Nabari no Ou: Of friendship stronger than even Frodo and Sam’s

June 15, 2009 at 5:54 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 13 Comments
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Nabari no Ou

Nabari no Ou

Before I go on, a few words: It’s been about a month since my exams, but I still haven’t gotten around to moving to When will it happen? I keep saying ‘soon’, but nothing has happened yet. And I did say I wanted to move this holiday. Oh well.

Nabari no Ou. Finished this anime sometime this month, or the last. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but it was good enough to warrant a review of some sort. I wonder why I decided to add Nabari to my watchlist, though. I didn’t know anything about it, not even the fact that there’s a Nabari manga as well. or that Square Enix was involved in it (No matter how minute their role may have been). All I knew about it was that it had something to do with ninjas- no, no twelve year old child soldiers involved, thankfully, but a more realistic, grittier breed of ninja. Oh, it’s also set in the ‘relatively’ real world. so logically there should be no devastating ninja techniques such as ‘summon giant smoking frog to give you lung cancer jutsu’, haha. Oh, and that it was supposedly loaded with bishounen.

That’s that. Time to start the review- what format should I go by? I’m feeling kinda lazy, so episodic it is- 26 episodes crammed into one post, without giving away anything about the storyline, I hope. Ah, how about eliminating all names from this review? No facts or plot development, either- only whatever thoughts I had while I watched (I kept notes). Hehe, here goes then:

Episode 1: Ah, spotted the first of many bishounen. Or did I get it wrong? Is he a guy or a girl? I can’t tell! Oh, so it’s a he. Hmm, so he uses his looks and Oscar-worthy acting skills to fool/manipulate others? The little devil (You’ll see why)! I think I can like this character…oh, and the first ninjutsu used in the show… reminded me of Ukyo from Ranma 1/2, haha. Mmm, okonomiyaki:3

P.S. In my notes, I wrote down ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. Me and my blasted code… I don’t even remember what it means, bah. You’ll just have to watch it and figure it out for yourselves… oh wait, I got it. Jack here has the amazing ability to grow beanstalks… and he doesn’t need seeds or sunlight, haha. This ability is supposed to be some sort of deus ex machina thingy, but no worries regarding this, as you will soon see- unless you’re the type that enjoys lots of fireworks. In every episode. Every three minutes.

Episode 2: Saw someone who looked like Ishida Uryuu from Bleach. Ishida’s a boring character, but the impression I got from this one was… that I’d like to club him over his head. He’s an older, irritating version of Ishida. And he won’t shut up! Oh, hey, here’s something interesting… the guy mentioned in Episode 1 above has the same ‘school diet’ as me… all he had for lunch was one small box of milk or something. I normally have a small bun or a small Vitagen… or just wait for dinner at home:p

Ahaha what weird clothes! Someone’s granny (Or was it aunt?) has a good sense of style! Granny’s boy (Or auntie’s boy) had to get his clothes changed, because he looked too ridiculous. There were three others travelling with him, one older guy (A bishie with an interesting half-foreign name and a curious phobia), a younger guy, about the same age as him (But rather plain and annoying, plus I don’t like his hair), and a samurai girl. I was looking forward to seeing how Granny’s boy would look like in samurai girl’s clothes, but I ran out of luck there.

Episode 3: Things start to get serious. Is it just me or am I jumping back and forth between past and present tense? Oh well. Another bishie showed up, but I wasn’t too interested. Hold on, where are all the girls?

Episode 4: An interesting scene involving one major character, resting after the noisy events in the previous episode: “That was the first time I shouted out in such a loud voice” (Cough) “My throat hurts”. A touching moment, but I could have laughed there. That’s exactly how I feel at times- I don’t talk much, so lively, sustained conversations tend to wear me out quickly.

I mentioned the  Ishida lookalike earlier, but I forgot to mention that he’s a hentai who dreams of making a harem. It’s hard to tell if he was joking when he said that, but still…=,= Oh, and he’s surrounded by women anyway. They actually tolerate his eccentricity… I suppose his good points make up for it. He’s also the chief strategist for one ninja clan that’s pitted against another, and we are shown a glimpse of his plans… what is this, Death Note? Code Geass? He’s certainly no Lelouch or Light though, haha.

Episode 5: Hmm, let’s skip this one, shall we? Nothing to see here, really *whistles*… All right, I just didn’t think of anything to say for this episode. Next!

Episode 6: Something one bishie said caught my attention: “I haven’t spoken this much for some time- I’m a little tired”. Yup, this one hit the spot, more so than the kid who shouted for the first time in his life back in episode 4. Starting to like this guy more. Oh, and his coat is just gorgeous!

Episode 7-8: I’m hungry…><

Episode 9: About this new character- nope, not a bishie this time. He looks like Setsuna F. Seiei from Gundam 00… only with ugly hair, cat eyes, and a mouth that never shuts up… plus he’s a total fanboy for his work partner. Having your life saved by him is no excuse for that, kiddy.

Episode 10: Some lady: “You’re disturbing the neighbours!” lol, smart woman. Wonder if she could have stopped the next fight, between the samurai siblings, with another intelligent statement? Perhaps “You’re crushing the flowers!” About the problem between the samurai siblings- I can’t help but wonder if their relationship will resemble that of Uchiha Itachi and his kid bro Sasuke… quite a few similarities already.

Setsuna clone isn’t just a fanboy, it looks like he’s been reading way too much yaoi manga since we last met…

Episode 11: Samurai girl runs perfectly well with crutches?! Har? My brain snapped in half. Ah, and we’re given the answer to the ‘samurai sibling’ subplot… they aren’t going through the Uchiha pattern, but rather the R2 Lelouch master plan.

Episode 12-13: Mmm… chocolate would be nice… or blueberry cheese tarts…

Episode 14: One bishie and one growing-up-to-be-one bishie hiding in a box. For some reason this reminded me of Hotaru no Haka, of the brother and sister living in a cave. Many years ago, I’d probably have thought of Robinson Crusoe instead. Bishie! Don’t die on me! I’ll even give you three exclamation marks!!!

Episode 15: Blasted headache=,=

Episode 16: New ending theme, and a new video to go with it. Made me wonder though, whether the producers really wanted to have made Nabari into a yaoi romance.

Episode 17-18: Nothing here, move on…

Episode 19: Square Enix’s rumoured character design guide came to mind: start with a drawing of a female character, and make it more masculine. Samurai boy! His neck is so thin, I feel as if I could snap it between my thumb and forefinger!

Come to think of it, Setsuna clone and Samurai boy seem to resemble Setsuna and his Gundam… nah, ditch that thought. But does the leader of the baddies do nothing but drive his kimono-clad Kansai-ben speaking (Presumed) wife around?

Episode 20: Bishie with the nice coat saw the ‘devil’ in his companion for the first time! I wonder what he thought of it, haha. Shinigami (God of death) and a devil, huh. Nice pair, actually^^;

Episode 21-22: Nothing to say here…

Episode 23: Baddies are revealed to be selfish, blind, irritating, cynical adults, who look down on youngsters and think they’re doing everyone a favour. Bah. A disappointment, really. Off with their heads

Oh, someone important died. Two people who loved him screamed in pain, but… why oh why did they have to take turns to do it?

Episode 24: Tacky space scenery and fish floating around. Uh…

Episode 25-26: The end. All right, I couldn’t resist- here’s some more for you:

Final thoughts: This show really wasn’t too bad, actually. I’d have liked to see more action, but that’s alright- however, it feels as if the ninja world was just foil, or even plain background for the main theme, which was really the relationship between the shinigami and little devil. Despite the lack of action, I was quite relieved that the ‘beanstalk’ power wasn’t overused. Finally, 26 episodes seemed a little too long. Nabari gets 4/5 for me- mostly for character interaction and development.



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  1. ’summon giant smoking frog to give you lung cancer jutsu’

    LOL what? That’s hilarious.

    “I mentioned the Ishida lookalike earlier, but I forgot to mention that he’s a hentai who dreams of making a harem. ”
    Is that the one who keeps turning into a cat? I actually rather liked him. But I tend to like those sort of ridiculous characters who are actually these incredibly intelligent guys and often manipulative underneath (like Shigure Sohma in Fruits Basket, who is one of my favorite characters in the series).

    “That’s exactly how I feel at times- I don’t talk much, so lively, sustained conversations tend to wear me out quickly.”
    Me tooooooo…..

    “Made me wonder though, whether the producers really wanted to have made Nabari into a yaoi romance.”
    This would have been totally OK with me. :)

    Anyway, I loved the character development in this one too. And since I’m not at all a fan of crazy ninja shows like Naruto, Nabari was perfect for me.

    • Glad you liked the ‘jutsu’, haha. I think we all know what jutsu I really meant, though. It did get me wondering… do frogs/toads have lungs? And can animals without lungs smoke? Thinking too much now, haha.

      I dunno about turning into a cat, but he does turn into all sorts of things. The description I gave of him was just my first impression, after seeing him in the OP, I think. I liked the manipulative bit about him, but I just couldn’t stand his… loudness:p Shigure… I don’t remember much about him, except that he’s the dog, and that he often did a great job of keeping Kyo and Yuki from blowing up. My favourite would be Hatori, though. I cried every time I watched ep8;)

      • I actually don’t know where that came from. I assumed it was some Naruto thing, but I haven’t seen Naruto (well, I’ve seen like 1 or 2 episodes, which was more than enough).
        You were talking about Kotarou Fuuma, yes? The guy with the long black hair and glasses? The ninja power of the Fuuma clan is shape shifting. And I believe he turns into a cat or something several times to go spy on people.
        Shigure, in the manga, is, to be perfectly honest, kind of a jerk. He’s using everyone to get what he wants, no matter who he hurts, and no matter the consequences. He’s obsessed with his desire, and he’ll have it, period. So he manipulates everyone around him, and stomps all over everyone. He’s really not a nice person at all, but at least he feels kind of bad about it sometimes. It’s just that what he wants outweighs his sense of guilt. He’s not evil or anything, because he does help the others (though even that often furthers his own goals), and he does realize that he’s not a good person. But yeah, he’s a pretty dark character, really. It doesn’t come across much in the anime, especially in the final episodes (where he runs out to check on Tohru who ran off after Kyo, something he would NEVER do, and indeed dose NOT do in the manga, and it made me really angry). Part of that may be because they never get to his goals in the anime; they don’t really exist in the confines of the way they chose to tell the story. Anyway, he’s just very cool and calculating…and he wears glasses. ^_^ So it’s obvious I would get hung up on him.
        Hatori is very sweet, and so tragic. You’d probably really like Kureno, who wasn’t in the anime. His story is so heartbreaking. Well, really, they’re ALL just so incredibly tortured.

        • Yup, it’s a Naruto thing. Naruto is actually quite good, especially in terms of cinematography. Character development is good too, but it comes along slooowly in the anime, which, if you do get around to watch it, you should watch in marathon-format, minus the filler episodes.

          Fuuma Kotarou, yes. I’m still not too sure about the cat, though. I thought the cat belonged to Aizawa (Highlander kid). Although there could have been another cat that I forgot.

          Wow, that’s a completely different Shigure there. I’ve never read the manga, so I wouldn’t know, but from your description of manga-Shigure, he seems like a great character. Glasses too? I don’t suppose you’re a meganekko addict, by any chance?

  2. Nah I’m very anti-Naruto. I really don’t like it at all. And just for the record, I also don’t like Dragon Ball or Pokemon.

    Haha, well, maybe I’m imagining that he turned into a cat. But I’m almost positive…. In fact, those cats may be one in the same. It’s possible I’m confusing it with something else, because it’s been a little while since I’ve seen the show. Maybe I’ll dig it out and double check, because there wasn’t anything in the Wiki about it. Because I thought I remembered a “oh hey wow he was this the entire time” moment.

    No they really cut out everything that made Shigure, well, Shigure. Because they were only covering the story up to a point, and they changed some of the biggest secrets, they had to cut it out because it wouldn’t have made any sense (or fit the character). I really just want to tell you flat out, lol. But I don’t want to ruin it….. You should look into reading the manga if you enjoyed the anime. It’s a LOT better. The anime is rather light and fluffy (and, to be fair, so are the first handful of volumes of the manga), but the manga quickly becomes very dark and serious. It’s still funny at times, but the characters are growing, they’re breaking out of the chains Akito has bound them in even as he continues to tighten them, there’s REAL development, things change, things happen. And all of these characters, Tohru included, have to break free of this dark, tortured past and move on, or else be stuck in a prison of the past forever. It’s an extremely well written and well told story. Sorry, heh, I get really worked up over it because it’s one of my favorite manga.
    And yeah, I’m a megane fan. I believe you’re the one who told me I missed um…Toya from Ceres…in my list of sexy manga guys in glasses over at Jay’s blog. I think Shigure’s are reading glasses.

    • That’s alright. Dragon Ball and Pokemon? I liked those two when I was younger, but it looks like I’ve outgrown them somewhat, although I still felt that the DB: Evolution movie was pure heresy (Burn the scriptwriters at the stake, lynch the director, and all that).

      I’m still not too sure about the cat, but you’re right about him being there the whole while- he did get his fingers around almost everything that happened.

      The Fruits Basket manga, hmm. I remember reading somewhere that it’s one of the best-selling manga in the States. I thought the anime handled itself pretty well, but I think I’d prefer the manga too. I suppose it’s a good thing that I watched the anime before reading the manga (I’ll get to it soon), or I might have found myself banging on walls, haha. Worked up? No biggie! Dangle Death Note in front of me and you’d get the same reaction:)

      Toya from Ceres… hmm, no specs, if memory serves me right. But he did wear sunglasses at one point.

      • It’s one of the best selling titles for a reason. It’s fantastic. I encourage you to pick it up. It’s finished (it’s 23 volumes), so there’s no waiting for books to come out. It really is one of my favorite manga, and I’ve read through it multiple times. I did some banging on the walls when I saw the anime though (I didn’t like it at all).

        Well, I’m positive you mentioned Toya. You said: “@Kris: Oh, and you forgot Toya from Ayashi ni Ceres, *winks*” after I listed off a bunch of megane characters. But maybe you just meant he was a “tall, mysterious” character, which is one of the qualifiers I mentioned.

        Oh, and for the record, I have a Shigure statue, and also a plushie of him in dog form. I really do adore him; he’s a very interesting character.

        • I will, but I don’t think I’ll be buying them, unless I get a chance to go to Japan again- where I can get manga for 105yen each from BookOff. Head banging, haha. I might do the same if I ever pick up the Geass manga.

          Yup, I mentioned Toya. It’s just that I realised that he wouldn’t be able to fulfill your megane addiction:)

          • Yeah, I was actually going to say “the final volume comes out next month.” And then I remembered you don’t live in the States. It’s been over in Japan for a couple of years now, so you can read the whole thing online. You could probably find a torrent of the entire series as well.

  3. I adored the manga, so perhaps didn’t like this as well as I could have. Does anyone else thing this would have been much better cut down into a movie or two?

    It’s not to late actually: they could probably make a pretty fair couple of films with what they already have finished. (They have done it for other series)

    • I haven’t read the manga so I can’t compare it to the anime, but a film, eh. Animated, or live-action, I wonder?

  4. @A20-man: Am I too late?… Hmm, it doesn’t make sense for me to read too deeply, but just mention 4-of-5 stars, and it deserves watching! Of course, there’s the little issue of my “infinite list”… {sigh}.

    P.S. Note to self: Nabari, Nabari, Nabari…

    • Haha, take your time. I have the same problem, except that I don’t have the shows ‘yet’. So in a way, I’m a little ahead. Just finished Lain about a week ago, hehe.

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