After finishing the first series of Nurarihyon no Mago, I was a bit reluctant to watch the second series "Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou" because the first series seemed to lack a lot of intensity, creativity and overall story. From the beginning I had thought NnM had a lot of potential, but it really disappointed me in the end.
But even so, I decided to watch this new series, the sequel to the first show. And dear god it has surpassed the first series by a thousand miles! I couldn't be happier with it! This new show is definitely more exciting, productive and interesting than the first one by far!
Story: 9 (Great)
If you've watched the first series, you'll know that the main character is Rikuo, who is 1/4 Youkai (demon) and is chosen to be the successor of the Nura Clan. The original series does an excellent job of making us want more...and never giving us what we want. Sorry, but it's true. Whenever there was a fight starting, the bad guys would just retreat after two minutes or so, making the audience have to wait longer just to see the same looping battle over again. That is definitely part of the reason I disliked the first series after only a few episodes (I didn't hate it, but it wasn't up to my expectations).
But mostly what made me angry about it was the serious lack of character development from beginning to end. Rikuo was constantly saying he didn't want to be the successor, to the point that it was really annoying. He also didn't fight his own battles very well. It was quite ridiculous.
Now that I've briefly covered the first series. I'm happy to say that this second series is one of the greatest step-ups from any prequel I've seen. With only a few episodes, I've become hooked and will most definitely watch it until the end. Rikuo has already shown how badass he can become in Youkai form and the shounen-style battles have already gone beyond my expectations!
In the beginning of the show, we get to see Rikuo as a kid, which seemed a bit boring for a little while but gradually became more interesting. It did give a bit more insight to how Rikuo acted as a child, which is basically the same as he acts now, except that he loved Youkai as a child and wanted everyone to love them as well. But now he hides the fact that Youkai exist, for the obvious reasons, because nobody will believe him.
To be brief, if you disliked the first series story as much as I did, don't think that this second one will be the same at all. It is a great improvement and definitely a must-watch for Shounen-anime fans!
Art: 9 (Great)
The art is still pretty much the same as it was in the first series. Even though the story in the first one wasn't nearly as good as it could have been, the art was still spectacular, and still is. However, I feel like even NnM 2 has better art than the first because it is a bit more eerie and intense.
Sometimes in anime we see some really awesome fights; but having a cool fight in broad daylight with bright colours swarming all around sometimes can kill the intensity of a fight (sometimes, not always). Which is why NnM 2 is definitely at the top with the art.
The first few fights we see take place just as the sun starts to go down or late at night (for obvious reasons, because Rikuo can only turn into a demon at night). It really grabs our attention with the moonlight glow and then of course the additional bright neon attacks that really light up the scene for a few brief moments.
Just having a dark lit style makes NnM 2 different from general shounen animes, which is something that I can always look forward to and admire.
Sound: 8 (Very Good)
There are some very "big names" in this show, or rather, very popular voice actors and actresses doing the voices of the characters.
For starters, we have Fukuyama Jun as Rikuo. He has been in, well, just about everything. He's extremely famous and has done hundreds of voice roles (ranked number 3 on top favorite people for MyAnimeList). He is very talented and knows how to sound wimpy or epic for when the time is right of course. He does both Rikuo's somewhat higher pitched, young child's voice AND the voice of his demon side. Even though that doesn't sound totally amazing when said, the difference in voices is quite drastic, and it's impressive that he can do both of them so perfectly.
Next we have Hirano Aya as Ienaga Kana. Also a very popular voice actress, in fact, she is ranked number 1 on top favorite people for MAL. She has also done hundreds of voice acting parts, in other words, she's really good. Kana's character may not be my favorite, but her voice is spectacular. She has the right emotions and most importantly the right 'tone'. I am not always a huge fan of the high pitched and whiny high school anime girls just because their voices make me want to scratch my ears off. Hirano Aya has a beautiful medium voice, not too low and definitely not too high.
Next we have Keikain Yura voiced by Maeda Ai, who is quite the opposite of the previous two. She has barely been in any shows worth mentioning and rarely has been the main character in shows. But for NnM and NnM 2 I really think they picked the right person for Keikain Yura. She is similar to Hirano Aya because she has a good medium voice but unlike Hirano, she doesn't always capture the perfect emotion needed for the scene
Lastly we have Oikawa Tsurara (Yuki Onna), yet again another famous voice actress (ranked number 8 on top favorites). I believe that she purposely changed her voice to fit Yuki Onna, because it is obviously not her regular voice, and it definitely fits Yuki Onna, but either way it can annoy me sometimes. Oikawa is talented and has a great voice, but the character voice that she has in this show isn't that amazing.
Overall the sound (voice acting) in this show is great to listen to, and the creators definitely picked the right people for the main characters.
Character: 8 (Very Good)
I mentioned earlier that the character development in the first series wasn't the greatest, in fact it seemed to spiral backwards with development rather than pushing forward. NnM 2 took a huge leap in the very beginning and is managing to make up in character development that the first series lacked.
Nura Rikuo - I have come to love his character in just a short while because of how much he has stepped up since the first series. He isn't being nearly as whiny and annoying as he was before. He still hesitates and disagrees with the Youkai ways, but is more willing to accept things now and is wanting to become stronger which makes him so much better.
Ienaga Kana - I am still torn between liking Kana and hating her. The thing I like about her is that she is brave and cares about her friends a lot, but what I dislike is her inability to act. But maybe I'm being too harsh, because she IS human and is pretty much in the dark when it comes to Youkai. She is also kind of oblivious; some things that should be really easy to notice go right past her without much thought, which is probably why she is so 'in the dark' about demons and such. So there's good and bad to her character.
Keikain Yura - In the first Nurarihyon no Mago, I couldn't stand her character. She believed herself to be strong and she showed a bit of potential, but in the end she was pretty much just a weak human being. That was in the first one. The second series has really showed how amazing she can be and shows how strong she really is. Even though she does of course have a few moments of weakness and ends up being on the sidelines, she is still doing much better than the first series where it was mostly just painful to watch her fight.
Oikawa Tsurara (Yuki Onna) - In the first series and even now, Yuki Onna has showed a lot of potential, but has always seemed to fall short in one way or another. She hasn't changed a whole lot from beginning to end. Basically all she has shown that she can do is throw some ice around and call out to Rikuo. Hopefully she will improve by the end of the series, but for now she is mostly a sideline character.
One of the best things about this second season is that we get to see Rikuo's grandpa a lot more in flashbacks and such. He plays a much bigger role than before. In the first season, all we really knew was that he was the leader of the Yokai at one point, but that's about it. There was no history lesson given to the audience at all, which was part of what made the first one so uneventful. NnM 2 gives a great insight to what happened in the past, and what's surprising is that the flashbacks aren't boring!
Come on, in several animes, there's a flashback that makes us all want to fall asleep because we couldn't care less about it. With this show, I actually want to learn more about what happened because it is so interesting and exciting!
Anyone ever wonder what happened to Rikuo's dad? That's something that was never really explained in the first series. Well, I won't give any spoilers of course, but you DO find out what really happened. Another plot progession that makes this series amazing!
There are definitely some new characters and enemies to be excited about, such as Yura's brother, who happens to be a huge jerk. And most of all, the enemies look more promising than the first series where the bad guys were pretty lame and not threatening.
Enjoyment: 9 (Great)
I am always looking for some new exciting shows to watch. Nurarihyon no Mago may not have fulfilled that want at all, but Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou is at my expectation level for a good, interesting anime.
Art and Sound are good things to have high scores on, but for me personally, my enjoyment is all based on the Story and Character, that is what matters the most when it comes to a good anime. And since I think both of those are pretty outstanding, my enjoyment is of course a high number as well.
Overall: 9 (Great)
I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a great show to watch. If you haven't seen the first, I won't tell you to go watch it, because that was quite painful for me personally. You can probably get away with starting Nurarihyon no Mago 2 and still get what's going on.
Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou is better than the first series in every way possible, if you've seen the first and haven't started the second, definitely give it a shot, you might find that you really love it!