If you haven’t read this volume yet, go back and do that first. : )
I think the thing I really like about this volume is that we see how precious Nyanko-Sensei is to Natsume. They’ve been together on several adventures, and though they never really admit it to each other, they’ve grown quite close. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Natsume concerned about Nyanko-Sensei, but it’s the first time I think he’s been this desperate. There’s this feeling of “You’ve become so important to me, that I can’t bear to lose you.” Though I felt like Natsume had become stronger in some ways last volume, this volume explores his vulnerabilities.
I always enjoy Natsume’s encounters with Natori, because I feel like Natori often helps him grow. But seeing Matoba on the cover automatically made me uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I think he brings an interesting perspective to the story, and in some ways he also helps Natsume grow. It’s just that…he really rubs me the wrong way. Though sometimes, I do feel sorry for him. Anyway, you can imagine my disappointment when Matoba shows up to save Natsume. Luckily, Natori wasn’t too far behind.
But it really makes you think. How dangerous is this Ban person, for Natori to involve Matoba? Like, “Sure, let me bring this guy who literally sat and watched as I almost died…I’m sure he’ll be helpful.” And even Matoba’s like “Yeah, you were right to call me in for this one.” Ban must be worse than Matoba, and that’s saying a lot considering Matoba has been the worst for 24 volumes.
One thing that Nyanko-Sensei said really caught my attention. He says, “I’m the one who’s a threat to you, the one you should fear.” Natsume thinks he’s just saying this to calm him down, but it really got me thinking. We still don’t know who Madara is. The things that came closest to besting him in battle were Fuzuki (a God) and Matoba (the head of the “most powerful clan in the current exorcism industry”). And let’s be real, if Natsume hadn’t calmed him down, Matoba would’ve had to worry about losing more than just his eye. Natsume has become so accustomed to seeing Nyanko-Sensei as his pet/bodyguard, that he’s forgetting that he is in fact a powerful youkai who has been around for some time. The series could end right here if he decided to just eat everyone and take the book, like he threatened to in the first place.
That said…all the different versions of Nyanko-Sensei are too cute!!!! I demand plushies of each!!! I am like Taki, I want to hug them all!!! *AHEM* But it was surprising to find that Matoba is also a cat enthusiast. It’s times like these where I think he might actually be an okay guy, he was probably just hurt by a lot of people/youkai and had a difficult upbringing as part of the Matoba clan.
Can we talk about Natsume just leaving the Book with a shady exorcist (I love Natori, and he’s grown more honest but he’s still shady AF sometimes), and going alone with Matoba to a location that contains something only Matoba knows? There’s so much wrong, I don’t know where to start! First off, either one of them could take the book: Nyanko-Sensei to use it for his own purposes or Natori to burn it so that Natsume has no reason to keep getting tangled in youkai messes. Furthermore, Matoba’s been trying to bring Natsume into his family for ages, and with no one there to stop him, who knows what he might try? Also, who says that the location doesn’t contain some sort of mighty exorcism tool that might finally let him beat Nyanko-Sensei? Like, “Sure, let’s follow the guy who kidnapped me, blackmailed me, and severely wounded my bodyguard…I’m sure it’ll be fine.” At least Natori didn’t really have a choice, but Natsume had several choices here, one of which was to bring his bodyguard! But, you know, plot.
I think this is the first volume in a while that’s left us on such a cliff hanger. It feels like it’ll be such a long wait until the next one, but I’m looking forward to it.