume being Natsume helps him out and then gets turned into a much younger kid (too adorable).

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We then get one of the better recaps of the main characters of a series I’ve seen as Nyanko-Sensei mentally runs through the options when seeking help before Taki and Tanuma show up (part of me wishes he’d gone to Natori because that would have been hilarious).

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I’m sure I’ve said this before, but Natsume needs smarter friends. Their hearts are in the right place but sometimes they are a little thick. Despite that, things get resolved and we end on a happy note with Natsume and Nyanko having a nap side by side.

Anyway, this is a sweet and fun as it has always been so a great start to another season provided you are up for more of the same.


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Natsume Yuujinchou Go Series Review

Overview:

The fifth season of Natsume Yuujinchou, Natsume Yuujinchou Go picks up following Natsume as he interacts with his human and yokai friends. Season 5 does seem to be focussing a lot on the minor character backstories. I reviewed this week to week here if you want to check out my thoughts on individual episodes.

Review:

I’m keeping this one super short because I’ve already reviewed the first four seasons of this and revisited it and to be honest season 5 doesn’t really break away from what the other 4 seasons have done. Pretty much don’t start with this season. Watch the first four. While the show does take an episodic approach, it is the small changes in Natsume over the five seasons that help this show to really soar so you kind of need to watch it in order.

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As I said in the overview, this season spends a lot of time with some of the other characters and fills in their back stories which was a nice diversion from the yokai of the week episodes (though we still had these as it is Natsume after all). Probably my biggest issue with season 5 is the limited focus Natsume himself gets, though after 4 seasons I guess it would be hard to continue to focus exclusively on him. And then Nyanko-Sensei has pretty much been sidelined for the entire season this time and given he’s my favourite character I just kept wanting him to be more involved. He does get a few good moments and we can clearly see how far he’s grown as a character but I just wanted more.

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Natsume is still Natsume however and visually is cute but fairly washed out and none of the characters are particularly striking in their appearance (by the way, the picture above is a young Natori and not Natsume but it is hard to tell). The music is still really relaxing and just kind of fun to listen to and the episodes still resolve nicely and mostly happily without falling into the realm of overly sickly sweet.

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Seriously, check out my review of the first four seasons and then if you like fantasy or slice of life at all go watch the show. It is amazing and there is a reason I’ve watched 5 seasons of it despite it being incredibly slow moving which is usually enough for me to give a show the flick.


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Natsume Yuujinchou Go Episode 11

Review:

As far as season ends go, this one is pretty average. Natsume get’s sick due to the mid-level Yokai dragging him out to see some flowers and then both yokai and human friends spend the episode worrying about him and feeling helpless. Meanwhile Natsume reflects on a few things before having a dream that features Reiko that essentially tells him not to attach himself to anyone because then he won’t need to protect them. On recovering, Natsume rejects this idea and regrets that he can’t tell Reiko. As an episode it does what it needs to but it just doesn’t quite have enough charm to pull off these ideas. I’m glad we have another season announced for next year because I’m still in love with this show but this episode was strangely disappointing after last week.

 

Natsume Yuujinchou Go Episode 10

 Review: 

Seems season 5 is determined to be characterised by giving our support cast their back story. Not that this episode was bad. Focussing primarily on Touko and how the Fujiwara’s ended up deciding to take Natsume in this told a story we knew before and had seen some pieces of from Natsume’s view, but gave Touko’s impressions. The result is a sweet episode that kind of captures the overall spirit of the show and leaves you with a smile when you realise that Natsume has in fact given away that he sees things to Touko and she’s such a sweet person she doesn’t accuse him of lying or even really question it. While I would still like to see some of Reiko’s story, it would be great if this season ended with Natsume having a stronger relationship with his foster family.

The image this week isn’t from the episode for many reasons.

Natsume Yuujinchou Go Episode 9

Review:

It’s been awhile since we’ve started an episode of Natsume with Natsume running frantically away from a yokai and even longer since he’s had a nightmare about whether or not he can stay with his current family. This was a very pleasant return to form with a yokai of the week appearing and Natsume generally getting caught up in things he probably would have been better off walking away from. I like these episodes because they work on their own with only limited knowledge of the story needed to follow the events and while the final message of the episode is predictable the story still brings itself to a satisfying enough conclusion. What is more important is that Natsume continues to internalize these encounters to fuel his own growth.

That said, I love how Nyanko-Sensei can just switch off and go into full cat mode when the occasion calls for it.

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