Nabari no Ou – 01
Many years ago, a teen had been carrying a younger boy through the woods during a storm and had gotten surrounded by ninjas. He was ready to fight against overwhelming odds, but the younger boy had suddenly activated a power that brought giant roots out of the ground and had created a pillar of light. Several years later, 14-year-old Rokujou Miharu is a boy with a very indifferent attitude living in a seaside town. One of his classmates is a boy named Aizawa Kouichi who wants to be his friend, but Miharu barely pays him any attention. The truth is that both Kouichi and their teacher Kumohira want Miharu to join the nindou (lit. way of the ninja) club. Miharu isn’t interested though, so Kumohira comes to see him at his family okonomiyaki restaurant to inform him that he’s being targeted. Kumohira goes on to explain that he studied nindou under his grandfather and that the ninjas refer to their world as the World of Nabari, but Miharu remains uninterested and even teases Kumohira.
Meanwhile, Kouichi senses that he’s being followed and confronts his pursuer at a shrine. The pursuer turns out to be Yamase, a teacher who is also a ninja, and he wants to know if Kouichi has the hijutsu (secret art). He threatens Kouichi with a knife, but before their discussion can continue, they are interrupted by Miharu who had been drawn towards the shrine after being sent out to buy some katsuobushi for the restaurant. Yamase immediately tosses a throwing star at him, but when winds shield Miharu from danger, Yamase realizes that Miharu has the hijutsu. Kouichi, however, manages to reach Miharu first and teleports them into the nearby forest. Unfortunately, Yamase calls his allies and has the two boys surrounded because he and his friends know that obtaining Miharu means that their chief becomes the ruler of Nabari. Miharu thus gets captured by Yamase, but shortly thereafter, a female voice in his head suggests killing everyone. This voice also promises to protect him and causes characters to appear on his skin, his eyes to glow red, and roots to sprout from the ground around him.
These roots grab Yamase’s ninja allies, but Kouichi quickly realizes the danger and reacts quickly by grabbing a sword and stabbing Miharu in the gut. As Kouichi then attempts to cast a sealing spell, the voice inside Miharu urges him to wish for something, and, and though Miharu doesn’t have a wish, his body uses a power to push Kouichi away. Kouichi is caught by Kumohira who had sensed what was going on, and Kumohira puts an end to all this by pulling the sword out of Miharu. As Miharu loses consciousness, he can hear the female voice asserting that he’ll definitely call her even though Miharu still believes that he doesn’t need anything. He wakes back up a little later in the school infirmary and is pissed off at Kouichi for what he did. When Miharu inquires about it, Kumohira explains that the hijutsu inside of him is the writing of Shinrabanshou (lit. all things in nature) which gives the ability to control all things. And even though Miharu doesn’t want it, they can’t take it out. As Kumohira and Kouichi explain that there’s one particular sect of ninjas who are after this, they sense enemies coming and prepare to fight.
Kouichi and Kumohira end up facing two ninjas apiece, however during the middle of the battle, Miharu gets captured by Yamase who brings him onto the school rooftop. Yamase roughs Miharu up a bit, but Kumohira eventually comes to save him and knocks Yamase out. In the aftermath, Miharu questions why Kouichi and Kumohira got hurt for him and wants them to stop involving themselves with him. Kumohira pays this no heed though and instead uses his own blood to mark Miharu’s forehead. He then gets on one knee and pledges himself to protect Miharu until Miharu becomes the ruler of Nabari. Miharu, however, starts to scoot away because he remembers that he still has to go buy katsuobushi, and he tells Kumohira that he only wants to regain his indifferent life. This doesn’t discourage Kumohira, and the following day at school, he’s once again trying to convince Miharu to join the nindou club.
ED: 「HIKARI」 by ELISA
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2
I’ve never heard of VELTPUNCH, but apparently they’re a fairly popular indie rock band, and I rather liked their opening song here even though it was a little slow to get started (doesn’t quite hit its groove until the chorus). If you click on that link to their official site, you can find the full PV to this song (and thus the full song). ELISA, on the other hand, is an artist I’m familiar with from ef, but while she sings a decent ballad style song here, nothing about it really stood out for me.
You can tell from the summary, Nabari no Ou involves ninjas and the special power that the main character Miharu has inside of him. If your only point of reference for ninja anime is Naruto, then consider Nabari no Ou to have a much more mature feel to it than that. It has a very appealing mix of action and comedy to go along with its ninja plot, and I thought the action sequences in particular were animated quite well. The style of the backgrounds remind me a lot of Honey and Clover and/or KimiKiss, and while this is indeed a J.C.Staff production, it’s not connected with director Kasai Kenichi (the actual director is Sugishima Kunihisa).
As for the voice acting, after hearing Kugimiya Rie use her loli voice in role after role, it was odd hearing her try to do a deeper boy voice. I didn’t dislike it, but it does take some getting used to. I ended up liking Namikawa Daisuke the most out of the cast though, largely because he did a really good job during the scene where he pledges himself to Miharu (helped along by some good music there). In any case, I see this is a promising show, but I’m still debating whether to follow this or Special A, so I plan on watching an episode or two more of both.