As I mentioned when I first added this list to the blog – the MyAnimeList is very volatile. To its credit this means that series from 2016 and 2017 are able to gain a place. On the flip side it means that with the 6 month gap between writing and posting there are series that will fall off.
The first series of Natsume Yuujinchou is an example of this. As of writing this post for the second series it is still in the list at #100. However, by the time this goes up in May I have no doubt that it will fall out of the list. Hey ho. I would still have watched this in order to understand the four further seasons of this on the list.
In a nutshell, the Natsume Yuujinchou series is about a boy named Natsume Takashi who can see spirits (or yokai) and his yokai guardian that looks like one of those lucky cats you see in every Chinatown souvenir shop .
At the start of the he comes across his grandmother’s ‘book of friends’ (the ‘yuujinchou’ of the title), which she used to control spirits by stealing their names. How did she do this? Mostly by punching them in the head. It’s anime/manga, so it doesn’t have to make sense to us in the West.
The episodes are pretty slice-of-life and follows a ‘yokai-of-the-week’ style formula with the overarching theme of Natsume’s lonliness. He is one of those unusual examples of a main character who lives with foster parents (well, very distant relations but they act as foster parents). He is a lonely boy as, due to his ability to see spirits, Natsume has not been able to make many friends as people just think he’s a bit weird.
The big arc for Natsume is his gaining of friends and, effectively, his re-integration into the human world whilst also becoming more aware of his spiritual powers. There are a number of recurring characters, including a charismatic actor who is also a spirit hunter.
As viewing goes it is pretty gentle and, going by the level of fandom I see online it is not a series that I think has hit me as hard as other people. It’s a fairly nice palate cleanse after the weirdness of Gintama’ and whatever I choose next. I am eyeing a bit of Clannad: After Story or maybe even Cowboy Bebop now that it is on Netflix.