Saturday, October 5, 2013

Manga Review: Natsume's Book of Friends, Volume 14, by Yuki Midorikawa

Rating (Out of 5): ~4-4.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Publish Date: 2013
Volumes: 16+
Spoilers?: Not really.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Most books just describe the supernatural. This one brings it!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.

Reads R to L (Japanese Style) for teen audiences.

Something Specific:

  • "Unlike yokai, who pine over brief encounters… People meet and part with countless others their whole lives.” This was just an insight that I’d never thought about, but it’s true. At least, partly.


I think I’ve said this before—I’m sure I’ve said this before—but I freakin’ love Natsume. There are some chapters in this series that are just alright, that are simple one-shots with nothing too major happening. And then there are the ones where something big happens with Natsume, something major for his character or with another character, and I just go crazy. Especially when they’re so unexpected! Auugh! It hits me right in the heart, every time.
The first two chapters in this story are pretty simple, with two new yokai that are having troubles, and they’re simply just sweet and whimsical. Nothing major, pretty standard Book of Friends plotlines. Well, aside from a humorous point when Natsume loses his voice.
The next three chapters, though, are a continuous storyline that starts out normal, with a yokai wanting something from Natsume/Reiko, and threatening to hurt something precious to him. But then Natsume has a couple of really sweet moments with Tanuma, and it was so heartwarming to see him getting closer, and being honest, and growing, with a friend of his. Including a moment where he’s all flustered and worried, when he barely ever blushes. It was so sweet.
But, along with that, we (and Natsume) got some insight into Reiko. He starts wondering who she was, what she was like, seeing as how he hasn’t got very good impression from the humans, and not particularly good ones from the yokai, either. This time, he gets to see a memory from a yokai, a long one, where she interacts with several yokai and humans.
The whole plotline was a surprise, really, and I loved it. I think that’s one thing that I look forward to in these volumes, how so often there are simple, sweet, whimsical one-shots, but then there are plots with development for Natsume and his friends, and those are just so special. And, really, just get me fangirling all over the place. I was grinning through quite a bit of this volume, and even had to go back and look through a few scenes because I liked them so much.
This series is being released rather slowly, since we’re only two volumes behind Japan, and I have no clue how much longer it’s going to be going. But I’m in it for the long ride, definitely. And I am very much looking forward to seeing what happens next. 
Sidenote: The author mentions that there’s four seasons of an anime for this series. I just… !? I mean, I haven’t even seen one episode of the anime, and I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been translated, but that is just insane. I wouldn’t have expected this series to be so popular. I’m assuming it is, though. For anyone who’s watched the show: what do you think? Is it good? Should I give it a try?

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