Golly they animated my favorite chapter in the manga, now it’s in the anime and its better than I could have ever hoped for. I’m ready to gush about Shigeru and Touko Fujiwara now and I’m so excited to do this because they are the absolute best most wonderful people in the world and I’m so glad that Natsume is with them. This isn’t really a post that has any actual meaning to it, either. No speculations or theories, just me gushing about how much I love Shigeru and Touko and how wonderful they are. Spoilers, and a ton of really sappy praise ahead.
Firstly I want to talk about them as a couple, pre-Natsume. They are older, and have lived in the house that Shigeru, and presumably his parents, grew up in, for a very long time. What I adore about them is how much they love each other. They are so close and kind to one another. They tease each other a little bit, as you can see through the series, but past that they’re happy and content and comfortable with one another. And oh gosh they went on that date and it was so cute because Touko wanted to go to the aquarium and Shigeru agreed and it was so perfect and lovely and they were so happy.
Now, as individuals. Shigeru is so kind and gentle. He’s a reserved man, probably doesn’t talk a ton regularly, and I am positive that his best friend is Touko, but he’s so wonderful. He doesn’t make fun of Touko for wanting to go to the aquarium, and they have a lovely time together. He’s so stable and kind and gentle. And when he goes to the funeral, he overhears these adults talking about how they don’t want to take this kid in and how they just want to pass him to someone else, and his first reaction is something that looked a lot like disgust? Honestly, same Shigeru. BUT then he sees this sad kid just sitting alone and dirty and I assume he thinks “How can I help this child be happy and safe?” So his first reaction is to just go home and think about whether or not he and Touko could maybe take the kid into their house. Like he starts cleaning that room, he gets lost in thought. He’s probably thinking “Yeah this could work. Yeah. He could stay here if he wants to. That would be good!”. And he is so understanding of Natsume’s situation too. He hears all this stuff about Natsume being a trouble child, and rather than forget and avoid this little child he’s like “Well then I’m just gonna offer approval, love, gentleness, and genuine affection and let this child relax in this safe and calm environment.”
And Touko, she is an absolute angel. This is the type of woman who is so genuinely sweet and kind. She called to that crow in the middle of the street without caring about what anyone thought of her. She made friends with this crow and was so happy every time she saw it and I’m so happy that it made her happy. And she loves Shigeru so much, and their relationship isn’t strained or stressful because they don’t have children. And nobody ever says anything about them not having kids as a bad thing! She does seem to want children, but she’s never bitter or sad about it, and isn’t mean to any children because of it. She’s so wonderful. One of the biggest scenes I love though is
THIS SCENE. Where Natsume mentions a white crow that she can’t see. Her reaction is surprised at first, but then it doesn’t turn into her saying “Where?” or “What are you talking about?” She realizes that Natsume can see something she can’t here and her reaction is
SHE’S GLAD. She is so wonderful and lovely. She is a beautiful woman who loves this child so much and loves her husband so much and they are the ideal couple. (Also its so cute because when she goes on the trip, she turns to the crow and leaves him in charge of taking care of the house while she’s gone so Honestly? Same, Touko. Same.)
Now to talk about these two as a couple WITH Natsume because that is one of the most precious things ever. Firstly, I think it’s important to know that Shigeru and Touko have only ever been told that Natsume is a troubled child, but they want to take him in anyways. They clean out that room, they buy him furniture. And they don’t even jump to this conclusion right away either. Shigeru thinks long and hard before he even brings it up with Touko, and when she says yes, they spend even more time making sure Natsume is going to have a comfortable place to live. THEN on top of all of this, they fight tooth and nail with his other family to let him come stay with them. They even ask him if he wants to live with them, giving him a choice that no other relatives have ever given him before. On top of that, they don’t force him to become part of their family either. They are so patient with him, and don’t make him into a replacement for their own non-existent children. They understand that they aren’t taking this kid in because they want a child to be happy, or because they are being selfish. They’re only thinking of Natsume and how to make his life better. They aren’t completing their family with Natsume, just giving him the option to join it if he wants to. It’s so refreshing and wonderful.
Also, quick side note. I love how quiet and shy Natsume sounds in this episode before he opens up to them a bit more. Like, usually Natsume talks pretty normal around Shigeru and Touko in most episodes. He’s not afraid to be a bit loud, or excited. But before he opens up to them, he’s very quiet and shy, probably trying his best not to upset him in any way so that they don’t start treating him badly because of it. I fully expect that Natsume had been through quite a few familys where he was treated fine at first, until he began acting out slightly. Then, as soon as his behavior was “bad”, the family members started acting colder or harsher to him so the poor baby expected Shigeru and Touko to do the same BUT THEY DIDN’T!!!
Like, one of my favorite parts of the series is how Touko and Shigeru react to Natsume when he’s in the hospital after he fell off that cliff. The rest of his family is really bitter towards him, saying that he jumped off the cliff so he could hurt them. But Shigeru and Touko? They are so kind and gentle to him. Like, this is a kid who is at risk for growing out of his family. If Shigeru and Touko hadn’t come along, I fully expect Natsume would have been cut out of the family at 18 or whatever age is considered the minimum for adulthood in Japan. He would be forced to get a job, or pay back his relatives in some way for them taking care of him for so long, or just cut out of their lives and forgotten, told as a horror story to make sure their kids value and treasure their parents more. Like, if it wasn’t for Touko and Shigeru, Natsume probably would have ended up hurt worse than he was when he fell of the cliff, or homeless at 18, or worse yet, going with that Yokai who wanted him as a pet. But what do Shigeru and Touko do?
They ask him so calmly if he wants to go live with them where it’s quiet and peaceful, and they are so ready to take him in because they don’t see a troublemaker or freaky kid, they see a lonely, sad boy who hasn’t got the attention and care he needs.
They decide that they are able and willing to give him that attention and I love it so much.
I was stained by a role In a day not my own But as you walked into my life You showed what needed to be shown I always knew what was right I just didn’t know that I might Peel away and choose to see With such a different sight
U know rice is a real player in ur life when u walk into the kitchen at 1am to find ur 3yo brother standing on a chair ‘making rice’ in a mixing bowl in the sink and then trying to get everyone to eat it