Sunday, February 2, 2014

Nurarihyon no Mago

Nurarihyon no Mago is an anime series adapted from an on-going manga.  It centers around a middle school boy named Nura Rikuo, his family, his friends, and his struggles to be grow up and accept his destiny.
Rikuo happens to be 1/4 human and 3/4 youkai (demon) and his not being a full blooded demon is a problem in the beginning of the series.  He happens to be the grandson of a very powerful youkai who led the Nura clan, a group of youkai also called the Night Parade of 100 Demons.   The clan needs an heir to this leader position, a person to become the Third Head of the Nura clan, but most of the youkai who know him are not convinced the part-human Rikuo can fill this role, and some of them are totally against it.  Even his closest friends among the youkai, who also happen to be his protectors, have some doubts.  This doubt is added to because Rikuo’s youkai side only manifests at night, his night form.  During the day he’s just human Rikuo.

At the start of the series Rikuo doesn’t want to be the Third Head of the Nura Clan.  He wants to be a normal human with his human friends and he avoids youkai-related things around them.  This is a little difficult since he lives in a house full of youkai.  However by the end of the first arc he decides he does want to be the Third Head and begins seriously working toward it. 

Rikuo’s staunchest supporters among the youkai include Tsurara, Aotabou, Kurotabou, Kejoro and Kubinashi.   These five support and protect him throughout the two seasons of the series, including when he’s working to become the Third Head.  Tsurara even accompanies him to human school as his classmate.  She is a type of youkai called a yuki-onna and is often just called Yuki-onna by people other than Rikuo.  She also has a rivalry going with Rikuo’s human classmate Kana, who he’s attracted to. 

Early on, besides not being accepted by all the youkai, Rikuo also has problems with his human friends, trying to keep up normal appearances and act like a human around them without embroiling them in youkai affairs.  His human friends include the girl he has a crush on, Ienaga Kana, and a girl named Keikain Yura.  Yura is the source of some trouble for Rikuo, as she's the daughter of a house of famous onmyouji  who work to destroy all youkai they find.  Her friendship with Rikuo, even after learning what he is, becomes troublesome for her with her family also.

This series is comprised of two seasons.  Both are 24 episodes long, and the second is called Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou.   The first season centers around Rikuo gaining the position of Third Head of the Nura clan and then the battles with encroaching youkai clans that gain Rikuo the respect and allegiance of his Night Parade of demons. 

The second season is centered around the resurgence of a Nura family enemy that the Nura clan bested 400 years earlier.  Haguromo-Gitsune is a woman youkai leader who sweeps over Kyoto with over-whelming power, crushing any resistance in her path with her followers.  Yura is called by the Keikain family to go to Kyoto to help, and Rikuo decides to follow, both to help Yura and because Haguromo-Gitsune murdered his father.  Since Rikuo has just become the Nura clan leader and has limited fighting skills, he is sent by his grandfather to an ally clan first to learn more fighting techniques.  Thus this second season centers around Rikuo making new allies, learning new skills and battling the Kyoto youkai.

This anime series has decent music, a nice plot and story line and lots of cool characters.  The one thing that took me the longest to get used to was the shape of Rikuo’s head when he’s in his youkai form.  Despite that, the series is pretty and definitely worth watching.  Rikuo manages to grow up and into his position as Third Head, becoming a powerful youkai in his own right, without getting all his followers or human friends killed in the process.      

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