Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 9 Manga Review

Natsume's Book of Friends Volume 9 Cover Art

Fur balls and exorcists, Volume 9 of Natsume’s Book of Friends is a great read.

It kind of took away some of the fun of finding a theme for this volume when it is explained at the end of the book that Yuki Midorikawa was focusing on herds and groups. The two stories in the volume both clearly explore this idea and it makes for some interesting speculation about the structure of the yokai world and for how exorcists operate.

In case I haven’t mentioned it recently, the cover art on these volumes is gorgeous (as are the chapter title pages) and it just gets better each volume. Chapter 35 in particular featuring Matoba is really nicely done this time around and while I couldn’t find a nice full picture of it, here’s a bit of a look.

Natsume's Book of Friends Matoba
Can we get a spin-off that just follows Matoba please?

Chapters 32 and 33: Little One

This two part story starts as normal for Natsume with him rushing in to rescue what he thinks is a kitten (and who else loves Natsume for wanting to save a kitten) and he ends up getting involved with a fur ball of a yokai. Things would be fine except that another yokai accuses Natsume of stealing a ring and it turns out the ring ended up caught in the fur ball’s hair and so complications follow.

Natsume's Book of Friends Volume 9 Fur Ball

This story didn’t have all that much impact in the anime. It worked well enough but seemed just another monster of the week story. Reading it I got far more of a sense that this story is about Natsume’s growing connection with the yokai world as his ‘friends’ help him track down the fur ball and his group in order to retrieve the ring. It’s an idea that will be repeated in the second story of this volume. Natsume is getting really drawn into the yokai world to the point where he barely even hesitates now to get involved whereas earlier he was wary of yokai or getting too caught up in their actions.

I ended up really enjoying reading this, far more than I enjoyed watching it in the anime. Really great fun.

Chapters 34 – 36: The Eastern Forest

Despite Natsume’s growing attachment to the yokai world he’s still pretty determined to keep his human friends out of it. This becomes much harder when a group of masked yokai ambush him at school. Needless to say, that doesn’t exactly set the tone for a great relationship between Natsume and the newly introduced yokai who kidnap him and demand he hand over the book of friends.

What follows is an interesting story that I absolutely loved in the anime and really enjoyed seeing in the manga form as we get our clearest look at Matoba yet as he hunts the yokai in the Eastern Forest and naturally Natsume gets caught up in it.

Natsume's Book of Friends Volume 9

There’s a really powerful scene where Matoba is talking to Natsume about his family and I absolutely love how this plays out here. It comes right at the end of one chapter so of course makes you just get straight into the next one. It is very rare that someone other than yokai talk to Natsume about Reiko and I’m really very curious to find out if Matoba knows more than what he says here. Hopefully we’ll find out more in future volumes but this was a great reading experience.

I really can’t recommend this series enough and I’ll be getting onto reviewing the next book very soon.

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If you’re interested in reading Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 9 it is available on the Book Depository.

Natsume Yuujinchou Go Episode 9


Natsume Yuujincnou Go Episode 9 Review:

It’s been awhile since we’ve started an episode of Natsume Yuujinchou Go with Natsume running frantically away from a yokai and even longer since he’s had a nightmare about whether or not he can stay with his current family. This was a very pleasant return to form with a yokai of the week appearing and Natsume generally getting caught up in things he probably would have been better off walking away from.

I like these episodes because they work on their own with only limited knowledge of the story needed to follow the events and while the final message of the episode is predictable the story still brings itself to a satisfying enough conclusion. What is more important is that Natsume continues to internalize these encounters to fuel his own growth.

That said, I love how Nyanko-Sensei can just switch off and go into full cat mode when the occasion calls for it.


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Karandi James

Natsume Yuujinchou Go Episode 6



Natsume returned to the normal formula of Natsume getting attacked by a random yokai and then helping another yokai over the course of the episode. He also lost his voice early on which he seemed to find a massive inconvenience. I really enjoyed this episode as it had a very nostalgic feel to it and we had a bit more Natsume and Nyanko-Sensei interaction then we’ve had in the past few episodes. The attacking yokai ended up being pretty much nothing which was kind of the big disappointment of the episode. yeah, it’s true to the show but it just seemed like there was a bit more build-up and that maybe they would actually be something resembling a threat and then they just kind of weren’t. Anyway, this is Natsume being typical Natsume so fans of the show will love it.


Natsume Yujincho Season 4 Series Review

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A while back I reviewed all 4 seasons of Natsume Yujincho but in light of the soon to begin 5th season I’ve recently gone back and revisited season 4 (which I’d only watched through twice before unlike the other seasons of this show which I’ve probably watched to an excessive amount given it is my total relax anime).


Watching it through again reminded me just how far Natsume had come as a character even though he’s still fairly riddled with insecurities. It also continues to develop his relationship with Nyanko Sensei, the other exorcists, and with his school friends. Revisiting Natsume in any season is still very refreshing and calming but I really felt like season 4 managed to distinguish itself from the earlier seasons in two ways.


Firstly, Natsume actually confronts his childhood head on. This is hinted at all season due to the opening sequence sharply contrasting young Natsume and his fear of yokai with the more mature Natsume who has managed to build connections with both humans and yokai. Early in the season we meet a girl who knew Natsume a few years before we met him in season 1 and we get a flashback episode where we see both Natsume’s and the girl’s view on events from that time. This helps consolidate our view of Natsume as a troubled loner growing up who learned to withdraw and who desperately tried not to draw attention to himself. It also reassured us that not every person Natsume had ever met was a jerk (which is kind of important given one of the major themes is about building relationships).


Secondly, season 4 forced Natsume to face his fear that he places others in danger just by getting close to them. While there have been some terrible yokai in previous seasons and his friends have been in danger before, season 4 did it in a way that really brought home how dangerous the world Natsume experiences is to those who don’t know their way around it.


If this feels like Natsume’s relationships with some of the yokai take a step backwards in this season, you wouldn’t be wrong. Obviously Nyanko Sensei is still a big feature and his relationship with Natsume is foregrounded in most episodes (as is his protective nature over what he considers his prey), but the other yokai tend to make appearances and then move on. The returning ones are more background characters, occasionally called on for a point of information or for a short comic skit before we get back to dealing with more human concerns. This isn’t a bad thing, and there’s certainly still a lot of magic and wonder in this series, but it does feel a little distinct from season one and two where the human characters were the ones more in the background as we focussed on the concerns of the yokai.


So all of this begs the question, what will season 5 bring us?

I’m going to avoid speculation but this is a series that seems to get stronger with every return and has consistently maintained the tone and feel it seems to want. I try to avoid building up hopes for any returning series but I just can’t seem to help myself with this one. Another season of Natsume… Just saying it makes me smile.