Madara – Nyanko-Sensei
Madara, or Nyanko-sensei as Natsume calls him, is a powerful beastly youkai who normally takes the form of a maneki neko. He is also Natsume’s pet and bodyguard.
When he sees the other youkai complaining about him behind his back, he decides to surprise them. He lists off all the things they have accused him of, but with one little twist.
He is one of the most powerful spirits in the Yokai world, capable of creating and dissolving contracts between spirits and even reversing curses. His immense spiritual strength, which is ten times more powerful in his cat form, makes him attractive to both ordinary humans and other yokai, who call him “Nyanko-sensei”.
He often accompanies Natsume around, claiming to be his bodyguard in exchange for the promise that he will give him the Book of Friends after his death. While he can be a bit of a narcissist claiming that he knows more than anyone else and looking down on other spirits he deems unworthy, he is a loyal spirit that is always willing to come to Natsume’s aid.
His design is based on a ceramic maneki-neko statue Midorikawa received as a child. He is commonly depicted as a large, round, chubby cat with long ears. Despite his appearance, he is actually quite intelligent. He knows more than anyone else about the world of yokai, and is very good at remembering things.
Voice actors are like on-camera actors except they perform their roles through a microphone. The best voice actors are confident in their abilities, and they have a good range of voices. They can sound energetic for one project and more formal for another.
Kazuhiko Inoue is the voice of Madara in Natsume’s Book of Friends. He is also well known for his roles as Joe Shimamura/009 in the 1979 version of Cyborg 009, Akio Nitta in Touch, Jerrid Messa in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, and Kars in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Inoue is an accomplished singer and has a number of anime character albums to his name. He is also the founder of a voice acting school, B-box, where he trains young talent. Inoue is a true professional and he has the ability to adapt his voice for different characters and situations. He is also known for his calming, soothing tone. There is an old saying in the voice acting industry that it is 5% voice and 95% acting. This is very true and it is up to the voice actor to make their character come alive on the screen.
Madara, nicknamed Nyanko-sensei, is a powerful youkai that was sealed away but later released by Natsume. He accompanies Natsume on his journey and serves as his bodyguard from malevolent youkai who would do him harm. He also helps Natsume return the youkai’s names to their books in accordance with the contract left behind by Reiko.
Despite his narcissistic nature and his arrogant attitude, Madara is still a friendly spirit who genuinely cares about Natsume. He tries his best to help him through his rough patches and will even go so far as to hide statues that resemble himself in order to see how Natsume reacts.
Even though he deems Natsume a tasty meal at their first encounter, he refrains from eating him out of his respect for the boy and his sense of camaraderie with him. The two have a special bond that is evident throughout the anime and their interactions are a constant source of humor and enjoyment.
In his catty, plump, reserved material form as a maneki neko (fortune cat), Madara is actually an extremely powerful spirit who was once sealed away in a shrine. He now accompanies Natsume wherever he goes and helps him protect other spirits in exchange for the Book of Friends upon his death.
Although Madara could have easily taken the Book of Friends from Natsume he sticks by his side and develops a close friendship with him. Despite all the complaints and excuses he makes, Madara genuinely cares for Natsume and his loneliness in the Yokai world.
The figure itself is very well sculpted and detailed with lots of different levels of depth to the fur. The box is sturdy and has several windows that show off the figure from multiple angles. It is a little on the expensive side but worth it for any figure collector. Definitely a must have for any Natsume fan. Hopefully Banpresto will release more figures of Madara in his true form.