By Leroy Douresseaux
May 27, 2011 - 14:21
|Natsume's Book of Friends Volume 6 cover image is courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.|
Rated “T” for “Teen”
Most people cannot see the spirits and demons called “yokai,” but Takashi Natsume can. This ability has been a curse because it has set Takashi, an orphan, apart from other people. Always having difficulty fitting in, Takashi is now a troubled high school student, but he has finally found a stable home with a kind couple, the Fujiwaras. There, he learns that he has inherited two things from his mysterious grandmother, Reiko Natsume: the Sight and her “Book of Friends.”
In Natsume’s Book of Friends, Vol. 6, Takashi finds a young boy named Kai locked in box upstairs in an abandoned house. Kai claims that he is being chased by ghosts, but what is the real story? And why has Kai drawn the attention of exorcist Shuichi Natori?
There are two bonus stories or “special episodes.” First, a young fox spirit goes on a journey to see her hero… Takashi! Next, a yokai tells the story of how he met the woman he loves and how she tricked him. This volume also includes the short story, “The Corner of the Schoolhouse.”
THE LOWDOWN: When I first read Natsume’s Book of Friends, I was somewhat disappointed because I thought this series would be more fanciful, like Victorian era fantasy full of faerie wonderment. Instead, it was melancholy and thematically about dejection and loneliness. Now, several volumes later, I find Natsume’s Book of Friends upbeat and joyful, even in its darker moments. It celebrates life (and I know that sounds sappy, but it does). Creator Yuki Midorikawa’s airy compositions are perfect for this lovely fantasy series.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans of Japanese folklore and also yokai manga will like Natsume’s Book of Friends.