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Recap / Natsume's Book Of Friends Episode 12 "Five-Day Mark"

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五日印 | Itsuka-jirushi | CHAPTER 6
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Natsume leaves the trail on his way home from school to free a frog caught in a spider's web and is attacked by a wicked spirit bound to a tree. The attack leaves a painful curse mark on his arm which Madara does not recognize.

Natsume summons Misuzu, and then Misuzu brings in Hinoe to learn about the mark he is told it is a five-day mark which will drain his life energy and force him to return too the bound spirit in five days so that it may consume him to increase its strength and escape it bonds. When he learns the impatient spirit had it's shadow follow him home and that it will kill him instantly if he touches it Natsume runs away from home to protect his adopted family.

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Tropes associated with the episode:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The anime episode ends with Natsume returning home to a concerned Touko while in the manga he was left weakened and ill by the encounter and Hinoe accompanied him home to say that he could call on her if he needed her again, and that if he ever got sick of humans he was welcome to come to her.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Hinoe places her hand on Natsume’s head when he collapses after she teaches him how to summon a shiki.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Touko is upset when Natsume runs away with only a vague phone call saying he's staying at a friend's house without answering her question of whose house he is staying at.
  • Balloon Belly: The shrunken Madara gets one after eating shrimp which are larger than his current body.
  • The Blank: The shadowy featureless figure that is slowly following Natsume.
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  • Blood Magic: Natsume has to put drops of his blood on the mirror as part of the ritual to summon Misuzu.
  • Blue with Shock: Madara turns blue when he hears that Misuzu is fetching Hinoe.
  • Bandage Wince: Natsume winces as he adjusts the bandage he is using to hide the painful curse mark on his arm.
  • Bond Creatures: Natsume calls a shiki despite his depleted and decreasing spiritual power to defeat the shadow since it needs to be defeated in order for him to live, no one but him or such a bond creature can touch it, and if he touches it he will die instantly.
  • Cast from Hit Points: After summoning a shiki and defeating "Mary-san" and by extension the one who sent it the next thing Natsume is aware of is waking in the morning and in the manga it takes a day or two for him to recover leaving him noticeably ill in the meantime.
  • Combat Tentacles: The evil spirit grabs Natsume with a black tentacle which leaves behind a curse mark.
  • Disapproving Look: Natsume directs one at Nishimura when he says maybe he’ll bring something naughty to the picnic they’re trying to set up for the weekend and Kitamoto says to just ignore Nishimura.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Hinoe smiles serenely as she explains that the shadow will increase in strength and speed as it drains Natsume’s life energy and says, “Oh, and if you let it touch you, you will die.” with said shadow several feet behind Natsume at the Fujiwaras’ front door.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: As Hinoe screams, “Why?! Why must you look like Reiko, yet be a man?!” after Natsume thanks her for offering to teach him to summon a shiki the camera is panning through the trees and sky.
  • Easily Forgiven: Natsume does not hold Misuzu nearly getting him killed and three days of increasing debilitating pain against the youkai.
  • Enter Stage Window: On the second night Natsume leaves the house through his bedroom widow and rappels to the ground to sleep in the forest and then sneaks back in the same way in the morning to avoid the shadow while he is sleeping without letting the Fujiwaras know he left the house.
  • Eyeless Face: After consuming enough of Natsume's life energy to be noticeably mobile the shadow sent to kill him and finish eating his life gains a mouth.
  • Geometric Magic: Madara shows Natsume how to draw out a magic circle to call Misuzu in as a temporary replacement bodyguard after touching the curse mark on Natsume's arm shrinks him small enough to fit into a teacup.
  • Ghost Story: Natsume compares the shadow to the story of Mary-san/Mieri-san a ghost who creeps closer and closer to its target starting with a phone call where the ghost says she is at your gate, then another phone call in which she says she is at your front door and so on.
  • Gratuitous English: Nishimura cheers ~“International!”~ after Kitamoto asks if Natsume has a crush on a foreigner since he wrote the name Mary in his notes.
  • Hand Behind Head: When Natsume is discussing hanging out over the weekend with Kitamoto and Nishimura he puts his hand behind his head after they suggest he make sandwiches and he has to say he doesn't think he can.
  • Hand Seals: Part of the ritual to call Misuzu and to call a shiki.
  • Harmless Electrocution: While it does affect Madara's ability to change forms and control his size getting zapped by the curse mark on Natsume's arm does not hurt him in the long run and is played for comedy.
  • Hair Decorations: Hinoe wears golden hairsticks.
  • Head Pet: Madara jumps on Natsume's head while Natsume is calling Misuzu since he is tiny and hardly weighs anything in his current form.
  • Heavy Voice: Nyanko's voice becomes deeper when his cat form turns huge out of his control as part of the aftereffects of touching the curse mark and loosing control of his spiritual energy.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: The little frog youkai Natsume finds trapped in a spider web which he mistakes for a regular frog is set free by Natsume breaking the web.
  • Helium Speech: When Nyanko-Sensei is shrunk as a side effect of touching the curse mark his voice goes up in pitch, though Hinoe still recognizes it as Madara’s voice as soon as she hears him.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: By the end of the episode Hinoe has taken a liking to Natsume despite her distaste for men.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The spirit bound to the tree has been eating people to gain enough power to break free and marks Natsume as next.
  • In-Series Nickname: Natsume starts calling the shadow Mary-san.
  • Intangibility: To everyone but Natsume the shadow which is growing in strength as it drains his life energy while hunting him is completely intangible.
  • It Only Works Once: Theoretically Natsume could summon his shiki again though he hasn’t, and in the episode itself he’s only got one chance at it since he does not have enough spiritual energy to summon another if the first one he summons ends up being too weak to protect him.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: The bound spirit has already placed a curse on Natsume that is draining his life energy and will force him to return to it so that it may eat him in five days when its impatience causes it to send its shadow after him to speed up his death.
  • Kimono Is Traditional: Hinoe wears a floral print purple kimono.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: When Natsume wakes in the forest Hinoe has let her hair down while caring for him.
  • Life Drinker: The curse mark on Natsume's arm is draining his life energy and powering the shadow sent out by the demon who cursed him to kill him before the time is even up.
  • Living Shadow: The bound spirit sent its shadow to hunt down Natsume.
  • The Lost Woods: Natsume can't find the place where he entered the forest and came across the spirit which cursed him and Hinoe muses that is is probably because he took a path that was not meant for humans to tread when he was cursed.
  • Magical Guide: Misuzu brings Hinoe to tell Natsume what too make of the curse mark on his arm and she sticks around to watch over him and teaches him a way to defeat the shadow following him.
  • Magic Mirror: Natsume uses a mirror as part of the ritual to summon Misuzu.
  • Maneki Neko: Madara gets stuck in his lucky cat form after touching the curse mark.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: The bound spirit is eating a small humanoid purple skinned youkai when Natsume first sees it.
  • Mood Whiplash: Madara expands into a comically huge Maneki Neko right after Hinoe explains that the shadow following Natsume is gaining strength by draining Natsume's life force, was sent by the youkai that cursed him to kill him and that it will kill him instantly if he touches it.
  • Mr. Exposition: Hinoe explains about the curse mark, then tracks down the spirit who cursed Natsume and explains its story and the shadow it sent after Natsume to him before teaching him how to conjure a shiki to protect himself.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Natsume scribbles a drawing of the shadow in his notes surrounded by the name of a ghost from a ghost story that reminds him of it.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Hinoe bursts out laughing when she sees Madara trapped in the form of a tiny Maneki Neko.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Madara and Hinoe have a tendency to hang on Natsume, and Hinoe's introduction has her hugging him and stroking his face before she realizes he is not Reiko.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: How the shadow moves for the first three days, before rapidly speeding up.
  • Paper Talisman: The evil spirit is bound to the tree with a bunch.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Hinoe's hair covers her right eye.
  • Phone Booth: Natsume calls Touko from a phone booth.
  • Power Incontinence: After Madara touches the curse mark he can no longer control his size and spends a fair amount of the episode shrunk small enough to fit in Natsume's chest pocket or as big as a fat horse.
  • Race Against the Clock: Natsume learns his curse will kill him in five days.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: Natsume is wears only his school uniform or pajamas in this episode.
  • Second Face Smoke: Hinoe blows smoke from her pipe in Natsume's face while they're talking causing him to cough and Madara to yell at her.
  • Secret Stab Wound: As his curse mark can be seen by even those without the ability to see spirits Natsume covers it in bandages and lies that he scraped his arm on a branch while refusing to let any humans look at it.
  • Secret Test of Character: Misuzu arranged the curse in order to test if Natsume was worthy of holding onto his name, if Natsume had been eaten it would have proven that he was not worthy and Misuzu would have taken the Book.
  • Slain in Their Sleep: Mary-san tries to do this to Natsume but he wakes just in time to avoid being eaten in his sleep.
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: Hinoe makes smoking her pipe look very glamorous.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Hinoe around Natsume:
    Hinoe: Dammit, why do you have to be a man?
  • There Was a Door: Natsume uses his window to leave the house on the the second night and sneak back in on the third morning and in the manga Hinoe enters his room by the wall/window to check on him and speak with him after the shadow is dealt with and he has returned home.
  • This Is My Human:
    Madara: Of all the nerve, how dare it target my prey! And it plans to eat you? That better be a joke!
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Unfortunately it really is since no one but Natsume, or a shiki specially bonded to him, can even touch the shadow hunting him.
  • Title Drop: Repeatedly, starting with Hinoe recognizing the curse mark as a Five-Day Mark.
  • Touch of Death: If Natusume touches the shadow sent by the evil spirit which cursed him he will die instantly.
  • Training Montage: In the manga there are several shots of Natsume training under Hinoe to summon a shiki, though all the training takes place during a single afternoon and evening, which is cut from the animated adaptation.
  • Trouble Follows You Home: Hinoe sends Natsume home to rest while she investigates the source of his curse mark and he comes across a strange still shadow which is at the gate of his house in the morning, at the door when he returns home from school, and then makes its way inside.
  • Tummy Cushion: Natsume sleeps on Nyanko's oversized self on the second night.
  • Twisted-Knee Collapse: Natsume falls/slides out of the phone booth into this position after calling Touko, though it is shown in profile and he kneels more less dramatically in the anime while recovering enough strength to stand back up.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Hinoe is upset upon realizing Natsume is a man.
  • Vampiric Draining: Natsume is suffering from having his Life Force drained by the curse, by the third night of the five the curse limits the rest of his life to he is in enough pain to make it difficult to stay upright and exhausted enough to fall asleep instantly when Hinoe recommends he get some sleep, and Hinoe implied the process would only speed up over time.
  • The Worsening Curse Mark: His painful curse mark grows quickly to the point where he has to keep his whole arm and hand bandaged to hide it and will lead to his death in five days. It is making its way up the side of his neck by the evening of the third day.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Kitamoto and Nishimura wonder if Natsume has a crush on a foreigner when he scribbles the name Mary all over his notes, including a misspelled rōmaji “Merry”, after he starts referring to the shadow trying to kill him by that name.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Hinoe has purple hair.
  • Youkai: Madara, Hinoe, Misuzu, Misuzu's frog attendant, the bound spirit and the little youkai the bound spirit is eating when Natsume first encounters it are all types of Youkai.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: The bound demon has been hunting and regaining its strength by cursing humans and youkai so that they are drawn back to it for it to eat, Hinoe says that it only needs to eat one more human to free itself so it became impatient and sent a shadow to kill Natsume before the five days run out.
  • Zigzag Paper Tassel: There is a shimenawa wrapped around the tree which the evil spirit is bound to and a shimenawa across the shrine where the trail splits and Natsume goes a different direction than Kitamoto and Nishimura on their way home from school.
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