I usually enjoy stories that have themes and settings on folklore and the supernatural. There’s a new anime series Natsume Yuujin Chou (Natsume’s Book of Friends) 夏目友人帳 that has started airing recently. Adapted from manga by Midorikawa Yuki 緑川ゆき, the series is slated for 13 episodes. It stars Kamiya Hiroshi (Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Gundam 00) as the lead and Inoue Kazuhiko (Junjou Romantica, Kyou Kara Maoh) as a spirit cat.
Official Website: http://www.natsume-anime.jp/
Summary & Comments:
Natsume Takashi (Kamiya Hiroshi) has the ability to see spirits. He has learned to keep it a secret from the people around him as they refuse to believe what they cannot see. Having lost his parents at a young age, he shuffles from relative to relative. He moves into a town where his deceased grandmother, Reiko had spent her childhood and finds himself pursued by seemingly malicious spirits. One fateful day, Natsume accidentally releases a spirit in the form of a cat who pointed him to a strange book that belonged to his grandmother. The book contains the names of many spirits whom Reiko defeated. It is said that the owner of the book wields absolute power over the spirits whose names are written in the book as a form of contract. Having known the reason why these spirits are after him, Natsume is now determined to free the spirits from their bonds. With the help of the spirit cat (Inoue Kazuhiko), the journey of discovery begins.
I’ve watched the first episode and so far, I like the general atmosphere of the anime. It draws you into the story immediately with action, drama, humour and heart. The animation is fluid and the environment has a very soft feel to it. I like Kamiyan and the way his voice lends vulnerability as well as resolve to the gentle and kind-hearted Natsume. And Inoue-san’s spirit cat is a gem! I didn’t even recognise him until he spoke in his normal voice ^^ Good soundtrack too. I enjoyed it pretty much. I watched it again and discovered a couple of hints which I think will lead to even more interesting plot in the future… looking forward to the next episode!
Kamiya Hiroshi 神谷浩史 as Natsume Takashi
Inoue Kazuhiko 井上和彦 as Nyanko-san
Kobayashi Sanae 小林沙苗 as Natsume Reiko
Ishida Akira 石田彰 as Natori Shuuichi
Suganuma Hisayoshi 菅沼久義 as Kitamoto Atsushi
Horie Kazuma 一眞堀江 as Tanuma Kaname
Itou Miki 美紀伊藤 as Fujiwara Touko
Sawashiro Miyuki 沢城 みゆき as Sasada Jun
Kimura Ryohei 木村良平 as Nishimura Satoru