Saturday, March 31, 2012

Manga Review: Natsume's Book of Friends, Volume 9, by Yuki Midorikawa

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 13+

Goodreads Synopsis:

Natsume learns that no good deed goes unpunished when an irate yokai accuses him of stealing her ring when she came to the Fujiwara house to get her name returned. Natsume thinks he knows where the ring has disappeared to, but can he find it in time, or will the place he’s come to think of as home be destroyed by the vengeful yokai?!


This was, again, another volume that was just alright to me (maybe it's me? As in, I'm just not in the mood for them, or something?). And, again, it was another series that no bookstore wanted to carry, and so took me forever just to find this volume (and will probably take me a while to get the next one. But let's just hope not).
I really like this series, and have been missing it (especially when I see other people reviewing it, and am like “I HAVEN'T READ THAT ONE YET/CAN'T FIND THAT ONE! I AM SO FAR BEHIND!”, and then groan in aggravation/mental pain). I keep hoping/waiting, though, for this series to get into a more solid, or longer lasting, plot line, since they usually only last for a couple chapters. On the bright side, though, we have been getting more insight into Natsume's past and present feelings and the people around him, which I enjoy.
For the first two chapters of this volume, Natsume runs into a fluff ball of a yokai, which runs in huge packs but is very hard to find and dangerous. It starts to attack Natsume, but he wraps his (maybe?) wound up and calms him down. Natsume also gets attacked by another yokai, who is claiming that Natsume stole something she dropped (which doesn't make any sense, but Natsume also points this out, so points for that).
For the next three chapter, Natsume helps some yokai (which he is always doing. I've come to realize that he is much too nice, not in a way that he's always forgiving people, not that he isn't doing that, but in that he's always trying to help other people), and ends up running, and getting captured by, Matoba, an exorcist. He's capturing yokai, while Natsume is trying to save them. Matoba... seems interesting, but I haven't got much of a feel for him, so we'll see next time we meet him, I guess.
The biggest parts of that, I think, were when a yokai attacked Natsume while in class, which was terrible since he's managed to act very normal in front of all of them up till now. Later, though, he made up an excuse and accomplished not telling anyone about what he can see. Which is a bit disappointing, but also not, since they mentioned how his aunt and uncle treat him now, and how they might if they knew, which definitely changed things. Also, he gets invited by some people from school to a festival, and gets to invite Tanuma and Taki, which is nice. I like seeing them hanging out, and it's always nice when they get to hang out with other people, especially since they're usually all by themselves. (Also, in the previous chapters, he accidentally calls the fluffball adorable in front of his friends, and they think he's talking about a girl, and bug about who he's thinking about. I thought it was rather hilarious.)
There's a special chapter at the end, in a girls point of view, who went to school with him before, when he had longer, scraggly hair, was a bit more cynical than he is now, and wasn't close to anyone. I felt rather bad for him, but it was interesting seeing what someone else, who doesn't know about the yokai's but wonders because of how he acts, thinks of him. It made me wonder what the boys who he goes to school with now think of him.
I do really like this series. It's subtle, a little displaced, smooth, and just simply sweet. I like Natsume, as well as his few friends, and want to know more about them. I'm hoping things get more intense, more solid, soon, since I'm not always all that affected by the short plots. I still like them, and am just simply enjoying the series for now (and, you know, hoping I can find the next one somewhat easily).

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