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.