When Takashi Natsume was younger, he spent his time getting shuffled from one distant relative to another and being picked on by yokai. It wasn't until Aunt Tôko and Uncle Shigeru took him that he was able to enjoy a stable home life and face the yokai from a position of power. And even though Natsume is in a good place now, the memory of those difficult early days has never left him, making him very sympathetic to the small, weak yokai he occasionally runs into. Natsume often goes to incredible lengths to aid these little yokai in achieving their aims, like in Volume 21 when he goes up against yokai ruffians to help a tiny minion yokai fulfill a very important and honorable duty.
Natsume keeps telling himself that he should only deal with yokai when it involves giving back one of the names his grandmother Reiko collected in her Book of Friends. But over and over he finds himself enmeshed in the lives of the local yokai, helping them, learning about their lives, and sharing in their moments of happiness and triumph. There may always be a gulf between human and yokai, but the more Natsume interacts with yokai of all sorts, the more clear it becomes that we may be different creatures, but we are all still people.
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