Natsume’s Book of Friends Vol. 1 – Review

Title: Natsume’s Book of Friends
Author: Yuki Midorikawa
Overall: 3.5/5

Takeshi Natsume can see spirits, and demons, that are otherwise invisible to the rest of humanity. This “gift” has always made him appear different, weird even, from school friends, teachers, and even family members, no one seems to understand Natsume’s “talent”. Now a troubled high school student, he returns to the town where his grandmother (Reiko) grew up, and slowly finds out about his mysterious grandmother’s life.

It turns out that Reiko used her powers to enslave demons, by storing their names in her “Book of Friends”, a book that has now been passed down to Natsume, and the demons can sense his relation to Reiko. With such a powerful item under their noses, and motivated by their desire for revenge and freedom, soon Natsume finds his life far more hectic than it ever had been before.

Natsume’s Book of Friends was a book that sent out ripples of excitement before and during our visit to the MCM Expo, so having grabbed myself a copy of the first volume, I set out with quiet optimism to find out what was so special about this series.

Unfortunately, as fate would have it, I found nothing to make Natsume’s Book of Friends stand out from the crowd. It’s art is fairly average, as is its plot, the only real difference between Natsume and its other Shoujo Beat counterparts is its storyline.

Each chapter of the series tells a new section of Natsume’s quest to release the demons that his grandmother had enslaved, each chapter designed to make sense as stand alone stories. Whilst on the surface this is a refreshing idea, and makes Natsume’s Book of Friends an easy read, it sadly also takes the edge away from what could be a gripping series. Admittedly, at the end of the four chapters of volume 1, it’s still early doors, but with a limited core cast, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

However, if you weren’t looking for something too deep and encapsulating, then I would strongly recommend Natsume’s Book of Friends, it’s art, whilst delicate and simplistic, fits the story perfectly, and the stand alone chapters make the series easy to come back to.

It may not be the most exciting series around, but Natsume’s Book of Friends is still worth a read.


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