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.|