Completly Objective Review of Natsume’s Book of Friends – Blame Scott

Natsume's Book of Friends season 1 anime review natsume yuujinchou

Natsume

 

    • Genre : Supernatural, Slice of Life, drama, Everything that’s good with the world
    • Episodes: 74 over 6 seasons, 6 OVAs and a movie

 

There are few things I have enjoyed more in my time writing this blog, than coming up with new summaries of a Natsume’s Book of Friends season. Something about trying to pick out exactly which little shards of magic I wanted to present as a window to the wonder that is this series, always made me happy. If you are interested in reading any of these summaries, you can find them here:

But what is this all about. Any longer time reade4r of this blog will know that I have reviewed Natsume already, I mean the links are right there!. Nor only that but I have talked about this series ad nauseam. Not that I could ever get enough of it…

Well you see dear readers, you are getting a 673rd post of Natsume’s Book of Friends from me because of Scott. Yeah that Scott. I was fishing for post ideas and Scott suggested a completely objective review. Now I think the idea of objective reviews is ludicrous to begin with but it did sound pretty funny. And I figured what better subject for and objective review than the series that has inspired my most personal and emotional reviews. I’m not entirely sure I can pull this off, but I think it could be a fun adventure, and I’m happy if you want to go along for the ride with me.

Natsume yuujinchou

a younger version of Natsume from the first episode of season 6

As with most of my reviews, I will roughly divide this post into two parts. First I will discuss the production elements of the first six seasons of Natsume’s Book of Friends which I will then follow up by discussing the storytelling and narrative aspects.

I have mentioned in past reviews that Natsume’s Book of Friends sports a fairly pale and desaturated colour palette and guessed that this may be to convey a sense of calm.

I will confirm that Natsume’s Book of Friends the anime does indeed have colours. It also features sounds, sometimes simultaneously as said covers. The characters are not entirely dissimilar in design to the ones in the manga. The different characters also have different designs which are a visual cue that they are not the same character.

The action is stated to take place in a rural town in Japan, and the backgrounds have been designed accordingly. There are both daytime and nighttime scenes and they do not have the same lighting or colour palette.

One of the characters is said to resemble a mankei neko and I have heard from several people that they find this character cute.

Natsume Yuujinchou Shi - 06

I do not think Natsume finds him cute

Most anime also features stories and Natsume’s Book of Friends is no exception. The series features a plurality of characters however the majority of episodes are presented with Natsume as the point of view character. Throughout the seasons, the story details both the present and past events of Natsume Takashi’s in a non-linear order.

According to the narrative, Natsume is a boy who was orphaned at a young age and struggled to find a place to belong after the death of his parents. He is different from the other characters presented in the series because he can see and communicate with Yokai. According to the series, Yokai are present in every part of the world but most humans cannot see them.

The series often focuses on how this unique ability alienates Natsume from his peers.

Natsume’s Book of Friends is based on a manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Midorikawa. The first chapters were published in 2005 and it is ongoing. A movie was released at the end of 2018 and I have not seen it yet. If I order the DVD would anyone want to watch it online with me? Although I am not certain, past experience would suggest a higher than average chance of me ending up in tears. It’s nothing to worry about.

Natsume tag

sniff

As the narrative of Natsume is free-flowing and does not follow strictly plotted arcs, there is no real central plot. As such conflict points and narratives can change from one episode to the next.

This review is shorter than the average anime review I have published on this blog. I also find it more challenging to stick to completely objective points.

In short, if you have not yet watched Natsume’s Book of Friends you should do so because it’s brilliant and wonderful and it will make you happy and better liked by others and also help with your taxes…probably. What? Those are all facts!

Natsume Takashi blush

 Favourite character:  I love them all! I really do.

What this show taught me: There is no such thing as enough Natsume

“What’s drinking? A mere pause from thinking!” 

Suggested drink: It’s Never Enough

I don’t really have a drinking game for this one but if you like you can take a shot every time I mention Natsume’s Book of Friends on this blog. Although you might only want to do that if you live in a country with free healthcare. Getting your stomach pumped is probably really expensive…

Rini 3 (13)

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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15 Responses

  1. Redgeek says:

    It’s a great series but I could never stay with it for very long. I think the slow pacing throws me off. And, it feels kinda same-y with Natsume being sad over his past in some way.

    For me, it’s a series I have to read episode summaries first to decide whether or not I’ll watch that episode.

  2. Dawnstorm says:

    Favourite character is really hard for Natsume. Is that an objective statement? I suppose I might lean a little towards Reiko, but… really? What about Takashi? Nyanko sensei? Shouko? It’s…. very hard.

    Everyone should try Natsume. I mean, what’s a little wasted time when weighed against the potential loss? I mean, I’ve heard of people being bored. But I’ve very rarely heard people merely say “It’s okay.”

    I’ve been waiting for another Natsume post. It’s been surprisingly long.

  3. Ah, this sounds like one I would enjoy a great deal! Work has wrung me all but dry recently, and I feel like I could use something nice and fluffy. Multi-season anime are always daunting b/c I’m worried I’ll take a break from watching and forget where I left off (it’s a very real danger when you’re as scatterbrained as me); but from your description alone I know this is one I shouldn’t pass up.

    This *was* a funny post idea. I don’t often use words like ‘robotic’ to describe a piece of writing in a positive manner, but behind that I could see someone who was trying their hardest not to gush about a series they love, which made me smile. But I have to say, I do prefer your more ‘subjective’ approach! This blog wouldn’t be the same without it.

    • Irina says:

      Natsume is very episodic in structure, You can easily have months or years between seasons without missing out on the experience. You can even just watch a few episodes at the time then switch to something else. It doesn’t break the narrative flow.
      I am such a salesman for this series. I promise I’m not being paid…yet…

  4. foovay says:

    I would watch the movie with you. And probably cry with you, too. 😀 I have nothing more to say because, like you, I am probably so emotionally devoted and invested in this anime that I have no objectivity for it at all 😛

  5. Scott says:

    Oh. Oh my goodness. You did it. I didn’t think you would, but I’m as happy as a clam if clams are ever really happy.

    I loved this so much though. I feel like I have to write one of these in the future now and I’m thinking about what series to do it for. Either way, it should be fun.

    I do have the Natsume movie myself, but I would watch it with you. Even if it’s the classic hit the play button at the same time, I’d watch it again no problem.

    • Irina says:

      YAY!!! And this was not easy to write but actually a lot of fun. I hope you give it a try because I would love to read it

  6. “I will confirm that Natsume’s Book of Friends the anime does indeed have colours. ”

    Wow! I can’t believe you went there! That’s so controversial! 🙂

    I think this series is to you what Re:CREATORS is to me. I like to think of it this way: Your previous reviews were completely objective — they were an objective portrayal of your subjective perspective.

    It makes sense to me, anyway!

  7. raistlin0903 says:

    Okay…that’s it! After I finish B-the Beginning and Dorohedoro, I’m watching this. No more delays, no more putting this on hold….I’m doing it! 😊 Seen/read to much about how good this one is, that I now just HAVE to see it😀

  8. yamnut says:

    and the songs… love all the ops, eds from natsume

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