Real men wear pink.

Real men wear pink.

What have I thought of the show so far?: There is one thing I really really love besides anime and manga, and that would be Japanese folklore. So it always makes me happy when the two intersect, as they tend to do alot. And thus a show that showcases a different youkai or ayakashi every episode is definite watch-material for me. I also love the series’ leisurely, relaxed pacing; it really is the kind of anime you can just unwind with. Natsume himself is also delightfully pretty, of course. Plus it has a Nyanko-sensei, who is pretty damn awesome. Cant you just imagine how cuddly that cat must be? No? Just me then.

This episode centered around a love story between a human and a spirit, as a previous episode had. However, the difference between this story and the other one is that the human in the story had the ability to see spirits. (The love story in the  previous episode was sadly one-sided, with the human not even knowing of the sparrow-spirit’s existence) In a way it feels like more of the same, but there’s quite an important fact we learn from this story. Even though the two were in love, eventually the human lost the ability to see spirits.  Plotwise, its a departure from the normal ‘name returning’ aspect of Natsume Yuujinchou, because this spirit’s name was never taken in the first place.
The spirit, who was still hanging around the man she loved (Akifumi), takes an interest in Natsume due to his ability to see her.

The sounds Nyanko-sensei makes when he eats makes it so hard to concentrate when the others are talking seriously.

The sounds Nyanko-sensei makes when he eats makes it so hard to concentrate when the others are talking seriously.

I certainly wouldnt be able to sleep if a creepy glowing woman was staring at me all night.

I certainly wouldnt be able to sleep if a creepy glowing woman was staring at me all night.

Natsume takes a bit of interest in this story himself, because, as I said before, there’s something quite important here. That is,  he now knows there exists the possibility of him one day not being able to see the spirits, either. Not to mention that it’s rare for him to find anyone else that could see them in the first place. He decides to find this Akifumi person again, and finds him in the same place he found him before. Natsume can clearly see the guy cant see spirits anymore; since he doesnt notice the lake spirit coming straight for him.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

He tells Natsume the story when he asks, and it really is quite sad. Both the human and the spirit seemed to be quite lonely on their own, and they really were in love. The flashback that accompanies his story, I felt, was quite beautifully done, and really tugs on the heart strings. We also find out that this spirit is called Hotaru (firefly), and is, precisely, a firefly spirit.  Nyanko-sensei had also told him of a legend about a god that fell in love with a human woman, and when they met secretly at night, the fireflies would light a path for them. In order to thank them, the god changed those fireflies into ayakashi.  Natsume later absent-mindedly remarks later something he certainly wouldnt have in earlier episodes; that suddenly being unable to see the spirits would be awful, and thus wonders if his feelings regarding them have started to change.

She really is cute under the mask.

She really is cute under the mask.

This scene was quite sad and powerful; how he broke down crying that he couldnt see or hear her, or even know if she was there.

This scene was quite sad and powerful; how he broke down crying that he couldnt see or hear her, or even know if she was there.

Although Akifumi thought he wouldnt love anyone ever again, he eventually found a human girl to love and is due to be married to her. Whilst Hotaru is glad that he can be happy, Natsume senses the lack of closure here. He also becomes aware that Hotaru’s form as an ayakashi is quickly fading. Hotaru herself finaly decides that she will turn back into a firefly, because at least then Akifumi will be able to see her; knowing the fact that she wont be able to return from that form.

She is quite pretty under the mask. The green glow does make her look eerie though, even if she is a firefly.

She is quite pretty under the mask. The green glow does make her look eerie though, even if she is a firefly.

She finaly encounters Akifumi walking with his fiance, and before she vanishes amongst the other fireflies, it seemed that he understood for a second that it was her. The story thus has a bittersweet end to it; in fact I feel rather sorry for Hotaru if she has to live the rest of her short life as a bug whilst Akifumi is able to get married and become happy; but many of the stories in Natsume Yuujinchou have this kind of bittersweetness to them.

I havent seen fireflies since I was really little, and this episode made me really want to see them again.

I havent seen fireflies since I was really little, and this episode made me really want to see them again.

This scene was absolutely gorgeous.

This scene was absolutely gorgeous.

We end with, again, Natsume pondering whether or not it would be a good thing to stop being able to see spirits.  He narrates that even if that happens, he will still have the memory of them.
This was a peaceful and rather sad episode, but there have been better. It was interesting in introducing the idea of Natsume maybe not being able to see the spirits one day; but I feel that it did drag on a little too long. Melon-pan rating out of 5:

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