Saturday, February 21, 2015

Review: NURA: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Volume 25


CARTOONIST: Hiroshi Shiibashi
LETTERS: Annaliese Christman
EDITORS: Megan Bates, Joel Enos
ISBN: 978-1-4215-6480-7; paperback (February 2015); Rated “T” for “Teen”
208pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 U.K.

Hiroshi Shiibashi is a manga creator known for his debut series, Nurarihyon no Mago (Nurarihyon Grandson).  The series debuted in the Japanese manga anthology magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump, in March 2008.  VIZ Media published an English version of Nurarihyon no Mago as a series of 25 graphic novels under the title Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan.  VIZ recently published the final graphic novel in the series, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan Volume 25.

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan takes place in a world where the day belongs to humans and the night belongs to yokai, the supernatural creatures of Japanese folklore.  Middle school student, Rikuo Nura, is three-fourths human and one-quarter yokai.  His paternal grandfather is Nurarihyon, the Overlord and Supreme Commander of the Tokyo-based, yokai consortium, the Nura Clan.  He wants Rikuo to become the next leader of the Nura Clan – the Lord of a Hundred Demons.  When Rikuo’s yokai blood awakens, he becomes the clan’s future leader (“the Third”) and current “Underboss.”

As Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 25 (entitled He Who Equips True Fear – Chapters 209 to 210) opens, Rikuo and Yuki-onna race to Aoi Spiral Castle.  There, the ayakashi (yokai) monsters, Abe No Seimei and Hagoromo-Gitsune meet.  Surprise: Seimei is Hagoromo-Gitsune's son, and now they prepare for battle – the son for a world of superior yokai and the mother for a world for both yokai and humans.  Now, Rikuo, who is connected to both of them, joins the battle for a three-way showdown that will decide everything.

[This volume also includes five bonus stories:  “Inherited Bonds,” “The Third Heir Gone Wild?!” “Dawn Pawnbroker,” “In the Village of Half-Yokai,” and “Extra Bonus.”]

The Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan manga reminds me of Naruto, but it won't last as long as that manga starring the world's favorite boy-ninja.  Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan Volume 25 is the final volume of the series.  This last graphic novel is for longtime readers of the series.  It is our happy ending, but those who become new readers by going back to the beginning will discover something wonderful and will eventually get to enjoy Vol. 25's happy ending.

I can say that I am surprised at how things have come to pass in the story.  Some villains and monsters turn out not to be the adversaries that they seemed initially.  Along the way, Hiroshi Shiibashi did not let things stay the same, and the series thrived for it.  At the end of the book is a two-page goodbye and thank-you to fans in which Shiibashi says that we will see some of these characters again.  That's a good thing.  Also, “Bonus Story 4: In the Village of Half-Yokai” features some of the most beautiful comic book art that I have seen in awhile.

So in my final estimation:  readers looking for imaginative shonen manga will want to see the Night Parade of a Hundred Demons in the Shonen Jump title, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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