I can’t explain this show. It’s nothing different in terms of theme, but damn it, it has a way of keeping me watching and wanting the payoff scene to come, and when it does come, it feels so damn good and satisfying. However, if you think about it, it has nothing deep or original.
And it’s not like it was the artwork, or the music, not even the plot, since the show, so far, has followed a pretty predictable formula. So, what is it? Why does the message seem to resonate so deeply in my chest?
Ah, but that is exactly it. The writers understand our generation of youth well, all our anguish and troubles, and have created an alternative universe, with all of the anime elements to keep us interested, that shows us how our own lives could’ve been different.
In this episode, a little fox youkai was left alone all by himself after what apparently was the death of his mom. He so longed for companionship that he took upon a human’s hat as his friend until one day Natsume came to defend him from a couple of youkai bullies, who were mean enough to say to the fox that the reason of his loneliness was his uselessness to anyone.
Slowly, the fox was drawn to Natsume, the magic that he had demonstrated over the youkai’s, and finally decided to follow him by becoming useful to him. However, Natsume rejected him saying that it was not his usefulness he desired of him. Disappointed, the fox was left to himself again after Natsume returned home. It seemed like it was the end of their brief encounter and they would never cross path again.
At this point, many of us in the fox’s shoe would’ve despaired and given up—a norm found in our busy cities where people coldly brush across each other and never meet again. Here is where NatsuYuu shows us a different light, a different possibility, something that we either fail to or dare not to ponder:
Take the preemptive step and go the distance to make the relationship work.
The fox encountered some lion-catfish hybrid youkai and worked his ass off to deliver him loads and loads of fishes so that the lion-catfish youkai would show him a way to go find Natsume. At one point, I almost feel sorry that the fox had worked so hard only to hear that the lion-catfish was only lying before. Fortunately, the lion-catfish, like many other youkai in NatsuYuu, found a piece of goodness within his slimy body to offer the fox a pill that enabled him to take a human form. The fox, following on nothing more than just his brief memory of a scent on Natsume, took on a train and walked many streets encountering a barking dog with big teeth along the way, just to find Natsume.
It nearly crushed my heart to see that the fox’s effort almost never reached Natsume, but I suppose that was the way to highlight the final scene where Natsume was moved by the fox’s effort to come all this way just to meet him.
This kind of perseverance is not seen much in our lives (or maybe I just need to go out more) but when you do see it, even if it’s fictitious, it moves a mountain in our hard, heavy heart.