Characters: Natsume's Book of Friends
The characters for the manga and anime Natsume Yuujinchou
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The Natsumes and Madara
- Accidental Misnaming: Nobody besides Natsume bothers to get Nyanko-sensei's name right.
- Giving us such gems as Nyan-Nyan Sensei, Nyankichi-kun, Nyangoro, Kitty, Cat-Dumpling, Tanuki, etc. Tanuma eschews trying to remember it altogether, and just calls him Ponta.
- In the manga, Natsume usually just referred to him as "cat" in the early chapters. His anime self is a little more respectful though. A little.
- The Alcoholic: Really likes to drink sake in his spare time.
- Amplified Animal Aptitude: Downplayed but Nyanko-sensei seems to be really good with his fingers/paws in cat form. For example, he can hold chopsticks, hold teacups, reading the economic section of the newspaper, etc (though he still relies on Natsume for opening cans and such).
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Gets frequently distracted in his cat-form, often mid-sentence.
- Badass Baritone / Power Makes Your Voice Deep: Definitely a powerful youkai, his voice is more deeper when he is in youkai form. However, in his Maneki Neko form (which his powers are more restricted), his voice sounds a lot more nasally.
- Bathtub Bonding: He loves to bathe with Natsume, though Natsume does not. Sensei refuses to get the message, eventually Natsume gives up on expecting to get any personal space from him.
- Berserk Button : Though only once seen when Natsume gets shot
- Beware the Silly Ones: Calls himself middle-aged, acts accordingly, and looks nothing near capable of kicking butt, but get him angry and he turns into a...
- Big Damn Heroes: His main role in this series.
- Big Eater
- Big Ego, Hidden Depths
- Bolt of Divine Retribution: Expect this to happen if you insult Madara's singing or make remarks about his weight.
- Canis Major: His true form is a huge and powerful inugami.
- Cats Are Mean
- Deadpan Snarker
- The Dreaded: To low-level Youkai.
- Drowning My Sorrows: When he thinks Natsume has replaced him with a real cat that he was temporarily looking after. He gets so drunk and bad tempered the other Youkai become terrified of him.
- Fat Cat: To the point when his paws sometimes makes little earthquakes when he walks.
- Fluffy Dry Cat: We get one picture of Natsume blow drying Nyanko-sensei too long.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly: Inverted. As an Inugami/Dog God, he's extremely powerful, capable of existing independently without worship.
- Gonk: Pretty much known to everyone as "Natsume's hideous cat".
- Ugly Cute: Taki (and probably you) finds him to be irresistibly adorable, and glomps him whenever she gets the chance.
- Giant Flyer
- I Am Big Boned: Very insistent that his cat form is not fat, merely very fluffy.
- If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: His relationship with Natsume is formed on this trope - in return for serving as his bodyguard, he gets the Book of Friends after Natsume dies.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Natsume keeps him on a leash, but he has asked on occasion to eat particularly grating humans.
- The Imp
- Intellectual Animal: Kind of, seeing as most Youkai tend to be at least sentient.
- I Am Not Weasel: Though in this case, a cat.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: For all his claims to be a ruthless, cruel and uncaring monster who threatens to eat other youkai or humans on a whim, Madara is terribly benign compared to many other youkai that appears in the series. That image stayed for a little while to begin with, but is completely shattered when Madara pulls a Ghibli-style rescue on a little girl who fell down a cliff. Wanting the Yuujinchou was definitely one of his most important motives, and even this is called into question when Madara tempted Nastume to drink mermaid blood. Nastume called him out on this, saying if he was immortal, Madara would never get the Yuujinchou, to which Madara lapses into silence.
- Just Eat Him: What he has considered to do to Natsume if the Book of Friends gets any smaller, and tried often, but failed. He even unintentionally tries to "sleep eat" Natsume on occasion, which yields similar results.
- He often forgets the deal he made with Natsume, embellishing it with many small details, such as saying that he's being given permission to eat Takashi when he dies to other rival youkai.
- When asked by Benio why he doesn't just eat Natsume and take the book by force, he reveals he's merely killing time and that human lives are terribly short. It would be a sad waste to end the fun prematurely, and he'd rather postpone it.
- Maneki Neko: His Shapeshifter Default Form.
- Mentor Mascot: Natsume even address him as "Sensei".
- Noble Demon: Madara continues to insist that he's really nasty and uncaring and only hangs around Natsume because the latter is his prey (or alternatively his servant). He's not really fooling anyone.
- Not So Above It All: Nyanko-sensei regularly brings up his truly awesome powers and the fact that he is "not a fortune cat, damn it!" - until Natsume starts petting him, or hangs a toy in front of his face. Or he spots a grasshopper. Or a little girl has fallen down a cliff and needs rescuing.
- Not Your Problem: Tries to convince Takashi into this, but, well, doesn't always work.
- Papa Wolf: Don't harm Natsume if you know what's good for you.
- Power Tattoo: In youkai form, he has mark on his forehead that glows to fend off or exorcise youkai.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Natsume is almost fatally wounded by Matoba.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: In Sleep Mode Size.
- Sarcastic Devotee
- Sleep Mode Size: He's been sealed inside a Maneki Neko for so long that it's effectively become his default form.
- Snarky Non-Human Sidekick
- Sore Loser: He hates losing games.
- Spirit Advisor: Kind of.
- Super Weight: Madara is one of the strongest Youkai shown in the series. He makes claims that he's the best of them all, and this may very well be true.
- Team Pet: Sort of. He's not technically a pet.
- This Is My Human: He gets incensed whenever other youkai try to possess or take Natsume away from him.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Can transform into a Maneki Neko, a Canis Major true form, a girlnote , an old man, and Natsume Takashi.
- Youkai: Obviously. (He appears to be an inugami or some manner of wolf spirit in his true form.)
- You Fool!: What he frequently calls Natsume, who goes out of his way to help human and youkai alike at his own expense.
- You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: What he frequently warns any foolish low-rank youkai who fail to recognize his true form and power.
- Even Japanese mythological gods/deities don't recognize him as anything other than an "overgrown beast".
Voiced by: Eiji Itou
- Good Parents
- Happily Married: To Touko.
- Parental Substitute
- Muggle Foster Parents: He is unaware about Natsume's ability though it is possible that he might suspect something. His kindness has help soften Natsume's outlook on life.
- Open-Minded Parent: One chapter has Natsume completely wreck a room due to an exorcism spell in order to get rid of youkai that cursed the house. When Shigeru stumbled upon this room, looking like a very familiar incident of the past, he let's it slide as he knew Natsume did not purposely try to wreck the house. In later scenes, we do see him being more supportive of Natsume and him being against putting too many limitations on Natsume's freedom.
Voiced by: Hisayoshi Suganuma
- A Day in the Limelight: Chapter 51.2
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Occasionally plays the Straight Man to Nishimura, but not constantly.
- Childhood Friends: With Nishimura, or at least it seems that way.
- Missing Mom: While his mom didn't appear in Kitamoto's special focus chapters, it is mentioned that she is out working since their father is ill.
- Nice Guy: One of Natsume's first friends after moving with the Fujiwaras. Warns him about the violent senpai and tries to protect Natsume twice from some unseen youkai during his special bonus chapters.
- Those Two Guys: Along with Nishimura, though contrary to the trope, they have fairly important roles in the plot as one of the few (non-psychic) people who are close friends of Natsume. They also get more screentime than anyone other than Natsume and Nyanko-sensei and a fair bit of fleshing out in the manga.
- A Day in the Limelight: Chapter 51.1
- Aloof Big Brother: Revealed to have one in his special focus chapter.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Occasionally plays the funny man to Kitamoto, but not constantly.
- Those Two Guys: Along with Kitamoto.
- Nice Guy: Natsume's first real friend, he and Kitamoto really do a lot for him.
- Childhood Friends: With Kitamoto.
- Chivalrous Pervert: In most series, he would not be considered this. In such a series as this, when he is the only one of Natsume's companions who has a crush on somebody and insists that they should have a cafe with bunny girls for the school festival, he comes off as one.
- Innocently Insensitive: One of the author's notes in volume 13 states that he gets into conflicts due to this.
- The McCoy: Allegedly the most soft-hearted of Natsume's friends.
- Sibling Ying-Yang: Nishimura is more laidback and cheerful while his older brother is more studious and stoic.
- The Unfavourite: His family is mainly preoccupied with his older brother's studies, going to the point where Nishimura makes his lunches himself.
Voiced by: Kazuma Horie
- Affectionate Nickname / Embarrassing Nickname: "Kaname-chan" by his aunt. Not necessary embaressing but enough Natsume's friends tease him about it.
- Action Survivor: Deconstructed in the Omibashira arc when Tanuma is forced to become this after Natsume is kidnapped to become a meal offering. Despite the strain from being near youkai, he does manage to disguise himself as a one and sneak into the place. He tries to free the real Natsume by making a bluff but almost gets caught and attacked. Things begin to go downhill from there
- Dressing as the Enemy: For the aforementioned example above.
- Ill Boy: He's more vulnerable to the influence of spirits, so he tends to get sick quite easily.
- Missing Mom: While we have seen his father on two separate occasions, we have yet to see or hear any mentions about his mother.
- Nice Guy
- Non-Action Guy: Due to his illness. Acts more of a more support role for Natsume
- Not Good with People: Tanuma also sees Youkai, but worries that he won't be of any use, or will just be a burden on Natsume, because of his weak power - he can only see shadows and glimpses of Youkai.
- Psychic Powers: Can understand Nyanko-sensei, feel the youkai's presence and can sometimes see shadows, can't exactly see their corporeal forms.
- Secret Keeper: Became one when Natsume confirms Tanuma's suspicions about the shadows he sees though Natsume asks he keep it a secret.
- Cuteness Proximity: Although her eye for cuteness is called into question when she has this reaction to Nyanko-sensei (who everyone else regards as the cat equivalent to a Gonk).
- Identical Granddaughter: According to the youkai that knew her grandfather and have confused her for him. However, this might somewhat exaggerated considering that youkai don't recognize gender.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover
- The Quiet One: At first, but that was only because an evil youkai cursed her, so that the last thirteen people whose names she says will die. Natsume helps her break it. After that, she became more like the Genki Girl.
- Nice Girl
- Parental Abandonment: Downplayed but most of her family is out of the house: both her brother and father are overseas while her mom often comes late back from work, making Taki feel most closest to her grandfather who is dead.
- Secret Keeper: Asked Natsume's help after hearing about his ability from a youkai. Along with Tanuma, she helps Nastume give distractions to his other friends.
- The Smart Girl: Knows quite a bit of youkai folklore and its relations to the surrounding area, thanks to her grandfather's books.
- Wholesome Crossdresser - Taki has one panel◊ of this for a school festival crossdressing cafe, and looks damn good too.
- Unfazed Everyman: One of Natsume's friends who know his secret but doesn't have the ability. She still is quite knowledgeable about them and has encounters by herself, thanks material grandfather left behind. Chapter 64-65 actually explores on the idea if ordinary humans should have contact with the supernatural.
Yes, he's fabulous. No, he's not as dickish as he looks.
- Animated Tattoo: Natori has one which is also a Youkai.
- Big Brother Mentor: Slowly becomes this to Natsume.
- Bishie Sparkle: Relentlessly mocked by Natsume and Nyanko-sensei.
- Bishōnen: Which helps him in his acting career.
- Big Damn Heroes: If it's not Nyanko-sensei bailing Natsume out of a tough spot, then it's probably Natori.
- Chick Magnet
- Cultured Badass: Despite being a suave part-time actor, he's quite a talented exorcist even without the backing up of a clan.
- Distinguishing Mark: Has a lizard shaped birthmark that moves across his body and can only be seen by other spiritually inclined people. It's actually an ayakashi living inside his skin.
- Even the Guys Want Him: In the manga, Natori's horde of squeeing fangirls includes Nishimura.◊
- Guile Hero:
- Missing Mom: His mother died when Natori was young due to her frail body. Natori, as a child, used to feel responsible for her mother's death until a younger Hiiragi cleared up that misunderstanding.
- Mr. Fanservice
- Nice Hat: More functional than fancy, but it's become a trademark part of his usual disguise.
- I See Them Too: How he introduces himself to Natsume.
- Paper Master: His family seems to specialize in this, as noted by Matoba.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Funnily enough, all he does is put on a hat and glasses to make sure no one recognizes him as an actor.
- Parental Substitute: For Natsume, mainly when it comes to ayakashi.
- Psychic Powers: Can see and exorcise the youkai, since he's an exorcist.
- Psychotic Smirk / Sideways Smile: At the end of chapter 62, it's hard to tell what his true intentions are and (both the wording and art style make it ambiguous).
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Not quite since glass can enhance one's ability to see Ayakashi.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: In his second appearance where he has this look.
- Simple Staff: His Weapon of Choice. There's a paper seal through one end to make it especially effective against youkai.
- Triple Shifter: Both an actor and an exorcist.
- Adaptation Expansion: Not majorly different but she appears slightly more in the anime than manga and was even given a back-story in season 4.
- All of the Other Reindeer: In her back-story, her upbringing as an exorcist made her be considered the oddball from her other classmates.
- Badass Grandma: Quite fit and capable for someone of her age.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite being second-in-command of Matoba clan, we don't see her after chapter 26. This is subverted in the anime as she appears twice in the 4th season (with her second appearance being her back story).
- Gray Eyes: Double subverted of type 2 and arguably type 5 but it's only apparent when you know her line of work.
- Iron Lady: Is the secretary and second-in-command for the Matoba clan.
- Jerkass: Like Matoba, she uses youkai as bait to draw in powerful shiki and sees nothing wrong with it. The anime's back-story reveals that she does not mind exorcising youkai as she is taught it is the way to keep the world in balance.
- Meganekko: In her childhood.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Believes that hunting youkai is part of Karma and is needed to keep the earth in balance
Kogitsune (The Little Fox-child)
- Adorably Precocious Child
- Cute Monster Girl: A rare male example though to be fair, it's not hard to mistake him for a girl.
- Heartwarming Orphan
- Kitsune: You don't say!
- Contrary to the stereotype, however, he cannot transform (possibly because he is just too young) and is rather straightforward, not tricky in the least, nor particularly cunning.
- Missing Mom: Died before Natsume met him.
- No Name Given
- Mundane Object Amazement: Falls in love with a pretty hat and a cracked human watch.
- Petting Zoo People: Although ordinary people just see him as a regular fox.
- Precocious Crush: Maybe, but he probably just really, really, really admires and looks up to Natsume as a Big Brother Mentor. The rock God's "humans, ayakashi, and beasts have different times" speech to the fox child in season three about why he and Natsume shouldn't be together and his resulting angst seemed to imply something else though.