natsume's book of friends 1

Natsume’s Book of Friends, Vol. 1

by Yuki Midorikawa

Shojo Beat, 2012

7 cups of tea out of 11

Summary: Natsume’s grandmother bound yokai to her via their names and Natsume wants to release them.

Likes: Being different and not fitting in but trying anyway plus found family will always be themes that pull me in. I also like the episodic nature because it fits with the short stories the creator wants to do for each of the names in the book.

Dislikes: One of the flaws with the execution of the episodes is that some characters presented and given relevance in previous stories are not necessarily carried through. It makes them feel forgotten. I also have trouble with Natsume. Sometimes he seems to have personality when fighting with people but I have a hard time differentiating his dialogue because he sounds exactly like the people he’s fighting with.

Overall I will continue the series but I’m not sure how far I’ll get because there isn’t  too much compelling me onward at this point. I was reminded most strongly of xxxHolic while reading this one. Both main characters can see things other people can’t and it’s a burden on them. They also both have an episodic structure (at least Holic did at first). I was also reminded of Kamisama Kiss even though it’s a romantic comedy. The complex relationships between humans, nature, and yokai are presented complexly in both manga so far.

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