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New Natsume's Book of Friends Anime Opens on January 16 With Hisako Kanemoto Voicing Forest Spirit

posted on by Egan Loo
Key visual, character designs also posted for new film featuring 2 short stories

The official website for Natsume Yujin-cho: Ishi Okoshi to Ayashiki Raihōsha (Natsume's Book of Friends: The Waking Rock and the Strange Visitor), the new anime in the Natsume's Book of Friends franchise, announced on Saturday that the new anime will open in Tokyo's Shinjuku Wald 9 and other theaters on January 16. The website also announced that Hisako Kanemoto will guest-star as Mitsumi and posted a new key visual.

Participating theaters will start offering special ticket passes with this visual next Saturday, and each pass will also come with a postcard.

Kanemoto's character Mitsumi is a small yōkai whom Natsume meets in the forest in the "Ishi Okoshi" story.

"The Visitor" is a mysterious figure who appears before Tanuma in the "Ayashiki Raihōsha" story.

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 Yujin-cho: Ishi Okoshi to Ayashiki Raihōsha film's website, MoCa News

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