This spring, I went to the Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume’s Book of Friends) 10 year anniversary exhibition in Ginza that took place in March and April. The exhibition had original artifacts from the creation of the anime and latest movie, as well as a bunch of cool interactive activities. The layout of the exhibition and design of all the rooms was fantastic, and it was the most at peace I’ve felt in so long.
I consider Natsume Yuujinchou my favorite anime. It is so soothing, positive, and feels like a lesson in self-care every time I watch it. As a basic background, Natsume Yuujinchou follows the adventures of Takashi Natsume, a teenage boy with an ability to see spirits inherited by his grandmother. Along with his companion Nyanko-sensei, the two trace back clues to finding out who Natsume’s grandmother was while also solving the problems of youkai that come to him (or in some cases, hunt him down). All along, the orphaned and abandoned Natsume is growing and developing as a person, and the relationship and trust between him and Nyanko-sensei shifts overtime. Some episodes make you cry, some are really funny, and some end in suspense. The series has it all! It’s incredibly well done.
While Natsume Yuujinchou is not that popular in the Western anime fan community (mostly due to poor marketing and no dub), it is incredibly popular in Japan. You see Nyanko-sensei on stationery and tablewares in random shops that have nothing to do with anime, and the show has six seasons and a movie… no small feat for a shoujo series in current times. I had the opportunity to see and meet Kazuhiko Inoue, the voice of Nyanko-sensei, at Anime Weekend Atlanta a couple years ago – and hearing him talk about why he thinks the show resonates with people was so touching. Simply put, it helps people unwind from a long day (the show airs late at night, like most anime in Japan) and puts a smile on their face before they go to bed.
That all said, getting to visit the exhibition was a treat. I was so excited. The exhibition opens with a recreation of the scene where Natsume meets Nyanko-sensei, and the main hallway it leads into had scenes from the anime projected on plastic strings you’d push through to enter three various rooms. At the end of the hallway was an area with more installations, artwork, and an exit that led to the exclusive exhibition gift shop. Check out my photos below for the full recap!
There were many rooms where you couldn’t take pictures, par for the course with an exhibition, and this was mostly original artworks by author Yuki Midorikawa. There was also an enormous timeline of the entire series that mysteriously was banned from having photos taken of, so you’ll just have to take my word that it was really cool!
Undoubtedly, my favorite part of the Natsume Yuujinchou exhibition was the replica of Natsume’s bedroom. I stood there for so long dissecting the details of his bedroom, it looked just like the one in the anime! Everything was decorated with such care, and the exhibition was so peaceful and full of inspiration at every turn. Give Natsume Yuujinchou a chance – I promise you won’t be disappointed.
While you’re here, check out my unboxing of the deluxe version of the movie.