I’ve written about Natsume a few times before, so I’m not really sure what more I can say about it. I guess I could compare it to some other shows I’ve watched in the 18+ months since that summer when I watched Natsume. Hotarubi no Mori e is the most obvious comparison, because it supposedly takes place in the same world as Natsume. A less obvious comparison is Aria the Animation and its sequels. The two are similar in the way that they both tell serious character-driven stories in a mostly episodic format. Their settings are quite different, though. The world in Natsume Yuujinchou is very much in a near-natural state – which is important to the story – whereas the world in Aria is terraformed, i.e. basically as far away from natural as you can get. And, just like in Natsume, the state of the world is also important to the story of Aria.
And, looking back at both Natsume Yuujinchou and Aria, I guess I can safely say that I really like these episodic slice of life shows, and I guess I now know why the term iyashikei (healing) is used when describing them. There’s something really special about watching characters honestly interact with each other in small environments instead of interacting only with a large world. And in both series the overarching story is just like an extra cherry on top that pays dividends over time. All of this applies to Tamayura as well, by the way. That’s another favourite of mine.
The only “new” thing I can say about Natsume Yuujinchou is that a 5th season was recently announced, and I’m very excited about it. Apparently it’s going to be produced at a different studio than the first 4 seasons, but the rest of the staff is supposed to be the same so hopefully it won’t be too different from the previous seasons. I also hope that the overarching story starts a new chapter, because season 4 had a fairly good ending.