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Natsume's Book of Friends The Movie: Tied to the Temporal World (劇場版 夏目友人帳 ~うつせみに結ぶ~, Gekijōban Natsume Yūjin-Chō: Utsusemi ni Musubu) is an 2018 Japanese animated film based on Yuki Midorikawa's manga and anime series, Natsume's Book of Friends.

The film is produced by Shuka and directed by Takahiro Ōmori; with the original story being written by Sadayuki Murai under Midorikawa's supervision. It was released in Japan on the 29th of September, 2018.

Summary

Takashi Natsume can see youkai, which other people cannot. He inherited a notebook filled with the names of youkai his grandmother Reiko defeated, but he wishes to return them with the help of his self-proclaimed bodyguard, Nyanko-sensei. Natsume meets Yuki, an old classmate of his, remembering the bitterness of their temporary friendship. He also got to know Yorie Tsumura, who was part of a youkai’s memories whose name he returned. She's currently living with her son Mukuo.

However, mysterious youkai are lurking in the town they live in. After returning home, a demon seed that got on Nyanko-sensei from there grew overnight into a tree in the Fujiwara's family garden and bore three fruits. After Nyanko-sensei ate them, he split into three little Nyanko-sensei. Natsume must return to the town and try to learn what happened.

Plot

Meeting the Tsumura Family

Natsume remembers transferring into a new elementary school. He was greeted cheerfully until a youkai pretending to be a child scared him, making him scream at nothing. In the present day, he is jolted awake and walks home from school with Nishimura, Kitamoto, Taki, and Tanuma. A youkai, a shadow on a wall, begins to chase him so Natsume makes an excuse to leave and tries to ditch, though runs into another youkai, Roppon-ude that tries to get the Book of Friends. The shadow youkai helps Natsume before Nyanko-sensei chases it off. The shadow youkai, Monmonbō, asks for his name back. He is from Gochou, a nearby city Reiko spent part of a school year in. When he returns Monmonbō's name, Natsume sees Reiko chasing small youkai, only for a group of three nearby girls from the same school to whisper at her and call her "scary," as it seems like she is talking to herself when she addresses the youkai. Reiko spots Monmonbō and challenges him: if she can drag him from the wall before sundown, she wins. Near sundown, Monmonbō leaves the wall to go to another one, hesitating when he sees one of the girls from before, Yorie Tsumura, walking on the road. Reiko lunges at the youkai, startling, Yorie, who brushes her bag against a bush and tears a bell ornament off. Reiko attempts to return it but Yorie runs away. Reiko then "catches" Monmonbō.

The next day, Touko asks Natsume to go to Gochou to return something for her, Nyanko-sensei heading on his own to taste sake. Afterwards, he notices landmarks from when he returned Monmonbō's name and finds the slope where Reiko caught him. He sees a woman coming over from a side path. She kneels to return a paper plane to a nearby boy and a plum falls from her bag. Natsume returns it and realizes she is Yorie, introducing himself as Reiko's grandson. Yorie seems pleased to know Reiko had a grandson and invites Natsume to her house. Her son, Mukuo, is there and also greets them. Yorie sits with him in the dining room and she asks about the man Reiko lived with, but Natsume doesn't know himself, and he knew little about her, why he was asking. They hear a crash from the kitchen and find Mukuo spilled the tea, unaware his mother had already made some for Natsume, and mother and son share a warm moment as she tries to help him. When Natsume realizes Yorie is a paper cutter, Mukuo shows some of his mother's pieces. After Natsume leaves, he sees a large hairy youkai on the city's fire lookout tower, but is careful not to make eye contact. That night Natsume wonders about Yorie, who talks happily of Reiko, despite the way she treated her in the memory. Nyanko-sensei tells him he smells like youkai and Natsume assume it's from the youkai on the lookout tower.

The next day, Natsume accompanies his friends to a speech contest between the high schools Sasada is competing in. Her speech is about the old building from Shigure and the Girl. Afterwards, they are outside, Sasada having gotten third place, and Natsume bumps into Daisuke Yūki, who Natsume went to elementary school with, but they part on an awkward note. At home, Natsume remembers Yūki. Like Natsume, he was called a liar and had trouble making friends, saying weird things like asking if Natsume was human and later telling him he could also see ghosts. Natsume believed him and the two developed an odd friendship. Later, Yūki took him to see a waterfall near town where youkai live. They arrive and Natsume sees a beautiful waterfall, though Yūki seems disappointing. Natsume reaches out to touch it but a youkai tells him not to, saying it is human lifeforce and will alter if he touches it. Yūki attempts to throw a rock at the cliff face, wondering if that can make the water come out but Natsume tackles him to the ground, unnerved by the youkai's words. He realized Yūki was lying about being able to see. He soon transferred schools and never saw Yūki again.

The next day he returns to Gochou with Nyanko-sensei, worried about the youkai he saw on the lookout tower. Nyanko-sensei is distracted when he smells something sweet, but as Natsume says he doesn't have enough allowance left to buy him something, Nyanko-sensei runs off on his own. Natsume comes across a bike lying on its side and Mukuo crawling out of a ditch. Mukuo admits he doesn't know how to ride a bike, something he has in common with Natsume. Mukuo asks if Natsume wants to come watch his mother make a paper cutting and he agrees. They pass by a side path Mukuo says leads to the shrine of Nanten, a god who can change misfortune. His mother visits it all the time, even when good things happen to her. Yorie makes and gives Natsume a paper cutting, touching him. At the dumpling store, Nyanko-sensei tries to figure out how to get Natsume to buy him some. Three local youkai see him and insult how fat and round he is, only for Nyanko-sensei to overhear and give chase. He even transforms into his true form. He chases them to Nanten's shrine, which is built by a hollow dead tree, and they lose him by tricking him into running headfirst into the tree and getting his head stuck in a hollow. In order to get out he has to transform back to his cat form. Pleased at getting to rampage, he goes to find Natsume, not realizing there is now a seed stuck to his fur. Nyanko-sensei meets up with Natsume and they return home. Natsume remarks the youkai from the lookout tower didn't appear today, but Nyanko-sensei still smells youkai coming from him again, leaving Natsume to guess it was hiding nearby. Natsume sees the seed on Nyanko-sensei and takes it off, then tosses it aside in the Fujiwara's front yard.

The Tree

The next morning brings a shock for Natsume: where he threw the seed there is now a massive tree as tall as their house. It has three fruit shaped and colored similar to Nyanko-sensei. Touko and Shigeru can't see the tree, but he is forced to leave for school. Nyanko-sensei remains to study the spirit tree. He believes some spirit trees grow after coming in contact with spirit energy and guesses its growth was expedited when coming into contact with him. He decides he's hungry and transforms, eating the fruit and the branch it is on. Immediately, the tree wilts and dissolves into dust. Natsume is wary he ate the spirit fruit but Nyanko-sensei dismisses it.

By the time the sun rises the next day, Nyanko-sensei is ill from eating the fruit. In a puff of purple smoke, he suddenly transforms into three mini kitten-sized forms. The three mew at each other, unable to talk. Deciding it would be troublesome if Touko finds them, he puts the three into his bookbag and leaves the house with them. On his way to school he leaves them with the Party of Dogs: the Chukyuu, Hinoe, the kappa, Misuzu, and Chobihige. Without knowing where the seed came from, they can only guess he got temporary food poisoning from eating a spirit fruit. While Natsume is at school, they try to force the three Nyanko-sensei into one, by forcing him into a tiny box and then by throwing them at each other. Eventually they have enough and run off in three directions. The Party of Dogs only manage to catch two. They apologize to Natsume for losing Number 1 (they've named them by the number of leaves growing out of their head, 1 has one, 2 has two, and 3 has three), doubting he can go back to normal without all three together.

On his way home he meets Tanuma, who asks if something happened since he left school in such a rush, and Natsume tells him what's going on. Tanuma promises he'll help and Natsume is glad he has someone he can talk about this sort of things with. Later that day, Taki sees Number 1 and gives chase, passing Nishimura and Kitamoto. When they see Number 1, they doubt it's Natsume's cat because it's too small but a moment later change their mind and become sure it is his cat. Taki follows Number 1 out of the city. At his home, Natsume realizes how uneasy he is, not being able to communicate with Nyanko-sensei.

The next morning, Number 3 is gone as well. After frantically searching his room he goes downstairs, only for Number 2 to follow him and jump onto Shigeru's lap. The Fujiara's think Nyanko-sama has always been so small, confusing Natsume. He doesn't find Number 3. The Party of Dogs split up to find Number 3 and Natsume also tells Tanuma about it and his foster parents' strange behavior. They meet up with Nishimura and Kitamoto and they say they saw his cat (Number 1) running by but struggle to remember Taki's name until Natsume prompts them. Natsume and Tanuma wonder how they could forget her name and visit Taki's house but no one answers the door. Tanuma admits his memory of Taki is also getting fuzzy. Natsume skips school to look for the missing Nyanko-senseis and Hinoe and Chobihige find him and tell him a kappa said they saw Number 3 heading in a certain direction. Natsume recalls that Number 1 headed that way as well - towards Gochou. Natsume decides to leave Number 2 with them and heads to Gochou himself.

On the bus ride there, he wonders if his friends' scrambled memories are related to Nyanko-sensei disappearing, but wonder why he's not affected. He suddenly fears that if all three Nyankos disappear even he will forget about him. While walking the town, he meets Mukou practicing to ride his bike again. They walk together. Mukou repeats an earlier sentiment that he doesn't want to leave his mother, Yorie, alone. Natsume explores the woods Nyanko-sensei came out of, only to hear two exorcists walking by. He hides quickly. They say "the elder's shiki" was sighted around here, even though the elder died ten years ago. They also wonder if the legendary spirit the elder was after is here to and hope to get the spirit before the Matoba Clan hears about this.

Shuuichi Natori finishes the filming of a new movie he's starring in. Afterwards in his dressing room, he calls for his shiki, becoming serious, and leaves the filming site. 

Natsume makes it home late that night but when he enters the Fujiwara's house, they don't recognize him. He tells them he's Takashi, but Touko says he can't be because Takashi is sitting at the table eating - only it's Yūki, who asks if he's an impostor. Natsume wakes from the nightmare sharply and realizes Number 2 isn't sleeping next to him. Scared, he hurriedly searches his room, calling for him, telling him to come out. Number 2 comes out from under the desk having apparently rolled there off his pillow. Natsume holds him close.

The Hidden Ayakashi

The next day, Natsume meets up with Tanuma and goes to Gochou. On the ride there, Tanuma tells him he asked around the other students at school but no one recognized Taki's name, and he's having more trouble as well, wondering if a youkai is stealing memories. They explore the town. Number 2 suddenly jumps out of Natsume's hands and leads them to the Tsumuru house where Yorie is just walking out. Yorie sees Number 2 and says he looks just like their cat. Taki suddenly walks up behind Yorie, holding the missing Number 1, and asks who Natsume and Tanuma are. Inside Yorie's house, Yorie says Taki is a cousin of hers (which isn't true) and ran after Number 1. She caught him but suddenly lost her memories. Yorie and Mukuo were walking by and Yorie asks who Taki is, only to suddenly greet her as family and for Taki to call her auntie. Since hs was feeling faint, Yorie decided she could stay with them until she felt better, having apparently got permission from her parents.

Number 1 and 2 are on a chair trying to reach a can of crab meat. When they pile on top of each other and reach, they are suddenly able to talk. Tanuma and Natsume make an excuse and take the two outside, setting them on a rock, but they can't talk again. When Tanuma puts Number 1 on top of Number 2 they can both speak again. Natsume asks how this happened and Nyanko-sensei replies there was a strange property in the fruit of the tree. Mukou interrupts softly, saying it's his fault. Natsume doesn't understand so Nyanko-sensei tells him Mukuo is the scent of youkai Natsume kept bringing home - he's an ayakashi. 

Mukuo leads Tanuma, Natsume, and the senseis to the tree with Nanten's shrine, explaining as they walk. He says he's not the real Mukuo and Yorie's real son died eight years ago. The youkai Mukuo was placed under a jinx. He originally served a mountain god and to tell them about the humans that lived nearby, was granted the ability to take human form, but one day committed a sin, and was punished, forced to wander. If he came to a new place and spoke to someone, he would become a real human person who lived there but had left, or even a fictional character. Rather than alter memories, reality itself would shift for the duration he was there. If he leaves everything returns to how it was and everyone forgets about him. Spirits and those who can see them are unaffected by the jinx, which is why Natsume's memories are intact and Tanuma is only partially affected. To avoid attracting the attention of exorcists, he never stays in one place for too long. He also fears he'll become attached if he stays somewhere too long since he can't make any lasting bonds. Having tired of his fate long ago, he slept in the hollow of the tree where Nanten's shrine was - the god itself having left long ago. Because of the effect of his jinx, the tree died. One day, Yorie, a child, visited Nanten's shrine with her grandfather and learned about Nanten. Afterwards, Yorie would visit the shrine all the time and Mukuo would watch over her. One day when she came she was so defeated she couldn't even speak and when she left he thought it looked like she would disappear. He became curious about what had happen to her and left the hollow, chasing after her. When she was near her home, the youkai from the lookout tower was perched by the door. Afraid it would attack Yorie, he left his hiding place and chased it off, but that meant he was seen by Yorie and the jinx made him take the form of her son - who had just died in a mountain-climbing accident. The youkai bothered him, so he decided to stay Mukuo for a while. Natsume thinks that a spirit fated to wonder without forming any real bonds was similar to how he was.

They reach the tree where Mukuo admits he didn't think about it, but the tree was probably possessed by his jinx. Nyanko-sensei understands the fruit looking like himself was an effect of Mukuo's ability to take the form of others, so he became affected by the jinx as well, which was why everyone's memories concerning him were becoming altered. He likely split into three because there were three fruits. Because Taki came with one of the cats, she was affected by it as well. Mukuo is determined to fix the problem he caused for Taki by taking back in the jinx on the tree and Nyanko-sensei. First, they must get the three Nyanko-senseis to come here, which was what the senseis thought and why they tried to come here. Since Number 3 still isn't here, they think something happened to him. Natsume shouts at them for the three not sticking together. Natusme and Tanuma split up to look, each taking one of the Numbers since they can recognize the third's presence if they get close enough. 

Natsume thinks that Mukuo finally found a place to belong and wonders if the Fujiwaras would forget about him if he left them. He also wonders if the years Yorie spent with Mukuo would have been a lie. At the tree, Mukuo remembers his time with Yorie, calling her mom. 

As Natsume walks he sees a paper doll flying by and follows it. It leads him to Natori, each surprised the other is here. Natsume explains the situation to him, and Natori says he is here for work, having been using the paper doll to find the shiki of a deceased exorcist. Natsume asks if it's the elder's, telling Natori of the conversation he overheard. Natori says the shiki's name is Habaki and the elder's family asks him to set it free. He has the wooden plaque Hibiki's contract was made with. When Natsume mentions the youkai the elder was searching for, Natori says the elder was an eccentric, chasing a youkai that may not exist. When Natsume mentions the youkai on the fire lookout tower, Natori confirms that sounds like Hibaki and thanks him for his help. He thinks it's still searching for that spirit, not aware the elder's passed away. The spirit the elder was looking for is, in Natori's words: "cruel, and blends in with humans, only to steal their memories of time spent together." Natsume realized he's after Mukuo but doesn't tell the exorcist about him. He leaves to keep looking for Nyanko-sensei. He wonders if he should have told Natori everything, but that would have felt like he was betraying Mukuo. 

The the Chukyuu are also looking for Number 3 and their conversation is overheard by Monmonbō, who tells them he saw Number 3, but he was caught by a little girl and brought to her family's home. He leads the Chukyuu to the girl's home, where Number 3 is scratching at the door to get outside. They open the door enough to slip in some of Misuzu's frogs, who hop around the house and distract the humans. Number 3 almost makes it out but the little girl catches him again, saying it's dangerous outside. Fortunately, Monmonbō has gotten Tanuma who was nearby and Number 2 jumps into the little girl's house next to Number 3. He is able to convince them Number 3 is his cat and leaves with both. 

Hiiragi finds Hibiki hiding in the bell on the lookout tower and Natori sets up the ritual circle to break the contract. Hiiragi and Sasago ring the bell, which draws Hibiki out. Natori manages to capture it, only for the exorcists from before to see it and use sutras to try to stop it. The sutras burn away Natori's restraints and Hibiki flees into the forest with Natori's shiki in pursuit.

Yorie is teaching Taki paper cutting when Mukuo approaches. He tells Yorie he has somewhere to go and says "goodbye, mother" before vanishing. 

Breaking the Jinx

Natsume and Tanuma meet up and start to head to Nanten's shrine. They come across the exorcists, who are still pursuing Hibiki. Natsume tells Tanuma to stay with Taki, as it may be a dangerous youkai, and hurries to the shrine. He finds Mukuo walking back to the shrine and tells him exorcists and Hibiki are coming this way, so they need to hurry. He also tells Natsume Hibiki wasn't chasing Yorie, but Mukuo. Mukuo is quiet for a few seconds and then asks Natsume to return his name from the Book of Friends. He'll take the jinx back and leave, thus returning everything to normal. Natsume knows that means Yorie will forget about him. Natori approaches, having overheard, and recognizes Mukuo is the memory-stealing youkai. Natsume tries to talk him out of exorcising Mukuo but Mukuo softly says it's okay. He did something that wasn't allowed by deceiving Yorie and it was time to return her son to her. Natori decides to leave him be.

Urihime leads the exorcists troubling them away so Natori can work in peace. Hiiragi asks if Natori is sure about leaving the Mukuo youkai alone but Natori says he was hired only to deal with Hibiki and the elder may not have been chasing after the spirit to exorcise it, for the only way Mukuo could have formed a real bond was with a person with spiritual powers.

Reaching the tree, Mukuo takes back the three Nynako-senseis and enters the tree's hollow. Hibiki attacks, seeing Mukuo, but Hiiragi drives it to Natori's other shiki and they keep it bust. Across a stretch of trees, Natsume sees Natori redoing the magic circle. Natsume returns the memory-altering youkai's name, Honokage. While Reiko was at Goucho, she saw Honokage sleeping in the tree even though he wasn't in a human form and she tells him his feathers are beautiful. He thanks her. Pleased a human other then an exorcist could see him, he ended up telling Reiko his story. After he finished talking she said she liked the jinx. No one could remember them. She didn't want anyone to remember her. She then offers to fight him and wins, getting his name. After he wrote his name, Reiko did not return. Even then, he decided to remember her. 

The shiki lose control of Hibiki, who charges them, but Honokage withdraws the jinx and Nyanko-sensei, back to his usual self, leaps out of the tree. Returning to his true form he catches Hibiki and throws him into Natori's circle. The force of the impact knocks Natori out and the wooden plaque falls off the edge of a cliff he'd been working next to. Natsume jumps off the cliff to grab the plaque, grabbing a vine to stop himself, which breaks, though Madara catches him and returns him to Natori. With the plaque back, Natori breaks the contract, freeing Hibiki.

Natsume returns to the tree where Honokage is about to leave. He asks Natsume to watch over Yorie in his place, as when he leaves she will once more bear the grief of losing her son, and he agrees to. Honokage admits it may not have been a jinx as he would not have experienced such happy times otherwise. However, he decides not to return to the human world again. Returning to his true form similar to a golden bird, he flies off. With the jinx removed, new leaves appear on the tree. Motes of light are released as this happens, which randomly multiply objects temporarily, including Hibiki, Monmonbō, birds, dragonflies, and any other creature they come into contact with. The effect is felt as far away as Natsume's hometown. The various characters watch the motes of light fly by. Tanuma reaches  the Tsumura residence. Taki's memories are restored to normal but she has no idea what she'd doing here. Inside, Yorie suddenly remembers her son is dead. Natsume greets his friends and goes inside. He finds Yurie in her workshop, crying. She brushes away the tears tells Natsume she suddenly remembered Mukuo, even though he's been dead for eight years. 

Everyone returns home, their memories again normal, except that Taki and Tanuma have forgotten about Honokage. Yorie became a simple passerby who helped Taki to them. Natsume eats dinner with Fujiwaras. The next day he searches through Reiko's things and finds Yorie's bell. He goes to her house to return it. Yorie tells him people found Reiko scary, but middle schoolers like Yorie were also impressed with her, her being strong-willed and older. They looked up to her from afar. That day Yorie got so nervous when Reiko tried to give her the bell she ran off, even though she just needed to say thank you. She takes Natsume into her workshop and shows her a paper cutting of Reiko. Yorie thought it seemed Reiko could see a world no one else could, so she started papercutting as she feels if she looks through the holes in the paper she can see something special to. Natsume notices a paper cutting of a large bird, Honokage's youkai form, and Yorie says she thought she saw it recently. It reminded her of Mukuo, though she doesn't know why. It feels like he's always been at her side all this time but she promises she's okay now. Thanks to Mukuo, Yorie's grief at losing her son has eased. 

Natsume later asked Kitamura to contact Yūki. They meet at the train station where Natsume says he was bothered they parted on an awkward note. Yūki agrees, apologizing since he can't actually see youkai. Natsume admits he was upset Yūki lied, but Natsume would have trouble making friends when he transferred schools. Yūki spoke to him though and tried to get to know him, even if it meant telling lies, which made him happy. Yūki says Natsume doesn't have to tell him if he can see youkai or not, but if there is something only Natsume can see, he wishes he could see it to. Natsume apologizes for tackling Yūki back then and the two part as friends. 

Nyanko-sensei remarks that Natsume got angry at the lies and then smiled and he doesn't understand humans. Natsume agrees there's a lot he doesn't understand - about humans and youkai - and that's why he wants to learn. Nyanko-sensei says that since it'll only be a short while until he takes the Book of Friends off Natsume's hands he'll see where fate takes him.

Cast

Voice Actor Role
Hiroshi Kamiya
Ayumu Fujimura (Young)
Takashi Natsume
Kazuhiko Inoue Madara
Sanae Kobayashi Reiko Natsume
Akira Ishida Shuuichi Natori
Kazuma Horie Kaname Tanuma
Ryohei Kimura Satoru Nishimura
Hisayoshi Suganuma Atsushi Kitamoto
Miyuki Sawashiro Jun Sasada
Rina Satou Tooru Taki
Miki Itou Touko Fujiwara
Eiji Ito Shigeru Fujiwara
Satsuki Yukino Hiiragi
Akemi Okamura Hinoe
Takaya Kuroda Misuzu
Chō Chobihige
Takashi Matsuyama One-Eyed Middle Class Yokai
Hiroshi Shimozaki Ox-Faced Middle Class Yokai
Kyouko Chikiri Kappa
Sumi Shimamoto Yorie Tsumura
Kengo Kora Mukuo Tsumura/Honokage
Ayumu Murase Daisuke Yūki
Eiji Kotōge Monmonbō
Mizuki Nishimura Roppon-ude
Fukushi Ochiai Habaki
Shin'ya Takahashi
Hiroki Matsukawa
Manami Hanawa
Small Yōkai of Five Chome Town
Binbin Takaoka Mamoru
Aki Kanada Hat Yōkai
Kenya Tomatsu Elementary School Teacher
Arisa Kōri Elementary School Girl
Akane Odagiri Mother
Ayako Mitani Girl
Hideyuki Hori Nomiya-Sensei

Gallery

Promotional Posters

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Trailer

Natsume Yuujinchou Utsusemi ni Musubu Movie PV 「劇場版 夏目友人帳 ~うつせみに結ぶ~」本予告

Natsume Yuujinchou Utsusemi ni Musubu Movie PV 「劇場版 夏目友人帳 ~うつせみに結ぶ~」本予告

Trivia

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