|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Nabari no Ou
This one's a little tricky for me to think about. On the surface, Nabari no Ou is yet another ninja action series involving a teen caught in the center of the heavy conflicts between clans. Many of the characters follow stock archetypes typical of action anime like this such as the sensei, the avenger, the mysterious evil power within the lead and an evil baddie and his cohorts wanting to rule the world. Some of them do grow out of these archetypes as the series progresses, though others and certain elements of the series don't get much in the way of fleshing out such as the evil power within Miharu and the motives of Fuuma. The plot's pretty typical as Miharu tries making sense of his personal desires and the power within him as he encounters more folk among the Nabari world. Also, the animation isn't really impressive here with noticeable shortcuts, washed out backgrounds and plain-looking character designs.|
Ultimately what did lead me to care for the series was the bond that later develops with Miharu and Yoite as both share in the fact they are tragic figures caught up in circumstances beyond their control and rely on one another for emotional/ mental stability and support as the series presses on. Both do wind up leading one another to change their present outlooks on living with Miharu becoming less apathetic and Yoite slowly breaking off from his clan. I suppose this is kind of similar to how Marlene and Yuji's relationship affected my thoughts on Blue Gender. Without the character dynamics involved with the main pairings for Blue Gender and Nabari no Ou, both titles would be lacking a major hook to keep me engaged for the remainder of their runs due to how cliched they are otherwise without focusing on them.
Overall, I suppose my thoughts of this series are mixed. It's mostly subpar in premise and presentation, though the major focus on Yoite and Miharu's bond kept me engaged enough to the series for the entirety of its run to give it a Rent rating. Your mileage may vary with this one.
Last updated Thursday, January 23 2014. Created Sunday, July 24 2011.
Nabari no Ou
(Watch+ or Rent-)|
(All episodes watched):
All things considered, I had been kind of disappointed with the average quality of the new Spring 2008 series, and decided to check out some new ones which I had initially planned to pass on. Good thing I did, too, because I'm definitely liking Nabari no Ou. The premise seems unoriginal and not particularly promising; but the way it's handled is surprisingly fun and holds my attention well. The weak, scrawny boy Rokujou is pestered to join a new middle school club, one that will teach the way of the Ninja--an idea which he considers stupid and annoying. The strange thing is that this "Master of Apathy" is the ultimate Ninja (whether he wants to be or not)--he just doesn't know it yet. After a grim and violent first scene, I was pleasantly surprised by the sarcastic wit of this show's characters; these action first, comedy second people are funnier than a number of characters in this season's pure comedy series. Everybody has an interesting personality right from the start. I detect a distinct "coolness" to this show, which allows me to excuse the quite implausible supernatural elements. A skillfully revealed mystery is balanced with humor; combat is animated well in a wild and exciting manner. In short, it looks like fun!
The comedy disappears altogether during episode three, which is fairly grim and violent. Several innocent people are killed outright, and even with the jokes ommitted I can't help feeling that their deaths aren't being taken seriously enough. Some humor returns in episode four, as the team reassesses their goals. Still, I fear I may have been too quick to praise this show as much as I did. But it's definitely not becoming a "more power!" sort of show, where the protagonist just fights an endless stream of increasingly skilled opponents (he has yet to fight anybody). Instead, he has an awesome power which must not be used, which makes him a valuable comodity which lots of people want to get their hands on. Episode six was surprising in that Koite (the guy with the cap), who had seemed a villain up 'til now, displays a three dimensional personality which one can relate to. I'd wondered why he got as much airtime in the OP sequence as Rokujou did, and now I know. In my experience, it's generally a good sign when even the "bad guys" are interesting characters with understandable motivations; it indicates that a good deal more effort was put into the writing than usual. So far, Nabari no Ou seems a fun and intriguing show well worth watching. In some ways it makes fun of the ninja/martial arts genre, while in others it strives to do an unusually good job of making yet another.
One thing which really surprised me was what happened when the principal characters agree to commit an assasination in exchange for a priceless magical artifact. At first I thought that since these are the "good guys" they shouldn't be doing this. Let's just say that things don't turn out the way I'd expected, but they make sense and left me with a seriously altered attitude towards two major characters. Comedy may have had priority early on, but it has all but disappeared and been replaced by intriguing drama. There are at least two plots running side by side, namely the one involving the teenage female samurai Raimei and her missing brother, and the one with Rokujou and Koite. Why Rokujou and Koite's strange goal seems so important to either of them escapes me, but still the story works, and I remain intrigued. The characters definitely are more important than cool Ninja weapons and tactics. All things considered, Nabari no Ou might be the sort of show which viewers who've become entranced by Ninjas could graduate to after watching Naruto.
There was a great scene in episode 14 as out of nowhere we discover an amazing capability which Koichi, the gray-haired boy, has. "Thrilled and frightened amusement" might be the best term to describe my reaction. It's another sign of the care taken to produce this show that characters (or at least what we know about them) change radically as the story procedes. One ongoing question is, who is prepared to kill if need be? The answer is surprising.
I had expected this to be a 13 episode series, and was pleasantly surprised to find it would be a two-season show. Still, with the series continuing this long, I think the viewer should be reminded of just what is at stake and how important it is. I either never completely understood the importance of the "Shinrabanshou" (sp?) or have forgotten it. My interest in this show lagged for awhile, but having finally watched another episode I was quickly brought up to speed on just what's going on.
Actually I'm beginning to think that maybe Nabari no Ou would have worked better if it had been trimmed down to 13 episodes after all. I get tired of the tear jerking attempts to show how Yoite is at death's doorway--yet he seems perfectly well afterwards. Another thing I don't like are the mixed signals I get about just how hostile the two ninja clans are to each other. One minute the bad guys kill (minor characters) en masse, the next they fight with words alone--what's the deal here? Even the bad guy clan claims the defence of helpless people as a goal. It leaves me confused and frustrated.
I notice that I never finished this review... which tells you something about how my interest in the show petered out towards the end.
Ninjas not taken completely seriously--or maybe taken far more seriously than usual.
Catch Raimei's montage at Kendo Girl Scrapbook!
Last updated Monday, February 08 2010. Created Wednesday, April 16 2008.
|Japanese (Language) Series Web Site||http://www.nabari.tv/|