Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou 03
Episode 3 Summary
Ayakashi Extermination, A Steamy Trip
Natsume was on the way home from school when he comes across a group of tiny Youkais carrying something and had stopped because of a puddle before them. Being the kind-hearted Natsume, he kneels down to put a wooden lid over it so that they could cross. He was curious what was inside the container until a little wind blows the cloth aside.
Returning home, a long string of paper dolls is found between the doors. Suddenly, Natsume is whisked away to find an old friend Shuuichi Natori an popular actor and also an exorcist who could see Youkai like he did. Settling down at a quiet cafe, Natsume is invited on a hot springs trip. Shuuchi claims he had won it from a cologne he bought and that he couldn't invite anyone else because they couldn't see the same things that Natsume did. Natsume eventually agrees and returns home to let his foster parents know.
The next morning, Natsume, Shuuchi and Nyanko arrives at the resort. Natsume and Nyanko heads on up to their room first while Shuuchi goes off to make a call to his manager. It was a relaxing place, remarks Natsume as he lied down. Suddenly he hears a strange noise from the closet and reaches out to open it when Shuuchi returns. The hot springs were empty at the moment so he suggests they go use it now. Natsume agrees.
Nyanko was already enjoying himself in the springs. Natsume reminds him not to dirty the springs but Nyanko assures there is no problem because he was made of clay. Turning round, Natsume glances at the lizard tattoo crawling around. He looks away and dips into the spring only to get startled by Hiiragi looking over him. She was one of the Youkais that Shuuchi had employed.
They dry themselves and make their way back to their rooms when Natsume suddenly gets a scare seeing a woman's body hanging down in a room. After calming down and taking a second look, he sees nothing there. He decides it was just his imagination. However just in case, Shuuchi decides to take a look around the resort while Natsume returns to their room. Nyanko reminds him to be on guard in case it was the Youkai after the Yuujinchou again when he hears the noise from the closet again. This time they open it and discover a fairly large urn inside with a seal over it. Nyanko remarks it was big enough to hold a head but they decide to leave it alone because they were supposed to be relaxing on their trip.
Later that night, Natsume has a nightmare about when he was younger. Everyone called him a liar when he told them he could see Youkais. He wakes up to find Nyanko and Shuuchi leaning over him and his eyes wet with tears. He wipes them and apologises. Trying to get back to sleep again, he hears the noise from the closet again. They open it and find that something had broken its way of a sealed urn.
Immediately, Natsume rushes downstairs with Nyanko to check if the body he had seen earlier was still there. As he had expected, it was there and the room was dyed a scarlet red. The woman's body, dressed in a kimono was hanging from the ceiling on a wall, her head not visible. Slowly she descended, her head still in the shadows as her hair stretched down and she fell to the ground.
Nyanko could tell it was a powerful Youkai and wanted to eat it but Natsume doesn't give him permission. Hearing Natsume's name, the Youkai kneels before him begging him to return her name so that she could get away from the resort. She claims humans had sealed her away because they had thought of her as an hindrance to the resort. Convinced that she will really leave the resort, Natsume returns her name but he is fooled. Without anything restrain her anymore, the Youkai leaps forth to attack Natsume but Shuuchi arrives just in time to help. Nyanko creates a flash of light for them to escape.
Retreating to a room, they find Shuuchi had already set up a seal. His real motive for inviting Natsume along was to help him seal off the resort which another exorcist has failed to do before Youkais managed to get in some time ago. Feeling responsible for letting the evil Youkai escape, he agrees to help. He realises both he and Shuuchi had gotten used to lying, him not revealing that he possessed the Yuujinchou. The Youkai soon finds them and Shuuichi has trouble restraining her to perform the seal. Fortunately for them, an enormous hand appears from a burst of flames to help them. It was the Youkai Natsume had helped the other day.
At the end of the day, Natsume still had an enjoyable time at the resort and decides to treasure the memories. One day, he will also be able to be truthful towards everyone he was with.
This episode was pretty much screaming Yaoi the moment Shuuichi appeared which is probably good for Fujoshis.
Nevertheless, great episode! One moment it has you laughing, the next it has you in suspense and then it's trying to make you sympathise with the characters. The facial animation was excellent. Maybe it's because I haven't really been watching that much Anime but, wasn't expecting the expression to shift so much when the Youkai was standing outside the room before entering to attack. It was brilliant watching that giant three-eyed Youkai appearing to help them towards the end of the show to prove that Natsume's naiveness is paying off. Glad the way this Youkai (or "Ayakashi") show is turning out.
The only "problem" I have about the series so far is they never seem to reveal the proper names of the Youkais that appear unlike Gegege no Kitaro which is a shame because they've all got some interesting folklore behind them.
And to be honest... Who would leave an urn like that in one of the guest rooms?