Yet another sequel, but this is one that I looked forward to greatly, because Natsume Yuujinchou is one of my favourite series of all time. It was, however, at its time of announcement, quite a surprise to me that Season 6 would air only 3 months after Season 5 ended, considering there were 4.5 years between Seasons 4 and 5. The dramatic change in scheduling is probably related to the fact that Seasons 5 and 6 are handled by a different studio than the first 4 seasons, but in any case, I’m extremely happy to have more Natsume to watch.
I’m also surprised by how different Season 6 feels compared to Season 5. While Season 5 felt more like a continuation of the worldbuilding established in Seasons 3 and 4 where many of the stories connected to each other, Season 6 has so far been much more similar to Seasons 1 and 2, that is to say it has consisted mostly of episodic stories. And I really prefer it this way. Season 6 feels like the show is returning to its roots, and that’s wonderful.
Last season I ended up giving no award to both the OP and ED of the Season, because while there were a few OPs and EDs I thought were catchy, none of them really struck a chord with me. Now, when I wrote last season’s spotlight post I was afraid that the problem lay with me and that next season wouldn’t inspire me to give awards either, but fortunately that turned out not to be the case.
That was, uh, weird. It felt like a mishmash of different genres with varying degrees of levity. A cold opening with characters speaking only English, an atmosphere and magic that brought to mind last season’s Taboo Tattoo, The Vatican (!??), and magical girls. And that was just the first scene. Later we got schoolgirls being schoolgirls, horny dads and other dads doing detective things. The episode ended with some fabulous action and some not-so-fabulous father-daughter groping. Yeeeeeah, I understand it if people choose not to pick this show up because of that last one.
After a two-year-long break, I’ll be going back to university this semester, and so I am afraid that I may not have much time for blogging anymore. I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll be going on a hiatus or not, but I want to inform you that the possibility exists now that I’m no longer a NEET. However, because doing this is so much fun, I’m probably going to spend a lot of time blogging about the Fall season anyway.
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.
At 45 minutes, Hotarubi no Mori e is a fairly short movie, about the same length as Garden of Words. As I may have already said at some point, I didn’t particularly like the length of Garden of Words, and watching Hotarubi no Mori e made me realise that I may have a problem with that length more generally as well. That is not to say I thought Hotarubi no Mori e was bad, or that I thought it was disappointing in the same way that I thought Garden of Words was, but there’s just something about that 45 minute length that I don’t like.
Most series tend to lose steam as the number of sequels increases. The first two series with 4 seasons that come to mind are Natsume Yuujinchou, which just kind of started repeating itself after about 2 seasons, and Minami-ke, which was passed from studio to studio and changed directors, with disastrous results. Even Tamayura, a series that I love extremely dearly, started retreading old ground in the second TV season. This trend has its exceptions, though. Aria and Monogatari are two series that, in my opinion, get better and better with every sequel, at least so far.