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|Average Rating: 6|
Raz112 scored this with 6/10. Disagree?
The first half of Nabari no Ou presented a visually appealing series with a slightly off-kilter approach to the execution of a shonen ninja story that focused more on scheming exposition rather than all-out action. While this provided a solid base of character and plot development, establishing the various relationships between characters and an intriguing and complex narrative, there were times where the pace suffered due to heavy doses of verbal exchanges and a lack of action to break things up. Nevertheless, by the end of the first half, Nabari no Ou left signs of an epic story as Miharu and Yoite tried to escape from the clutches of the Nabari world - a world in which the members covet the secret techniques of each other’s clans and eventually the ultimate power of the Shinrabansho that lies within Miharu.
The second half of the series starts with many members of opposing clans being trapped in a boarding school that is the base of yet another clan. After the main protagonists escape, the plot focuses on finding the last secret technique: the Engetsurin, whose location is only known by de facto Banten leader, Tobari. While the location and function of the technique are treated as important plot twists, the plot is essentially a customary hunt which leads to the inevitable release of the Shinrabasho - all left to the show’s climax.
The problem is that all of this resolves itself half-heartedly and too quickly, almost in compensation for and a result of taking too much time on nothing but the relationship between Miharu and Yoite. Rather than becoming a more complex and action-packed shonen anime, Nabari no Ou elected to focus its whole story on this core relationship, which results in what is essentially a love story. This is very interesting to see, as we are shown the bond strengthening between them as they go through every trial and tribulation. We also witness the change in Miharu’s personality as he goes from being an indifferent individual who cares for nothing to a very emotional individual intent on helping Yoite in any way he can. What emerges is a rare portrayal of a sincere emotional connection between two young men, though Miharu can appear overly obsessive at times.
It’s just a shame that everything else was sacrificed as a result. The series is full of characters, each with their own motivations, issues and desires that are alluded to, but rarely resolved. Tobari’s struggle with leadership is refreshing to see, however he barely features in this half until the very end of the series, not fully addressing his issues and rushing through the momentous events from ten years ago. Aizawa’s revelation of his past is also very intriguing but left totally unexplored. Raiko gets some attention in this half with a touching relationship with Gau, and conflicting emotions over his employer. However his relationship with sister Raimei is left untouched, whilst Raimei’s motivations and issues simply subside, leaving an ineffectual impression. The villain Hattori’s evil plans feel slightly underwhelming and also conclude in a rushed fashion. Finally Fuuma teases us throughout the series by constantly scheming, pulling the strings in the background, only not to take action to achieve whatever his true intentions were, content instead with being a conscientious observer. In addition to all this, almost all dialogue between these characters revolves around Miharu and Yoite, highlighting further the opportunities Nabari no Ou missed to becoming a potentially great and complex story.
The video and audio quality, as well as the extras, is identical to the first collection with some exquisitely sketched background animation, very different but equally competent language tracks, and some insignificant textless songs and episode commentary.
Nabari no Ou ends up as a series that takes too long to get going, unable to sustain all the plot threads and character relationships it establishes, rushing proceedings near the end leaving an unfulfilling climax, and a touching and emotional end to the tale the series decided to focus upon – the relationship of Miharu and Yoite. While this narrative shows an interesting shift from a typical shonen anime to a love story, emphasising the importance of being loved and valuing life, and the insufficient climax possibly due to the manga not being finished at the time, there is no excuse for abandoning everything else the series had to offer, leaving a feeling that Nabari no Ou has less going for it at the end than it did at the beginning, and is unable to reach the heights it set for itself in becoming a great story.
Screenshots (click to pop out)
|Score:||6 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Tue, 20 Sep 2011|
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