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DVD Review

DVD cover

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan
Season 2
Box 1/2

Starring (voice): Aya Hirano, Jun Fukuyama, Ai Maeda, Akira Ishida and Ami Koshimizu
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
RRP: £29.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 10 March 2014

Rikuo Nura’s heritage is something which he wishes he had not inherited. Being groomed to one day become the leader of the Nura clan is not something he would turn his back on, but the clan has a peculiar distinguishing attribute, they all turn into supernatural beings when night falls. In an effort to avoid his fate Rikuo dedicates his life to doing good deeds, in the vain hope that he can avoid his fate, but other forces are at work and Rikuo turns to his friends for support...

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Season 2 - Box 1/2 is an action anime, directed by Junji Nishimura and based on the original manga from Hiroshi Shiibashi. It is your typical blend of Shōnen themes. The set contains the first thirteen episodes of season two, spread across three discs and the script for these were provided by Hideaki Koyasu.

On the outside Rikuo looks like your average school boy, however he hides a dark secret. This is particularly popular with young boys, fulfilling both the hidden sexual trauma of adolescence jointly with the desire to be other, preferably a more powerful outsider. It dramatizes that time in life where you are both powerless at the same time as feeling the power of your impending adulthood.

For those that have yet to watch the first the season, and for fans who just want to know more about the back story, season two kicks off with a flashback, showing how Rikuo first discovered that he was a Yokai. Rather than accepting himself for who he is, he is disgusted by his hidden side, made worse by his schoolmates endless derogatory stories regarding the creatures. Not only does he feel the fear of being rejected by his human friends, he has to suffer prejudice from his own people because he is part human.

Like many Shōnen shows, whatever character establishment and progress that Season One may have seen is quickly dispensed with to provide a show where the plot moves slowly, interspersed with a great deal of fighting.

After the flashback episode, we are introduced to Ryuji and Mamiru Keikain, her brother and her childhood friend. This sets off the events of the show's second season, which primarily focuses on the growing gap between the Yokai and the humans. One of the better things about the show is its overall construction. Certainly there are fights aplenty, as one would expect from a show of this type, but they also are not above playing with time, creating flashback episodes which go some way to enrich the current story.

The three disc set contains the first thirteen episodes of season two and the quality of the animation can be a little variable, there are some scenes which are a detailed delight, whereas other seem to be using a more basic, cruder form of drawing. Apart from the choice of listening to either the original Japanese or the American dub, both work well.

It’s not a bad show, but it is a show constrained by the expectations of its target audience, so pretty much a wish of a young boy’s fulfillment writ in animation. As such, its similarities with other Shōnen mean that there is little here that smacks of originality.


Charles Packer

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