English Dub Review: Natsume’s Book of Friends “The Mysterious Person At The Eight Fields”

Overview (Spoilers Below):
Natsume is implored to help spirits who are currently being exorcised. He finds a kindred spirit in Tanuma, a boy who can sense yokai although he is not powerful enough to see them.

Our Take:
We initially thought that Natsume and Reiko were the only ones who could sense the yokai’s presence. However, this week’s episode shows that this isn’t the case. There’s, in fact, another person with the power to detect the spirits: Kaname Tanuma. Tanuma is another student who moved into the area and has a weak immune system. He can also sense the ghosts’ presence, but to a lesser degree, he can only see their shadows. This would explain why he wanted to talk to Natsume throughout the episode.
Additionally, most of the episode centers on Natsume and Madara helping a pair of middle-class yokai defend their village from an exterminator. The exterminator happens to be using a mysterious “purification blast” to get rid of the spirits in the forest. However, the exterminator happens to be Tanuma’s father, a monk who’s purifying the woods to help his son’s immune system.
The episode introduces us to some additional new yokai whose roles may get more significant later on. Two of them are the middle-class yokai, the one-eyed yokai and the ox-faced yokai, who seek Natsume to help them catch the spirit killer. After Natsume refuses, they continue to bother them until he reluctantly agrees.
If the episode’s goal is to introduce the two yokai as another source of comic relief, then I thought it did a good job accomplishing that objective. Having silly characters in a tranquil series like this can run the risk of losing its intended tone with their ignorance, but the episode found a way to make the two giddy spirits endearing. Then there’s Misuzu, a colossal horse yokai who sees Natsume as the worthy holder of the book and assists him in catching the perpetrator. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot for me to say about this character, so I’m waiting to see if he’ll show up again in the later episodes to make my judgment.
“The Mysterious Person At The Eight Fields” is another relaxing episode that benefited from its enjoyable humor, mainly from the middle-class yokai. More importantly, it continues to express more character development in Natsume through his childhood memory involving him meeting a yokai posing as a human girl. It also showcases that Natsume is gradually learning to accept he’s not alone since he has some friendly yokai and a new human friend by his side.

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