Natsume’s Book Of Friends is a show about how it might only take one simple action to create affection that will last a lifetime, or even longer. Spending time with someone who feels lonely, helping someone retrieve something they lost, or just being overall nice to someone. It doesn’t matter if the other party isn’t even human, but a youkai.
Reiko Natsume, our protagonist Takashi’s late grandmother, created the Book of Friends, a collection of names from all the youkai she formed a bond with.
Takashi is a quiet guy with problems making friends due to his unusual ability of seeing the supernatural. But by setting it upon himself to return all names in the Book of Friends to their rightful owner, he’ll not only grow as a person, but also find humans and youkai alike to befriend.
These short, episodic stories range from “quite nice” to “really, really beautiful”. Spanning from a lonely kid getting attached and venturing off to find their friend, to a man becoming unable to see his best friend, a youkai, and their wish to see each other again for the last time.
The character interactions feel truly genuine and honest. Jun Sasada’s one-sided interest in Takashi, or Kogitsune‘s childish admiration are just two of the many worth mentioning.
Accompanied by an incredibly atmospheric and laid-back soundtrack by composer Makoto Yoshimori (Durarara!!, Baccano!), this series really just excels at making you smile after every episode. And, from personal experience, sometimes even manages to bring out a tear or two.
It doesn’t need to surprise with amazing direction or flashy animation, because that’s not what’s important. Just like with friendship, it’s the simple things that count.
The best thing is though, I only covered the first season. With 4 shows counting 13 episodes each and a 5th announced for the Fall season, there are enough stories to last a while, and I have no doubt they’ll all be worth it.