Natsume Yujincho Seasons 1 – 4 Review: Great Characters, Great Atmosphere, and Just Pure Relaxation

natsume characters

This is part of a series of re-posts of older reviews on 100 Word Anime. The original review came out in May 2016 and can be found here.


It might seem strange that I love Natsume. Given my usual tastes for faster paced stories, stories that are a little bit darker, or stories that do something a bit unexpected, there really isn’t any reason for me to be such a huge fan of Natsume.


And yet there is something incredibly compelling and adorable about Natsume himself that manages to draw me into this world and makes me want to spend more and more time with him.  Natsume in the early episodes of season 1 is damaged, and that damage doesn’t just disappear. It fades and comes out in different ways at appropriate times, and slowly, ever so slowly, it is being healed, but there isn’t an instant fix.

In point of fact, it’s hard to even notice how far Natsume has developed as a character until you go from an episode mid-way through season 4 and maybe watch an episode from late season 1 or early season 2. Natsume is a dynamic character who continues to take on board the experiences he goes through and these become integrated into his overall character. While it is subtle development it is consistent and ultimately it makes this whole story feel authentic in a way few manage. And it isn’t just Natsume.

All of the characters in this show develop slowly but surely in ways that fit with the experiences they go through. You really feel like you are part of this group and watching this show is like catching up with old friends. There’s a strength of writing and character development that you do not normally come across. This is something Irina and I explored when we took on the Natsume Supporter Character Battle to determine who the best supporting character was in this story. It ended up being a heart-breaking experience as we pitted truly great cast members against one another.


The plot also moves. While each episode really is the yokai of the week appears with either a problem to be solved or a desire to get their name back, each season feels like it is moving forward. Season one helps Natsume overcome his unreasonable hatred of all yokai. Season two sees him developing some actual human relationships that aren’t superficial or simply being acted out. Season three helps Natsume begin to understand Reiko (his grandmother) and her actions. The season four plunges us into finally facing some of Natsume’s child-hood trauma and finding some closure.

13 thoughts on “Natsume Yujincho Seasons 1 – 4 Review: Great Characters, Great Atmosphere, and Just Pure Relaxation

  1. I love Natsume! The stories are so touching…most times it makes me cry a bit….

    Have you seen the short movie by the same creator of Natsume, I think it’s called Hotarubi no Mori e? Please watch it if you haven’t yet.

  2. Great descriptions and I’m still slowly watching this show. The new seasons tend to get in the way of me catching up on other shows.

  3. Dang. I read this and I’m wondering how I’m supposed to write about the show when in done with it. I know that I’m still only near the end of season two, but this review intimidates me.

    1. To be honest, I edited this from the first time it posted and I still don’t think I’ve really captured what I love about Natsume. The anime is one of those elusive things that is utterly beautiful but it is just beyond me how to explain that.

Share your thoughts.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.