Japanese lore is known to be rich in traditions, stories, and youkai. Anime using the supernatural are not rare but tend to be full of action, missing out on exploring the deeper appeal of such an interesting culture. We first got a better opportunity to taste the relatable side of that youkai-humans relationship with Mushi-shi and its mystical and philosophical vibe. Then, we were introduced to the bittersweet Natsume Yuuchinjou. If both adopt a humanist narrative, Natsume Yuuchinjou took it a bit farther: whereas Mushi-shi is more targeted at adults and young adults, Natsume Yuuchinjou has something for everyone. Easy to understand for kids and full of more sophisticated layers for teens and adults.
Will Natsume Yuujinchou Season 7 be announced one day, four years after Season 6 ended?
What happened so far in Natsume Yuujinchou
Takashi Natsume is a teenager that has been plagued since childhood by his special ability: his strong spiritual energy allows him to see and interact with youkai of all sorts. This has left him ostracized and lonely, the young man feeling burdened by his heavy secret. On her deathbed, his grandmother Reiko Natsume, bequeathed upon him ‘The Book of Friends’, a powerful item full of the names of youkai that Reiko bullied into submission.
Now, totally alone with no family nor a place to call home, Takashi has to deal with all the youkai and exorcists that would very much like to get their paws on the precious book. He will be supported by the powerful youkai Madara, a gigantic Okami beast that takes the form of a pudgy maneki-neko most of the time. Nyanko sensei (as cutely nicknamed by Takashi) accepts to become the young man’s bodyguard if he agrees to give him The Book of Friends after his death. His help will prove to be most needed as not all youkai are friendly entities and some will not hesitate to attack the pair to get what they want.
Takashi is now ready to free all the spirits in his grandmother’s book, while still living a mundane life. His journey will force him to leave his comfort zone, making new friends on the way (humans and youkai) and reassessing his own identity and decisions.
What is going on with Brain’s Base & Shuka?
Natsume Yuujinchou premiered on July 7, 2008 and ended on June 21, 2017, after seventy-four episodes and 6 Seasons. The anime is directed by Takahiro Omori and Kotomi Deai, written by Kinichi Kanemaki and Sadayuki Murai and Makoto Yoshimori composed the score. The reason why the anime has two different directors and writers (and even more names listed as producers) is because it was under two different studios: Brain’s Base for the first four seasons and Shuka (that was actually founded by former employees from Brain’s Base) for the last two seasons and the movies.
Natsume Yuujinchou is the perfect mix of iyashikei and supernatural. The laid-back rhythm of everyday life and the more exciting and curious moments brought by the youkai and Takashi’s power. Most episodes are standalone and it is perfect for the series, bringing a “youkai of the week” format that allows the audience to better understand the entities rather than just see them as monsters and ghosts, as they tell their own stories and let us see the feelings that have been eating them away for centuries. It helps in establishing the relationships between all the characters and seeing them slowly developing. Natsume Yuujinchou relies on dialogue, a lull between acts, the atmosphere of the background and the youkai themselves to nurture its universe.
Each line is delivered carefully, the dialogues flow seamlessly never sounding out of place or coming from the wrong character. If the context is not typical, the subtext and the characters are so relatable that the audience does not feel left on the sidelines. Viewers cannot communicate with the spirit world, but the way the scenes are crafted and the characters presented allows everyone to relate on different levels. Kids will find it charming and adults will understand the deeper message in all the stories. The human quality of the show is present in its human beings, but also in the youkai: the relationships feel real.
The episodic format never gets boring. There is so much to explore between all the youkai, the characters interacting with Takashi in his normal life, other gifted people (like Kaname, Touru or the Mitoba Clan) and Takashi himself. The storytelling takes different shapes. Most of the time, the point of view will be Takashi’s. However, some episodes allow us to see the story through someone else’s eyes and we are offered different perspectives compared to the one we always had to see (Takashi’s). We fill the holes, answer some questions, understand the why and how and hope that some feelings will be acknowledged or that more goals will be achieved. We are cheering. We are learning.
The show offers a number of life lessons, ranging from dramatic to cute, all heartwarming. Yet, they are not all given at face value and the viewers infer at the end of the episode that it was all about something specific, sometimes not noticing that they have formed a conclusion. The same is happening to the youkai, who do not always understand that they have just realized something new and changed themselves. The tone in Natsume Yuujinchou is mostly light hearted, with really funny moments (the food lover or sake guzzling Nyanko sensei is a blast), but does not shy away from sad moments. All in perfect harmony: the comedy will never trample over a serious atmosphere (learn from that Bungou Stray Dogs) or will not disrupt a calm and reflective act. Indeed, Natsume Yuujiinchou is the perfect iyashikei: mellow and soothing, healing for the soul.
The characters are major players in the show. Without them, a lot would not be possible. And it is not just about a story needing characters. Here, they feel alive. They feel like people we meet everyday. They feel like us. It is so easy to get attached to the cast that there is no time for a favorite to be chosen. Takashi is what a lot of teens are (or were) at one point: isolated, building walls, afraid of interacting in the wrong way. His kindness and constant smile hide a childhood spent in anxiety and pain caused by being called names and rejected because of his behaviour due to his powers. Natsume Yuujiinchou is Takashi’s coming-of-age story, his extraordinary journey toward self-acceptance and the power in having and trusting your friends. Nyanko sensei starts as an opportunist, what with him making a deal with Takashi involving the death of the young man.
However, we will slowly see that adversarial bond between the protagonist and the round cat transform into a genuine friendship. Nyanko keeps complaining about Takashi helping all those youkai, but at one point, the viewers can clearly see that it is empty: even if releasing the entities is actually weakening the Book, at no point is Nyanko threatening to stop protecting Takashi, if it means that the item will be fragile when he inherits the Book, perhaps even useless. This change of mind happens subtly throughout the seasons. The anime trusts its audience and itself and does not throw the conclusions in our faces, instead building them and hinting at their development. The rest of the cast is as endearing. Each supporting character has his/her own story and it is actually developed through different arcs. They are an integral part of the plot, with their own personality and decisions. They are not just there to help the plot advance at specific points, they are here to live their own story.
The animation is nothing big, your average 2D animation. Although, the character design is as soft as the original one in the manga and the youkai are all different and interesting to look at. If you are a bit into Japanese lore, you should be acquainted with their physical appearance. The background art is delightful with its calm and peaceful scenery. Beautiful and mysterious. Brain’s Base has already two projects planned for 2022 (Season 2 of To Your Eternity and a movie for Penguindrum) and Studio Shuka has no personal projects for now, which does not mean that they are not busy.
Do not forget that studios often work on other studios’ projects when they need to outsource specific aspects of production; like how there is a good chance you will find Orange, Wit, or MAPPA in the credits when 3DCGI is involved.
What do we know about Natsume Yuujinchou Season 7 so far?
At the moment, nothing new.
Two movies were released after Season 6 ended, but the manga is still ongoing and the six seasons covered up to volume twenty. In addition, some chapters were skipped over and there were also some anime-only episodes. The last movie has two different stories that could also have been incorporated into Season 7 through several episodes. The reason why a new season still has not been announced is a bit blurry considering the specifics.
What are fans saying about Natsume Yuujinchou Season 7?
Not a lot of threads and conversations about Season 7, but for a good reason: the fandom just got a movie this year, full of new content. Sure, fans are still expecting a new season for the anime, but they are still well fed: the manga is still being published at a regular pace (volume 27 in September 2021) and they have even received a movie.
The Subreddit and Twitter are busy, with fans sharing their fanarts, pictures of their new goodies, their opinions, etc. The official account for the anime is also keeping busy with new posts almost everyday. The anime scored fantastically on AniList, MAL and IMDB (for all seasons).
Will there be Natsume Yuujinchou Season 7?
Natsume Yuujinchou started as a manga written and illustrated by Yuki Midorikawa. Serialization began in January 2005, and it is still ongoing with twenty-seven volumes out. The manga was very well received. In 2008, it was nominated in the first edition of the Manga Taisho Awards, and volumes often make the Weekly Best Seller (manga) list through the years and the Da Vinci Book of the Year ranking. A spinoff titled Nyanko-sensei goes! It started in May 2015 and ended in June 2020 after five volumes. The title also generated a light novel with three volumes out from January 2013 to September 2018.
Natsume Yuujinchou inspired two movies released in September 2018 and January 2021. The second movie ranked #7 in its opening week. Both films were released on Blu-ray by Aniplex. Finally, five OVAs and one OAD were added to the anime. NIS America released season 1-4 on Blu-ray. It is possible to find all six seasons on Blu-ray and DVD on websites like Amazon, eBay or Animate, but it will be the Chinese or Japanese editions. Some do have English subtitles though. The DVDs and Blu-ray tend to sell pretty well and make the weekly rankings.
If you check the official Twitter account, you will quickly notice that the franchise generates a crazy amount of cute goodies. The merchandising around Natsume yuujinchou is terrific with so many different products, you will get lost (pouch, curtains, mug, glasses, pen, tote bags, and so forth).
You will notice that Nyanko sensei is running the show. Through Google Trends, we can see that the title is enjoying a stable graph in Japan with the period around January climbing higher (undoubtedly due to the movie). Even if it looks kind of hectic in the West, the graph is still pretty constant in its numbers. When combining both maps from both pages, we can see that Natsume Yuujinchou is popular in many countries.
When will Natsume Yuujinchou Season 7 be released?
No date is available since there is no update.
It might be the case for a while since the last movie was only released in 2021. We can only hope that that movie was a prologue to Season 7 and that the fandom will receive good news in 2022. The reason could be that the Production Committee considers that seven volumes are not enough to provide ample material even if Natsume Yuujinchou tends to only work with one cour for each season.
What can we expect in Season 7 of Natsume Yuujinchou?
Season 7 has a lot to offer as several questions are still hanging in the air. How did Madara get sealed? What was the real nature of the bond between him and Reiko? Will Takashi confide in the Fujiwaras about his power? There are still many spirits to release after all! Natsume Yuujinchou definitely deserves a new season (maybe an announcement for 2022?).