Friday, November 19, 2010

Graphic Friday: Natsume's Book of Friends

Author:  Yuki Midorikawa

The Dish:  Natsume is not like other boys.  All of his life he's been able to see spirits and demons...and they're usually chasing him.  But this isn't his fault since the demons believe he is his grandmother, Reiko, from whom he inherited his spiritual gifts.  When she was alive, Reiko had taken the names of many different demons after spiritual battles, thus forming her "Book of Friends".  After releasing a demon he calls "Nyanko-sensei", due to the demon being trapped in the form of a lucky cat, Natsume finds the "Book of Friends" and vows to return the names to their proper owners.  Nyanko-sensei has promised to assist Natsume in this task on the condition that should the boy die while on his quest, the demon shall receive the "Book of Friends".

I was introduced to this series by a friend of mine, though it was the anime, not the manga.  Oddly enough I didn't watch an entire episode despite my curiosity.  Then, when I saw the manga available here, I just had to really see what the story was about.  The overall story of Natsume's Book of Friends is that Natsume is basically wanting to undo what his grandmother did years ago in taking the names from the demons listed in the book.  What I really love is the episodic stories involving Natsume with the various demons he encounters such as when he first meets Nyanko-sensei, or Madara as he is called by other demons.  The most endearing story to me involves the "Dew God", a spirit that was treated as a god many decades prior.  However, with only one believer remaining and growing older, his stature had been reduced to a tiny spirit easily held in one's hand. 

The banter between Natsume and Nyanko-sensei/Madara is quite humorous, especially with Nyanko-sensei always taking into account that he could always just eat Natsume to gain the Book of Friends.  In fact, it was Nyanko-sensei/Madara that made me very interested in this series simply because his true demon form has the appearance like that of a wolf.  It is rare to see wolves along the side of the protagonist in manga.  In the Dew God's story, there was a prediction made that involved Nyanko-sensei/Madara that makes me very curious to read more volumes.  Overall, I can't wait to continue collecting more volumes and I'd like to revisit the anime when it comes to America. 

When reading a graphic novel series, do you prefer more episodic stories or the overarching storyline and why do you prefer that type of story?


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