Natsume Yujincho Season 1 Episode 13: Humans and Youkai Review

The curtains close on part one of a show that I've grown very fond of. Natsume Yujincho has reached the end of its first season, and an excellent first season it's been. The final episode could have been an instance of saving the best for last: one final knockout story to top all the others. The show could have done that and done it well, I have no doubt. But how much better for it to do what it has done. How much better to tell a story, not to go beyond the other tales, but to sum them up and gather them into a whole. In that form they cohere, and it becomes possible to see their true value now that they're together.

Everything in the episode has a special quality of remembrance. Even the setting of the show compels looking back the way things were before. The episode plays out against the background of autumn, the most nostalgic time of year. We see the leaves of red and gold and think back to the times when they were green; and as the leaves have changed, so have many other things. That is one of the things the fall season means. Another thing it means is abundance. Autumn is the time of harvest, the time of plenty; a time for celebrations. And a celebration is, I think, what the episode truly turns out to be. It is at any rate what the episode is built around.


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