Natsume Yuujinchou or Natsume’s book of friends by Yuki Midorikawa is a breath of fresh air if you really love slice of life anime involving some core Japanese religious cultures full of spirits, ghosts and ayakashi.
The struggle to accept one’s true self and face their flaws is what makes us strong as human beings. The pain and suffering that comes with this path makes us kind to others. This is what every fan of Natsume has learnt from his life experiences.
If you are interested in more of the yokai culture then these Top 10 anime are your best treats!
Studio: Toei Animation
Mononoke is the closest anime related to the concept of yokai yet the farthest in genre compared to Natsume Yuujinchou.
This psychological horror, mystery anime roams around a wandering nameless “Medicine seller” who encounters the “mononoke” or ayakashis. They cling to different people and cause havoc.The medicine seller can only unseathe and exorcise them after knowing the form, truth and reason of its existence.
The animation and character designs are completely different from the standard shounen type anime. The art style is taken from the 17th century Japanese painting motifs which makes it hard to ignore. The creativity and storytelling fashion is quite intriguing if you are looking for a witty, engaging and beautiful series.
Mushishi is an episodic anime series which means every episode consists of one story. Although the episodes are connected they don’t have a solid storyline.
in this series Gingko, a “mushi expert” travels town to town researching the different mushi-s. Mushi-s are like the basic form of life and their effect on humanity is what Gingko is curious about.
Mushishi is not an anime that will glue you to your seat. However, it will relax you and will make you question- why things happen in life.
The soundtracks complementing the smooth transitions of the series makes it lovable. Even though the series is episodic, yet it’s not repetitive as you may think it to be.
The Eccentric Family
Studio: P. A Works
Episodes: Season 1-13; Season 2- 12
The Eccentric Family or Uchōten Kazoku welcomes you to the world of two popular yokais- tanuki and tengu.
This Slice of Life comedy drama involves the tanuki family, the Shimogamo roaming around modern Kyoto looking for fun experiences through some dark times. The Tanukis, as the urban story goes can turn into anything and everything they wish. Thus giving them an advantage to mingle with human beings and know their way of life.
With realistic backgrounds and mind blowing dialogues this series will stay close to your heart. The relationship of characters in this series has close resemblance to Natsume, encompassing friendship, love of family and adventures.
If you don’t have enough time to sit through a whole lot of episodes and still want to enjoy the bitter-sweet world of the unknown, then we got you covered. These movies will surely make you fall for the mysterious creatures!
Hotarubi no mori e
Studio: Brain’s Base
A simple shoujo anime with only two characters Gin, a yamagami or mountain yokai and Hotaru, a little girl who gets lost in the forest. The beautiful friendship between Gin and Hotaru which later transcends to a blissful romance will come to you as one of the most pleasing movies.
The story is not complicated but it sure is meaningful. The climax is satisfying though a bit sad. It makes you realize the importance of time; that we don’t have any control over it, thus we must enjoy our life while we can.
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Spirited away, the Academy Awards winning movie created by Hayao Miyazaki is a great example for this supernatural genre of spirits and ghosts. Though some movies may be misleading despite their names, this one already gives away the main plot of the movie.
The story of 10 year old Chihiro caught up in a series of events in a seemingly abandoned amusement park swarming with oodles of spirits is a visual marvel. The encounters with different forms of spirits and their morals teaches her the value of hard work.
A beautiful screenplay with aesthetic imagery and hidden messages worthy of its fame.
Letter to Momo
Studio: Production I.G
Letter to Momo is a heartwarming coming of age movie about a girl Momo and her journey to find out about her father after his death.
The plot of the movie might not be its stronghold but the interactions with the different characters in a beautiful setting in the outskirts of Japan is a great watch. The yokais with their particular quirks mostly constitute the comedic side of this delightful screenplay.
The next animes that we have for you are mostly popular for its shounen culture with the supernatural genre as its main base.
Mob Psycho 100
Episodes: Season1: 12 ; Season 2: 13
The world that this show takes place is home to: spirits and psychics. Spirits who mostly cause troubles. Psychics who have the mental ability to get rid of them.
Our protagonist Mob is one such psychic who becomes the apprentice of a so-called psychic Reigen who is little more than a con-artist. The relationship of these two is questionable to everyone but their bond seems to be stronger than any psychic power.
The best elements of the series are the humour and art style. The characters drawn are almost carbon copies of the original manga which makes it quiet unique. Do check it out!
Soul eater as the name suggests has a lot to do with eating human souls and making a mess.
The plot is set in Death City home to Death Weapon Meister Academy headed by Lord Death himself. The students have the mission to raise “Death Scythes” made from human souls who have the ability to transform into Demon weapons.
The animation contains hip urban designs with fresh characters, enough to glue your eyes at first glimpse. Each character has their own unique identity which makes it hard to choose a favourite.
Episodes: Season 1- 12+2ova ; Season 2: 13+2ova
Noragami is a world of its own. It is a universe of eight million Gods, dead spirits who serve them and some of them who meddle in human affairs. The duty of the Gods is to slay ayakashis or phantoms in order to protect the human beings from losing themselves.
The core story involves a lesser known god Yato who one day wishes to be a great God prayed by all humanity. However, he has reduced to working normal jobs with his regalia(sacred weapons) to help humans and collect enough money to build at least one shrine. During the events, he meets Hiyori who becomes an ayakashi when she tries to save Yato.
The animation and directions are pretty good. It is a fun introduction to Japanese Shinto mythology if you are interested, though it’s just an inspiration rather than the strict themes of the show.
Yeah!! Another big shounen is in the making to swoop you off and make history!
Yuuji Itadori, started off his paranormal activities at his tiny Occult club at school and ended up inheriting the “king of curses”-Sukuna Ryoumen. He resolves to save humanity from cursed demons and supernatural beings by becoming one himself.
The storyline of Jujutsu Kaisen emphasises mainly “curses” and “exorcists”. It has little to do with yokais but definitely focuses dark spirits and ayakashis in this urban fantasy setting. It is really appealing to the Japanese audience as well despite its twisted presentation of the religious culture.
The anime has an awesome opening and gorgeous art style; much that we are familiar with. Thus I am sure its gonna blow up and take the anime world by storm.
Yeah, so that’s all folks! I hope senpai was of help. If you want to add some of your own, shy not! Go ahead and comment down below! Mata ne ^-^