Natsume’s Book of Friends got intense this episode! After three episodes of melancholy pastoral fantasy tinged with slight danger, this episode dipped directly into horror and even action territory for the first time. The results were as uneven as you might expect, but I appreciate the show branching out, and doubly appreciate an extension of the central cast. Loneliness might be one of Natsume’s fundamental themes, but Natsume doesn’t need to be lonely all the time.
Natsume’s second episode opens with a distant shot portraying Natsume’s school, along with more of the rural scenery that has already proven to be one of the show’s central characters. I love that scenery, beautiful even in this show’s simply drawn, low-resolution format. Rural Japan is one of my favorite anime settings, along with that “vaguely medieval Mediterranean countryside” employed by shows like Kino’s Journey and Haibane Renmei. Perhaps it’s simply a natural tendency towards exoticism, but something about Japan’s rolling hills and sprawling farmlands naturally puts me at ease. Continue reading
Natsume’s Book of Friends has long been one of my shortlist shows – the shows whose reputations are so strong that I essentially know I’ll get to them, and so it’s just a matter of when. Of course, the “when” is its own serious hurdle in my case, since I’ve moved from being so slow about getting through backlist that it barely moves to so overwhelmed by other things I literally need to watch that it doesn’t really move at all. I get through a handful of personal watches a year at this point, which makes it a great relief when someone decides to support something like Planetes, or Nichijou, or Natsume’s Book of Friends.