Rikuo Nura appears to be an ordinary middle school student. Appearances, however, can be deceiving. In reality, the young boy has one-fourth of youkai blood and is the heir to a large clan of youkai led by his grandfather, Nurarihiyon. As a small child, he was told that youkai often perform evil deeds, leading to his reluctance to succeed the Nura Clan and doing whatever he could to avoid his destiny.
During the night, Rikuo undergoes a transformation into a fearsome youkai who resembles Nurarihiyon in his prime. Realizing that he can use his power to protect others, he accepts his inheritance, aiming to unite all the youkai factions across Japan and establish his own "Night Parade of a Hundred Demons."
Nurarihyon no Mago was published in English as Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan by VIZ Media under the Shonen Jump imprint from February 1, 2011 to February 3, 2015; and in Italian as I Signori dei Mostri by Panini Comics under the Planet Manga imprint from April 25, 2010 to May 31, 2014.
Nurarihyon no Mago had a really bumpy start in my opinion. The first couple chapters were generic, the lead was boring, way too many characters to care about, and it was pretty boring. The whole "youkai" angle just seemed like a cheap gimmick to cover up how utterly bland and mediocre it felt. However despite that, I continued because I thought it had some potential and man oh man did it really become something else. The beginning is EASILY the worst part of the manga. Unlike most shounen, where strong beginnings are the norm, Mago plays it completely differently and does the opposite. It starts
off with a rather weak beginning, picks up steam after the first couple of volumes than it really takes off and becomes amazing. A true diamond in the rough.
The story revolves around a quarter blooded Youkai/Ayakashi named Rikuo who has to come to terms with becoming the leader of his youkai clan. Its a pretty cliched premise and it even comes with the whole "dark alter ego" spiel ,who serves as the true leader of the clan and has a ridiculous hair style. I can't say I liked that annoying "Yami Rikuo" thing that the mangaka had going but thankfully it was done away with and the personality became the same for both egos eventually. Of course this happens over a period of time and is subtly implemented which is one of the manga's strong points. While in some of earlier arcs, small bits of interesting information are scattered here and there, only to be brought up later. Its obvious that a lot of time and effort went into making the story good and it really begins to show later on. It especially gets good after chapter 50, when the main villain gets introduced and a concise goal is finally presented to the lead. This manga borrows heavily from a lot of old Japanese myths and legends, so it has some really rich material to work with. At its best, the story can get really interesting especially during the major flashback arc.
Mago shoves A LOT of characters into the readers face at the beginning. Its almost guaranteed that you won't remember any of the youkai that hang around Rikuo all the time. However as the manga goes on, many of the youkai get some time to shine and they get reintroduced to the audience. Their past/youkai quirk all go a long way in creating a really memorable cast of characters. As I'm writing this review, a lot of characters that got introduced in chapter 1 are getting some much deserved time in the spotlight for themselves in the recent chapters. The truth is, the beginning might have felt kinda off because the mangaka was trying to lay the foundation quickly. Get all the necessary exposition out of the way so that everything that comes after has more focus and better writing. It might not have been the best method, but everything in the past couple of arcs have been rock-steady in quality.
The art is phenomenal, especially considering the fact that it's a weekly manga. Not one youkai design is alike, and that's saying a lot since there's literally hundreds of unnamed youkai designs in the manga. Never mind the main cast, who all have really unique designs that range from quirky to down right badass. It has a paint-brush like quality to it which really looks amazing sometimes, not to mention there's nothing quite like it in Jump at the moment. The artstyle in this manga is just dripping with imagination, just like One Piece in that regard. The fights range from forgettable to really awesome. However this factor fluctuates a lot more than the other elements but most of time, they're all solid.
Mago does a lot to separate itself from the standard shounen fare. Sure it has its share of cliches and archetypes, but everything just works together so well. Its definitely more than the sum of its parts, a real pleasure to read each week. For me its definitely the most consistent out of all the mangas in Jump. Its probably gonna turn into a long running shounen, but it has the advantage of having a near limitless scope. I'm not to worried about it in this case since it could go anywhere after this arc and it'd still work. Its still in its early stages but it has something a lot of other long running shounen don't: focus and pacing. So if you're still reading this review, than go pick up Mago. Bear with the beginning because it'll pay off tenfolds later.
Solid 8's all around (minus the art, which gets a 9 from me).
Story: Nurarihyon no Mago (or Mago for short since I never remember how to spell the Nurarihyon part) is the perfect example of a story that takes time to get really good. It begins with an introduction of our main protagonist, Rikuo Nura, who is a demon...or kinda. He's human, but 1/4 of him is part youkai (/ayakashi/demon). The beginning of the manga really tends to focus on his human life which sort of makes the series boring. I don't know about you, but when I read a series in WSJ, I
expect a lot of action (unless of course it's one of those ecchi/romance/school settings which this clearly isn't just by looking at the cover xD). As the story goes on, Rikuo learns about what it takes to truly take over the Nura clan from his grandfather. He starts to meet more youkai and they grow to respect and follow him. As the manga goes on, the human aspect of Rikuo's life takes a back seat to his inner demon. We get more battles, more in-depth training sessions, and tons of new characters.
Art: Personally, I love the art for this series...especially towards where it currently is when I'm writing this (chapter 96). The demons are very well detailed and the settings are extremely well done. I'm not one to be picky on art, but I really like the backgrounds this story has.
Character: Well, there are many characters in this series. The great part is that you do get back story on them as the manga continues. Sure, with so many characters not everyone has been covered yet, but as I said before, this series really has improved.
Enjoyment: Towards the beginning, my enjoyment for this series wasn't that high. However, it really has become a good shounen series and I'm really enjoying it. If you aren't aware of the way Weekly Shounen Jump does things, they rank their series in the Table of Contents. Ever since the current arc of this series has started, Mago has been ranking high and getting color pages here and there. It's amazing and really nice to see.
If you enjoy a good shounen series that progresses nicely in time, then try out this series. It's a weekly series and it IS scanlated weekly so you don't have to wait long. Hell, there's even an anime adaptation coming this July. So look out for that!
Nurarihyon no Mago was an underrated manga I had picked up early 2009 which amalgamates all your typical yakuza/supernatural stories you may have read in the pass and crossing them over to give you an interesting tale about yokai chivalry (which is not always written or portrayed about as we always see yokai/demons as being the bad guys).
The story is about Rikuo Nura(part human/part demon) and his trials to taking over his grandfathers clan the Hyakki Yako. A clan of demons known for their 'fear'.
As your looking at this story from a yokai's perspective, the concept of gauging fear as a level up is what
I had found to be interesting as it had never been used in manga/anime before(none that I've known anyways).
Artwork is great as they depict a lot of Japanese culture, heritage and supernatural folklore as visually possible whilst keeping it to the manga/anime style you'd normally get(big eyes and kawaii girls)
Character development is minimal in the beginning and at times seem to be one sided from the protagonist point of view, but keeping it that way can sometimes be original in itself as most manga/anime these days give you character developments for nearly every character(even the antagonist, that your left not knowing who to really root for and can also drag you from getting interested on the main story). Of course, bear in mind that this is pure shonén so you do get fights that drag on from chapter to chapter but not long enough to get you bored.
There are many reasons why I like this manga and recommend it to anyone, whether it be the epic battles, the time-skips to Rikuo's father & grandfathers history or the camaraderie with the yokai who support Rikuo
Through the 100+ chapters I've read thus far,you grow to like Rikuo, as well as the characters who support him and will find the world of Nurarihyon no Mago an interesting read!
This manga was a change from the repetitive plots of the usual shonen supernatural. Nurarihyon no Mago looks at the story from the point of a half yokai and shows you the chivalry of the demon world. This manga is recomended if you like supernatural, demons, good plots or something thats not quite like the average seinen manga.
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