I decided to talk about both of these at the same time, because in some ways they are very alike, but in many ways they are exceedingly different as well. I could draw you a venn-diagram, but that would just be silly. They are both rather mellow shows about supernatural entities, but they differ due to lead character differences, and Mushishi can have some creepy undertones as well.
This is a 4 season long anime that I’ve never thought to watch before until it was suggested vaguely to me during a 6 hour long car ride to a convention. Little did I know I would get wrapped up into it so much that I’d immediately order a Nyanko-sensei plushie off eBay in the middle of watching the show, about half way through the second season! XD
So this story is about a quiet boy named Natsume (duh) who can see youkai. Due to this he was cast out as a child because no one else could see what he could see. His past is actually depressing and all I wanted to do was hug him tightly; though now he does have friends who have come to understand him… except he still hides things from him.
He soon meets my favorite character of all! Nyanko-sensei! Aka the fat lucky cat youkai that helps out Natsume and is a totally drunken fat cat. I LOVE HIM! Oh…I suppose I should mention what the story behind this show is…
Natsume has a book, called the Book of Friends that was left behind by his Grandmother. This book is full of the names of youkai and Natsume wants to give them all back to the youkai.
It’s all so heartwarming and adorable and Natsume is just so lovable!!
There are four seasons of Natsume Yuujinchou:
Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou
Natsume Yuujinchou San
Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
Each follows the other and they are all equally wonderful. There are no huge climatic battles or anything like that. There are subtle emotional battles and overcoming worries and fears. It’s a nice break the normal animes where there are just battle after battle or school girl panties. (Not that those aren’t nice or anything……)
I saw a gif set on Tumblr, and honestly that’s what got me started on this series. (I can't ignore a cool gif set when it appears on my dashboard) After watching the first episode I was hooked. I love the lead guy, Ginko! He is mysterious and totally cool! *swoon* He travels all around to help people plagued by “mushi” which are creatures that live alongside us that not everyone can see. The way they are explained in the show is very interesting, and makes you wonder if something like that really could exist! (Believer in ghosts and what have you right here) They can cause issues for people (Lack of sight, loss of hearing, etc.)
It’s only 1 season long with 25 episodes of pure wonderment. It’s interesting to watch shows like this that seem to be about folklore and spirits. They are my favorite types of anime and I’m really glad that I stumbled upon this one!
It’s darker than Natsume Yuujinchou and I liked that. Sometimes Ginko saves the people plagued with Mushi and other times, things don’t quite work out as they should. You also get to learn some interesting little tidbits along with some myths. It’s paced slowly although it does seem to follow a timeline, aside from a few flash-back episodes (which were awesome and explained what I wanted to know about the lead character~)
The ending wasn’t too concrete, though there was no way to really END the series, since he is still working and doing what he’s doing. It’s that kind of ambiguous ending that I have no problem with, like an open-ended book or something. It’s still an amazing series and worth checking out. I adored all the episodes and watched it while ignoring homework. Oops.
So….basically what I’m saying is….
These are both series that I highly recommend checking out. I fell in love with both of them! I don’t want to rank them, but I’d suggest Mushishi if you want something mellow yet dark and intriguing. If you are looking for relaxed, sweet, and consistent then I’d suggest Natsume Yuujinchou! Happy anime watching!