10 Anime Like Natsume’s Book of Friends

10 Anime Like Natsume's Book of Friends

In the series Natsume Yuujinchou, the protagonist Takashi Natsume harbors a peculiar and eerie secret involving yokai, which are invisible spirits that coexist with humans.

Natsume stumbles upon discovering that his late grandmother, Reiko, possessed a book called Yuujinchou, which contains the names of spirits she had brought under her control. As the book now falls into Natsume’s hands, it becomes a magnet for supernatural beings who seek liberation from their bindings.


Natsume’s sole companion in this journey is Madara, a self-proclaimed bodyguard who takes the form of a mysterious cat spirit and later adopts the name Nyanko-sensei.

Based on the highly acclaimed manga by Yuki Midorikawa, Natsume Yuujinchou is a captivating blend of slice-of-life and supernatural genres. It follows Natsume’s quest to release the spirits trapped by his grandmother’s contract.


For fans of Natsume Yuujinchou who enjoy supernatural tales intertwined with everyday life elements, here are ten anime recommendations that you might find enticing:

1. Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light

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  • Episodes: 1 Movie
  • Genre: Drama, Romance, Supernatural
  • Studio: Brains Base

Natsume Yuujinchou and Hotarubi no Mori e share a special connection beyond their captivating storytelling. Both works originate from the same creator and share a similar setting, creating a sense of familiarity for fans. Notably, these two anime gems are brought to life by the same animation studio, guided by the same director, and even accompanied by the melodies of the same composer.


In parallel to Natsume’s ability to see Youkai, the female protagonist of Hotarubi no Mori e, Hotaru, also possesses the unique gift of perceiving spirits. Both series delve into melancholy themes and explore the intricate relationships between humans and supernatural beings. Their heartfelt narratives offer viewers an immersive experience into the realms of wonder and emotion.

2. Mushishi

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  • Episodes: 26
  • Genre: Adventure, Slice of Life, Seinen, Supernatural
  • Studio: Artland

Natsume Yuujinchou and Mushishi share a common theme of exploring the intricate connections between spirits, humans, and the natural world. Both anime excels in captivating storytelling, well-developed characters, and skillfully evoking our emotions. In a way, Mushishi can be considered the more mature counterpart of Natsume Yuujinchou, catering to a seinen audience.

Mushishi takes us on a journey alongside the enigmatic protagonist, Ginko, who travels from place to place, assisting in resolving various issues related to the magical and enigmatic Mushi spirits that coexist with humans.

The series adopts a deliberate and unhurried pace, allowing each episode to tell a self-contained story ranging from the darkest to the lightest. This episodic format, complemented by breathtaking scenery and a captivating musical score, enhances the overall immersive experience of Mushishi.


3. Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)

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  • Episodes: 1 Movie
  • Genre: Drama, Mystery, Psychological, Supernatural
  • Studios: Ghibli

Natsume Yuujinchou and Tonari no Totoro explore the realm of spirits gently and heartwarmingly, with Natsume Yuujinchou featuring a “cat” companion. At the same time, Tonari no Totoro introduces us to the whimsical Totoro.

In Tonari no Totoro, set in the 1950s, siblings Satsuki and Mei relocate to the countryside to be closer to their hospitalized mother. As they adjust to their new rural surroundings, Mei encounters a charming creature resembling a rabbit in their yard. Following into the nearby forest, she discovers Totoro, a towering and mystical forest spirit who quickly befriends her.


Before long, Satsuki encounters Totoro, and the sisters are immersed in enchanting adventures and extraordinary creatures within the forest. These magical encounters fill their lives with wonder and joy, creating cherished memories that will stay with them forever.

4. xxxHOLiC

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  • Episodes: 24
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Psychological, Supernatural
  • Studio: Production IG

Both Natsume Yuujinchou and xxxHolic revolve around protagonists who can perceive supernatural phenomena that are invisible to others. These main characters are fortunate to have loyal and accepting best friends who embrace them for who they are. Additionally, despite their sometimes brusque and teasing demeanor, the guardians of these protagonists harbor genuine affection and provide protection.


If you’re a fan of Natsume Yuujinchou, you’re bound to find enjoyment in xxxHolic as well. Both series delves into the rich tapestry of Japanese folklore, offering captivating insights and introducing us to characters that capture our hearts.

While Natsume Yuujinchou leans towards heartfelt and uplifting storytelling, xxxHolic takes a slightly darker yet equally amusing approach. It balances mystery and humor, captivating audiences with its unique elements blend.

5. Monogatari

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  • Episodes: 15 (Bakemonogatari), 24 (Monogatari 2nd Season)
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Psychological, Supernatural
  • Studios: Shafts

One striking similarity between Monogatari and Natsume Yuujinchou is the presence of a shared voice actor, Kamiya Hiroshi, who lends his talent to both series as a main character.

Moreover, these two anime share a similar theme and atmosphere, despite their distinct storytelling and animation styles. They both boast impressive production values, contributing to their overall quality.

Both Monogatari and Natsume Yuujinchou revolve around high school-aged boys who find themselves entangled in encounters with supernatural entities and phenomena. The main characters possess the unique ability to perceive and interact with these otherworldly beings, often embarking on perilous endeavors to offer their assistance.

What sets these series apart is their delicate balance between the tranquility of everyday life and the presence of intense supernatural occurrences. While Monogatari may feature more explicit violence and showcases a renowned harem aspect, it also showcases Shaft’s distinct visual style, which adds a distinct flair to the storytelling.

For those interested in exploring the Monogatari series, resources like the Monogatari Sequence and How-To Watch Guide are available to help navigate the extensive anime franchise.

6. Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (Kakuriyo: Bed and Breakfast for Spirits)

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  • Episodes: 13
  • Genre: Drama, Romance, Supernatural
  • Studios: Gonzo

In both anime series, the ability to see spirits allows the protagonists to forge meaningful connections with supernatural entities. These encounters lead to the formation of numerous friendships in the supernatural realm.

Both shows offer a leisurely storytelling approach, enveloped in captivating music and stunning visuals that enhance the viewing experience.

In Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi, the main character Aoi Tsubaki possesses the unique ability to see ayakashi, spirits from the Hidden Realm. This ability was passed down to her by her grandfather, who shared the same gift. Guided by her grandfather’s teachings, Aoi learns to coexist harmoniously with the ayakashi.

The anime follows Aoi’s transformative journey as she discovers her talent for cooking exquisite dishes. Through her culinary skills, she begins to touch the lives of ayakashi, ultimately becoming a catalyst for positive change in their world. Her delicious cooking is a powerful tool to forge connections and bridge the gap between humans and ayakashi.

7. Gingitsune

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  • Episodes: 12
  • Genre: Seinen, Slice of Life, Supernatural
  • Studio: Diomedea

In this anime’s world, a fox spirit named Gintarou exists. For centuries, Gintarou has been the guardian of a humble shrine dedicated to Inari, the deity of harvest and fertility, since the Edo period.

On the other hand, we have Saeki Makoto, who comes from a family blessed with the extraordinary ability to perceive the divine agents of the gods. However, this gift is restricted to only one living relative at a time.

Tragically, Makoto’s mother passed away when he was young, making him the sole heir to this remarkable power.

Joined by the mighty fox spirit, Gintarou, Makoto embarks on a journey to assist and bring solace to the people of their community. Despite their contrasting natures and backgrounds, the duo forms an unlikely partnership, utilizing their unique abilities and perspectives to impact the lives of those around them positively.

8. Fukigen na Mononokean (The Morose Mononokean)

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  • Episodes: 13
  • Genre: Comedy, Supernatural
  • Studio: Pierrot Plus

Both anime series have the same story premise about a young man who can see youkai and has to live with them. Both have a unique atmosphere and are a good watch.

As his health declines and the creature grows, Hanae finds a flyer advertising an exorcist that can exorcise youkai.

Haruitsuki Abeno then helps Hanae but demands payment afterward. He must team up with Abeno to guide various dangerous, strange, and interesting youkai back to the Underworld.

9. Dororo

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  • Episodes: 24
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Historical, Supernatural
  • Studio: Tezuka Productions, MAPPA

Although set in different historical periods, both anime explore the realm of youkai, highlighting the importance of family bonds and friendship. Rooted in Japanese folklore, they delve into the shared theme of confronting or embracing a painful past to forge a new path forward.

In the world of Dororo, we follow the journey of a wandering samurai who crosses paths with an orphan named Dororo. Despite their disparate backgrounds, they form an unlikely friendship and must navigate a treacherous world teeming with relentless demons.

Together, these two outcasts face countless challenges and fight for their survival. Their resilience and determination testify to the strength of their bond and their unwavering will to overcome the obstacles in their path.

10. Uchouten Kazoku (The Eccentric Family)

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  • Episodes: 12 (Season 1), 12 (Season 2)
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Slice of Life, Supernatural
  • Studio: PA Works

Natsume Yuujinchou and Uchouten Kazoku transport us to enchanting worlds filled with mystical creatures and fantastical elements. The main protagonists in these series share similar personalities and embark on journeys that involve forming meaningful connections with a diverse range of characters. The blend of slice-of-life moments, dramatic encounters, and comedic elements add depth and richness to the storytelling.

In Kyoto, a hidden society of tanuki and tengu has coexisted with humans for generations, unbeknownst to the general population. Enter Yasaburou Shimogamo, the carefree third son of a prominent Tanuki family, who spends his days in leisure. However, beneath the tranquil facade lie painful memories and unresolved conflicts.

Uchouten Kazoku delves into the trials and tribulations faced by the Shimogamo family as they navigate a world where avoiding their tragic fates becomes paramount. Along the way, they uncover the truth behind their father’s mysterious death, unraveling a compelling tale of intrigue and self-discovery.

For those who have found joy in Natsume Yuujinchou and seek similar anime experiences, Uchouten Kazoku is a captivating choice that shouldn’t be missed. It captures the essence of wonder, exploration, and heartfelt storytelling that fans of Natsume Yuujinchou will surely appreciate.

Author - Rohit
I am Rohit, an author at Otakukan. I was born and raised in Banglore, India. I have always loved watching anime and reading manga. In college, I started writing my own stories and creating my own characters.