English Dub Review: Natsume’s Book of Friends “The Cat and the Book of Friends”

Preview (Spoilers below):

Natsume discovers that the “Book of Friends” heirloom her grandmother, Reiko, gave her has the names of the spirits she defeated and bound to her will. Assisted by a cat that Natsume calls Nyanko-Sensei (lit. Master Little Meow), Natsume aims to return all names to their rightful owners.

Our opinion :

Believe it or not, Natsume’s Friends Book exists since 2008, more than fourteen years ago. But for some reason, it had yet to receive an English dub in its nine-year run. Everything has changed today. Five years after the conclusion of its sixth and final season, the series has finally gotten a dub outside of the original Japanese version, which should appeal to those who don’t like to read subtitles on screen.

I’ve heard great responses from this yokai series regarding its stories, themes, and presentation. So it definitely looked like I might have something special. I mean, it lasted six seasons for a reason.

The concept of someone seeing spirits is not new to me, as I had experienced Mieruko-chan, another show about a teenager able to see ghosts, a while back. However, the difference between the two shows is their tone. Natsume’s Friends Book (Where Natsume Yujin-cho) has a more soothing and genuinely soothing tone, although it has the yokai action that I expect from this type of genre. So I could say this is more or less a beginner’s guide to the yokai genre.

The first episode did its job of presenting its most simplistic concept possible. You have the main character, Takashi Natsume, who lives with his adoptive parents and is constantly chased by spirits who mistake him for his grandmother Reiko. After discovering the book’s ability and befriending a yokai cat named Madara, Natsume decides to release the spirit names and find out more about her grandmother, who died when she was young.

The first name he released was Heisikaki, a lonely one-eyed spirit whom Reiko befriended long ago. Reiko promised Heisikaki that she would call him whenever she needed him. However, after months of waiting, Heisikaki grew frustrated and vowed to find the book and destroy it. So that would explain why Heisikaki was chasing Natsume at the start of the episode.

The development between Natsume and Madara felt a bit rushed at times. But the first episode did enough to get me hooked on Natsume’s quest to restore the spirit names. As for its decent voice cast and relaxing music, the episode represents the show’s lighthearted take on the genre that’s likely going to get me hired for the rest of the season.