Monday, 25 March 2013

Nura - Rise of the Yokai Clan Season 1 Part 1
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Rating: 15
Running Time: 325 Mins
Audio: English & Japanese DD 2.0
Release Date: 8/4/2013
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes

Rikuo Nura shirks wanting to be the heir of the Nura Clan, and leader of the Night Parade of a hundred Youkai, but he is only a child, and the other members of his family doubt him when he is to turn into a human after every night he changes into his youkai self. Although some of the elders want him to succeed becoming their clan leader, he has already decided that he wants to stay a human who goes to school and does all the fun things humans do.
Rikuo goes to high school and seems to have made some good friends there, but he has to act normal when the guys have heard there is a rumor about youkai haunting a small outbuilding near the school. One night he roams around this outbuilding, and Rikuo finds other youkai, but they are not from the Nura clan, telling them they must leave or they will be discovered by humans -and they don't want that!

Though when the time comes for his friends to stroll around the outbuilding in the dead of night, Rikuo finds that the youkai haven't taken any notice of him and stayed there, much to his annoyance, so when they all wonder around, he has to go ahead and shoo them away so his human friends don't notice the place is infested with them. The kitchen seems to be the prime place for the youkai to hang out, and once his friends see them, they get the fright of their lives. One he didn't recognize was a spider youkai who looms over them looking highly predatory, but two of Rikuo's friends save them from a worse fate.

Rikuo has a lot of friends and most are youkai who are affiliated with his family including Rikura and Koueta. Nura - Rise of the Yokai Clan Season 1 Part 1 is a slick fantasy drama about a clan who wants Rikuo to take up the demon's whip and inspire fear in humans, but also become the clan leader even though he vowed to be a human all his natural life. Kana is welcomed into the house as a dear friend, but his mother soon takes to her, much to his embarrassment.

Like Basilisk, there is political intrigue among the feudal clans, the Zen clan in particular doesn't want to be associated with the Nura clan, while others want to make sure they don't stay and protect them. This anime introduces a whole host of Japanese spirits of land and sea as well as some pesky inanimate objects; Rokuro-kubi, Yuki-Onna and Tengu. There is a touch of Demon King Daimou and Samurai Deeper Kyo about this too, but don't be deceived  as what looks like a normal spooky comedy has some gruesome elements in it such as a Rokuro-kubi having its head sliced off, and a rat youkai munching its way through a victim in a back alley while a salaryman looks on in horror. It goes to show that Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan isn't just for kids. For those who like Ghost in the Shell and xxxHOLIC, they will be interested in this seemingly light-hearted anime that can make you laugh, shiver and cry, sometimes all at the same time if need be.

Bonus Material: None

Verdict: This is a great anime with a nice mix of humor and traditional Japanese folklore that gets a feel for the story.

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