Natsume's Book of Friends season 4
The life of Natsume Takashi continues, where he encounters the Matoba family again, gets caught up in a battle between gods and finds the time to visit the home of his late parents.
Finding something new to say about this show is not easy, especially in light of how it basically portrays Natsume Takashi's young adult life and how it reached its current state through the kindness of his relatives and the friendship he made with both human and yokai alike.
As you may remember, the first season took me completely by surprise. Sure, it had some filler episodes -- one particularly bad one at that -- but it was a soul-punching the likes I hadn't had for a long time. It was actually quite swiftly followed by a second season, which didn't quite live up to the first, and then by a third, which ended up being the best of all of the seasons.
The fourth season isn't quiiiiite there, though. Think of it as a season two to season three's season one. And if that's too confusing; it's just slightly inferior to season three... for a couple of reasons.
The lesser of said reasons is the animation, which is only slightly worse off than the earlier seasons. This might not sound like such a big deal with quiet slice-of-life shows like this, but it does leave some of the grander scenes with the larger, more powerful yokai looking rather underwhelming.
Am I being unfair? Maybe, but this isn't just some series. It's Natsume's Book of Friends, damn it! Also, like I said; lesser reason.
On a more positive note, this is probably the season with the least amount of filler. And not only that, but the count of double-episodes in this season actually outstrips that of any of the earlier seasons, and is actually the first season to feature a TRIPLE episode. Which is also kind of the second and last problem; the story centered around the last arc is a manga original, but one that got stretched beyond its breaking point. Not as much the first of the three episodes, but the last two basically meanders through a single-episode manga arc. (Or at least an approximate to that.) It just comes off as strange, seeing as this season managed to take a different relatively short manga chapter and turn it into a full episode by having the same story arc play out from two very different angles. (Half of which is filler -- yes, the fourth season features the first episode that's half-a-filler.)
Taken as a whole, Natsume's Book of Friends went through season one to three leading up to a five star experience. And, like I said, season four is only slightly inferior to this season, but enough to drop it to a four. Please don't take that as any kind of discouragement from watching this show, though. Natsume's Book of Friends is still a great show based on one of my favorite manga series, and a series I heartilly recommend anyone to watch.
Strong four, reduced from its high throne of five by a somewhat artificially extended ending. And no Kogitsune, maybe the most unforgivable part of all. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Like its earlier seasons, the extent of Natsume Yuujinchou's inappropriate material includes relatively mild violence and some mature situations.
Version(s) Viewed: crunchyroll.com stream, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Natsume's Book of Friends season 4 © 2012 Yuki Midorikawa, Hakunsena, Natsume Yuujin-cho Shi Project
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