Title: Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan
Author: Hiroshi Shiibashi
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Jump)
Volume: Volume 3 (ongoing), $9.99
Vintage: 2009 by Shueisha in Japan, June 2011 by Viz Media
Genre: Supernatural, action, comedy
The Kiyojuji Paranormal Patrol manages to safely escape from the yokai of Mt. Nejireme, but Rikuo’s battle is not over. As he faces off against the yokai Gyuki Clan leader, Gyuki, we are treated to a glimpse of Gyuki’s past, including the moment he met and fought against Rikuo’s grandfather and joined the Nura Clan. Because he holds the Nura Clan very dear, and has high respect for the current leader Nurarihyon, he refuses to allow the Clan to fall under the leadership of someone who cannot control the Clan. Gyuki believes that Rikuo, with his human blood, is incapable of ruling the Clan, and Gyuki refuses to see it become less than it should be. Rikuo, however, who has been wakening to his demonic side, isn’t about to let the Clan fall to ruin, and manages to convince Gyuki that he’ll protect the yokai’s family, the Nura Clan. Not everyone is so confident, however. Some of the clan members are confused by Rikuo’s action to spare Gyuki rather than killing him or expelling him from the Nura Clan. However, it is also this decision and Rikuo’s handling of the situation that results in a surge of faith that finally names him as an official successor to the Supreme Commander. Unfortunately, another demon clan known as the Shikoku has begun attacking members of the Nura Clan. Believing the Nura Clan to be weak, the Shikoku plan to take out their leader and take over their territory. They may have underestimated the power of the Supreme Commander, however. Meanwhile, Rikuo’s classmate and long time friend Kana is confronted by a mirror demon with plans to devour Kana on her thirteenth birthday. Transforming into his demon self, Rikuo easily rescues Kana, but not without arousing some suspicion that might eventually cause his secret to be revealed. Hoping to frighten her, he takes her to a yokai restaurant, but the plan backfires in a surprising way.
Another entertaining volume of Nura. I’ve been thinking lately that it’s comparative to Blue Exorcist, but I have to say that I like reading Nura more simply because it entertains me more. Blue Exorcist is a good series, I just get more enjoyment out of Nura. The humor is light hearted, the art is filled with detail, the yokai are uniquely designed, and the story is well paced. Of particular note is Rikuo’s gradual re-acceptance of his demon blood and the power within him. In the first volume, it appeared that Rikuo had no memory of his actions while in his demon form, or even any knowledge that he was transforming at all. We have since learned that this is not the case, and in fact, Rikuo can pretty much transform at will now…as long as it’s night. His inability to maintain his demon form during the day still persists, though Rikuo is shown in this volume trying to hone his powers in his human form, perhaps trying to compensate for this problem. I’m anxious to know when his friends will discover his secret and what their reactions will be. The onmyoji (exorcist) Yura has pledge to destroy the Nura Supreme Commander, after all, yet in this volume she puts up quite a fight and displays enormous power defending Nurarihyon, believing him to simply be Rikuo’s grandfather. I’d love to see her join up with Rikuo to fight troublesome yokai, but even if that ever happens, there would certainly be a deadly battle first. As for the others, well, we already know that Kiyotsugu is obsessed with the Supreme Commander (as Rikuo), and now it seems that Kana has developed a bit of a crush on Rikuo’s night form. This will undoubtedly cause some problems in the future. In this volume, along with an awesome display of Yura’s power, we are witness to Nurarihyon’s ultimate power, but whether it will be enough to put the Shikoku in their place will have to wait for volume 4.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.