Become friends with ‘Natsume’s Book of Friends’

Wren Lee, Staff Writer

“Natsume’s Book of Friends” is not a well-known anime, but you should put it on your to-watch list.


The anime is focused on protagonist Takashi Natsume who can see Japanese spirits called youkai. His grandmother Reiko Natsume contained many youkai during her lifetime, and Takashi is undoing her deeds. Takashi is aided in his quest by the youkai Madara (or as he calls it “Nyanko-sensei”.)


Unlike other supernatural anime, “Natsume’s Book of Friends” is never gory, and focuses on the loving relationship between Takashi and the youkai. In this way, it is different than “Noragami” or “Blue Exorcist” with their many battles.


But the main sticking point for me in this anime is the amazing relationships between Takashi and the other youkai. Even though the anime is episodic in nature (meaning there is not an overarching story arc), you immediately fall in love with the new youkai in 24 minutes.


While other animes might accomplish this, “Natsume’s Book of Friends” is special because you also feel for the youkai. Most animes antagonize youkai, and this is a rare one which also shows that not all youkai are bad. You gain a connection with a character in under half an hour, and not many animes can do that.


On the other hand, the episodic nature of the series made it mildly irritating. The story was moved along by the new youkai meeting Takashi. It would have been better with an overarching story. You could pick any episode and watch it without fear of being spoiled.


Animes likes “Blue Exorcist” and “Noragami” follow different story arcs. For example, “Noragami” focuses on the bad deeds Yukine accomplishes and the effect those deeds have on his master Yato.


Takashi of “Natsume’s Book of Friends” is similar to many other characters. He is kind and helps any youkai who comes into his path. He is much like Tohru Honda from “Fruits Basket” or Nagisa Furukawa from “Clannad”. They are all characters who are pretty soft spoken but extremely kind.


Even though many people do not know about this anime, you should definitely check it out.
Click here to watch a trailer of the first season.