Story/Art: Yuhki Kamatani
Translation/Adaptation: Alethea Nibley & Athena Nibley
What They Say
The aftermath of the confrontation at Alya Academy finds Yoite even more broken than before and the four forbidden art scrolls now in the hands of the Grey Wolves. As the remaining Banten shinobi regroup, Kouichi decides to reveal his shocking past to his allies. But it proves to be the last straw for Tobari, holder of the final remaining forbidden art scroll—Engetsurin— who is spurred into making a sudden decision that will send all the players in the Hidden World out on the hunt for him . . .
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This is a very plot packed volume of Nabari no Ou, and it’s very much a turning point for the series. Up until now the story was following a simple formula of going out, finding a scroll, returning it to the bosses with brief pauses to lick wounds. The last major shift was when Miharu decided to join the Gray Wolves.
This volume opens slowly, with everyone recuperating from their injuries during the last mission. Yoite is in terrible shape, and Miharu discovers a particularly nasty scar that Yoite has been hiding with all those turtlenecks. The way that Yoite is drawn is particularly anorexic, adding a perhaps unintentional visual cue to his depleting health. Yoite’s mental state is also having a profound effect on his friends and guardians, and for a kid who pushes everyone away with sometimes terrifying results, he certainly has a lot of people that care for him.
Meanwhile, Kouichi finally decides to let Tobari and Raimei in on his past, with comically overblown reaction shots following. Tobari should have already known Kouichi’s secret, but the past seems to be clouded for everyone involved in the incident ten years ago. Kouichi’s wish for the Shinra Banshou isn’t very different than Yoite’s, and it’s just as sad.
With only one scroll remaining, and almost everyone knowing that Tobari is the one with it, Tobari has a difficult choice to make. Still firm in his decision to not let anyone use the Shinra Banshou, he simply disappears, leaving everyone looking for him, Gray Wolves and friends alike. Oddly enough, his girlfriend seems to take it all in stride having long since come to terms with her lover’s unusual occupation. Tobari’s a nice guy, but if he’s as indecisive about other things as he is about his shinobi activities, it would drive me up the wall.
Meanwhile, Raikou is beating himself up over Gau, who remains in a coma after taking a slash from Raikou several volumes ago. Still blaming himself, Raikou desperately wants his friend to wake up while dreading the reaction from Gau when he does. Raikou’s lack of action drive Yoite into a rare show of independence, who in frustration decides to remove the obstacle blocking Raikou’s actions.
All of Yoite’s recent behavior has Yukimi wondering about Yoite’s troubled past that no one seems to know anything about. Unfortunately, Yukimi’s failure to intercept Tobari before he took off has placed him in the Gray Wolves doghouse, and the chief makes it clear that Miharu and Yoite are going to be removed from his care in short order. Time seems to be running out for everyone, especially when the Kasa group makes an appearance at the end of the volume with plans to wipe out not just the Banten shinobi, but the Gray Wolves and Fuuma as well.
This is a true halfway point for the series. The artwork is as crisp as ever, and I’ve grown used to the slightly awkward and lanky characters. The clearcut path that was being followed by the Banten and Gray Wolves shinobi has been rerouted by the disappearance of Tobari with the last scroll. Time is very clearly running out for Miharu to grant Yoite’s wish, and Yukimi’s newly rediscovered desire to learn more about his charge threatens to separate him from the kids. Added to all these new revelations and complications are the Kasa making a move against both groups, providing a common enemy for all of the protagonists. While this volume is high on drama, it’s short on action scenes, and people hoping for a hard hitting confrontation will be disappointed.
Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: B +
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A
Readers Rating: [ratings]
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: November 22nd, 2011