Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nabari no Ou Review (English Dub)


Hey guys! Are you ready to watch some Naruto with me? ...Wait, what? ...This isn’t Naruto? Well what the hell is this then? *reads the title* Nabari no Ou? *shrugs* Eh, sure why not?

Nabari no Ou is an Action/Comedy anime based on the manga by Yuhki Kamatani and published by Square Enix. The 26 episode anime from J.C. Staff originally aired in 2008. Yen press holds manga licensing rights, and FUNimation holds anime-licensing rights.

Rokujou Miharu is a boy who has a hijutsu (hidden technique) living inside of him. This hijutsu is the power of creation. Many ninja clans are seeking it, as the one who possesses it becomes the ruler of the ninja world. Rokujou's classmate Kouichi started a ninja club at school with Kumohira, his English teacher. Both Kouichi and Kumohira are secretly ninjas. They tried to persuade Rokujou to join the ninjutsu club. At first, he was reluctant, but after being attacked by a group of ninjas trying to get his hijutsu, he joins the club. He must become the Ruler of Nabari in order to survive. (Anime News Network)

The overall look of Nabari no Ou isn’t very noteworthy, however, it also isn’t a complete waste. I would say: average. It’s bad enough that I will end up comparing Nabari to Naruto for this entire review, but it’s gotta be done. I will say, Nabari doesn’t use harsh and in-your-face animation and color like Naruto does, which is a huge relief. The fights in this anime are pretty well done, but also on a smaller scale than Naruto. The better music is used for more calming moments while for fights you hear the stereotypical “dun dun” music.

I can describe the story of Nabari with two words: LONG and BORING!!! Every episode of the series drags on and on so much that I always have to look at the time and see that I’m just halfway through an episode! So the question is, what makes it drag on so much? You have ninjas doing ninja things, what’s the problem here? Maybe it’s because there is rarely any large scale, multi episode fights in Nabari no Ou. They focus on Miharu’s story and about the hijutsu inside him, and his desire to grant Yoite’s wish. Yet the story takes the audience in a bunch of other different directions with side plots like Reimei and her brother, Yoite in general, and Kumohira trying to keep Miharu safe despite the secrets he holds. This goes on for a twenty-six episodes, and makes it feel a lot like a four hundred and something one ...like Naruto ...*face palm*. I will at least say that this anime made me laugh a few times more the Naruto ever did. But so far the best part of the story, is something Naruto has yet to do … THE SERIES ENDS! Despite those boring bits of it, the last few episodes actually are really good and can leave some of its viewers in tears.

Okay, so we have good art style and animation plus a boring story, yet laughable and sometimes tear jerking moments. Do we get great characters? Sort of... You do get some surprises from some of them throughout the series. Only a few characters have bigger bits of development while most have tiny things here and there, the big ones being Miharu and Yoite. The two are enemies at first, but slowly begin to bond over time and become really close through their similarities. Their friendship is certainly a unique one that I have not seen played out in an anime before, and it’s rather refreshing.

The English dub of this series isn’t a complete flop, but it’s not a complete masterpiece either. You have a ton of well known voice actors in the series playing some lesser roles, and a few not so known playing the bigger parts. First Brina Palencia (BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad) as Miharu wasn’t too bad, except you can tell it’s a girl playing the part. However, Palencia was a good choice because of Miharu’s apathetic and trickster ways. Chris Burnett (Romeo X Juliet) as Kouichi Aizawa was a good choice as well. Burnett plays the part as a cheerful optimistic kid, however he’s willing to complete his missions (and even kill people) with a smile on his face; and it REALLY works! Kate Oxley (Soul Eater) as Reimei was a good pick as well. Reimei is a very strong willed, strong-headed person and Oxley plays this perfectly. Rounding out our four main characters, Eric Vale (Fruits Basket) as Kumohira was a pretty good pick. He has his moments where he’s rather silly, but he plays serious very well. The other character I want to mention is Joel McDonald as Yoite. Remember him? He was Jacuzzi Splot in Baccano!? Yeah, he’s back, and he matches this role nicely. Yoite is a more depressing character who is just looking for some way to erase his existence from the world so people didn’t have to suffer, and McDonald does this in spades! I’m so excited to see him in another anime. I didn’t even know it was him till I researched it! Some other voice actors include: Sonny Strait, Luci Christian, Caitlin Glass, J. Michael Tatum, Greg Ayres, Monica Rial, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Chris Patton, and Leah Clark.

Now, I’ve cracked a few jokes about Nabari no Ou being a lot like Naruto. However, I’m done with the jokes and I’m going to point out that there are a few similarities between these two anime. First is the main character. Miharu has a hijutsu inside of him; Naruto has the Nine-Tailed Fox inside of him. Both have a flashback in 5 minutes of the first episode and both find out about what’s inside of them in the first episode. Then you have the main character’s friends and mentor. Each has two friends (Male and Female) and one mentor (Male). Both main characters want to be leaders of their own worlds, although one is more reluctant then the other. There are just so many things that are similar to Naruto that it kind of disappoints me. I was hoping for something completely different, but so many simple facts are the same that it’s very tiresome. However, later on down the line, Nabari makes you forget about those similarities completely and turns into a story separate from its predecessor, which made me really happy.... But still bored out of my mind.

Through it all, Nabari no Ou is a different kind of ninja story, in fact it focuses more on friendship rather then ninjas at all. A few similarities can be drawn between Nabari and Naruto; however, Nabari becomes it’s own show after a little while, and you stop complaining about it being like Naruto all over again. If you’re patient enough with the long never ending story, you will be justly rewarded in the end. If not, then I suggest you avoid this anime so you don’t have to rip your hair out.

2 comments:

  1. I completely agreed with you. I found this show to be an interesting setting for the relationship between Yoite and Miharu. Other than that it was boring and drawn out. The plot didn't make a bunch of sense, there wasn't enough background story to get the watcher emotionally invested in what was happening. Like at the school they go to, they just show up and shit gets crazy, then afterwards they fill in the missing details that would have made the fights more meaningful.

    After the plot gaps, the show was a copycat. Like you said, friends, mentor. Naruto inherits the fox from his mother, Miharu inherits his power from his mother, both mothers die at the time of passing. Both of these character's pasts are kept hidden from them. The only moments of the show I looked forward to were the interactions between Yoite and Miharu, because they were the only ones set up with any emotional investment. So, I thought this show basically sucked. Your review was more generous than my opinion. :) But looking on the positive's always a good thing, right?

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