Genre: Drama, Slice-of-Life, Supernatural
Summary: Ever since he was a child, Natsume Takashi could see spirits. As an orphan, he was passed around among relatives until he was taken in by the Fujiwaras. In the town where his grandmother once lived, Natsume finds out that he has inherited something more than spiritual power- the “Book of Friends”. Essentially a collection of contracts, each page bears the name of a spirit Reiko defeated and allows the owner to command it.
Review: How can the story of youkai and human capture the hearts of many? Beyond the straightforward plot are complicated but genuine emotions anyone can relate with. Continuing from the first two seasons, Natsume’s days are filled with more interactions between human and youkai. Each episode is told from Natsume’s point of view engaging viewers into his innermost thoughts and feelings.
The backstory with his friends Kitamura and Nishimoto, as well as how he was adopted by the Fujiwaras, was definitely heartwarming. Finding people who would stand up for him and actually want to be with Natsume created a place he could call home. Other than the recurring youkai and human characters, the first and only human villain introduced in this series was Matoba Seiji, head of an exorcist clan and portrayed as someone who would employ any method to gain power.
Aside from their personality, each character is faithfully adapted from the manga and rendered with simple lines and light color palette. Background art is similarly done, almost like a watercolor painting. Coupled with fluid animation especially when Natsume returns a name, it is simplicity at its best and works well for the series.
A soft piano melody plays as a youkai recounts how she only wanted to cure a friend’s illness and when another only wishes to find someone to talk with. A playful tune for Nyanko-sensei’s antics and a combination of piano and traditional string music evokes nostalgia. Every piece of music suits the atmosphere perfectly well stirring emotions that viewers can feel even beyond their monitors. The opening and ending themes are always something to look forward to as they best represent what the series is all about- fun and light-hearted, at the same time deep and emotional. The opening sequence did a good job of animating and recounting the more significant meetings Natsume had in the past two seasons.
Final Say: A gem waiting to be discovered. This is the perfect description for a beautiful series that does not even try to stand out but those who have caught a glimpse of its radiance can’t help but boast their find. Natsume Yuujinchou San remains consistent in what it has done best- episodic plot, well-established characters, modest art and animation, and the right mix of music. One would never tire of this high priority watch.