After six seasons now, most of us know the story. If you are new to Natsume, check out the review of seasons 1 – 4 and the review of season 5. As much as I love this show, diving in at season 6 is definitely going to make this a fairly complex story as all of the relationships being dealt with are now pre-established.
Natsume can see yokai and because of this he was isolated for most of his childhood. Having made a new beginning when he was taken in by the Fujiwaras, Natsume has slowly been building connections with both human and yokai as he learns how to live and to accept himself for who he is.
I reviewed this show week to week so if you are interested in my episode thoughts click here.
I’m actually going to keep this one relatively short or otherwise it is just going to turn into a gush about how much I love this show. I think that’s the true beauty of Natsume though. Season after season and I still love just the sweet and relaxing nature of the story and just enjoy spending time with these characters. They really do feel like old friends a and a new season is just a chance to catch up with how they are all going.
Getting the usual stuff out of the way, I am going to say that I absolutely loved the music and the art this season. While Natsume openings are always mello and relaxing, this season just added a slight bit of upbeat to it and I came out the otherside of the opening smiling every single week. I don’t remember who, but someone actually analysed the flowers used in every scene in the opening on their blog and there’s a lot of detail and thought that has gone in to that opening sequence. I wish I could remember the link to that blog post because that was a really great break down. The art is the usual style for Natsume so fairly soft and relaxing. It isn’t overly detailed but it isn’t overly simplistic either. It just strikes a nice balance.
There were a couple of moments throughout the season where Natsume himself looked a bit off. Sometimes it was his face looking a bit too sharp or a certain movement didn’t quite fit with the scene, but for the most part season 6 looks amazing. At times there are some truly vibrant and dazzling colours but those darker moments still hit home, all of this contrasting nicely with the usual muted colour scheme.
As usual the characters are the big draw with Natori and Natsume’s relationship stealing the lion’s share of this season. That isn’t to say we don’t still get the occasional yokai of the week, a return of a childhood friend, a focus on Natsume’s school friends, some Reiko and Nyanko-Sensei, but really there are a lot of episodes focussing on Natori this season and how he sees Natsume and Natsume’s relationship with Yokai. For me this is a major plus and probably part of the reason I would say this season is my favourite ever. Natori is a great character. He experienced a similar childhood to Natsume but rather than befriending a yokai he found his way to the exorcists. As a result, he has an understandable resentment toward most yokai and finds Natsume’s softer approach a little hard to understand. That said, he understands that Natsume can’t give up the connections he’s made at this point as they are a necessary part of Natsume. Anyway, the play between the two is fantastic and while this series doesn’t resolve Natori’s intentions, it certainly gives the audience a lot to think about in regards to the two characters.
Reiko is also a common feature, as always, though I must say the Reiko focussed episode this season was possibly the weakest for me. I found myself not overly invested in her trial. While I’m interested in Natsume learning more about the book and I’m interested in learning more about Reiko as she got older, the episode just felt very much like a filler side quest. If this was live action I’d suggest the actor playing Natsume got sick and they rewrote the lead to be a flash back for his grandmother.
Another win this season was the ongoing development of the themes of self-discovery, acceptance, and friendship. These are beautifully handled and while occasionally Natsume’s monologues may feel you are getting hit over the head with the message, you realise that Natsume is quite emotionally dense due to his strange upbringing so sometimes he needs to process what has happened and sort out his emotions. From that point of view, his observations make sense and don’t feel quite so forced.
Basically, I loved this season of Natsume. I would love to know another season is coming and coming soon. If you’ve never tried the show you really should give it a go.
If you watched season 6, let me know your thoughts below.
- Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 1
- Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 2
- Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 3
- Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 4
- Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 5
- Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 6
- Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 7
- Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 8
- Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 9