|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou
It has been a while since I last watched the first season of Natsume's Book of Friends. So I thought I would get a peek at the second season of the series and just like the first series, Zoku Natsume Yuujin-cho was just as worthwhile of a watch for me. The show still retains its calm and mellow mood as it explores Natsume's everyday interactions with humans and youkai, as well as the occasional intensity when Natsume encounters a hostile youkai. The youkai he encounters are still fleshed out enough where you get a sense of what they are and desire, plus the show gets a new character in the form of Taki. The visuals and much of the soundtrack still do well at showing off the placid mood of this series with the subdued color and details from the visuals and the light musical pieces you hear throughout the show. Like the last season though, Zoku Natsume Yuujin-cho is still mostly episodic in its look into Natsume's everyday life which won't make this a series for those wanting an ongoing plot or hate slice-of-life titles. I also felt a bit irked by the show's choice of opening music for this season as it seemed too upbeat for the calm mood that the series gave off. Otherwise, Zoku Natsume Yuujin-cho was just as enjoyable for me as the first season thanks to the calm mood given off by the exploration of Natsume's everyday life. I hear that a third season of the series is currently in the works and I look forward to seeing it whenever it comes out later in this year.
Last updated Saturday, March 12 2011. Created Saturday, March 12 2011.
Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou
I jumped into this series not realizing this was actually the second season to Natsume Yuujiinchou. After thoroughly enjoying it, definitely will be picking up the first installment.|
Art, Animation & Character Designs
Artwork seemed slightly different from the norm. The characters for example, almost seemed "lightly drawn".... as if intentionally drawn with a lack of details. This isn't to say we're bland here, but rather, there's a lack of depth (like shadows), or realism. It actually compliments the soundtrack and the overall nature of the show... light, placid.
The OP was an interesting modern alternative piece that sounded pretty darn good. It had male vocals with key stanzas (rather refrains), with a choir of male vocals. The soundtrack throughout this series is interesting. It almost reminds me of something you would hear in say... "Winnie the Pooh" cartoon. They were mostly light instruments, unusual sounds, with light whistles and xylophones. They were almost like random compositions haphazardly put together but strangely still made musical sense. There's some relaxing pianos as well, beautiful and serene.
Series and Episode Story
You really can't go wrong with this series. If I could describe this series with a few words, they would be... "subdued", "placid", "harmless" and "lightly creepy". I say "lightly creepy" because some of the monsters were a bit creepy looking.... think the Grudge. What I really enjoyed about this series was the narration by the lead character (Natsume), and the simple, down-to-earth character interactions between his friends and adoptive parents.
There's no real plot as this series is episodic in nature. But that's what makes this series fun to watch. Each episode contains trivial but amusing entertainment with funny looking "monsters" (and sometimes creepy looking). However, because we know that Takashi is returning "names" back to their owners, and how we learn about Reiko a bit more during the progress, you can't help but think what else is there to learn. With that said, It feels we haven't yet got to the meatier parts of the story.... such as what happened to Reiko (even though we know she passed away). Third season anyone?
Overall, I enjoyed this series. It's light nature is a refreshing change from the norm.
Last updated Monday, March 07 2011. Created Monday, March 07 2011.
Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou
(All episodes watched):|
Yes, this seems to pick up right where the original series left off, with just a few lines to bring new viewers up to speed about Natsume's special abilities. I'm relieved to see that, like the original series, the stories have some depth to them, are relatively unpredictable, and have a touch of poignancy to them as well. In the end a number of plot threads come neatly together for a satisfying conclusion. There's some humor, too, often regarding the priceless "Master Kitty". It looks like this second season will be as good as the first.
What sets this series and it's predecessor apart is the whimsical attitude towards spirituality, which is seen as something perfectly normal and for the most part harmless. It's as if an argument is being raised that there are advantages to such a traditional way of viewing life and reality as opposed to our materialistic present-day cultures. Natsume has some ordinary friends, but seems to get the most enjoyment out of the time he spends with his otherworldly acquaintances. Often times an episode includes two strange but seemingly unrelated things happening, and later we discover a link between them.
I liked episode six, in which Natsume finds himself paired up with a girl, "Taki", to investigate a curse that has been placed on her. Unlike countless other series, the reason for this unlikely couple being formed makes perfect sense in the context of the show, and I can't help wondering if things will get romantic. Natsume has aways been something of an outcast, and even though he doesn't seem to care having a girlfriend might not be a bad idea for him. This was an episode which was much more fun than I had been expecting and I was glad to see that it was only the first half of a two-parter.
In the end, I can't help feeling that this second season was less emotionally touching than the first. But most anime series aren't "touching" in the least, and therefore even Zoku NY outdoes them in this respect. While there was an interesting point at which Natsume is called upon to choose either spirits or humans as most important to him, the ending felt more like a plot arc concluding than his story as a whole coming to an end. That may be because there isn't really any looming crisis for him--his ability to see spirits, while it causes problems now and then, isn't a "curse" by any means. He's largely content with things as they are, which is probably why this is often described as a slice-of-life series, despite the supernatural content. That was what made this an unusual show--unusually touching and unusually fun.
Last updated Thursday, April 16 2009. Created Monday, January 12 2009.
|Japanese Series Web Site||http://www.natsume-anime.jp/|