Nabari No Ou Vol. 1 by Yuhki Kamatani
Series: Nabari No Ou #1
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Genre: Shounen, Action
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: May 12th 2009
Synopsis: Apathetic schoolboy Miharu Rokujou is content to meander through life in the sleepy village of Banten. But his quiet existence is shattered when the Grey Wolves of Iga, a powerful ninja clan, attempt to kidnap him in broad daylight. Only then does Miharu discover that the ultimate power of the hidden ninja realm – a power that can do both great good and great harm – is sealed within his body. As battles erupt among rival ninja clans seeking to control him, Miharu must overcome his apathy and learn the ways of the ninja if he wants any shot at survival!
The first volume of the Nabari No Ou series is a bit hard to write. Maybe it’s because I have read most of the series and this is just a reread? I don’t know. Anyways, this is a pretty good first volume. Oh, and since I have already read most of this series I will be pointing out things from future volumes if I feel the need.
This volume introduces the story of Miharu, a boy who has suddenly been dragged into the Nabari world (a world that coexist with the Surface world) and finds out that he has the power of the Shinrabanshou, a power that contains all the wisdom of the universe, hidden inside him. People are out to get him and people want to help him. Even if Miharu wants to keep living his apathetic life, he has no choice but to be involved in this battle.
If you haven’t realized already, this is the start of a series about ninjas. No, this is not a copycat of the well-known mainstream manga series that is also about ninjas. But it seems like people do feel inclined to compare it to that, and it seems like Kamatani was prepared for that. She uses this first volume as a way to hint that Nabari No Ou has a more serious story and a story that is very different.
My favorite thing about this volume is how quickly it gets to the point. This volume doesn’t take to long to introduce the main characters and getting into the story. And then even after getting into the story it is still fast paced. There will be no boring moments in this solid beginning.
To be honest, the characters are pretty average in this volume. They are definitely entertaining and fun to read about, but they aren’t memorable. It really isn’t until the next installments when that happens. But the characters do have a certain light-heartedness that isn’t in the next installments (when things get more deep and serious) in this volume.
And that is the reason why I return to this volume repeatedly.
Sometimes I just want to read about the apathethic kid called Miharu that really doesn’t care whether or not he has the wisdom of the whole world hidden inside him. To read about Tobari and his phobia of moving vehicles. To read about Raimei and her tendency to get over-excited. And to read about Kouichi and his very calm demeanor.
The humor element definitely puts to use Miharu’s I-don’t-care attitude and his cuteness. Most of the little jokes revolve around those traits.
The mangaka has a clean, distict drawing style. Her art is lovely most of the time. Although there are a couple of panels in which the characters look drawn awkwardly in volume one. (The art becomes absolutely beautiful later, so don’t drop this series because of the art in the first volume.)
Overall, this is a good introduction to a series. It isn’t overly good but still a solid volume that will definitely make one want to continue (especially because of the fact that two sides are battling it out at the end). I will definitely recommend this series if you are a fan of ninjas or reading books that involve the use of nature as a source of power or maybe even just some sword fighting (Raimei kicks butt with that blade).