Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan Episode #25 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, December 20, 2010
Release Date: Monday, December 20, 2010

The season largely draws to a close, though not without a threat of a follow-up season next year.

What They Say:
Rikuo and Tamazuki face off, and they exude an enormous amount of yokai aura as they fight to prevail over one another. The power of the Devil's Hammer is nothing to be taken lightly.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With word that the series, which is ongoing in manga form, is going to get a second season, I have to admit reduced hopes for the end of this season in terms of really finishing things out. Especially when you realize that the next episode appears to be a recap episode. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is doing rather well and it's not a surprise why since it's a pretty easily accessible show for newer fans that can get into it and gush all over it since it uses the mixture of comedy and supernatural action well at times. The manga itself is gaining a lot of traction in Japan and the timing seems ripe for the Next Big Series to start showing up. While I don't personally see this as the next Bleach or One Piece, it's definitely got a whole lot of Inu Yasha potential to it.

The battle has certainly heated up a fair bit here as Rikuo and Tamazaki go at it, though a lot of the time is spent with it just being stylish more than actual attacks. The style side does work well as it seems like the A team showed up to animate it here. Backgrounds are still weak but the actual character animation is quite strong and the visuals for it all is really appealing with the cherry blossoms for example. There's an actual animation budget here, especially when the two sides of Rikuo come together in a very unusual moment and fight against Tamazuki. It's not exactly a strong point in terms of storytelling, since it's the kind of thing that feels like it's a slim chance in hell of happening, but it provides for a fairly epic moment as Tamazuki goes over the edge in trying to cut down Rikuo.

Because of how events play out, the bulk of the second half is given over to epilogue material that does show how things have changed and have no changed. Rikuo now looks a bit older and more mature, though he still has his child-like moments popping up here and there. The transformation he went through has certainly impact him and has left a lasting impression. But there's still that bit of whimsy to him which is actually good to see. As epilogues go, this isn't a great one or a bad one. It ties up a few little loose ends, not that there were many, but it more just shows that life goes on. Having some of the main players note that things have changed yet not that much is decent, but without anything significant here other than having Tamazuki dealt with, for now at least, it lacks a certain kind of impact to really make it memorable. I typically like epilogues a lot but this one left me feeling like it's fairly shallow.

In Summary:
Nura has been a very challenging series to watch. I get the appeal of it, but it hasn't managed to win me over outside of a couple of specific areas. This episode once again shows its potential in the first half when the stronger team takes over to deal with Tamazuki and Rikuo's battle and what he does to win the fight. The animation is strong here than it usually is as well which makes a significant impact. The goofier elements, namely the paranormal society, are what has kept me from getting into it as well as the really awkward and drawn out storytelling in general. The show certainly has potential, but I can't help but to keep likening it to the Inu Yasha franchise as it has that kind of atmosphere of having so much potential but never quite achieving it.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Viz Media
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan