series is one of the most charming and laid-back series
I have seen to date. The characters are at the forefront of the show:
this is a
show that takes time to let these characters grow and develop while
audience become invested in the storyline. The show isn't really an
show in the sense that the plot rarely steps outside of its established
concept, with it mostly reveling in an abundance of episodes that
similar structural backbone with a yokai character interfering in
life (or someone else's) with Natsume and his feline friend (who is
yokai) named Madara, otherwise known as Nyanko-sensei, helping him
things out about the yokai and solve the problem by the end of each
This is a pretty straightforward concept that carries over throughout
the series run without an abundance of attempts to tell an ongoing
The thing that makes the show work as well as it does is that these characters, especially the character of Natsume, is so likeable and involving, that while the show seems to repeat story ideas more than it comes up with interesting new ones, the show is still entertaining, heartfelt, and enjoyable because the basic establishment of the show is effective. As an audience it's an easy thing to want to root for Natsume, and the show has a lot of genuine emotion that rises in places of character specific moments where the story becomes more about getting to know the characters rather than a new weekly yokai character that is usually going to be a more limiting type of supporting role. This is where the story truly succeeds from a storytelling standpoint. I genuinely found it pleasing, then, to discover that more of these types of moments were given within the fourth season of the show.
particular, the concluding two episodes (which might
serve as a series finale should the show not become renewed again at a
date -- which could still technically happen, as there are an abundance
stories left to tell from the manga as it is still an ongoing one) were
heartfelt in a beautiful way. In these episodes, Natsume is able to
adoptive parents, whom were a first for him (before other families
look out for him over the course of the show). It becomes significant
to see Natsume
return home and to reflect on his relationships, and how important
people, these adoptive family members, are to him. And he is joined by
friend Nyanko-sensei, who is always by
his side and there for him despite an insistence he repeatedly makes of
there for the book of friends.
The direction is by Takahiro Omori (Baccano!), who always brings to the table a heart, style, and unique craft that keeps the vision of the show consistently enjoyable and worthwhile. Directing a show as laid-back as this one must have been interesting, and his style aided that laid-back anime approach which is so rarely seen in any productions.
The animations continues to be by one of the highlights of the entire show: because, frankly, the art is so incredible that this show joins the ranks as one of anime's finest productions visually in splendid qualities of color, craft, and overall grace. The background art is always lush and well defined, while character designs and the general texture is luxurious and absorbing to behold. I consistently found myself amazed by the art done by the fine animators who brought this show magnificently to creation. Each episode is an example of the greatest work currently done with Japanese anime.
season represents an altogether warm and poetic ending
should the show not be renewed, but at this point I hope to see more
within these haiku-envisioned episodic tales produced for fans of the
manga to enjoy. The show is so streamlined at times, but the core of
remains one that is charming, relatable, and beautiful to behold. It's
difficult to imagine this as the end of the story because these
immensely enjoyable and ones that you'll be wanting to see more of in
Natsume's Book of Friends looks much better with its 1080p High Definition presentation than it does with just a standard definition DVD presentation. The high quality animation looks stellar with its high definition encodings, and the clarity allows for more detail, smoothness, and fine texture to be noticed in the breathtaking animation done for the show. The 1.78:1 widescreen transfers retain the original television broadcast presentation.
The audio is Japanese Uncompressed PCM 2.0. Subtitles are in English. The series has a rather standard audio presentation that seems more focused on dialogue than anything else, but it has improved in clarity significantly with the upgrade to lossless high-resolution audio. This series does well in regards to reproducing dialogue. There is also good depth when it comes down to the music score. The audio presentation certainly enhances the majesty of Natsume's Book of Friends. Its lossless quality presentation will be pleasing for series fans.
Natsume's Book of Friends: Season 4 is a Blu-ray/DVD combo release.
The series is housed in a collectible art-box with an art-book featuring the outer design of Natsume's book of friends (as seen in the series), an episode guide for season 4, character designs, interviews with members of the creative team behind the making of the show, an additional look at production artwork, and pages of full-page art from the series. It's truly amazing as a way to present a show and fans will be thrilled with the set's overall quality.
extras include a clean
opening/ending, Japanese commercials, and trailers for other NIS
season of Natsume's Book of Friends
had many of the most involving moments the series had throughout its
the manga continues to be published with new stories, the anime series
over. It still has not been renewed for a fifth season. I hope it is
become renewed again at some point, because this is a wonderful and
well-spirited series with more to explore with these wonderful
Blu-ray release by NIS America is once again stunning with an amazing
and with lossless audio. The book and the packaging is great too.
Fans of this series will definitely want to purchase this set to add to the collection. This set is another example as to why NIS America is turning into one of the great anime companies to ever exist in North America.