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Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan

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Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, known in Japan as Nurarihyon no Mago (ぬらりひょんの孫 Nurarihyon's Grandchild?) is a manga series written and illustrated by Hiroshi Shiibashi. The series was first published in Shueisha as a oneshot in 2007. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan has been continuously serialized in the Japanese manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump since March 2008 and has been collected in 12 tankōbon volumes as of April 2010. A Drama CD was released in December 2009.[1] An anime adaptation by Studio DEEN began airing in Japan on 5 July 2010. The manga has been licensed to be released in the United States, with the first volume to be released early 2011.[2]

Plot

Rikuo Nura is part human and a quarter yōkai (demon). He lives in a house full of yōkai along with his yōkai grandfather. Trying to escape his fate of acting like a yōkai, he does good deeds in order to avoid becoming one, despite his grandfather's wish to succeed him as master of the Nura yōkai clan. He eventually comes to terms with his demon blood and decides to take up the position of Young head of the Nura clan. Multiple factions aim to stop him or overtake his position, and he must gather friends and allies, a new Hyakki Yakō under his banner of "Fear".

Gyūki Arc

The Kiyo Cross Squad travels to Mt. Nejireme at the invitation of a supposed yōkai specialist. However, the invitation turns out to have been a trap by the head of the yōkai Gyūki Clan. Separated, the members of the Kiyo Cross Squad must deal with yōkai of the Gyūki Clan and Rikuo ultimately faces Gyūki himself. Rikuo learns that Gyūki set up the trap because he did not want the Nura Clan, which he greatly cherishes, to suffer under the influence of a weak leader. Afterward, Rikuo decides to take up the mantle of Nurarihyon and officially become the next Nura Clan head.

Shikoku Arc

When one of the board members of the Nura Group is attacked and killed, and Nurarihyon subsequently disappears without notice, the Nura Clan is thrown into chaos. Trying to keep them together, Rikuo encounters a rival faction from the Shikoku area who intend to take over the Nura Clan's territory. Their leader, Tamazuki, is ruthless and willing to sacrifice his subordinates to further his own goals. Rikuo and his Hyakki Yakō battle with Tamazuki and his 88 kiyakou (consisting of 88 demons, instead of the 100 of a Hyakki Yakō) and emerge victorious, but spare Tamazuki in the end at the request of his father - who Nurarihyon had gone to visit. Tamazuki is spared under the condition that he build a memorial in honor of the subordinates who died by his hand.

Past Arc

The story of Rikuo's grandparents: Nurarihyon and Youhime, the creation of the spirit blade Nenekirimaru, and the battle against Hagoromo-Gitsune 400 years ago.

Toono Arc

When Haguromo-Gitsune resurfaces in Kyoto, Rikuo is determined to fight her and take revenge for his father's death - as well as rescue Yura, who has gone to aid the rest of the Keikain family in protecting Kyoto. However, as he is still too inexperienced and weak, his grandfather asks the head of the youkai Toono Village to take in and train Rikuo. After an encounter with one of the Kyoto youkai, Rikuo comes to realize what sort of power the youkai Nurarihyon possesses and, having grown stronger, leaves along with several Toono youkai to return to the Nura main house and prepare for the assault on Kyoto.

Kyoto Arc

Rikuo, along with the vast majority of the Nura Clan and several yōkai from Toono, invade Kyoto. Nearly all of the onmyouji barriers around the city have been destroyed by Kyoto youkai, and the Keikain house itself struggles to fight against Hagoromo-Gitsune's forces. They ultimately join forces with Rikuo's Hyakki Yakō to replace the fallen barriers and stop Hagoromo-Gitsune from giving birth to a new evil.

Terminology

  • Sakazuki (杯事?) is the term used for a pledge of loyalty made over an exchange of wine or sake. This pledge is taken very seriously, and is akin to a blood pledge, linking fellow yōkai of different families. A 50-50 portion division gives equal footing to both parties, and is considered a sakazuki of sworn brothers. A 70-30 portion division is a pledge of fealty between a boss and his subordinates, and requires a great amount of trust on the part of both parties.[3]
  • Ikigimo is a term for when a person's liver is taken out while they are still alive. Many yōkai in Nurarihyon's time believed that by ingesting the life force (i.e. liver) of infants, priests/priestesses and imperial princesses, their strength would increase.
  • Osore ( lit. "Fear"?) is the term that denotes the unique skills and traits of each yōkai. It refers to the "Fear" of the unknown, an emotional reaction produced when the yōkai represent themselves as "monsters". It's especially important for leaders who wish to draw together gangs of yōkai. There are different types of "Fear" depending on the species of yōkai, such as water or ice. It also plays an important role in battles between yōkai, in which they must "scare one another".
  • Hatsu (鬼發 lit. "Manifestation"?) is the first stage of activating "Fear", and is simply an attempt to scare an opponent by exerting a frightening aura. Those affected by "Manifestation" will experience an overwhelming sense of intimidation, and depending on their opponent's skills, may hallucinate. This aura produces a palpable wall of pressure in the atmosphere, and cutting through this tension to reach the enemy is an important part of yōkai combat.
  • Hyōi (鬼憑 lit. "Haunting"?) is the second stage of activating "Fear" used in yōkai battles. It is the process by which a yōkai materializes their "Fear" into an attack that can harm their enemy by severing their "Manifestation". yōkai can produce a variety of attacks and techniques based on their type of "Fear".
  • Matoi is the accumulation of "fear" from Hyakki Yakō to the leader. It works only for a leader of part human part demon heritage, and it works by layering the Fear of the underlings on top of his own, exponentially increasing his power, as well as acquiring any sort of extra abilities into his power while using it (when doing it with Zen his attacks were poisonous, when with Tsurara the attack froze its target). The user also gets Tattoo-like markings on his back after first doing it with a new yōkai.

Characters

Rikuo Nura (奴良 リクオ Nura Rikuo?) / Night Rikuo (ぬらりひょんの孫 Nurarihyon no Mago?) Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama
Rikuo is the title character and main protagonist of the series, an average 12-year old boy who inherited 1/4 of his grandfather's yōkai blood. In times of impending danger his yōkai blood awakens and he switches into his night form to become the Master of the yōkai (the master of all spirits). His yōkai form is confident, strong and inspires "Fear" amongst his allies leading many to join him. Rikuo is destined to take over as the Third Master of yōkai from his grandfather, though the main conflict for the first portion of the series lies in his rejection of the idea. As a child, Rikuo respected and looked up to yōkai, playing pranks on members of the Nura house and often declaring he would become more yōkai-like and take over as the Third.[4] However, after a discussion at school, he came to realize the evil nature of yōkai deeds and decided to set himself firmly on the path of living a strictly human life. Since then, he has attempted to become more like a normal human by doing all sorts of good deeds. Even though he appreciates all that his yōkai underlings do for him, he is nevertheless desperate to prevent his school friends from learning of his connection to yōkai. After being tested by Gyūki he decides to take the position of Young Head and saves both humans and yōkai.
Nurarihyon (ぬらりひょん?) Voiced by: Chikao Ōtsuka
Nurarihyon is Rikuo's grandfather, known as the master of all spirits or as the Supreme Commander. It's said that he plays pranks and hates humans, but he doesn't really hate them - rather, he doesn't believe humans should interfere in yōkai affairs. He dislikes the fact that Rikuo goes to school and acts human, but respects his wishes.
Yuki-Onna (雪女?) Voiced by: Yui Horie
Yuki Onna is Rikuo's trusted attendant and part of Rikuo's new "Hyakki Yakō" who follows him to school disguised as Tsurara Oikawa (及川 氷麗 Oikawa Tsurara?), a normal schoolgirl. She is affectionate towards Rikuo and even gets jealous when other girls pay him attention. This is also reinforced by the fact that other characters express how bad a situation would become if Tsurara were to see what other female characters did to Rikuo. She also admires Rikuo's yōkai form, because she finds him very reliable and magnificent. She is overprotective of Rikuo when he is his "day", or human form, and expresses great concern for his well being, which is the reason why she is always around him at school (which causes misunderstandings and concern on Kana's part). She also acts as a cook and, though her food is delicious, most of the time it is chilled or cold. As her name states, she is a Yuki-onna.
Aotabō (青田坊?)/Kurata (倉田?) Voiced by: Hiroki Yasumoto
The degenerate priest who wears the iron blue robe and the physically strongest yōkai in the Nura household. He used to be a monk who killed many warriors. He has fists that can crush rock and palms that can fit a person's head. He was enlightened by a holy man, leading to him protecting children. The holy man once stated it is up to him whether he became a human again or a raging god. He almost became a human but chose the path of a raging god by killing a group of people who were torturing the children he had wished to protect. He has a skull necklace that when removed allows him to fight at his full potential. He is also the leader of a biker gang called the Blood Night Hyakki Yakō.
Kubinashi (首無?, lit. Headless) Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai
As his name would imply, his head floats above his shoulders and he has no neck. He is one of Rikuo's demon guardians and frequently takes care of laundry around the Nura mansion. He fights using thread/string that entangles the target the more it struggles, which can become as strong as chains by imbuing it with his "fear." When he was alive, he and a friend were toyed with and killed by yōkai. As a result, he became a yōkai himself in order to exact revenge.
Yura Keikain (花開院 ゆら Keikain Yura?) Voiced by: Ai Maeda
An onmyōji of the Keikan House who specializes in shikigami, she can manage four at once impressing even Nurarihyon. She was trained by Akifusa and raised to see yōkai as evil, and seeks to complete her training by defeating Nurarihyon and then inheriting the Household. After her brother reveals Rikuo as a yōkai and as Nurarihyon's grandson, she says she can accept it if it's him.
Kana Ienaga (家長 可奈 Ienaga Kana?) Voiced by: Aya Hirano
Kana is Rikuo's childhood friend and neighbor. She is hinted to have some affection for Rikuo, as she gets jealous seeing Rikuo and Tsurara together. Rikuo made a promise to help her if she is ever in need. After being kidnapped by a yōkai on her 13th birthday, she was saved by Night Rikuo and was taken to a yōkai party. The next morning Kana asked Rikuo if he was friends with his yōkai form and blushed when Rikuo asked why. She has fallen for Rikou's Night form.

Media

The anime series, produced by Studio Deen, premiered on July 5, 2010 and is licensed for North America by Viz Media under the name Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan. New episodes, subbed in English, are simulcast each week on their website several hours after they air in Japan.[5] The opening themes are Fast Forward and Sunshine performed by Monkey Majik and the ending themes are Sparky☆Start and Symphonic Dream performed by Katate Size (Aya Hirano, Yui Horie and Ai Maeda). The anime is slated to be released on eight DVDs.[6]

A character data book titled Nurarihyon no Mago: Official Character Data Book: Ayakashi Hiroku (ぬらりひょんの孫 キャラクター公式データブック 妖秘録 Nurarihyon no Mago: Kyarakutā Kōshiki Dēta Bukku: Ayakashi Hiroku?) was released on July 2, 2010. At 264 pages, it contains information on all the major factions in the series, as well as on Shiibashi and his assistants.

A light novel adaptation written by Satoshi Oosaki with art by Hiroshi Shiibashi was published by J-Books in December 2009. It features the stories of Nurarihyon and Youhime's wedding ceremony and a strange encounter between Zen and Kuroumaru, as well as an original tale centering on the yōkai who live in Ukiyoe Town.[7]

Reception

The first tankōbon ranked 9th on Tohan manga charts,[8] the third ranked 5th,[9] the fourth ranked 10th,[10] the fifth ranked 9th,[11] and the sixth ranked 8th,[12] and each volume starting from the third sold over 100,000 copies.[9][10][12][13]

Weekly Shōnen Jump allows its readers to vote on their favorite manga, giving out the Future Gold Cup award each year to the most popular manga one-shot it publishes. In 2007, Nurarihyon no Mago ranked number one in the Future Gold Cup.[citation needed]

References

  1. http://www.shueisha.co.jp/drama_cd/nurari/index.html
  2. Script error
  3. Chapter 40
  4. Chapter 1
  5. http://www.viz.com/vizblog/index.php?id=623
  6. http://www.nuramago.jp/
  7. http://j-books.shueisha.co.jp/book/book129.html
  8. Script error
  9. 9.0 9.1 Script error
  10. 10.0 10.1 Script error
  11. Script error
  12. 12.0 12.1 Script error
  13. Script error

External links

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