Isolation can change people. Having the ability to seen yokai forced Natsume into isolation. With his parents being deceased since he was young he was tossed from one relatives care to another. But now in a new place, and a little older, he keeps this secret of seeing yokai to himself. One day in his new town a Yokai attacks asking for The Book of Friends. The Book of Friends being from his grandmother contains the names of all Yokai she defeated. Now, with the help of a guardian yokai, he decides to return the names.
For starters I heard about the series a few times over the years. By the time this review is out the fifth season is airing. It is rare to see anime get third seasons, but here is this show on its fifth. I am still not fully sure how it would after this one season. The show each episode is fairly self-contained, but still has continuity to the next.
The first season has 13 episodes, and aired back in 2008. It is also based on the supernatural, drama, and comedy manga that has been coming out since 2005. Since the manga is still ongoing, well it sort of answers that there are plenty of source material to now. The show is licensed by NIS America and the series itself, excluding the later OVAs, are available for legal streaming on Crunchyroll.
A part of me keeps seeing the show as a whole in just the first 13 episodes. But at the time of writing it and not seeing the later seasons, there is no real overarching villain. More than anything it is a nice relaxing anime, and more about the characters.
Natusme himself changed a lot in just the first season. He started off used to the isolation and putting on a fake smile. He even acknowledges this. He certainly changes where the smile becomes more real as well as he starts trusting people more, although he still has his doubts in trusting people fully. Due to always being an outcast due to seeing yokai, he still may keep it a secret. Although there are others in his life he meets that would believe him, he still choses to hide and deny it. Although it feels like he still has room to change not being as open about it.
As for each episode it tends to focus on a specific yokai, it is literally a monster of the week sort of show. Natsume wanting to help the yokai in some way, although he may not have the name for all the ones he helps, he still helps when he can.
Certainly for a first season, with this set up, it is rather nice. Maybe this set way of how each episode goes may be different, but it has a similar set up. Natsume helping a yokai and by the end the problem is solved. Of course the final episode of the season was rather nice, looking and seeing all the people and yokai he helped throughout the first season. Certainly I hope for some change in the future so it is not always having the specific set up. For this season it worked.
The show was enjoyable and rather light-hearted. If you are looking for that “feels good anime,” this is certainly a good one and fits that rather well. It may be a drama comedy, but it has the perfect blend where there is not too much of either.
It certainly it tricky to say where the next seasons go or if there is a lot of change. Season one alone is still an enjoyable and relaxing show to check out.
Overall Score: B
Overall Enjoyment 80/100
Other anime that are “feels good:” Amanchu and Aria.
Other supernatural anime, however are not as lighthearted but more action oriented but just as much if not more supernatural elements: Black Butler and Twin Star Exorcists.
Feel free to give your thoughts on the series , just keep in mind for spoilers for later seasons.
As always I hope you enjoyed.
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