Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1(TV) (2010)
Rikuo Nura lives in Ukiyoe Town and looks like your typical junior high student. But unlike his classmates, he lives in an old, Japanese-style house full of yokai that serve him. Unbeknownst to many, Rikuo is the grandson of Nurarihyon, who is the leader of all yokai. Rikuo is regarded as the Third Heir of the Nura Clan, but has yet to officially take his seat.
For more about Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 and the Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 Blu-ray release, see Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on April 10, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Darrel Guilbeau, Grant George
» See full cast & crew
Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 Blu-ray Review
Who's haunting whom?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, April 10, 2013
Those who have read the seminal works of either Carl Jung or Joseph Campbell know that there are certain seemingly innate strands running through the myths and legends of international cultures, strands made famous by Campbell's accounts of the "hero's quest" or Jung's discussions of the collective unconscious. And yet there are obviously salient differences as well, something that makes approaching a series like Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan so intrinsically interesting. Yōkai might be generally translated as "ghost" or "demon", but in the world of Japanese folklore, it's perhaps a decidedly more whimsical formulation, one that encompasses everything from humanoids to quasi-animals to spirit infused supposedly "inanimate" objects. A lot of yōkai are rather gruesome looking, to be sure, but just as often the spirits are kind of spectral jokers, out for nothing other than a good laugh at humans' expense. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan makes for an interesting comparison to another recently reviewed anime, Natsume's Book of Friends: Season 3. In both of these offerings, we have a young boy who is "gifted" with being able to see yōkai and who would really prefer not to be so gifted. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan takes that premise a step further by positing a hero who is a yōkai, albeit only by night. By day Rikuo Nura is a relatively ordinary looking boy who wants to blend in at school and who is fairly desperate to keep his yōkai self under wraps, not just to others but also in a way to himself as well. Rikuo is unfortunately in line to inherit the mantle of leader of the yōkai and that means that ultimately the choice may not in fact be his to make.
Much as with Natsume's Book of Friends, there's an undercurrent of the outcast running rampant throughout Nura: Rise of the Guardian. In fact, it may even be more pronounced in this series, for Rikuo is trying to come to terms with being a hybrid of sorts. His grandfather is a yōkai, making Rikuo one quarter yōkai himself, something that creates an inner tension in Rikuo. Anyone who comes from a mixed heritage (as frankly I myself do) will understand the kind of inherent angst that comes when different cultures clash within the psyche of one individual. Even within the world of the yōkai there are outcasts, it turns out, with something akin to castes or strata that various creatures belong to.
One thing that tends to at least slightly undercut the basic premise of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is the fact that yōkai are supposed to "feed" off the fear of humans, and yet several of the yōkai in the series are decidedly more comical in nature. Rikuo's own human side may provide "shelter" for his lack of spookiness, but that fails to explain how many of the supporting characters here are actually kind of lovable in their own slightly demented ways.
The series tends to ping pong back and forth between a kind of shōnen ambience, where Rikuo (in his daytime human form) attempts to blend in at school and with his friends, while meanwhile at home he's trying as hard as possible to withstand the importuning of his grandfather and other yōkai to accept the mantle he's been handed. Complicating matters is that Rikuo's friends are preternaturally interested in yōkai and always seem to be on the hunt for them in places as disparate as an abandoned school building to Rikuo's own home. These elements tend to provide a kind of slapstick comedy relief a lot of time, especially as Rikuo runs around manically trying to prevent various yōkai from being discovered.
Two other sets of conflicts arise in this first arc of episodes. It turns out there's an internecine war of sorts going on within the ranks of the yōkai, something that soon ensnares Rikuo's grandfather Nurarihyon as well as Rikuo himself. And Rikuo is of course experiencing his own inner conflict which is exacerbated by the fact that his nighttime form is becoming increasingly dominant, even if he wishes it wouldn't. There are a number of subplots that develop out of each of these elements, and the series does tend to fall into a "battle of the week" formula for at least a few of these episodes. This may in fact be the single greatest failing in the opening set of episodes, one which tends to weigh an otherwise fairly inventive series down in what gets to feel like a pretty standard rut. While it can't be argued that even the "mutant kid attempting to find himself" arc isn't especially innovative in and of itself, at least it's handled witha fair degree of panache in the series and helps give Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan at least a bit of a distinctive air.
Though the series of course dabbles in the supernatural world of the yōkai, it's not hard to extrapolate Rikuo's dilemma to more generally felt emotions by any number of adolescents with regard to their families. At one point, Rikuo had idolized the yōkai, loving their mischievous ways and striving to emulate them. As he matured, though, he became more aware of a certain malevolent streak in at least some of the yōkai and therefore became considerably more conflicted about following in that particular niche of his genetic makeup. Any kid who has looked up to an elder only to realize later that that person had considerable flaws will no doubt be able to relate to this aspect of Rikuo, and the show as a whole, even if it's presented here in an obviously unusual context.
On the whole, though, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is often a highly enjoyable enterprise, one which features a glut of interesting characters and a nice balance between whimsy and more dramatic aspects. The show is also quite beautiful from a design perspective, with lots of distinctive looking yōkai as well as some very nicely done backgrounds.
Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Brothers and Viz Media with an AVC encoded 1080i transfer in 1.78:1. This is an often exceptionally handsome looking series with well defined characters and some unusually sumptuous looking backgrounds (a recurring motif of what might be a cherry or pinkish weeping willow tree is just one great example). Line detail remains very strong throughout this presentation, colors are very vivid and wonderfully robust, and the interlaced presentation creates few if any noticeable issues.
Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan features lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mixes in both English and Japanese. Aside from the obvious language differences, the mixes here are virtually interchangeable with no noticeable disparity between amplitude or effects mixing. Dialogue is very cleanly presented in both of these tracks, and effects and score are also well prioritized. The series probably could have benefited from a surround mix, especially in the more boisterous action sequences (which tend to become more prevalent in the middle group of episodes in this first volume), but what's here features excellent fidelity and appealing dynamic range.
Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is a bit of a mixed bag in these opening 13 episodes, though the good tends to outweigh the bad. The basic premise here is quite sound, and Rikuo makes for a very appealing main character. The yōkai are generally imaginative and Rikuo's kind of daffy grandfather, who looks suspiciously like those big headed aliens that used to dot shows like Star Trek and The Outer Limits, is also a lot of fun. Some may get a bit tired of the same old shōnen elements that are part and parcel of so many other anime, and others may tire of the battle scenarios that dominate the central set of episodes of this volume a bit too much, but taken as a whole and looking optimistically toward the future, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan has a lot going for it. Even with its dramatic ups and downs, the series maintains a uniformly high design aesthetic which looks great on this Blu-ray set. Even without much in the way of supplementary material, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan Blu-ray Set 1 comes Recommended.
Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Other Seasons
Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan Set 1 Blu-ray - January 9, 2013
This spring, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Viz Media are bringing the first twenty-four episodes of Studio Deen's anime series, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, to Blu-ray by way of a 3-disc Set 1 release. Based on the Hiroshi Shiibashi manga of the same name, ...
Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.