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Nabari no Ou
by Alaena Night on March 6th, 2009, 2:54am

Rating - 9.2 / 10.0

User rating of this review - 4.95 out of 5
Story/Plot - 5 out of 5
Characters - 5 out of 5
Drawing Style - 4.5 out of 5
Enjoyment - 4 out of 5
Overall - 4.5 out of 5

Click here for series information

Plot/Story

Nabari no Ou isn't the kind of series you want to dedicate yourself to reading if you're expecting explosions, gratuitous violence and mindless shounen monologues. Though, admittedly, you will see a satisfying amount of violence and the occasional explosion if you read this series. Thankfully, the shounen monologues are absent, and you will not have to endure endless surprise power-ups or ridiculous catch-phrases. You will, however, see ninjas in a modern-day setting. Nabari no Ou is just cool like that. They aren't exactly the popularized ninjas from a series that-shall-not-be-named; the author of this series adds a whole new spin on it, and I can honestly say that the premise, plot, and characters are all refreshingly her own. And if they aren't, and she pulls out an overused characteristic or plot device, she applies it to the last character one normally would, or adds her own twist on it.

Characters

While Nabari does have a fair amount of action, its true focus is on the characters. Instead of launching readers into fight after endless fight, each chapter focuses more on the development of its cast amidst the action and fighting. Later in the series, as the characters' struggles come to light, there is even less fighting. Despite this, Nabari remains interesting and is strengthened through its unique cast of characters, and moved forward through their decisions and conflicts.

At its base, Nabari no Ou is a story about Miharu and Yoite, two boys with strong powers on opposite sides of a hidden war, who find themselves bound to a mutually beneficial promise, and how their choice and their determination affects all the other characters in the series.

Some people may avoid this series because of rumors that it contains yaoi. As a reader and viewer who doesn't prefer that genre herself, I can honestly say that there's not a drop of it. The most you'll have to endure if you dislike the genre is some shounen-ai jokes and the marked ambiguousness of several of the characters' relationships.

Drawing Style

Kamatani Yuhki does not have one of those flowing, bishie-filled styles that characterize many shoujo series, but her art is not really shounen-style, either. Her art is unique and gorgeous in a stunningly expressive way, and evolves along with her story. At best, the style is extremely expressive, un-cluttered with massive amounts of screentone, and different from the usual fare. At worst, it could be hard to get used to, simple, and a little sketchy.

Enjoyment

The author has a quirky sense of humor that is employed at the strangest moments, but doesn't detract from her story or pop up at times when it would ruin the emotional impact of a scene. When the series is dark and serious, a scene will sometimes be lightened a little with one of the characters displaying their eccentricities. Kamatani Yuhki is a master of dialogue and characters, and doesn't need to slap star-and-sparkle backgrounds and chibis onto a scene to make it amusing. Nabari no Ou is enjoyable through its highs and tear-jerking lows. Those who don't like a sad story might take a star away, and those, like me, who adore them, would tack the last one on. Almost from the beginning, this series deals with impending death, and there is a lot of drama interspersed with the comedy and fighting.

Overall

Nabari no Ou is an excellent series that I'd recommend to anyone, even if they're not a fan of ninjas. I might be biased toward it because I love drama and darkness and unique characters, but it is, in my opinion, one of the best series I have read. It is strong in all respects.
 
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I think I'll try this manga by blargh on May 1st, 2009, 5:11pm Rating: 5

I was attracted to this manga because I heard it had strong character development. I was a bit hesitant to start it after hearing rumors of shounen-ai, but I feel like I can rely on this review because I also don't prefer the shounen ai/yaoi genre myself. Like the user above me, I like how you reasonably explained why you liked Nabari no Ou and what makes the manga enjoyable to you instead of some other lacking reviews that just endlessly praise the manga. I just started watching the anime for this, but I'll definitely try the manga later.
 
Really Accurate by animeangelgrl on April 26th, 2009, 3:48pm Rating: 4.9

I actually have read to the latest chapter at this point (56) and after crying over - you know what - while listening to what I think is one of your AMVs (the youtube account has the same name) I wanted to read a review and I saw "Alaena Night" so I read it.

This review is as I said in the title, really accurate. It gives you the gist of the series and while I was reading it I was able to remember many scenes that went along with what you were saying. This review tells the reader the good points without giving out the "read or I will kill you" vibe. This review was really well done.

P.S. The only reason I gave this review a 4.9 is that I don't believe in giving and exact 5 in a review, there always is something to improve on. ; )
 
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