Natsume Yuujinchou San overall was an excellent season, but I the episode that had the strongest impression on me was episode 4. Main reason that in episode 4, we are given more about Natsume’s more negative past, a pretty big difference compared of what he is experiencing right now.
Within the episode, we were introduced this youkai that lives on a tree, the encounter that Natsume had with this youkai (in the past), and Natsume’s situation during that time. This was pretty interesting since Natsume’s darker past were usually only hinted at but never shown explicitly, and it is more clear of what Natsume’s fears were when we actually how badly treated he was in the past. As for the youkai, while no much character was given to her, she seemed to usually be alone, and had a desire to communicate with Natsume, whom she knew that he interact with her.
At core, it was nothing but just a simple tale of the youkai wanting to communicate to Natsume, usually not in the best method (scaring him), something that was seen before (the youkai that looked like a human and conversed with the young Natsume before a human neighbor commenting of how Natsume is all alone). But two scenes stood out for me:
One was when Natsume stopped walking the path that the youkai was situated at, the youkai decided to transform to a cat to find Natsume. Upon finding, the youkai approached him, and Natsume saw and picked her up. First she commented how warm he was and how he can make such a gentle expression, and how she liked to stay like that (be hugged by Natsume) forever, a clear indicator that she desire to at have the company of others (at least Natsume). And then the young Natsume saids how he wanted to be alone ASAP, as a direct opposite of what she was thinking then. This absurd wish and this disconnection between them was well, a bit tearjerk-worthy (the fact that she started to tear up didn’t help). O and then soon after Natsume leaves, she herself became disappointed at humans, even though she still longs to communicate to them.
The second scene that stood out was when Natsume went back and met the youkai on the tree in present time. To see him smile so cheerfully, even though it is something we know he is capable of doing, was really heartwarming after seeing his struggles and personality from his past. This episode was able to see a simple view of how much Natsume have changed through the years, which made me even appreciate his current personality even more. This is also why I’m looking forward to the upcoming Natsume Yuujinchou Shi episode (ep5), since it seems to deal more of Natsume’s past also.
This episode all boils down to comparisons: human vs youkai (as always), past Natsume vs current Natsume, youkai’s curiosity toward Natsume vs Natsume rejecting all youkais etc…, and heck, it works.
If anything, a tsundere youkai is always fine. And yes, I think the youkai on the tree is pretty moe.