Friday, November 23, 2012

Natsume’s Book of Friends by Yuki Midoikawa

Takahashi Natsume can see spirits and demons that are in hiding from humanity.  This gift has always kept him separate from other people and he has been very much alone.  Due to his gift, Natsume has been sent from one relative to another and ends up living in the same town as his grandmother, who seems to have shared his gift.  They now also seem to share something else – The Book of Friends.  Unbeknownst to Natsume, his grandmother (who also felt alone) captured the names of spirits in demons in her Book of Friends so she would have power over them.  Natsume finds the Book of Friends and is on a quest to give the spirits and demos their names back.  He gets some help and advice from a yokai he unwittingly set free who was trapped in the form of a Lucky Cat who he calls Nyanko Sensei.

 On the surface, Natsume’s Book of Friends is a story steeped in Japanese mythology.  However, there is much more to the story.  This is very much a study of human nature and how people relate to each other.  The art style reflects Natsume’s softer side.  Midorikawa uses shading very effectively to soften the world of Natsume, which accentuates his own soft personality.  This series can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike, with something inside that everyone can relate to.  It also affords a great look into the fascinating world of Japanese mythology.

You can find Natsume’sBook of Friends by Yuki Midorikawa on the VBPL Catalog.  If you enjoyed Natsume’s Book of Friends, you may want to try Kekkaishi by Yellow Tanabe or FruitsBasket by Natsuki Takaya.

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