Natsume Yuujinchou

I really enjoy the story of Natsume. It is, I guess, a supernatural slice of life. It has a gentle feel, and it manages to tweak on all the emotions - I laugh, I cry, I sigh, I feel angry, and through it all, I enjoy the story. There are underlying themes of loneliness, but ultimately, I feel that is about finding your place in the world.

Our protagonist, Natsume, can see spirits (yokai). This has been a bane in his life, as when he was young people thought he was a liar. This wasn't helped by the fact that he moved from relative to relative, as his parents were dead. His past is told in flashbacks (often through dreams after meeting various yokai) and the story is based at his most permanent home, to date.

The story is gentle and episodic - the different yokai he meets, the returning of the names. Although I have just completed volume 9, and it is starting to get a little more tense, and there seems to be a much longer story arc involving some exorcists.

The art quite beautiful, and very suitable to (generally) gentle nature of the story. The very different spirits are quite wonderful - some tiny, some giant, some shadows.. beauitful.

I find the characters quite exceptional! Natsume especially draws you in, but each character has a story to tell. There are a number of recurring minor characters (a few school friends, more yokai. And it is interesting to see how the main side characters change as Natsume changes). Natsume himself is a typical sort of boy, with the exception that he sees spirits. It is quite nice having a story where the teenage protaginist. His sensei, a yokai, is comic relief in many ways. But it is wonderful seeing how these two jounrey together, and change as they experience more.

I reccomend this manga whole heartedly!

(although this review is spoiler free, there may be spoilers in the comments)