Apologies for a late update; I should have gotten this one in on friday. It’s been a busy week; I know I said I’d try to watch Princess Tutu #10 but in the end I didnt have the time.  Double apologies for the low-quality caps this week.

Great, now Ive got Youve Got A Monster in Your Parasol stuck in my head again.
Great, now I’ve got “You’ve Got A Monster in Your Parasol” stuck in my head again.

As we near the end of the first season of my current favourite pretty-boy and youkai series, the series starts to reveal its shojo roots with some rather humorous BL subtext. (Oh wait…that was there last episode. My mistake) What is also does is delve into some particularly amusing comedy, yet still maintaining a plot that tugs on the old heart strings. (All the plots tend to do that) Episode 10’s plot again leaves the Book of Friends behind (I havent actually seen Natsume return a name in a while, come to think of it) in favour of…wait for it…another love story! Except this time it’s between two youkai, and besides the criminally adorable episode 7 with the (shotacular) Kitsune youkai, this has been my favourite episode yet.
Natsume runs into an ayakashi named Akagane, a so-called ‘Kasamochi'(Umbrella-holder) who is after his body. Not in that sense, mind you, he needs it for a certain someone named Asagi who has been weakened out of her own body.

This is what happens when you dont say please.
This is what happens when you dont say ‘please’.
Oh man this is too cute. Nyanko-senseis such a blob.
Oh man this is too cute. Nyanko-sensei’s such a blob.

As usual, Nyanko-sensei has heard of Asagi. He tells Natsume that she’s one of the koto players that plays for her master Mibu-sama in the forest. It turns out that this koto player has become sickened, and although she wants to play the koto one more time before she disappears, she lacks a current body to be able to. Her bodyguard, the aforementioned Akagane, has thus targeted Natsume once he figures out that he can see him, and is able to put her spirit (which had been carrying around in a gourd) inside his body when he’s asleep. Sneaky.

No, not creepy at all.
No, not creepy at all.
This is but a temporary side-effect of being posessed by a blue-haired koto-player. More amusing side-effects to come...
This is but a temporary side-effect of being posessed by a blue-haired koto-player. More amusing side-effects to come…

The comedy of this episode is mostly courtesy of this segment; in which Asagi’s feminine charms manifest themselves in Natsume’s appearance (even her long hair, at one point) and start to bewitch his male friends one by one. Credit for this episode’s laughs also goes to Akagane, who has a really ‘gung-ho’ and exciteable attitude.

Good morning to you too!
Good morning to you too!
Funny thing is, Natsume was already plenty feminine to begin with. Must be the sparkly background that got them.
Funny thing is, Natsume was already plenty feminine to begin with. Must be the sparkly background that got them.
Ufufu~
‘Ufufu~’
Im beginning to wonder if this guy had a bigger role in the manga, or possibly season 2, because he really hasnt done anything besides look alot like Hosaka.

I'm beginning to wonder if this guy had a bigger role in the manga, or possibly season 2, because he really hasnt done anything besides look alot like Hosaka.

Akagane meets him again after Asagi has apologized to Natsume for ‘slipping out’; and Natsume finaly agrees that he’ll help the two ayakashi, even though Akagane had borrowed his body for Asagi without his permission. But first:

Why yes, I -did- screencap every time this happened.

Why yes, I -did- screencap every time this happened.

...uh...

...uh...

https://i2.wp.com/i39.photobucket.com/albums/e155/teh_Itachi/natsu10p13.jpg

"THIS IS FREAKING CREEPY!"

We learn a bit more about Asagi; how she suddenly lost the ability to play the koto for her beloved Mibu-sama, and as a result he abandoned her. Akagane, however, stayed by her side as she weakened. She wishes to be able to play the koto at least one more time before she had to disappear entirely, but she needs a body for that; hence Natsume’s involvement. There’s a rather pretty flashback scene (because every episode has one); I especially loved the way Asagi was in blue light and Akagane in red.

Such a pretty scene...Asagai is really beautiful.

Such a pretty scene...Asagai is really beautiful.

First, however, they need to make a new koto for her, with very particular materials. With Natsume’s (scant) assistance, Akagane finds a ‘senbiki’ (some kind of magical catfish, I think), whose whiskers will become the koto’s strings. That night, Natsume has a strange dream; or rather, he has Asagi’s dream; a strange nightmare in which his body turns to sand and then crumbles away. When he wakes up, Akagane tells him that this is the sickness Asagi has that rendered her unable to play the koto.

An effectively creepy scene. I love the use of colour in this show.

An effectively creepy scene. I love the use of colour in this show.

Another lovely shot of Asagi.

Another lovely shot of Asagi.

They start searching for ‘a tree stump with new bamboo shoots growing from it’, which will be used to make the body of the koto. However Natsume ends up getting himself into trouble again; one hell of a freaky youkai shows him where the tree-stump is but then finds it reasonable to take his guts in exchange.  Once the koto is made, the youkai comes to claim them, and the resulting scuffle puts the koto in danger, but Natsume saves it (by jumping off a cliff to save it from falling, none the less) after Akagane takes out the youkai.

Oh joy, nightmares tonight.

Oh joy, nightmares tonight.

HOLY SH-

HOLY SH-

After Natsume is given some time to recover, Asagi takes over, and tells Akagane that rather than playing her last tune for Mibu-sama, she’d rather play it for him (Aaaaw). We never get to hear this undoubtedly beautiful melody, however, only Natsume’s narration on it, accompanied by shots of pretty imagery. It seems that I’ve been seeing this kind of thing in anime alot, recently, the ‘use your imagination!’ for someone singing or something of the sort, and it’s really making me wonder why. The scene of Natsume/Asagi playing the koto with only dead silence was rather effective in a zen-type way, but after all the hype about how lovely Asagi’s koto-playing was it would have been nicer if we could hear it.

Personally I think his appearance should have become more Asagi-like in this scene.

Personally I think his appearance should have become more Asagi-like in this scene.

This is also lovely.

This is also lovely.

Her last wish fulfilled, Asagi leaves Natsume’s body; although she goes back into Akagane’s gourd, who bids Natsume farewell and leave. I was expecting some kind of dramatic scene in which Asagi disintegrates into nothingness and flies up into the sky, but as far as I know, she’s still living within Akagane’s gourd. Maybe I’m just being optimistic, but I hope we’ll get to see these two again.

Nyanko-sensei does not like being hugged like some mere cat.

Nyanko-sensei does not like being hugged like some mere cat. He also appears to have shrunk a bit.

This episode was pretty well-balanced, and was a really nice watch, with comedy, tragedy and a sense of zen-like beauty. As said, my favourite so far. Out of 5:

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