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From Storm in Heaven:
Natsume's just an ordinary kid, except he can see spirits, just like his grandma Reiko could. Reiko, though, used to bully the spirits, and bound them to her will in the "Book of Friends". Now that Natsume has inherited this book, a never-ending stream of spirits is coming after him. With the help of a spirit "cat" (who really just wants Natsume to die so he can have the book), Natsume spends his days dissolving the contracts that bind the spirits and trying not to get killed.
Extras: • Manabiya no Sumi (The Corner of the Schoolhouse) in v.6. • Natsu ni wa Tameiki (w)o Tsuku (A Midsummer Sigh) in v.7.
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I believe a lot of our readers have already left lots of reviews, so here's a short one.
It's about a boy who can see spirits. The characters are absolutely cute and endearing. They have hearts, meaningful thoughts, contradictions, struggles and they grow through the encounters with new characters.
The art is also wonderful. Sometimes, just one simple panel can ring your heart.
I absolutely love it.
Best thing in my life so far!
You can criticize me all you want if you disagree because I just can't express my love for this manganime in any other way. I was very reluctant to read it when my sister said it has barely any plot, so I put it off for years now. But then, I just had a feel to read one day so I did. And that was the day I regretted not reading a manga so much that I finished it all in one day and is now waiting loyally for the next chapter and season if there is any.
I understand why some people would gravely disagree with me. The openings and endings are repetitive and sometimes rather boring but you HAVE to read what's in between. Do you people have any idea how hard it is to write an episodic manga without making it sound or look similar with its previous chapters? Do you know how hard it is draw those ayakashi's? Think back, do any of them look the same? In my opinion, they are drawn with such a memorable touch that I remember every single one of them and adore their different personality! Not to mention their somewhat caring hearts.
I also want to scream at my sister for even saying that this manga has 'barely any plot'. I mean, ARE YOU BLIND??!!! The kid can see ayakashi. Because of that, he has an extremely troubled childhood! One day, he meets the Lucky Cat youkai and finds his grandmother's book. Turns out, the grandmother was a bully and had forced each and every youkai to write their names for her when she defeats them. Story progresses with him finding different youkai's and help gives them their name back. It then develops by introducing new and wonderful characters that helps and assist Natsume (main character) or the other way round. Along the way, we get to see what Reiko (the grandmother) was like and we also get to see what a torturous life Natsume had to go through, not to mention the kind and horrifying ayakashi he has met. Then, there are also humans or exorcists that find Natsume interesting and wishes to use him but they are not always the 'bad guy'. For those people who are used to a regular shounen-like plot then please begone!! You do not belong here if you don't understand what kind of 'plot' this author has to offer!
Another reason why I said this was the best thing in my life so far is because of how deep it actually touched me. How wonderful friendship can be and what a lonely soul could do for another. This manga can be painful to read at times for those who have been through the pain and this mangaka can show you exactly what its like to be truly alone despite what condition your 'lonely' is. I have never shed so much tears while reading AND watching this masterpiece compared to any other manga or anime. The protagonist's past, the ayakashi's life, and just that feeling of guilt when you hurt another. From the bottom of my heart, this manga is the most heartbreaking yet lovable manga ever. I can list you a few oneshots and manga that made me cry but I'll make sure that this is on top. Not only that but this manga has the ability to just make you feel... better and.. calmer. You start to think of other's pain around you and learn how not to upset others even if your intentions were good.
I regret not starting earlier but now that I'm on board, I'm not getting off till the very last page/episode. I can't further express my love for it so I hope this message is able to reach for those who are hesitant like I was a few years ago. Even if you have different preferences, you might still enjoy it because I can't remember the last time I ever associated myself with any 'shoujo' manga! It does have romance but not the type that shoujo's usually have. Actually, I myself dislike prolonged series but this is just undeniably good, I promise you, you won't regret a single chapter. Instead, you'll cry reading/watching this heartwarming story because I know I did. In fact, I think I cried quite a few times due to its extreme ability to just stir my heart.
Well, enough of that! Good luck to new readers!! You won't regret it~~ ^_^
... Last updated on July 25th, 2012, 10:27pm
I ran across the manga first, then started watching the anime, and now follow both. They each have their own qualities that make them wonderful but I prefer the manga.
I've seen a few people in different places say they feel like the series is too repetitive but I honestly don't feel that way. I think there continues to be growth with each story-- most of the time it's a subtle character development but other times it's a changing relationship. And the times where there isn't a significant growth in a character or relationship, there's a meaning to the story.
I've also seen a few times people mention that they wish Natsume would learn other moves aside from punching and, yeah, there are a few times it looks like he's ready to just take whatever attack before someone saves him, but this doesn't bother me at all. He learned particular moves out of necessity as he grew up. Then when the series has started, he has a bodyguard and other people who will be there to support him. He does take care of a number of issues completely on his own, and the times he doesn't he probably either knows someone will help him, is not fast enough to be able to respond to sudden attacks (which is fair, since Ayakashi can be much faster than humans), or perhaps he even is willing to accept the attack because he's just that kind of person. (Although the slower attacks is one thing I think the anime could improve upon because sometimes the timing of it makes it seem like there's this long dramatic lag, which is normal for anime honestly since they like to up the drama, but doesn't necessarily seem supported by the manga.)
He looks to helping others and there are times he would let himself suffer if he thinks it will help others. I think he never really learned a sense of self-worth as he grew up, and that sort of thing takes a really long time to overcome. Every day is a struggle to keep holding onto the new life he's gained, and move further from the old life he left.
To be honest, I actually also don't agree that this series requires some sort of inter-human relationship as its endgame or for further development. One of the things I love about this series is it doesn't actually have romantic relationships. There are some relationships a person could read into if they wanted, but even then it's more like reading into it wanting to believe something could develop. This isn't a typical (I think annoying) series that relies so heavily on contrived sexual or romantic relationships. Everything about it is a step above/away from that. The point is much more subtle and because of that I think it's much more poignant.
As others have said, the series is heartwarming, heartwrenching, bittersweet, beautiful...
I really, really love this series, and I generally don't get into the slow-moving series because I oftentimes seem to have a short attention span for them. I didn't have any expectations the first time I picked up the manga, but I was pleasantly surprised. I've since started trying to get other people to read this series as well.
The anime strangely enough moves the manga around and randomly keeps a character around for no apparent reason, so for those reasons I prefer the manga, but the anime is also absolutely beautiful.
It's a quiet, mellow series that at times has brought tears to my eyes. I did find myself starting to fall asleep to a few episodes once, but that was when it was very late, I was very tired, and it wasn't at all because I was bored-- it's because the series is soothing. In fact, as cheesy as it sounds, I would go so far as to say the series soothes the soul.
... Last updated on March 16th, 2012, 3:52pm
getting sort of tired...
I used to love this manga. Actually, I still do, but recent chapters are getting really hard to stay awake to. I admit I was introduced to the series through the anime, but I've been avidly reading the manga as they become available here in the states. And unless Takashi grows a backbone, he'll continue to be a punching bag for every demon that comes his way. What is the point of foreshadowing his potential and high spiritual energy, if he's going to be the obstacle in his own series?
Sadly, there’s only two course of action left for this manga: a) Natsume needs to bang one of the females in the series, or b) Natsume needs to be banged by one of the males in the series. At this point, I’m ready to see just about anyone’s cherry popped.
... Last updated on March 1st, 2012, 6:27pm
Like Everyone Else Has Said...
This is an amazing series.
In fact it's my favorite (non-CLAMP) manga series.
So I guess that all I can do is reiterate what other have said before me. I randomly saw this in the bookstore and held off of buying it for a long time...and when I finally started reading it, I was shocked at how poetic it really turned out to be.
Bittersweet is the word that I think best describes this series. Other have also used "heart-warming," which I think fits it perfectly as well.
Even though the first couple of volumes (maybe 5 or 6) are pretty much all unrelated vignettes (the mangaka didn't expect it to go on for so long and her publishers wanted a serial where one didn't have to know the story to be able to enjoy it), which does take away from some of the character development of those besides Natsume and Nyanko-Sensei (his guardian cat), these are very enjoyable. Each story focuses on the themes of loneliness and the importance of reaching out to others in a way that doesn't feel in-your-face or cliche. Instead you'll probably find yourself tearing up during most chapters, and laughing at the comedy of others (the character interaction is brilliant).
And as the series has gotten A LOT more popular now (Yes! A FOURTH season of the anime is coming out!~), there have been a lot more appearances of reoccurring characters. Even though the switch-over seems odd at first, it really does a lot to develop Natsume's character and how he interacts with others. This manga is not one sided at all, showing that each character holds a different perspective, and accurately showing the conflicts of life.
But in the end, there are still ways that we are all able to come together.
For those that think the pacing is too slow, with new story arcs revolving Hatori, an exorcist, and Matoba, a semi-rival of his, there is increasing action and tension. I can't wait to see what the new volumes and season will bring!
Plus I find the artwork to be beautiful! Even though it may not look like a typical manga style, it's simplistic and fits the rural, calm tone of the manga perfectly. Plus I really like Nastume's character design (not too pretty or manly but also more than "just average").
I recommend this to anyone looking for an insightful, very humanistic series with plenty of humor and great character development and interactions. It honestly deserves all the praise.
my last review was oddly focused on the anime. i've no idea why i posted an anime review here so i'm re-updating my review on the series as a whole. If you're choosing between the anime/manga, i suggest the manga because the reading experience is more emotionally engaging than the anime. I believe it's due to the set up of the panels and the flow of the images and words. The series is initially episodic and then starts to integrate a larger conflict. With this conflict, the series starts to have some sort of plot, but you could say that this plot is irrelevant to the story the mangaka wants to tell. The value of this series difficult to describe; Natsume Yuujinchou is essentially about connecting with others and the value of having such connections. There is, depicted, the comfort of friendship and unconditional love. There is too, the pain of loneliness, rejection, separation, and inevitable loss. It's a sweet series that reads quietly, and although it is not exactly profound, it is heartwarming, heartbreaking, and somehow, humane. Definitely worth reading and even re-reading just to absorb the emotions the mangaka attempted to capture. I'm not sure where the series is heading, but like i said, there isn't much focus on the overall plot.
... Last updated on November 13th, 2013, 10:00pm
Oh I LOVE IT!
Well, it's been a while i read a manga that could make me shed tears. This is my first time there's a manga that could make me cry for it's every single chapter. There's gentle, calm, and peaceful atmosphere in this manga. Beautiful story. A work of art depicted in this manga. It's really worth a read.
i remember watching the anime and having this strange calm sad feeling,i dont think ive ever felt like this watching any other anime,the anime portrays perfectly the pain of loneliness which is very difficult to do,proves how amazing the mangaka is
I literally read the whole thing in one sitting and was like 'what, no more chapter left?' It is that good! I like the slow feeling, and I'm not much of a crier and I don't think I've ever cried/felt like crying while reading a manga, and there were some chapters that made my eyes water a little, so that's a feat all in itself. The series is great, the characters are great, and I like the fact that there is no hints at romance for the main character to distract from the main plot. I don't mind romance, but I don't really think that romance has a place in a story like this, and there is a lot of romance, but none for the main character. I like how it is friend-centric, since I am a sucker for friend's stories even more than romance stories. In a way, and not because they are similar, but because both want the same thing, yet when they get what they want, they realize it's not really what they wanted, Natsume kinda reminds me of Ichigo from Bleach. All in all, this is a really heart-warming story.
Simple art, awesome story.
I skimmed through the first volume at the bookstore and didn't think much. Until I saw the anime. Then I decided to go back and read the manga. The art doesn't suck you in, but the story does. It does take some time for it to grow on you.
This manga is really good 'cause it invokes emotion within me. Kinda like sadness, as well as the satisfaction at the end of each chapter.