Nurarihyon no Mago — RAPING THE CANON

Careful you don’t get drawn into his. . . um. . . What was I saying?

So, subtlety. I am a fan of it. I do not like it when the story waves a flashing neon sign that says “PLOT!” in a great big typeface (and probably in comic sans, too) at me. It’s insulting. Perhaps someone should tell the people behind the Nurarihyon no Mago anime. Seems to me they could use a lesson in it, because the manga certainly knows what it’s doing in that regard. It hints at things without giving them away, and doesn’t paint great big target signs of VILLAINY on characters’ backs. Would you like I should set it aflame illuminate the show’s failings? Why I would be delighted.

Aotabou doesn’t get near enough screentime. And where’s his biker gang?!

By my calculations, the anime has perhaps one part to it that you might could call subtle without stretching the definition of the word. We keep getting hints that Kana has met Rikuo’s night form previously, with the implication that this will be covered at some point. The only problem with this it that their meeting took place in the VERY FIRST CHAPTER OF THE MANGA. You know, the first thing that any viewer who sees the series, thinks it’s interesting, and picks up a volume at the bookstore will read. How stupid are they?

What’s worse is that same first chapter would have made for a much more interesting first episode than what they gave us (I wonder why). Without it, the characters are even flatter than they should be. I would go into more detail but why bother when you could just go read the chapter.

The best thing I’ll say about this show is it’s got some impressive background artwork.

On second thought, I was mistaken above; the show actually has a very subtle side to it in one respect: the way in which it is RAPING THE CANON (sung to the tune of “Waking the Demon”). Now, I am not one to level such accusations lightly, so allow me to explain myself.

Youkai are about fear. You tell stories about them because they’re scary. Their attacks are based on fear, as are their strength and power. One youkai follows another because of fear. They even classify themselves based on how they collect fear. And most of them spend a sizable portion of their time scaring humans.

A youkai in its natural habitat.

But somehow episode three ignored that. They hid from the humans because, well. . . because Rikuo told them to. And they listened to that kid because. . .? No self-respecting youkai would hide from humans “just because.” In the manga, they hide because they know already that Yura is an onmyoji — that is to say, they fear her. They don’t know that in the anime, but they also can’t have the youkai going after the humans because then they’d get exorcised. So they just make it so all the household youkai are more than happy to do what Rikuo asks.

Except. . . it’s sort of a plot point that everyone is in fact not enthused that Rikuo might take over. We see that in episode five (very obviously, with more of those neon signs I was talking about earlier) with Hitotsume. But do we get any sort of buildup to it? Not really. It just sort of happens. (The aforementioned first chapter also would have served as buildup to this point.)

All he needs are a monocle and a blue flower to crush.

But no, this show would rather go full speed ahead with its cliches. I’ll still watch it, sure, because I’m pretty sure it’ll go through the Shikoku arc and I would love to see that animated. Just know, though, that a sizable chunk of the series is being left out. Besides, it’s right after this present arc that the manga starts breaking through a lot of the cliches it set up, so who knows.

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14 Comments

  1. Posted August 9, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Another Nura manga reader, lol. I don’t mind the anime so much, but I was reading a few of the old chapters after a long time, and I must admit, the manga is amazing. When I first read it, I was very confused, part of it was because of the bad scans and my still undeveloped manga reading ability (I started reading it a long time ago), but a good portion of it might have intentional. The manga seems to make so much more sense when you reread it, and that’s because it gives out details slowly and as you said subtly. I am also looking forward to the future arcs, the current manga arc in particular is amazing:P

    • Chronolynx
      Posted August 9, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Oh yes the manga is just amazing. I love how stuff and characters you think are long gone come back when you least expect. It shows the author’s got a good deal of this already planned out. And the current arc is awesome, but I do wonder at how much longer it’ll last, and what, if anything, will follow it. (As an aside I noticed the OP for the anime has a short clip of Yura with that weapon thing she starts using after the Shikoku arc. . . possible 2nd season?)

      I remember feeling about like you describe when I first started reading manga. Maybe I should go back and reread some of that.

      • Posted August 9, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        It’s hard to predict how long the current arc will last, if the author wanted he could end it in 2 chapters, or he could make it last much longer. As for what comes after the current arc, I have no idea. I would wager a guess that there will be a few lighthearted chapters involving the paranormal squad, and then maybe something about traitors in the clan or something. Yeah, I think it is a good idea to reread some of it, even the current arcs introductions (prior to Tono arc) make more sense now, and will probably seem even more sensible when the full truth is revealed.

  2. Zi Densetsu
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    The manga is quite good, but the anime has been shafted to my -watch when a fight starts- category. Too much Canon killing is going on. Though the manga’s storyline is somewhere between average-exceptional, the anime downgraded that to a below average. The only reason I watch it from time to time is for the “pretty pictures”.

    Manga-wise, I didn’t have too much trouble with the plot and arcs because I read them all in one go after the anime started up. The only thing that I had trouble getting was the fact that the anime wasn’t following the Canon. That sent me in circles for a while because I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t go with it.

    • Chronolynx
      Posted August 10, 2010 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      I also started on the manga after watching the first episode. Superficially, the plot still resembles the manga, so my guess is they’re just trying to cram what they can into what time they have. I’d rather have the manga condensed than padded out with filler.

  3. miino
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    I agree with all the points presented. I wondered many times as I watched this show why they left out so much plot detail, but I concluded that they were trying to cram what they could into their window of releases. If the series chose to become a longer running and uninterrupted (as in not taking a break in between seasons) anime, they wouldn’t be so rushed to get through two arcs by seasons end.

    • Chronolynx
      Posted August 10, 2010 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Agreed. Though I’m not too sure I’d like if it were a long runner (see above about the filler). I remember when I first finished the Shikoku arc, I thought that would be a perfect spot to end the anime. It had everything you could ask for in a season finale.

  4. Shadiic
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    I think that they are going to have an anime original ending with the current manga arc as the final arc in the anime cos this arc is going to be resolved in 2 more eps, then the next major arc then the off to the mountains and then the current manga arc.

    • Chronolynx
      Posted August 10, 2010 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Are you suggesting they’ll try to cram the whole manga so far into 24 episodes? Because I really doubt they’d do that. My guess is they’ll stop after Shikoku, and if ratings/DVD sales are good enough they’ll do a second season later.

  5. Merq
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    Is there a designer among us?

  6. Tenryu
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m actually okay with not having the first chapter being the episode. Or rather i understand why the did it, to just be a little mysterious because seriously the nature of that chapter you can put it anywhere along the story telling.

    “…and doesn’t paint great big target signs of VILLAINY on characters”
    if you stand on a black and white human perspective anything youkai are evil and villany by nature

    your explanation of ‘fear’ is good… the only problem is how it is used in the manga.. it seams that the manga uses the concept of ‘fear’ almost like a supsititute of ‘ki’ ‘youki’ ‘powerlevels’… its really the only problem i have with the manga.. that and the incosistancy of the first dozen or so chapters regarding Tsurara’s name.
    i mean she’s been living with the family for how long? and all of a sudden she wants Rikuo to call her by Tsurara and not Yuki-onna. One would have thought she told ‘people’ her name a long time ago. Even Rikuo’s mother calls her Yuki-onna-chan.

    • Chronolynx
      Posted August 11, 2010 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      I recall being a bit confused when I first started reading regarding Yuki-Onna’s name, but looking back I figure it stems from the Japanese obsession with names. The way I see it, Yuki-Onna is a title, and Tsurara is her actual name. Most people call her Yuki-Onna because that is what they should call her, similar to how classmates would call the class president by his title. But when she’s among humans, she’s just Oikawa Tsurara, so she wants Rikuo to call her by her name (also she has a crush on him).

      Although now that you’ve mentioned it I’ll be sure to look out for patterns of usage whenever I get around to rereading the manga.

      • Tenryu
        Posted August 11, 2010 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        ” she’s just Oikawa Tsurara, so she wants Rikuo to call her by her name ”
        yes but in the manga she specifically asks him to call her by ‘Tsurara’ which is weird and out of the blue when you think about it…

        Even the Kappa in the Yura group doesn’t have a name, he even says it himself

  7. Posted August 11, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Your third screencap made me consider checking out the anime, however, after I finished reading your text, I’m thinking I might not bother and just skip to the manga instead, lol. So that’s another one to add to my now humungous will-check-out-later list. Damn you, Chrono, for having good taste! *Shakes fist*

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