Nurarihyon no Mago – 01
Divine posted about the opening and ending songs so I won’t talk too much about them here. The OP sequence was great all around, with a aesthetically pleasing pop rock song and featuring a nice video as well. The ED sequence was of course very cute; I did notice Maeda Ai’s character Keikain Yura didn’t really show up in the episode. With such a prominent place in the ending video though I’m expecting she has a greater role.
As for the series itself, it’s pretty much a new world for me, as I have not read the manga aside from a quick skim of the original one-shot. Like Divine, I’m a bit wary about such long-running shounen series. In my opinion, most series running for many volumes with no end in sight only become less interesting as time goes on. Full Metal Alchemist ended at a great point, with the whole plot wrapping up nicely. Katekyo Hitman Reborn on the other hand really should have ended with the return from the future arc which would have made a great conclusion (however as I haven’t read the recent chapters I can’t comment on how the quality of story is now). Regardless of whether it’s about fan demand, greed for money or the mangaka’s personal interesting, it’s not impossible for a long running series to stay on top of its game indefinitely, so I’m not ruling out anything just yet.
My initial impressions of Narurihyon no Mago is that it fits in a pretty standard shounen mold, with a normal-yet-not-so-normal boy thrust into the realm of the supernatural. Living a normal school life and a supernatural life at same time? Check. Pretty girl of possible interest? Check. Supernatural character close with protagonist? Check. Potential villain not satisfied with main character? Check. There’s even a Supreme Commander—this scene reminds one of a slight parallel with Bleach.
Anyways, in the first episode, we are introduced to Nura Rikuo, voiced by Fukuyama Jun of Code Geass fame. With ¼ Youkai (demon) blood in his genes, he is the unwilling heir to head the Nura clan of Youkai. He has a special Youkai “Night Rikuo” form which changes his appearance and personality quite a bit, but hasn’t manifested in a while. The latter half of the episode focused on Rikuo and several of his friends’ night visit to a supposedly haunted building behind their school. This part provided some nice humor as Rikuo frantically rushed around trying to cover up the huge amount of ghosts hanging out in the building. Humans sure fear the unknown; it was quite a contrast watching Rikuo’s friends shitting their pants at every little thing while Rikuo himself punches, flushes and bangs on various creepy monsters to keep them hidden. In the end however, Yuki Onna and Aotobou join in to beat up a Youkai just as Rikuo was about to transform to his night form. Whether or not Rikuo wants to be affiliated with demons, it’s still pretty damn convenient to have a huge posse of ghosts at your command though. All in all, the night ended pretty well, with Rikuo bringing home Kana (nice!), who happens to be voiced by Hirano Aya.
Production quality Studio DEEN was great. It’s hard not to notice the killer animation and art, and the soundtrack could be used for an epic film. There is a huge variety in character design (especially the various youkai) so overall eye candy in this series is abundant. I’ll be watching to see where the plot goes.