Better late than never! That's how I discover Natsume Yuujinchou, already into its fifth season! Can you believe that! What makes this anime so special is a mix of great storytelling, memorable characters, utterly enchanting music - the complete look and feel that I appreciate for its slow-burn pace and sentimental familiarity. As of this writing, there are already six episodes.

How can Takashi Natsume not be such an interesting character? 

Let's see. There are enough literary and film characters that best describe a boy who is different, lonely and an orphan - from Dicken's Oliver Twist to Louise Malle's Julien and Jean in "Au revoir les enfants" to Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker. Like them, Natsume is a selfless kid who goes out of his way to help others - even the youkai who have all the intention of killing him and take the "book of friends."

My previous review of Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa) tackles body swap, loneliness, self-discovery, tragedy, and connection. There is no doubt it's a unique anime, and we are reminded about it's 'specialness' almost on a daily basis:

An article by Hiromi Nagamochi at The Asahi Shimbun talks about the 'sudden influx' of visitors to Hida at Gifu Prefecture, one of the locations in Your Name:

The surge in interest stems from comments Shinkai made about Hida, the northernmost city in Gifu Prefecture. He said he had Hida in mind for a rural town in which the heroine in the story lives. This caused a buzz among social networking service users who pointed out that the city looks identical to the fictional town. [ read more ]

Nagamochi further explains that people armed with smartphones and cameras " surge toward an overpass on the north side of the station building at Hida-Furukawa Station on the JR Takayama Line. The structure is considered a model for the station where Taki gets off at the end of his trip from Tokyo to find Mitsuha. The station building, the platforms and other structures around the station have been faithfully re-created in the film."

While my preferences for Japanese movies are the historical, grand epic family-centered ones, I love my anime to be school/ slice of life (preferably comedic and light) series. Though it's not a good thing to limit one's preference in anime, especially when there are so much to choose from! 

Anyway, when I first saw the cover for Handa-kun, I switched to overdrive- watched the initial episode and got ready for a marathon.

Based on the manga written by Satsuki Yoshino, Handa-kun, I later found out, is a spin-off of Yoshino's earlier work - Barakamon. Someone even labeled it as "barakamon-based fan milking" which I disagree, though there is some truth to it.