Natsume’s Book of Friends (Natsume Yujincho) is a quiet and sentimental manga by Yuki Midorikawa, which follows an orphaned boy named Takashi Natsume who can see spirits. The manga has been running since 2003 and has so far been adapted into 6 TV anime series. On September 29, the very first theatrical movie of the franchise, Natsume’s Book of Friends The Movie: Tied to the Temporal World, will be released in Japanese cinemas. The series has been running strong for such a long time that there is surely nobody in Japan who hasn’t seen the character of Nyanko-sensei at least once in the past decade or so.
With the release date of the movie heading closer and closer, two of the cast members made their way to Kyoto for a special stage talk titled ‘Kyoto Mafu Mafu Hen’. The two guests were Nyanko-sensei/Madara’s voice actor Kazuhiko Inoue and Kaname Tanuma’s voice actor Kazuma Horie.
The stage started with just the voices of the guests. They talked about what they most associate with Kyoto. One of the things they said was ‘kimono’, and they both came onto the stage looking very lovely in traditional kimono outfits.
The pair decided to ask the audience some questions. They first asked how many members had seen every series of Natsume’s Book of Friends. They were surprised at just how many people raised their hands! The anime series has been running for a decade now, and Inoue started to say that although he hasn’t changed, those who were children when the series started are now teenagers! Doesn’t time fly?
They then moved into a corner called ‘Nyanko-sensei’s Yokai Classroom’, which is usually introduced on the radio program. The character Tanuma is able to sense yokai but is not able to see them, which is why Horie donned an eyemask and had to guess what the item was that Inoue was holding. The item in question was a special Nyanko-sensei popcorn box that would be going on sale just in time for the movie! Inoue started to open it up and eat the popcorn, and then he started touching Horie with the box. Horie’s surprised reactions got a laugh out of the audience. He said that it smelled good, so it must have been something edible, but Inoue then hit him with the box to show that it was hard. He seemed very confused as to how something could be edible yet as hard as plastic. His guess was… an alarm clock? Wrong! As Horie took off his eye mask, Inoue answered in Nyanko-sensei’s voice that he had popcorn inside of him (the box). He then asked the audience if they enjoyed seeing such reactions from Horie in real life.
Inoue mentioned that after eating the popcorn, some of it got stuck in the microphone. He apologized in Madara’s voice, which got a swoon from the audience, and he explained that he had to use Madara’s voice at some point too, as he has been using Nyanko-sensei’s voice a lot during the event!
A trailer for the movie was then shown. You may have already seen the cute tiny triple Nyanko-sensei kittens and wondered what they are about. Inoue said he would let us in on the secret. The reason for the triple Nyankos is…. because the director felt like it. This got a big laugh for the audience and reminded us to go and see the movie if we want to find out!
After enjoying some relaxing talk with each other, they introduced the cinemas across Japan which will invite the cast members as guests. You can find more information on the official website, but feel free to contact MANGA.TOKYO if you need help in working out how you can join!
The pair then said their goodbyes to the audience with shouts of thank you and ‘mafu mafu!’.