New Natsume's Book of Friends Anime Film Reveals Title, Staff, Cast, Story

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An official website opened on Friday to confirm that the Natsume's Book of Friends anime franchise is getting a new anime film that will open in Japan in early spring 2021. The website revealed a visual, plus the returning staff and cast. The film is titled Natsume Yūjin-Chō: Ishi Okoshi to Ayashiki Raihōsha (Natsume's Book of Friends: The Waking Rock and the Strange Visitor).

The film will be made up of two stories: "Ishi Okoshi" and "Ayashiki Raihōsha." In "Ishi Okoshi," Natsume meets a small yōkai called Mitsumi in a forest. Mitsumi is entrusted to wake up the divine yōkai "Iwatetsu" from its deep slumber. Mitsumi weighs on Natsume's mind, so he sets out to help Mitsumi with his task. In "Ayashiki Raihōsha," a mysterious visitor appears in front of Tanuma. Nearly every day, the visitor visits Tanuma, talks to him a little, and then leaves. Natsume, who knows the visitor is a yōkai, worries for Tanuma, but Tanuma enjoys these exchanges with the yōkai. The yōkai means no harm, but Tanuma's health slowly starts to deteriorate.

Aniplex is distributing the film. The returning staff includes chief director and scriptwriter Takahiro Ōmori at anime studio Shuka, director Hideki Ito, scriptwriter Sadayuki Murai, and composer Makoto Yoshimori.

Other staff members include:

Storyboards, Production: Hideki Ito, Miyuki Oshiro Yokai Design, Action Animation Director: Tatsuo Yamada Sub-Character Design: Hiromitsu Hagiwara Animation Directors: Eri Yamazaki,Orie Tanaka Art: Yukihiro Shibutani Color Design: Hiromi Miyawaki Editing: Kazuhiko Seki Photography: Hitoshi Tamura

The returning cast includes:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Takashi Natsume Kazuhiko Inoue as Nyanko-sensei, Madara Kazuma Horie as Kaname Tanuma Takaya Kuroda as Misuzu Akemi Okamura as Hinoe Chō as Chōbihige Takashi Matsuyama as One-Eyed Middle Class Yōkai Hiroshi Shimozaki as Ox-Faced Middle Class Yōka

Yuki Midorikawa's Natsume's Book of Friends (Natsume Yūjin-Chō) manga debuted in Hakusensha's LaLa DX magazine in June 2003. The manga's 25th compiled book volume shipped on June 5. Viz Media is releasing the ongoing series in English. The manga has inspired six television anime seasons and several OVAs.

The anime seasons and Midorikawa's original manga revolve around Natsume, a boy who has been able to see yōkai since he was little. Unfortunately, humans shun him, and there is not much fondness between him and yōkai either. One day, he inherits a Yūjin-Chō ("Book of Friends") from his grandmother. The book is actually full of contracts that his grandmother made to trap yōkai. As one yōkai after another shows up, Natsume tries to release or help them — even while many of them seek vengeance on him.

The Natsume Yujin-cho the Movie: Ephemeral Bond film, the most recent anime in the franchise, debuted in September 2018. Aniplex of America released the film on Blu-ray Disc last November. Aniplex of America screened the film at the Anime NYC convention in November 2018. The anime tells an original story.

Sources: Natsume Yūjin-Chō: Ishi Okoshi to Ayashiki Raihōsha film's website, MoCa News

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