Saturday, December 7, 2013

Nabari no Ou (manga, vols. 1-2) by Yuhki Kamatani

I own the anime adaptation of Nabari no Ou. I've watched a portion of it, but have yet to finish it because everything I've seen and heard indicates that it will likely end depressingly. I've been wanting to give the manga a try for a long time now and figured my vacation was a good time to do it.

I remember reading reviews that said this series is kind of boring to begin with and gradually gets better. Unfortunately, I never got past the boring part.

Nabari no Ou (manga, vol. 1) – Miharu, an indifferent boy, has the shinra banshou locked inside him – an awesome fount of knowledge and power that few can control. He wants to remove it, so his teacher and friends, who happen to be modern day secret ninjas, take him to a knowledgeable ninja. Unfortunately, they are attacked along the way.

What carried me through this volume was my memories of liking the first few episodes of the anime. So far, the manga isn't very promising. The characters are composed of a single joke slapped onto pretty character designs: the ninja teacher who's deathly afraid of traveling in vehicles (he even hates using bicycles); Raimei, who keeps mistaking people for being someone else; Miharu and his devilishness and massive indifference. As far as I can remember, the anime characters weren't any different, but for some reason it was more fun to watch them than it was to read about them.

Nabari no Ou (manga, vol. 2) – The Fuuma chief saves Miharu and the rest from Yoite's kira technique, which uses his own life-force to hurt and kill others. Everyone seems to want to use Miharu for the shinra banshou inside him. Tobari swears he wants to help Miharu remove the shinra banshou, but he's not strong enough to accomplish much. Then, Yoite captures Miharu, acting on his own rather than as part of a ninja group. His request: he wants Miharu to use the shinra banshou to make it so that he (Yoite) was never born.

Yoite ramps up the angst – a guy whose power kills him a little more every time he uses it, and whose greatest wish is never to have been born. When I'm in the mood, I'm partial to angsty characters, so I was glad he got a little more page time.

The character designs are still pretty, and I enjoyed Miharu's aggressive indifference. However, this volume was a little confusing. Even worse, it was boring. Reviewers I trust have said this series gets better, so I'd like to continue with it at some point. I don't know when that will be, though.

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