Last summer, I had the chance to watch Natsume Yuujinchou, Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou,s prequel, and my verdict was that it was a really charming series with heart and love into it. I also said that i was hooked enough to take a look into it's sequels, and that I did.
The story of 2008's Natsume Yuujinchou ( or Natsume's Book of friends) is continued in the same line of thinking. It expands where we left out delivering in some small one-episode (for most of it) stories exactly as the first one did it. I also found these stories refreshing, calm and unbelievably poetic; I absolutely adored that. It stayed true to the original premise while booasting on the lyric side of these stories: the human side of youkai, something that most series about youkai don't do and instead picturing them as ghosts or evil beings. For me, Natsume is one the most poetic series out there, it truly feels like a sooting poem you're reading to relax. I just felt that we could have seen Natsume,s friends a bit more, but apart from that, it was an excellent series. I like to compare the series as human friendly version of XXXHolic.
The animation is done by one of my favorite anime studios, Brain's Base. I still felt that, like its predecessor, the series feel like low-budgeted, even for a Brain's Base production. But that just means thst they are so good that they can wonders with low-budget, that's why I love them so much.
The soundtrack, once again, is subtle and calm in the image of the series. The voice actors of the first season reprise their roles for goodness. Good prestation in general from all characters. Hiroshi Kamiya was just brilliant as Natsume because he voices him with care, precision and calm, portraying him well.
The characters are basically the same from the first season, but we have new faces appear as the lovely Taki, that I feel will come back in the sequel. In general, Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou's cast is diverse and well worked up to offer the viewer tons of characters to love. Natsume Takashi stands onece again as an unbelivably lovable character to follow and to care for.
Overall, if you liked Natsume Yuuijinchou and waht it had to offer you, you'll definitely love Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou as an simple but excellent continuation of the main premise. Consider me STILL hooked for the third season, San Natsume Yuujinchou and eventually the fourth season coming up in early 2012. To say, I can't say wich one between the first and second season was better. They were equally good.
NOTE: I really want to read the manga now! I will try to get it. If the animated series ever come out in DVD in America, I might consider it a serious get.
Score: A really, far from perfect, good series with charm and heart. 4/5.
Next! I'm getting in something completely different this time. Sailor Moon. Also, my DVD reviews of Soul Eater and Guardian of the Spirit ( Seirei no Moribito) will soon be up.