|Hair Colour||Calico fur (cat form) |
White fur (beast form)
|Eye Colour||Black (cat form)|
Yellow (beast form)
|Manga Debut||Chapter 01|
|Anime Debut||Episode 01|
|Voice Actor||Kazuhiko Inoue|
|Book of Friends|
|List of Characters|
Madara (斑), also known as Nyanko-sensei (ニャンコ先生) is one of the main protagonist of Natsume's Book of Friends.
He is a powerful beastly youkai who more commonly takes the form of a maneki-neko (招き猫, "beckoning cat"). He acts as Natsume's bodyguard on the condition that when Natsume dies, he will inherit the Book of Friends, thus giving him control over a vast number of youkai.
Despite his continuous complaints about Natsume being too kind for his own good, Madara has grown fond of the boy, and helps Natsume return names to youkai throughout the series even though it will diminish the power of the book by the time it is in his hands.
He takes the form of a maneki neko (lucky cat) that is round and cute (at least, according to him, however this also confirmed by Taki). Other characters such as Tanuma, have noted that his head in this form is unusually large.
His maneki neko form is white, with an orange and grey marking on the top of his head and back, black eyes, wearing a red cat collar with a gold bell on his neck and has small red markings on his face. 
In his original form, he is a colossal wolf-like youkai with white fur, red markings on his face, and gold eyes, so large he can cover Takashi underneath a single paw and his eye is larger than Takashi's head. Also, while in his original form, Madara's voice becomes a lot deeper.
Like most youkai, his original form cannot be seen by people with little or no spiritual energy.
He has a somewhat condescending personality. At first, he only protects Takashi for the Yuujinchou, but as the series progresses, he becomes friendlier with not only Takashi, but Natori, Tanuma, and Taki.
His attitude throughout the series can be described as selfish, prideful, and comedic, due to how he acts becomes the usual "gag" of the series.
He does have an immature and playful side; Madara often drinks himself silly by consuming a lot of sake and loves to eat dango (a Japanese snack) and other sweets, making him heavier and rounder. He enjoys eating in general, often eating fish in the river or stealing Natsume's food at times. When he smells something delicious or hear sof a place with good food, he insists Natsume go with him so they can eat. In addition, he is particularly fond of Touko's home cooking.
Despite his protests that he is not a cat, he acts exactly like one, like getting excited with cat toys and chasing small animals. He also likes to bully dogs and throwing the occasional tantrum.
He has a more caring side to him, which he tries to deny or explain away, but as the series progresses, it becomes obvious that he is attached to Takashi and is extremely protective of him.
Evidence of this is when he went into a rage when Takashi was wounded trying to protect him in Chapter 26 but Takashi managed to calm him.
He is shown to be acquainted with several youkai, like Tsuyukami, Hinoe, and Benio. His strength and rank as a youkai are evident in his interaction with other youkai who are obviously afraid of him, even in cat form which was seen in Episode 11 of the anime where after overhearing a group of local youkai talk about him and complain about how he was a fat, tone-deaf, drunk and old cat, Madara got his revenge by summoning some lighting which left the youkai group stunned and the entire forest around them destroyed.
Long ago, Madara had been sealed inside a maneki-neko statue inside a forest shrine by a powerful exorcist whose identity has yet to be revealed. He remained imprisoned for decades until Natsume Takashi accidentally broke the seal.
When Takashi Natsume running away from the youkai, thus freeing him. Madara mysteriously avoids speaking much about his past, but has revealed that he knew Reiko, Natsume's grandmother, very well before she died. However, he denies having his name in the Book of Friends, arguing that he is too powerful to have been defeated by the likes of Reiko.
After being freed, like many other youkai, Madara initially attacks Natsume with the intention of stealing the Book of Friends from him, but ultimately has a change of heart when Natsume tells him that he wants to cherish the book, one of the few connections he has left to his grandmother. Madara agrees to help Natsume protect the book, under the condition that he will inherit the Book of Friends once Natsume dies.
Madara then moves into the Fujiwara household as Natsume's pet cat, although he argues that he is actually the master. Madara from then on accompanies Natsume on his business involving youkai and in his daily life, advising and protecting him when needed.
- Main article: Takashi Natsume
- Main article: Tanuma Kaname
- Main article: Taki Tooru
- Main article: Natori Shuuichi
- Main article: Matoba Seiji
- Main article: Reiko Natsume
Powers & Abilities
Despite his cute and harmless appearance as a cat, Madara is a very high-leveled youkai in his beast form, and is equally respected and feared by many lower-level ayakashi. Demonstrating his power throughout the series, Madara claims to be the most powerful youkai of them all, and this may very well be true.
- Strength: Already packing quite a punch in his pint-sized cat form, Madara's strength is tens of times greater when he is in his beast form.
- Blinding Light: Madara can shine a bright light from his forehead that destroys and scares away most youkai. In the later episodes, this light was shown to come from the forehead marking usually seen in his beast form. In the OVA, Madara could project an image and presence of his beast form to scare away the surrounding youkai using his forehead marking, which glowed and hovered above his head.
- Flight: Though this does not apply to all powerful Youkai, Madara has the ability to fly, even though he does not have any features that would seem to be used for flight. This shows that he has immense Youkai power that can make him fly.
- Shapeshifting: Madara is able to transform between his cat form and his wolf-like form. He can also take human forms, but only as Takashi or Reiko Natsume, stating that they are the only two humans that he has observed carefully. When disguised as either Takashi or Reiko, Madara shows bad table manners and a bullying nature, much like the latter. Madara has also stated that he has an old man form, though it has yet to been shown.
- Kazuhiko Inoue changed his voice for Madara's cat form in order to fit his form. However, when Madara is in his true form, Inoue reverts back to his original deep voice.
- In Madara's cat form, he gets fatter as the story progresses.
- Madara gets several different nicknames from other characters over the course of the series.
- He is called Nyankichi-kun by Touko, Nyangoro by Shigeru, Ponta by Tanuma, and Nyan-Nyan-Sensei by Nishimoto.
- Yuki Midorikawa wanted Natsume Yuujinchou to center around a boy and his non-human teacher, choosing between a bird or a cat. She eventually settled on a maneki-neko, which became Madara.
- Yuki Midorikawa based Madara off of a ceramic maneki-neko statue that was given to her when she was young by an elderly couple who took care of her a lot. She loved it due to its charming face, but accidentally broke it one day. Sobbing, she glued it back together with modeling clay, and it is still sitting at her parents' house today. Midorikawa first drew Madara while trying to remember her maneki-neko's face.