Sunday, January 20, 2013

Manga Review: Natsume's Book of Friends, Volume 12, by Yuki Midorikawa

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5-4
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 15+
Spoilers?:  Minor.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Reads R to L (Japanese Style), for audiences rated teen. Takashi Natsume can see the spirits and demons that hide from the rest of humanity. He has always been set apart from other people because of his gift, drifting from relative to relative, never fitting in. Now he's a troubled high school student who has come to live in the small town where his grandmother grew up. And there he discovers that he has inherited more than just the Sight from the mysterious Reiko.

Natsume meets a kindhearted yokai who has found a ruined letter he desperately needs to read. There is another yokai who has power over paper who might be able to help him. But this yokai’s name is sealed in the Book of Friends… Will it be willing to help the grandson of the woman who bound it?!

Available on Amazon.


I love Natsume, as I’ve said before. He’s just so sweet and I love watching him grow. This series is so… understated, but in such a sweet, calm, almost serene way. It’s so good, and yet after every volume, I usually don’t have very much to say.
A couple volumes ago (the last one? the one before that?), Natsume took a trip and there was a lot of information and growing up from his past experiences, and I loved it. One of the reasons that this series seems to go by so slow, seems to move forward slowly, is that there are so many one shot chapters, which are not usually my favorite. I guess because I want more about Natsume, and I want to see him getting closer to his friends and the people around him, not learn about new yokai all the time. That doesn’t mean that the one shot chapters are bad, or slow (in fact, I know that it’s some people’s favorite part), it’s just not one of my favorites.
The first two chapters were one shots, where we met two new yokai who Natsume helps. They were both sad and sweet, one about a yokai who falls in love with a human, and another where an older yokai threatens Natsume but really just wants some affection, but I don’t want to ruin too much of it.
The other three chapters were a storyline in which Natsume gets trapped in a bottle, and then taken to some God welcoming ceremony that’s really just a trap for everyone, yokai included. There’s also a scene where Nyanko-Sensei transforms to look like Nastume, which is just funny because he’s so much more harsh and blunt and rude, and it’s just hilarious seeing him act like that with Natsume’s face. We also get to see Tanuma, who is just kind of a delight in how sweet he is and how much he wants to be there for Natsume if he’d let him, as well as Natori (the professional exorcist), who gets to meet Tanuma for the first time.
This series tends to go rather slowly, but it’s easy to grow attached to the characters, and then it always turns out to be a surprising little delight, whether you know you’re going to like the volume or not.
I already have the next volume, and am now very ready to read it.

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