All Miharu Rokujou wishes for is a simple life. Unfortunately, he soon learns that he is in possession of a sacred and secret ninja art, the "Shinra Banshou." With this ability, Miharu is more likely to become the king of the hidden world, Nabari, than remain a normal high school student! He must also deal with daily attempts against his life and, ironically, his sensei's efforts to convince him to join the nindo club.
Having this "omnipotent" ability will test Miharu's chances of survival, and the world of Nabari is his only hope.
That's my first time writing a review, and considering the fact that my English is far away from perfect, it may not be very enjoyable to read, but I wanted to write it. No spoilers in the review, so you can read it even if you don't know the series.
I've been following Nabari no Ou for more than two years - I liked the anime, so I started reading the manga. There were problems with scanlations - missing chapters and such, but somehow I managed to be up-to-date when chapter 49 was out. Since then, I've been eagerly checking out the new chapters every month.
This series really got me.
The story didn't seem too complicated. The main guy has an omnipotent power in him, good guys wants to erase it, bad guys wants to get it for themselves. But soon it's revealed that bad guys aren't that bad, and generally the whole situation isn't so simple. Nevertheless, I can't say there's much of intense action in this manga. I think the most intense arc is Alya arc in volume 6 and 7, and the last chapters. The plot itself is rather slow-paced. I gotta say that I really liked the humour of this series, too. Generally I think this series was more about the characters than about the plot.
Yeah, characters... If you watched the anime and didn't like them, don't get discouraged. The characters keeps changing during the series (character development is something to praise here, especially for the main character), and our view on them keeps changing as we're coming to know more facts about them. Any of them isn't black or white, everyone has their reasons to fight, and sometimes emotions clash with those reasons. Sometimes they act unreasonable, but it doesn't stand out too much, and in some cases that unreasonableness was explained. Most of characters' stories, along with what happens in the series, are really touching. And what is most important - most of characters are likable. I, personally, didn't hate any of them. And it's hard to choose a favourite character for me, but if I'd have to choose one, I guess I'd go with Aizawa.
Besides of characters and their stories, what makes the series more touching is the drawing style. It kept changing too, though. At first it wasn't too good, but it evolved to be pretty awesome. I gotta say that I don't like the author's way to draw characters too much - they were way too skinny for me, and the eyes were too big in case of the younger characters. The designs were nice, characters were nice too look at and easily recognizable - just Rokujo's parents were weird case, because his father was very similar to Koichi, and his mother looked almost exactly like Miharu himself. So, what was awesome about that style? How great it was showing the emotions of characters. The pages without words were saying more than a thousand of words. I actually cried a lot reading this series. Ah, and the backgrounds were very nice.
Overall, I loved this series. I think it's my second favourite after Fullmetal Alchemist - just because the plot itself was better in FMA (but I gotta say that I liked Nabari's end better than FMA's...). It was nice to follow it for those ~2 years. I give it 10 because of the enjoyment.
Nabari no Ou is the first long-term work of x-gendered author Yuhki Kamatani who's most recently found some notoriety in their most recent work as of the writing of this review Shimanami Tasogare, a far cry from what Nabari no Ou is.
It's very easy to write off Nabari no Ou upon its first few chapters and synopsis. It sets out with decent art and semi-interesting characters among a fairly over-done plot. So, you may wonder, why I say this and give it a ten. That's simple; it improves.
Story-wise, as before stated, it starts rather typical of shounen series from the era. As a
review, I refuse to get into spoilers, but characters drive a series and as the story goes on the characters and their loyalties are put to the test in increasingly interesting and straining ways. Bonds are severed, trust is broken but the same can be said in reverse. At first glance it may not seem anything more than a simple action series about ninjas- and maybe it's not underneath it all- but it's full of heart and it is, underneath it all, a character-driven story.
With that little about the story said, time for the characters. As a character-driven story while also being a 2000s shounen action, the cast is initially as you'd expect. Spontaneous with lots of quirks that play off each other well. As the series goes on, the characters become much more grounded and you feel much more for them and the way that they deal with the many roadblocks that end up in their paths feels increasingly believable in a way that it makes it hard for you to not understand where they're coming from. That being said, talking characters is hard to talk without talking spoilers so this will have to be kept brief as such. Design-wise, every character is unique as so that you should be able to recognise their core trait(s) from a glance and, following common practice, should you see a silhouette you'll likely be able to tell who it is.
Kamatani, as you may have noticed if you've read their following works (Shounen Note, Shimanami Tasogare) is very visual in their storytelling method. As previously stated, this is their first long-term manga and the art style at the beginning is almost entirely unrecognisable when compared to what they draw now. Even so, it improves very radically over the course of the run of the series in a way that's reflected as you start to see a lot of their common art quirks shine through such as spreads, visual symbolism and so on so forth. Aside from what's to come, even at the beginning Kamatani uses a lot of visual gags as a way of portraying humour alongside speech. Show not tell becomes increasingly prevalent as their skills improve.
For some people, this may not be their cup of tea. Even as charming as the initial chapters are, some people may not be able to stomach it. And that's fine. For those who are, you're in for a ride. Nabari no Ou, in the end, is a heart wrenching tale with many twists and turns; a must-try for anyone.
Goodness gracious, calm down. Before you bash this series for being unoriginal, please stop for a moment and take time to at least read my review.
Nabari no Ou's synopsis might seem like your typical shounen series; a boy main character who only wished for a peaceful life, but he somehow possessed a really great, inhuman power. That is like the basic setting for every shounen manga -- and with Naruto around, who needs another ninja series? We have had enough.
But believe me, Nabari no Ou is none like those cliches.
Story - To sum up without any spoilers, Nabari no Ou tells the story about Rokujou
Miharu, your average teenage boy, and his adventure which revolves around the Shinrabanshou, a ninjutsu which holds the greatest wisdom humankind could ever imagine. The intro of this manga is really overused, I know. But if you read this and you have successfully reached the 'starting point', everything is going to change. Nabari no Ou's story needs around 20 chapters or so to fully blossom, so please mind the earlier chapters. While the premise is common, the execution is... I don't know man, beautiful. The story might seem confusing with weird explanations from time to time, but just try and understand okay. It is really deep, meaningful, and bittersweet. Yes, there is more to emotion on this series rather than actual storyline and action.
Art - The art is really funny on earlier chapters, but from chapter 30 since, the art is GOOORGEOUS. All the ladies are pretty, the boys are also pretty, we have Yukimi and Raikou. You won't get disappointed. As I stated before, you only have to go through the 'starting point', which is the actual start of this story to fully enjoy this series!
Character - There are various characters in this series, and they all have really different personalities. While other shounen series focus on the good and the bad, it's not the case for Nabari no Ou. As the story proceeds, you will find yourself wondering, which one is actually right? Who should I support, which side should I take? These kinds of questions are what makes this manga very interesting. Some characters that you think to be good will suddenly turn evil without you knowing what happened. Everyone is not what they seem to be like, and even though the one who opposes the main character should be considered the antagonists, in the end, you'll just never know...
The characters are also very engrossing, be it good or bad. Various personalities are shown, and the characters' development is also really enticing. You shall have a hard time deciding your favorite.
Enjoyment - I enjoyed this manga. This manga has its ups and downs, and its downs is mainly because heck, I don't get what's going on! This manga is more emotional and less practical, so at some points in the story you might start wondering about everything. But the reason I truly enjoyed this is because it gives me this weird, warm feeling inside my chest. And even now, after I finished the series, I still feel the warmth.
I watched two episodes of the anime and dropped it. Some time later, I stumbled upon the manga and began reading it on a whim. I didn't like the art, story, or ANY of the characters.
And now it's one of my favorite manga.
The artist has a very distinct style that suits the mood of the manga very well. She seems to get the hang of it around chapter 25-30; from chapter 40 on, the artwork is GORGEOUS. Every new chapter is like a masterpiece.
The characters seriously grow on you. I had initially liked none of them, but later somehow ended up liking nearly all
of the main and supporting characters, which rarely happens to me.
Just reading their descriptions, they sound average and boring, but they're not. An example is Thobari-sensei (who happens to be a ninja). "Afraid of vehicles" is a fairly common trait in manga characters. But in no other manga will you find an adult who literally will run across Japan over the course of a week because he's afraid to ride the train.
The plot sounds really cliche with ninjas and scrolls and such, but believe me IT'S NOT. While the majority of the characters do fight, the manga is more centered on the characters than on fights. It's nothing like Naruto. No one shouts out their signature flashy move, no one's attack will hit a building/rock and make it crumble, there's no guy with huge muscles, none of those lame things that are normally in shonen manga.
Most of the arcs at the beginning are unimpressive, but after chapter 30 or so, as you become more attached to the characters, it gets better and better, up to the point where you may actually cry later on (I won't say why, read it yourself).
To sum it up, Nabari no Ou does not seem very good at the beginning. But later on, its strengths emerge in its characters and art. Overall, I would say this is one of the most seriously underappreciated manga out there.