Seeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. The fifth show on this list was Nurarihyon no Mago (or given the terribad licensed title of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan…really?!) a show that aired in the summer of 2010 and dropped after viewing all of one episode of the series. I marathoned it, and these are my thoughts on the series.
I will be the first to admit that there really wasn’t much going on to keep me engaged with this particular show. That’s usually the case with harem shows that refuse to acknowledge that they are harem shows and try to do pretentious bullshit that doesn’t work. That was especially the case here. So rather than fall asleep and spend time having to rewatch episodes all over again, I was inspired to do something else by this tweet:
So as Nurarihyon, the protagonist Rikuo’s grandfather, decided to take the final 40% of the series off, I was trying to determine if it really was possible to create a strong attacking side with wingbacks to take on the challengers of the Portuguese Segunda Liga. I can answer that by saying meu time joga futebol bonito. Anyway, none of you care about that sort of stuff, you care about this dishonest harem show.
The show’s plot revolves around whether Rikuo, having 25% youkai blood, will take over as the next head of the Nura clan. He tries to put off the decision as long as possible, but other clans simply won’t let him do that. So he has to rescue his dumbass friends over and over and transform into his other form where he is as overpowered as John Cena when ODDS MUST BE OVERCOME.
Accompanying him on his quest to rule over a family of demons while still staying in middle school is his childhood friend Kana (with a mailed-in performance by Hirano Aya) who falls for his other form; Tsurara, a Yuki Onna/Ice Girl who happens to be fiercely jealous of other women doing things with Riku; Yura, an onmyouji who doesn’t really do much other than contrive ways to lose to demons; and there are four other classmates who don’t really do much. This group tries to investigate paranormal activities which are all completely under their noses. That is until the plot demands that Rikuo and the three main girls do something.
That’s where the show’s villains would play the part of adding some character to a bland protagonist lineup. For the most part, however, they only put up a couple episodes worth of fighting and were really only trying to help Rikuo realize his potential and they join him anyway. That’s excluding the rat people who prove nothing more than fodder.So it’s only that last long, drawn out arc that really has a great deal of conflict.
So the final boss is a tanuki who acquired a demon sword that takes power from all that are slayed by it. Nurarihyon pretty much has the whole plot figured out so he leaves to take care of business outside of the story like a boss. Like any good mafia boss, he leaves matters in the hands of emotionally unstable 13-year-old grandson who does things that he isn’t proud of at night.
Tamazuki sends the hoards of demons he brought over from Shikoku and houses in an incomplete office building to go wreak havoc on Rikuo and society in general. His plans all fail as soon as Rikuo transforms, does the big boot then lands the leg drop for the nth time in the series*. His main allies consist of Immobile Welshman, a Flaming Rooster, Terrible Stereotype of a Japanese Sex-Worker and Dog Demon With a Long Tongue Who Thinks He’s People.
I can definitely see why this series is pretty popular and earned a sequel though. Rikuo is going through the process of growing up, and a teenage audience can probably identify with all of the strange things he now has to deal with. It helps to have interesting girls around him that for the most part aren’t completely one-dimensional lists of physical assets. The ending was also open-ended enough to where the second season could kick off at exactly where things were at the beginning of the final arc. It’s just a little too meh for my taste.
*-This is not true
Next Week: A Prematurely Grey One-Eyed Man Takes Up Entomology