wowowowow, yes, today we’re going to be chatting about season 4 this time around. Natsume, is one of those series, as all of you alright know, that can go on forever and ever. Well, it certainly feels like that anyway. With how many seasons this Anime now has (pretty sure there are 7 seasons total), I think it’s safe to say, that the Natsume Yuujinchou series is one of the better Animes ever produced.
Warning: Today’s blog will just me talking, I guess you can say it’s the return of my favourite non-series on this blog “Just Talk”!
There is a wide variety of adjectives you can use to describe an anime series; hilarious, dramatic, romantic, horrific, and the like. Natsume’s Book of Friends is best described using the words beautiful, heart-warming, and emotional. It is rare to find a series that evokes such powerful emotions in each episode without dropping the ball for four seasons, but Natsume’s Book of Friends makes it seem effortless with masterful storytelling along with a strong cast of characters.
The premise of the story is supernatural: our protagonist Natsume Takashi can see “youkai” or spirits, a trait inherited from his late grandmother Reiko, along with inheriting her “Book of Friends”, which contains the names of youkai that she had defeated and bound to her by taking their name. He then sets out to return those very names while defending himself from those who would use the book for power or personal gain. Throughout the series, he meets, befriends, and also defeats many different youkai along the way.
While the premise might be supernatural, the underlying themes present are ordinary, yet powerfully represented and explored. Humans are social by nature, but when the opportunities to socialize are made impossible, feelings of loneliness and sadness become overwhelming and consuming. Natsume’s peculiar ability has always alienated him from any potential friends or companions, and as a result, feels hated and isolated from the human world.
While Natsume’s situation is fictional, the problem is all too real. People who have trouble talking to others, or have strange habits or appearances are often shunned and isolated as well, and feelings of loneliness and depression become quite commonplace. Feelings of being left out, of not being wanted, and being misunderstood: everyone in some point in their life have experienced these emotions and can relate to Natsume in some way, shape, or form, and even if you can’t, sympathy is something you will always feel towards him. Such a gentle person put through that kind of mental strain at such a young age can only be sympathized with.
Natsume’s Book of Friends depicts Natsume’s life as he struggles with these issues, and how genuinely kind and helpful people come into his life and give him the encouragement and support he needs to overcome the adversaries within himself. Through his school friends, both those who know about his ability and those who don’t, he is greatly encouraged to seek out the positives in his life and to look forward to a bright future instead of his dark past.
Instead of only being able to confide in and rely on himself, he has trustworthy and genuine friends that he can turn to for aid. His adoptive guardians are loving and extremely caring for people who are very distant relatives to Natsume, and his relationship with them grows into something very powerful and heart-warming where he only wishes happiness and safety for the couple that he could never possibly repay.
Each episode has a unique story that ends in a message for both Natsume and the watcher to take to heart. Each episode evokes feelings of happiness, sadness, or suspense and was entrancing to watch beginning to end. The stories are well written and the pacing, while a bit slow, makes you savour the moments even more. There was never a dull moment; from watching Natsume and Nyanko-Sensei go at it and quarrel like two best friends, to his interactions with the youkai and seeing their stories unfold; simply put, it was beautiful and pleasant to watch.
The art is marvellous to look at. The endless creativity of the people who animated this series amazes me. From each individual spirit to the entrancing landscape and background, to the abilities and interactions of humans and youkai, everything was crisp and well animated. The music often is lighthearted or tugs at the heartstrings.
Natsume’s Book of Friends has taken a common genre and turned it into nothing short of a masterpiece. With characters that will stay in your mind long after the conclusion and stories that leave deep impressions and powerful messages, the tearful and joyful moments that this series presents to the watcher is nothing short of beautiful and compelling.
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