I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
First story: A yokai enters a little snow bunny Natsume made, so that it can ask him to help stop its friend from hurting people. Second story: Natori invites Natsume on a hot springs trip that he fails to mention is actually an exorcism trip. Third story: Natsume acquires a painting that starts to slowly drain the life out of him. Fourth story: Natsume meets an orphaned fox yokai while on a school trip. Fifth story: Young Natsume clashes with a childish yokai that delights in scaring him. The yokai doesn't realize until too late that it actually likes him, and that its actions cause him problems. In the present, Natsume briefly reunites with this yokai. Sixth story: Nyanko saves a lost child, even though he pretends that the child annoys him.
I really like this series. It can be sad at times, but it's so gentle, sweet, and calming. I really feel for Natsume, who wants so badly for the Fujiwaras to like him. He's afraid to tell them the truth about himself, but at the same time he hates having to lie to them all the time. I feel for Natori too – he sees himself in Natsume and wants Natsume to be happy, but he's been “different” for so long that he can't behave like a normal friend/mentor/backup family member.
Again, we have bittersweet stories with fragile yokai (the snow bunny story) and tragically mortal humans (the yokai who pretended that her human friend disappeared because he went to live in the painting, when in reality he probably died). And again, there are a few “meh” stories in the mix. The bit with Nyanko saving the child was so-so, and the fox child story only stood out because I knew that character would reappear in the future.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)