En'en no Shouboutai
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The series as a whole is a heartwarming exploration of an adopted child learning what family is (with added spirits)

/anime/41045/natsume-yuujinchou
Review of Natsume Yuujinchou
by Rivka
Posted on February 20th, 2019
Positive 9
Overall Rating
 
+
1 of 1 people found the following review useful

I was late to this party, but Natsume's Book of Friends was absolutely worth binge-watching for a few weeks to catch up. Don't go into it expecting shonen-style fights with monsters; there ARE youkai, and there ARE occasional bouts of violence, but really, Natsume's first impulse is always to try to solve people's problems, and it doesn't matter to him whether they are human or ayakashi - in turn, his openmindedness inclines the youkai to trust him, and leads them to behave better with spiritually-aware humans.

What the story is about, at its core, is a teen boy who has been neglected his whole life for traits beyond his control (his claims of seeing spirits get him the reputation of insanity, and up until recently his extended family found him a hassle to house), and who finally gets acceptance and love from a new family. His adoptive parents are some of the kindest adults in anime, and are SO good to their new son. He still gets pulled into the spiritual world's problems a lot, due to his inheriting his grandmother's Book (and her baggage), but Natsume's kindness is a sharp contrast to Reiko's approach (she liked to defeat youkai in battle and get their signatures in contracts of loyalty).

The series is very slow moving and atmospheric, and that might not be to your tastes. I think it pays off, as you can see Natsume's emotional journey and his development into a confident young man happening at a realistic pace. It's very rewarding to see him making friends - of all kinds - for the first time in his life.

Rivka
Clarifying my rating system:

1-6: If I started watching, I stopped once it clearly fell below 7. I would never watch or recommend. [Further clarification: 1-3 is pure excrement, and I would rather be getting un-anesthetized surgery for the entire running time. 4-6 is the kind of thing where I would sincerely rather be doing chores, but could survive sitting through it if a friend begged me to.]

7: I watched at least part of it, and may have stopped due to not liking the plot twists, character derailment, etc. I may have watched the whole show, but recognize deal-breaker tropes in it, and I'm unlikely to rewatch; thus, huge caveats to any recommendation.

8: Not my thing, but usually I at least respect it. Generally, I didn't like it enough to rewatch it, but also didn't see huge problems in the plot, characterizations, etc. and thought it was worth finishing. I'd consider it mostly harmless to view, with the occasional caveat; it's possible that over time I would upgrade it to a 9 if I liked it more on reflection. I would recommend it to the right audience.

9: I enjoyed very much. It may have had one or two issues, but not enough to diminish enjoyment. It's possible that over time I would downgrade it to an 8 (changing tastes) or upgrade to a 10 (realize it's never left my mind). I'm likely to rewatch, and might decide to buy the DVDs. I'd recommend it to most audiences.

10: Virtually flawless. I'd definitely rewatch, and am likely to buy DVDs. I would shill to anyone.
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