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Recap / Natsume's Book Of Friends Episode 22 "The Man Amidst The Rows Of Cherry Trees"

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桜並木の彼 | Sakura Namiki no Kare | Chapter 15
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Natsume buys a painting of bare trees at a swap meet but after he brings it home he keeps finding flowers and petals strewn around his room and on himself in the mornings when he wakes. When he and Nyanko stay up to see where the flowers are coming from he discovers a youkai girl opening a panel in his ceiling to drop handfuls of flowers into his room, when caught she says the painting on his wall is hers and was stolen from her by humans but when Natsume tries to take it off of the wall to return it to her he discovers that it is stuck and won’t budge.

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Tropes associated with the episode:

  • All Asians Wear Conical Straw Hats: Miya wore a conical straw hat while traveling with the painting.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Harujizou has grey skin and Miya’s skin changed colors a few times while she was waiting for Yasaka.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Natsume, who sees youkai every day and has a talking cat who is a giant inugami trapped in a Maneki Neko, thinks Nyanko is ridiculous for suggesting the flowers might have been left by fairies and getting a net to catch them with saying he doesn’t think imaginary creatures are to blame. Especially since The Fair Folk are traditionally described in ways that mirror descriptions of Youkai.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Miya places two blue butterflies in Natsume’s hands as thanks for watching over the painting and allowing her to visit it (not that she gave him much choice) before telling him Yasaka’s story, how he was an ill human friend of hers long ago but after he stopped coming to meet her she found this painting which she says contains him.
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  • Ceiling Cling: Miya has been hiding behind the ceiling tiles.
  • Cherry Blossom Girl: Miya, who only spoke to Yasaka when she could stay hidden in the cherry blossoms.
  • Cherry Blossoms: Miya and Yasaka only met while the cherry trees were blooming and she and Natsume paint the trees to have cherry blossoms like they were in her memories with Yasaka.
  • Collapsed Mid-Speech: After they paint petals on the trees in the painting Natsume collapses as he starts talking to Miya, when he wakes she has unmade the spiritual power in the painting and left, leaving behind the now normal painting which looks like it did when Natsume first saw it.
  • Cool Mask: Miya has a white mask with a smiling face outlined on it.
  • Creepy Changing Painting: The painting of trees changes to hold a silhouette and then grows roots only Natsume and youkai can see across his walls.
  • Definitely Just a Cold: Natsume tries to reassure everyone that he is fine when the effects of having his spiritual energy start to reveal themselves with cold like symptoms.
  • Eyeless Face: Harujizou has two perfectly circular empty dark holes where his eyes ought to be.
  • Faux Flame: Miya has a blue fire which will burn the painting but not the house.
  • Flower Motif: Miya brings different flowers for the painting every day since Yasaka told he would like to travel and see the different types of flowers in the world.
  • Fortune Teller: Harujizou is a youkai who travels giving out fortunes in the spring, the one he gives Natsume is quite ominous and he immediately disappears upon completing it without giving Natsume any time to try and question him.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Natsume starts coughing and says he can't seem to stop shortly before Harujizou gives him a fortune which seems to foretell his upcoming death.
  • Intangibility: Miya enters Natsume’s room through the external wall after they’ve been introduced.
  • Invisible to Normals: Youkai as per usual and the changes occurring in and around the painting Natsume bought.
  • Kimono Is Traditional: Miya wears a pale purple kimono.
  • Nice Hat: Harujizou wears a large domed monk’s kasa.
  • Phantom Zone Picture: Miya thinks Yasaka entered the painting which was made by a famous youkai and there does appear to be someone trapped there.
  • Thinking Out Loud: Natsume passes off his yelling after Harujizou as this when Touko walks up and asks who he is talking to.
  • Tragic Keepsake: While there is something going on with the painting related to Yasaka and Miya Miya knows that Yasaka probably died a long time ago though she felt like traveling with the painting felt like she was traveling with her friend.
  • Vampiric Draining: The painting is draining Natsume’s life energy.
  • WalkingNonSequitur: Harujizou walks up behind Natsume, says: A foul shadow is swirling about you. I can see a tree emerging from your corpse. then taps his staff on the ground and disappears before Natsume even has a chance to react.
  • Youkai: There are a number appearing or talked about in this episode including Harujizou, Miya and the youkai that painted the tree painting.
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