Posted by psgels on 19 December 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Nurarihyon no Mago

I really was not pleased with the first season of Nurarihyon no Mago. It started off decently, and then it went on… and on… and on… and eventually it forgot to actually deliver. As a shounen jump adaptation, its source material had plenty of time to carefully build up its story, and this show actually ended up dragging that out even more. That definitely was not fun.

In any case, the second season looked promising: the pesky build-up was over: we now know the major characters, and it’s finally time to get to the meat of this series. So of course this show dives into multiple training arcs that are dedicated to making the characters stronger. Do you see the problem with this franchise?

However, I have to give this sequel credit: it is much, much better than the first season. Studio Deen put completely different staff members on it, and they fit this kind of story much better. The direction in particular is excellent and delivers some impressive characterization. The graphics also got a significant upgrade: just about everything looks better here. The animation is more detailed, but in particular the art and camera angles are much more detailed and imaginative, to the point of actually turning this series into a show with a ton of eye candy (this show also has one of the best character designers out there, and with this season, you can finally see why).

The storyline for the sequel is also far from as flimsy as the first season was. It’s deeply rooted in the past of many of the important characters, and it actually means something to the cast. It’s much easier to sympathize with both the main characters and the villains (also rejoice: Rikuo’s annoying classmates are much more bearable and play a far less prominent role, to the point of actually vanishing for most of the airtime). So if only it didn’t break up its pacing so often.

Yeah, most series have an average arc-length of around five episodes. This arc lasts a whopping 24 of them. That’s just way too long, and by far its most nasty habit is that Rikuo just randomly gets pulled out of the action, in order to train, get stronger and acquire a new power. These training arcs are way too bloody long, and really prevents this show from getting going until near the end of the show. But at that point, it really takes off, and delivers a solid semi-ending. It doesn’t wrap everything up, but the emotional closure is really well done there.

Is it worth it to sit through 48 episodes of this thing though? Nah. All I can say is: it will get better. But the problem with shounen jump adaptations is that they just have way too much time to waste. The currently airing Hunter X Hunter is the first in a long while to actually avoid this flaw. I’m giving it a solid rating for its execution, but that’s only because I don’t include the first season in it, which you unfortunately need to have seen in order to get what’s going on here. Go for this if you’re really bored.

Storytelling: 7/10 – Takes way too bloody long to get to its point and breaks up its flow too much with training arcs. Otherwise very solid, though.
Characters: 8/10 – This arc finally is dedicated to the characters, and gets some good things out of them.
Production-Values: 9/10 – A surprising amount of eye candy in this show.
Setting: 8/10 – There has gone quite a bit of attention to youkai lore into this series.

Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi
Pandora Hearts

4 Responses

  1. Dusk says:

    The first season left a lot to be desired in terms of story-telling and action scenes. Namely, there were too much talking and not enough fighting, even during the fight scenes. In fact, I was very surprised when I found out there was gonna be a second season. Was gonna pass on it since I had a lot of shows to watch already, but I saw that they had changed the director and script writer, and so I decided to give it a chance.

    After watching the first two episodes, I couldn’t even think of dropping it anymore. Firstly, the fighting scenes are greatly improved, and there are a lot of those this time. It was great to see Yura fight with her shikigamis when her brother entered the fray, making her my favourite character. And so I was thrill to see that pretty much the whole season focused on her. Maeda Ai was a great choice for her voice. Also, fortunately, there were very few scenes with the other classmates. Most scenes with them actually cause the episode to lose its momentum.

    Anyway, this second season probably redeemed the first in my eyes. Although, if I didn’t watch the first season, I would have given this a miss, which would have been a pity for me.

  2. kazid33 says:

    I am whit Dusk in this, Also now I am waiting for the third XD.

  3. Perrin4869 says:

    Never watched this series, but the screenshots you post here always make it look so cool!

  4. haiko says:

    The story is quiet interesting and i’m dare to say it’s one of good fighting-style anime, in yokai types. Waiting for the third season as well.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 09:02 PM)
    One-Punch Man’s pilot was almost adapted flawlessly. It straight up uses the manga panels as it’s main storyboard, but added just enough new touches to improve the action instead of ruining it. Now let’s see how they animate the mosquitos and all the lasers for the next episode.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:57 PM)
    And that’s why Madhouse is one of the few respectable studios left. I thought that they will be seriously diminished after Masao Maruyama took some of its key members and funded MAPPA, but One-Punch Man showed that they are still one of the best in the business.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:51 PM)
    @Kaiser The anime industry isn’t advanced enough in CG to make it look good, is all it is.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:51 PM)
    @K-off: Your not wrong, it certainly looks poor but some of the old gonzo animated stuff was far more woeful looking. Stellvia, which was done by xebec was another example of old anime cgi which was quite ugly to look at. Just as I prefer traditional effects in film I also prefer traditional animation techniques to cg.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:42 PM)
    Lately, the use of badly integrated cgi have been making my eyes sore,from the obviously cgi background characters in Asterisk to the overly fluid mech movements in Aldnoah. I still remember the shitty cgi piano hands in Kimi no Uso.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 12:04 AM)
    On the note of good balance between humor and drama- I think BoJack Horseman is an example of a show that executed that almost perfectly in both seasons. You are laughing one minute and amused by the hijinks and silliness and the next minute you are actually moved and shocked by the honest introspection. Too be honest BoJack is more a tragic character then a goofy one, and his struggles are deeper and more existential than they have any business being in a show with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The changes in the setting actually made me more excited for season 3 then what I felt the past few weeks, since now the plot needs to move forward from the cliffhanger and hopefully this translates to more cohesion and refocusing on what mad the show great in the first place. I’m pretty sure S3 will also be a blend of episodic and arch story elements tho. Overall a few ups and downs but still a great show.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:52 PM)
    The finale also had some of the most overall arch story elements featured in the season. Earth joining the Galactic Federation is a big deal story-wise from now on. Also the use of a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” (not the Nine Inch Nails one clearly) was a nice fitting yet surprising touch. The throwback to Mr. PB after the credits was a good idea, but felt flat in it’s actual execution.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:49 PM)
    I thought R&M had a pretty good finale. The episode achieved what was missing from most of season 2, and that was a balance of randomness and meaningful bits. What made Rick Potion #9 and the previous season’s finale and general tone great was a sense of humor that was combined with more sincere drama and character developments; a sort of sweet melancholy.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 09:51 PM)
    @K-off, not having too much trouble with the interface but I still cannot create categories.

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