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Natsume's Book of Friends, Vol. 4

di Yuki Midorikawa

Altri autori: Vedi la sezione altri autori.

Serie: Natsume's Book of Friends {manga} (4)

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1342169,645 (4.26)2
"Takashi's quiet afternoon in the forest is disrupted when an angry spirit tries to possess him. He manages to dodge the spiritual attack, but he can't as easily avoid the yokai's pleas for help. Now he's tracking down an escaped evil spirit that threatens the life of the forest. But he's still learning that yokai never tell the whole truth, and the secrets spirits keep spell trouble for him!" -- from publisher's web site.… (altro)
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Originally posted here at Anime Radius.

Natsume's Book of Friends is a rare series: it is consistently high quality and has a clear message through every volume: the loneliness of human beings and the need for connections. In this volume, we see more of Natsume's kindness as well as his loneliness and how the two feelings constantly conflict inside of him as he lives between words - the world of humans and the world of yokai. We also see a direct parallel of living with the ability to see and interact with yokai in the form of Natori; his narrative occasionally crosses with Natsume's and shows how living between overlapping worlds affects two individuals differently. And then there is Nyanko-sensei, Natsume's devious guardian who keeps the human boy safe while always keeping one eye on the Book of Friends - Reiko's lasting legacy for her grandson.

Yuki Midorikawa's typical gorgeous art and storytelling skills really shine through on the pages of this book and add depth to Natsume's story. His story is one of a boy looking for acceptance after a lifetime of being shunned by people who should have loved him, and in these chapters we see how Natsume reaches out in his own way to achieve this. He does not always walk away from each experience feeling like he's found it, but you can see how each moment touches him and affects his own views on himself and the rest of the world. Whether it's helping a guardian spirit looking for a wayward evil force or protecting a fox spirit from bullies, Natsume constantly gives parts of himself to other people because of his internal belief that everyone is good inside and can be trusted. I would not call him naive so much as overly trusting; he is capable of being angry and upset when he is lied to or tricked, especially when it's done by someone he wants to trust wholly. You can see the conflict most clearly in his relationship with Natori, a man who communicates with the world of yokai on a regular basis as does Natsume but sees them much more differently.

The fourth volume of Natsume explores the character of Natsume in nuanced and multiple ways, showing us the young man as a human being and a teen and a seer of yokai as well as someone who is vulnerable yet strong enough to bear the pain of both of the societies he lives in. People who demand a fast-paced series should probably not pick up Natsume's Book of Friends; the development in story and characterization is slow and subtle but absolutely fascinating to watch unfold. With Nyanko-sensei as his highly humorous sidekick, Natsume's journey is an involving one that proves that you can have a supernatural manga that still comments on the human condition and remains wonderful while doing so.
( )
  sarahlh | Mar 6, 2021 |
First story: A yokai enters a little snow bunny Natsume made, so that it can ask him to help stop its friend from hurting people. Second story: Natori invites Natsume on a hot springs trip that he fails to mention is actually an exorcism trip. Third story: Natsume acquires a painting that starts to slowly drain the life out of him. Fourth story: Natsume meets an orphaned fox yokai while on a school trip. Fifth story: Young Natsume clashes with a childish yokai that delights in scaring him. The yokai doesn't realize until too late that it actually likes him, and that its actions cause him problems. In the present, Natsume briefly reunites with this yokai. Sixth story: Nyanko saves a lost child, even though he pretends that the child annoys him.

I really like this series. It can be sad at times, but it's so gentle, sweet, and calming. I really feel for Natsume, who wants so badly for the Fujiwaras to like him. He's afraid to tell them the truth about himself, but at the same time he hates having to lie to them all the time. I feel for Natori too – he sees himself in Natsume and wants Natsume to be happy, but he's been “different” for so long that he can't behave like a normal friend/mentor/backup family member.

Again, we have bittersweet stories with fragile yokai (the snow bunny story) and tragically mortal humans (the yokai who pretended that her human friend disappeared because he went to live in the painting, when in reality he probably died). And again, there are a few “meh” stories in the mix. The bit with Nyanko saving the child was so-so, and the fox child story only stood out because I knew that character would reappear in the future.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Dec 5, 2015 |
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» Aggiungi altri autori (4 potenziali)

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Yuki Midorikawaautore primariotutte le edizionicalcolato
Olsen, LillianTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato

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"Takashi's quiet afternoon in the forest is disrupted when an angry spirit tries to possess him. He manages to dodge the spiritual attack, but he can't as easily avoid the yokai's pleas for help. Now he's tracking down an escaped evil spirit that threatens the life of the forest. But he's still learning that yokai never tell the whole truth, and the secrets spirits keep spell trouble for him!" -- from publisher's web site.

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