Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $59.98 US
Running Time: 325 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
The last duel of two ninja teenagers in love.
As a fan of ninjas and anime about ninjas, Nabari no Ou came as a pleasant and refreshingly nice change of pace mainly because its two main characters aren’t the conventional ninjas we’re use to seeing. The first part of the series set up the events well enough and picked up the pace quite nicely towards the end but Part Two of The Complete Series of Nabari no Ou loses some of its steam but still manages to be a decent boy-loves-ninja-boy story.
In Part One of the series, we meet Miharu Rokujo who isn’t exactly the type of hero we’re use to seeing as he’s not a fighter and he’s romantically interested in another boy who just so happens to be a dangerous Kira user in the Nabari world of the ninja who goes by the name Yoite. Having joined the rival clan known as the Kairoshu, Miharu’s plan is to fulfill the wish of the dying Yoite despite the fact that his friends from the Banta clan are trying hard to make sense of Miharu’s decision to abandon them.
The last time we left them, Miharu and a few Kairoshu representatives like the samurai Reiko and the gun toting Yukimi are joined by the three Banta clan ninjas (Tobari-sensei, Shimizu and Koichi) in staying at a school that is used as the Koga clan headquarters. Unfortunately, the Koga aren’t exactly hospitable hosts and attack the other ninjas as Miharu and Yoite find themselves going up against the dangerous members of the Koga like the tiny Shijima who single-handedly defeats Yoite.
Seeing Yoite badly injured, however, Miharu unleashes the power of the Shinrabansho that is locked within him. At the same time, Tobari-sensei comes to realize that the attack against them was not ordered by the dying leader of the Kanto clan but rather someone else more familiar. Even with the identity of the Kanto traitor, Tobari-sensei cannot take a life and as a result we learn a most unusual secret about Koichi. I won’t get into how this part of the story is resolved but this is by far one of the more exciting parts of the series.
Unfortunately, after that the story takes a detour that is directionless and, strangely enough, at the same time kind of endearing. Miharu spends the rest of the series attempting to find a way to use the full power of the Shinrabansho. With Yoite growing weaker every moment, it becomes clear to Miharu that he doesn’t have too long to live and this is unacceptable to the boy. Their moments together don’t stray into yaoi territory but it is clear that they like each another in ways that the others just don’t understand.
As Miharu chases leads on the Shinrabansho with Yoite in tow, this act makes the Kairoshu leader consider the pair traitors. He sends gifted shinobi after them but when they retrieve the two ninjas, Miharu and Yoite find allies in Reiko who turns against the Shinrabansho to protect Yoite as well as Gau who Yoite helps. Meanwhile, Tobari-sensei and his crew try to reach Miharu before he awakens the true power locked within him. At last, the truth is revealed as Tobari’s past comes to light.
There’s a huge showdown in the final four episodes and there is certainly some bloody battles as well but the finale leaves much to be desired. We’re talking a slow finish that doesn’t really close the chapter on the other characters. This is definitely not an ending that is memorable or even emotional as we say goodbye to a character.
Part Two of The Complete Series of Nabari no Ou fails to stay on track as the finale lacks direction and an ending that is satisfactory but it’s still an entertaining series that’s fit for anyone looking for a different kind of ninja story. The final 13 episodes certainly does not lack action and the endearing relationship of its two male protagonists add a new dimension to the ninjas-at-war theme but this series as a whole could have been so much better.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
With Miharu still living among the Kairoshu, he is still focused on making Yoite’s wish come true by somehow using the powerful Shinrabansho. On the other side, Tobari-sensei and the others try to find a way to keep Miharu from using it in a final showdown that will pit ninja against ninja. Unfortunately, the ending is a major letdown.
VIDEO QUALITY: B+
The series still looks good on DVD and the character design might not be original but it works beautifully. The action sequences in this series are actually very exciting.
AUDIO QUALITY: B+
The voice acting in the series for both the original Japanese and the English dub works well but you have to give props to Brina Palencia for making Miharu sound so convincing. The score is exciting and so is the opening theme song but the new closing theme, “ARUGAMAMA” by Anami and Maki, is absolutely beautiful.
Like Part One we get trailers and the option to watch the opening and closing animation sans credits but there’s an audio commentary track for Episode 25 featuring Brina Palencia and Joel McDonald who chat about everything from meeting fans at expos to Brina talking about doing the voice for male characters.
While not as fun as the first part, Part Two of Nabari no Ou is actually endearing and still loaded with enough ninja action to still make this a very different and refreshingly entertaining series that could have been so much better in the end. That said, a show about two male characters who like each another might not be everyone’s cup of tea but given the chance it will still show you a somewhat decent time.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment