This post is part of the 12 Days series.
Natsume Yuujinchou is a series that’s three seasons strong, with one more to come next year. The third season (Natsume Yuujinchou San) has a tonal shift from the bishounen-heavy Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou, offering more laid-back, sentimental stories.
Episode 12, the penultimate episode, features a lengthy flashback that explains Natsume’s current family situation. Years before, he had been tormented by a nasty youkai who wanted to take him for herself, threatening Natsume’s former foster family.
Natsume refused to be taken in, despite knowing all too well that his foster parents treated him with fear and bewilderment. Hating his own power, he couldn’t bear to trouble people with his weirdness, since their alienation would hurt him.
The scene moved me deeply. Here is a boy, made pariah by his gifts, yet still stubbornly clinging to the kindness that defined him. Natsume’s current situation is ideal (he has a loving and supportive family, loyal friends who understand him, and a normal school life), yet he often feels like he doesn’t deserve all of this. It’s a precarious peace.
“It’s all too good to be true,” we often tell ourselves.
But sometimes it’s both. Sometimes people are just kind, decent human beings, and that’s that.