You know that gay show about emo ninjas I stopped watching approximately two years ago? Well I recently decided to give Nabari no Ou another chance.
Every so often I fumble a show, that is to say, I drop it unintentionally. Such was the fate of Nabari no Ou upon its licensing. I cared so little about the show that I simply forgot it existed when fansubs stopped coming out. Fast forward two years. Since I’m currently in no condition to watch a complete series, I’d been browsing some streaming sites for series I’d half-finished. After coming across Slam Dunk and Eyeshield 21 on Crunchyroll, I moved over to Hulu where I found Nabari no Ou (along with Higurashi and Claymore!). I would’ve stayed on Crunchyroll a bit longer if not for their sleazy business tactics. Their master plan for selling premium memberships: bombard freeloaders the most annoying Skittles ads in the universe until they pay up.
I used to love Skittles. When I was little I pretended they were gummiberries. Now I’m never buying Skittles again.
As I was saying, Nabari no Ou is really emo and gay. Sasuke tried out for the show but got rejected for being too straight and self-assured. FUNimation deliberately downplayed the gaiety, instead choosing to advertise the show from the action-comedy angle. Effective? Hell yeah, the trailer looks fucking awesome. Misleading? Grossly.
The action isn’t bad; it’s just non-existant for large stretches. The show is more of a drama than anything else. There’s about a 20:1 ratio of feelings scenes to fight scenes. Instead of bloodthirsty hardcore ninja battles, you get anorexic, brooding girly-men with hair in their eyes whining about their insecurities. The main character doesn’t know any ninja techniques. His only skill is manipulating onlookers with moé.
The teacher has black hair, so you might think he’s Japanese until you find out he’s Irish. The adversary-turned-ally points his fingers to unleash a forbidden technique known as kira.
There are only two unambiguously male character designs: a guy with sideburns and a guy with a goatee. Naturally, both are bad guys, because men are evil.
Like far too many series nowadays, Nabari no Ou got an anime-original ending because the manga is still running. I could tell without having to look it up. Characters were irrelevant, like that immortal guy and that elegant psycho blind chick. Issues were unresolved. Deaths came a little too easily. All are classic signs of a cop-out ending. I’d neglect it under the forward progress rule, but it’s not enough to change the final grade.
Final Grade: ~
Though the ending of the ninja side of the show left much to be desired, the ending of the drama side was well done. The dramatic moments throughout the series were compelling at times, just not enough to justify all the feelings talk.
Would the manga be better? I’m honestly tempted to skim it. Despite the characters looking girly and wanting to sodomize each other, the cast overall is pretty strong. The plot had potential as well.