The story is about ninjas and shinobi in the modern world as they fight over the Shinrabansho, the book of ultimate shinobi knowledge. The Shinrabansho can grant any wish one can desire, making the already raging shinobi world more uncontrollable. Perhaps the trickiest thing about the Shinrabansho, however, is that it manifests inside a human being — the one this time being the story’s protagonist, Miharu Rokujou. Miharu is an apathetic 14 year old boy who couldn’t care at all for the fact that he has the Hidden World’s (the Ninja’s world’s) most powerful technique in existence. His only reason for involvement is to have it taken out of him so he can live an indifferent life.
A major conflict throughout the story is a question of morals. In the world of ninjas, being ‘soft’ and not able to kill someone is a complete hindrance. Abandoning a comrade who becomes a burden to the mission is the norm. The character Tobari is in the center of this conflict, as he made a promise to someone important to him that he would not kill. Another conflict is of a certain character who has a wish to be completely erased from existence. This stems from his traumatic childhood and mental instability. His persistence with this wish gets to be scary at certain parts. He doesn’t want to die, but be completely erased. The anime did a good job with the parts that showed his instabilities. His fate is changed between the anime and manga.
The art was really good in general. The character designs are different and interesting. Something worth noting is that all the characters are incredibly skinny. So skinny that I’ve seen the art style being called “anorexic”, even though none of the characters are anorexic themselves. The action scenes are also really fluid as well. The backgrounds aren’t the best, lots of them look like they were colored in pencil sketches or watercolors. This can work well or work badly depending on the scene. The art style is different from the original, as the characters have more details on them.
Manga vs Anime-
Since there’s usually differences between anime and manga, I decided to read the first six volumes of the manga and look up summaries on Wikipedia. The manga and anime are not too different in the beginning, but they branch out around the seventh or eighth volume of the manga. The anime keeps important scenes in, but the endings are much different. In the anime, Miharu doesn’t use any ninjutsu whereas in the manga he’s shown to be very skilled in it. The anime also doesn’t go into Yoite’s past as well as it could have, which doesn’t make the character seem as deep. There’s also a more in-depth explanation of the use of ninjutsu in the manga.
There’s episode commentaries (dubbed only) and textless opening and ending sequences. Languages available are English and Japanese, and English subtitles can be turned on or off. The subtitles aren’t too hard to read.
Age and Warning-
As it’s a shounen, there’s lots of fighting and blood. One ninja uses a gun, which he justifies by saying that it’s the modern world and a new age for shinobi. Another ninja can point his finger at someone and shoot his ki, his life force, into them and kill them from the inside. It’s more a series for older teens, mainly because of the stories and the heavy conflict of one major character wanting his existence to be erased. One female secondary character sometimes wears a shirt that doesn’t cover up the top of her chest as well as it could.
Nabari no Ou: the complete series
directed by Funimation
650 minutes, Number of Discs: 4, Season set
Company Age Rating: TV14
Related to: Nabari no Ou by Yuhki Kamatani