Friday, July 8, 2011

Nabari no Ou review

Episodes: 26
Aired: April 6, 2008 - September 28, 2008
Current MAL score: 7.60
Current MAL rank: 988

Short synopsis: Miharu has the power of the "Shinrabansho", said to give its user incredible strength and wisdom, but Miharu wants nothing of it. He only wants to be "normal". However, his normal everyday life is shattered when ninjas, all vying for Miharu and his abilities, drag him into the world of ninjas; otherwise known as the "Nabari world". There is one ninja named Yoite who wants to use the Shinrabansho to erase his very existence from the world. He ends up black-mailing Miharu into helping him reach that goal.  

Just warning everyone that this series has a bit of shonen ai. However, it wasn't too intensive and could be looked at as a strong friendship between two boys. If you really don't like watching anything having to do with shonen ai, then you may not enjoy the series as much, though. You'll just have to try it out to tell.

Since I was just speaking about shonen ai, I might as well start off the review with my thoughts on the main "couple". Watching as Miharu and Yoite slowly became closer, I marveled at how much the two teens were alike. They were both quiet and kept to themselves. They both didn't want to get emotionally tied to anyone or have anyone do kind things for them. They were practically reflections of the other, but  they handled things very differently. Miharu was apathetic about everything around him. If he cared for someone or something, he barely showed it. Yoite, on the other hand, was much more violent, using the kira to slowly kill himself.  They were incredibly alike, but different enough to work as a couple. I didn't quite see them that way, though. Somehow, in my eyes, they never went past "friends". In a show like this, it's all about perception. If you want to see them as butt buddies, you can. But if you're not into that kind of thing, it's easy to see them as simply friends. It reminds me of Kuroshitsuji in regard to the "could be friends, could be more, so you choose" main couple. 

Shimizu Raimei
Other than the main two guys, the show had a nice array of characters that complemented each other quite nicely. Each character was unique in their own right without outshining the main two. The writers always knew when the two MCs were getting tiring, and whenever they were, they would focus more so on the side characters and their back stories. I believe each character was properly fleshed out. In particular, I really enjoyed Raimei and Raiko as characters, especially Raiko (ohhh, that sexy voice mmm). 
Although all of the character's pasts were fleshed out satisfyingly, I found that there were a lot of questions that never received satisfactory answers. First and foremost, why did Yoite want to disappear from the earth? I understand he went through quite a lot of pain in his lifetime, but I never understood completely why he wanted to be erased. There were only a few flashbacks showing Yoite's parents telling him they wish he had never been born, but there must be more to it than that. What happened? Shaky, random flashbacks are not enough to explain one of the major plot points like this.

Another thing that never got properly answered was why everybody was so against Miharu using the Shinrabansho. The teacher, who I loved at first but got increasingly more annoying as the show went on, was a stickler for not letting Miharu use his power. It was extremely frustrating. Whenever it seemed like Miharu was finally going to unleash the Shinrabansho and show its awesome potential to the audience, the teacher always ruined it. It seemed like a total copout; the series builds up the Shinrabansho, talking about how amazingly powerful it is, but it's never actually used throughout the whole series. I never got why the teacher was so against Miharu using it, anyway. Why was it so terrible for Miharu to be using the Shinrabansho, if only to protect himself from all the selfish ninjas sneaking around?

A lot of the logic throughout the show was lost on me, especially how his mother made Miharu forget everything about the Shinrabansho and the Nabari world. I understand that she was just trying to protect him, but as long as people know that he is the Shinrabansho, people will try to hunt him down and black-mail him into using the Shinrabansho for whatever wishes they have. People will do anything to acquire his powers, so why would you leave him defenseless in such an unforgiving world? Why would you leave him there, vulnerable and powerless, as he gets kidnapped? Why wouldn't you teach him how to use the Shinrabansho to protect himself? It's inevitable that violence is going to surround the Shinrabansho, so why not teach him how to control his power so that some of the destruction and death is avoided? 

It was just a bit annoying that Miharu kept getting kidnapped or roughed up, but he couldn't do a damn thing about it. He watched as his friends were fighting to defend him, and yet he couldn't do one damn thing. He was a worthless protagonist who couldn't do shit, and it was disappointing. 

"The Bad"
The evil characters in this show are kind of odd. Rather, there isn't really any "evil" characters in the show. Almost everyone had good intentions. The line between good and evil was extremely thin, but the opposing sides continued to fight without knowing that the enemy had similar interests. Miharu actually switched sides several times, and you could never really tell who he was "with". It was very odd seeing Miharu playing both sides of the fence so easily. I do applaud this series for its realistic take on characters , though, showing that no one is truly "evil". 

There was one man who had been portrayed as evil throughout the show, and while his intentions weren't bad, they were nieve and unreasonable. He wanted to erase all of the pain and suffering in the world. He wanted to erase everyone's memories and start everything over again in a world made of peace. In my opinion, this is a terrible idea. Pain, misery, sadness, and fighting are simply inevitable. There will always be opposing viewpoints as long as humans can think for themselves, trying to stop it is pointless. Plus, how would we know happiness or how to savor it if we didn't know what sadness feels like?
"The Good"
On another note, I'd like to look at all of the aesthetics of the show. The music was fine throughout, though it was nothing really memorable. I was kind of disappointed that the OP wasn't changed halfway through because it was starting to get old. 

Despite being about ninjas, the action in the show wasn't that great. It was a bit disjointed, had awkward camera angles, and lacked flow. It wasn't terrible, but I was expecting more from a show about ninjas.

The backgrounds in this show were pretty awful. They were bland, shapeless, and looked really odd behind such detailed character art (all of the characters had nice designs, some even fappable xD)

Overall, the show had a nice aftertaste. While not amazing, it did manage to entertain me throughout its 26 episode run. It wouldn't be on the top of my recommendations list, but check it out if you're hungry for ninjas mixed realistically with the modern world and depressing teens (Yoite was depressing/depressed a good 95% of the time).

Plot: 7/10
Music: 7/10
Ending: 8/10
Art: 6/10
Characters: 8/10
Personal Enjoyment: 8/10 
Total: 44/60
Mean: 7.333... 

Other stuff
  • I thought I would be annoyed by how apathetic Miharu was, but it wasn't all that bad.
  • I bought this on DVD for $50. Not really a good idea. I almost always buy DVDs of an anime I've never watched. I never learn.  
  • MY COMPUTER BLEW UP. It got infected by this nasty Trojan that runs a fake Windows XP thing telling you that you have all these hard drive errors. It hides all of your files, and once you run its scanner, it tells you that you have to pay $20 to fix all these "critical errors" with your hard drive. Except it's all fake, and after shelling out that $20, it only gets worse. Plus, your computer is dead and they have your credit card number. Fucking extortionists. Good thing my dad was smart enough to figure it out. We're working on fixing it now, though it'll probably remain this way for a while. For now, I'm using the "family" mac. Sucks, man.
  • I fucking love German music. :3
  • I want my computer back!!!!! ;__________________;