Nabari no Ou

TV (26 eps)
3.591 out of 5 from 9,879 votes
Rank #4,576

There are two worlds which exist side by side – the ordinary surface world of the humans and the secret world of ninjas called Nabari. Within this secret world, the opposing ninja groups are fighting over who should possess the ultimate power known as Shinra Banshou. Enter Miharu Rokujou, a high-school student who lives a carefree life and likes to keep himself to himself. Unfortunately for Miharu, his carefree life is about to be over, because within him is hidden the ultimate power and there is no end of evil minions ready to kidnap him for it! Miharu’s only chance of survival is to embrace this mystic world and become the King of Nabari himself. With the help of his new ninja friends, Kouichi, Shimizu, and Kumohira, can he come to grips with his powers or will he fall prey to his many enemies instead?

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WARNING: This review contains some mild spoilers.I quite like this anime.  The story -- an Ordinary High School boy finds out he's the key to a great battle between rival ninja clans -- isn't particularly original, but it becomes quickly obvious that the show isn't really about that.  Rather, it's about the slowly evolving relationship between our main character, Miharu, and Yoite, another young man of an opposing ninja clan who is slowly dying -- and desperately wants something from Miharu.The relationship between these two kindred spirits is fascinating, as we begin to slowly understand how alike their struggles with happiness and apathy are.  How healthy this relationship is, is always in doubt, and trying to come to terms with just how they feel about one another and how this affects both them and the people around them is one of the joys of watching this series.These two characters are trying to figure things out right along with the viewer, which leads to quite a bit of side-switching and motives and actions that aren't always readily clear.  This is interesting at first, though it does get tiresome after a while; however, it dovetails nicely with the series' message that no one is truly good or bad, or trustworthy, and that you can't rely on others to make your decisions for you.This also reflects in the moral complexity of the various other characters on the show.  Very few people in this series are all good or all bad; most of them are quite human, and as such are always surprising you.  You come to really care about these people, because they seem so real; and even the ones who are at first unsympathetic or annoying slowly endear themselves to you (though I hated Kotarou right to the end).The series is at its strongest when it takes advantage of all of the complex characters.  When the series, especially towards the end, focuses more exclusively on the relationship between Miharu and Yoite, it becomes bogged down in a repititious cycle of storylines we've already seen.  Though the relationship between the two is fascinating, it isn't quite fascinating enough to sustain the entire series by itself, which is exactly what it tries to do for a while.  Needles to say, this part is the weakest of the series.The strongest parts are a raid on a school towards the middle, and the ending, which manages to be completely awesome right up until an unfortunate deus ex machina that leaves the final few episodes to again mostly be about the relationship between Miharu and Yoite.  Still, the ending packs a punch, and is certainly satisfying in the way it manages to tie several different plot threads together.It would be a shame if I didn't mention the remarkable animation -- the background is, I believe, gorgeous watercolors, and the character designs are dynamic (if a tad unoriginal).  The characters are a little lanky, but still look great, especially when they spring into action.In short this is a very good series that at times sinks under the weight of its own fantastic characters -- if everyone around Miharu and Yoite wasn't so interesting, we wouldn't notice they're absence; of course, these are some great characters, which means that we do.  By and large, however, this is a great and interesting series, well worth your time.


Brief Review (might do a more detailed one later): Overview: As you might expect, the anime's basic premise sounds like any other "power-up" anime. However, this turns out to be far from the truth; but not necessarily in a good way... This anime is more about the relationships and forced drama between 5 or 6 characters. However, nothing is explained very well, and you suddenly have a main character who is basically in love with some phychopath killer for some poorly flushed out reason. I can't tell you why, because this anime is so unclear and vague. The Good: I guess this anime has some orginality to it. It is sometimes hard to predict whats going to happen next, but I feel like that is more because you can't figure out what the hell is actually going on. I like the character designs, and I'm happy that the characters feel much more human then in most anime in this genre. They have flaws, and few are completely good or evil. The Bad: My biggest problem with this anime is clarity. Maybe I'm just not into the whole subtle drama thing, but I was having trouble following everything that was going on. Looking for some scrolls? Kid has some wierd powers that he needs to control but no one explains how or why or wtf? So the biggest problem is that nothing is explained, and everything is so random. People have said it is hard to figure out what is going to happen next. Yes that is true, but only because Nabari no Ou is so damn random, it just pulls whatever ideas and plot elements out of thin air to meet is purpose. Another disappointing point is that the rommance stuff got a little wierd. Are they gay or not? Whats up with no guys trying to get with the hot ass sword swinging blond that no one seems to care about? Lastly, and most disappointing for me was that I expected the main character's powers to slowly awaken, and him slowly to gain control over them. At episode 17, there has been no growth there, and 2 examples of him using his powers. I wasn't looking for some bleach/dbz powerup anime, but I wanted a little something... Sum it up: I tried so hard to like this anime. I think this is obvious that I got to episode 17 without dropping it. However, I just couldn't handle it anymore. The episodes 13-15ish were the only episodes I found decent (involving the assult on the school) but it took a turn for the worse very soon after, and I couldn't handle it anymore So much potential... shot. If your into boy love or what not, maybe. If your into buckets of nonsensical and confusing plot, maybe. If you just want to see some average characterization, maybe. Thats about all I can recommend this for.

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