You might be wondering why this sweet slice of life anime, Natsume Yuujinchou is getting featured in a month where I’m looking at spooky and creepy titles. Well, Natsume has well and truly earned his place here and let’s be real: sometimes life is scary, particularly when you can see yokai. Here I am going to count down the five moments where it became clear to me that Natsume Yuujinchou is one of those anime that explores the whole range of human emotions, including the ones where you are creeped out and just hoping the main character survives the encounter.
Definitely spoilers ahead for those who have yet to watch Natsume. And on that note, go watch Natsume.
Number 5 – Natsume gets trapped in a bottle.
I’m not sure what is scarier in this scenario. That touching a bottle will get you shrunk and stuck inside or that your body-guard yokai thinks that smashing it with a hammer is a good way to try and save you. Either way, this is kind of a horrifying moment though a lot of the episode is played for laughs. However, there’s a few moments where Natsume reflects on the situation including realising that the Fujiwara’s are going to wonder where he’s disappeared to and when Tanuma puts himself in danger to free Natsume from the bottle the guilt is pretty intense. A very solid creepy offering from the usually benign Natsume.
Number 4 – Natsume is almost owned by a yokai.
Prior to Natsume living with the Fujiwara’s and meeting Nyanko-Sensei, his knowledge of yokai was pretty patchy. As a result he often made mistakes but none that we’ve seen so far in his memories as bad as this one. Having a conversation with a yokai led to the yokai deciding that she’d really like to ‘keep’ Natsume for awhile and threatened him and the family he was staying with. The poor kid was desperate and ended up asking other yokai for help in sealing her away with spectacular though incredibly dangerous results. Let’s all just be happy that Natsume did end up living with the Fujiwara’s after all that.
Number 3 – Taki nearly gets squished.
Generally the other human characters in Natsume are protected by Natsume and the plot from any real danger or harm (though Tanuma does stick his neck out on multiple occasions). Still, the human character facing the most peril so far is Taki in one of the best introductory episodes (double episode) ever. Having used a magic circle, Taki saw a yokai and so he cursed her. Once she meets Natsume and the two work together to find the yokai, he decides he’s over the game and this leads to some really creepy moments. Between Natsume being captured in a cave and having his sight (at least his ability to see yokai) taken from him to the heroic showdown where Taki almost gets crushed to death, this episode is certainly the one where you really think one of the characters might bite the dust.
Number 2 – Natsume is captured by Matoba (again?)
One of the very human threats in the show, Matoba is an exorcist from a powerful family who has taken an unhealthy interest in Natsume (or at least Natsume’s potential power) Despite only coming into the story in season 3, Matoba has made his presence felt and on more than one occasion he’s taken Natsume captive. Fortunately Natsume escapes unscathed but the human nature of this threat makes it particularly unnerving. And Matoba can definitely be creepy when he wants to be.
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Number 1 – Natsume attacked by the disembodied yokai.
I guess this one also comes courtesy of Taki, or at least Taki’s house. After helping Taki clean her store house Natsume realises they’ve released a sealed yokai and soon after it begins attacking them and trying to regain its lost limbs from around the house. There’s something incredibly creepy about the way this thing moves and the sound it makes is truly shudder worthy. Throw in the fact that Natsume has Taki and Tanuma to try to protect while stopping a yokai from putting itself back together and you have the recipe for one really scary episode even while you kind of suspect things will work out in the end.
Your turn all you Natsume fans – and I know there are a lot of you in my followers – what are your favourite scary moments from Natsume Yuujinchou?
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