Story/Art: Hiroshi Shiibashi
Translation: John Werry
What They Say:
Rikuo arrives at the palace where Seimei awaits as the battle reaches its climax! When Rikuo, Seimei and Hagoromo-Gitsune engage in a three-sided struggle, will two of the longtime adversaries join forces to defeat the third?! In this exciting final volume, the story of three generations of yokai yakuza comes full circle!
Content: (please note that the content portion of a review may contain spoilers)
The final fight between Rikuo and Seimei comes to a conclusion, as not only Rikuo, but Hagoromo Gitsune — Seimei’s mother — face him down. Being a Shonen Jump series, it’s unsurprising that Rikuo’s final burst of power comes from the strength of the many friendships he’s made over the course of the series, but even being expected doesn’t keep the moment from being deeply satisfying.
Other battles take place during this time, such as Kubinashi and Tamazuki each facing one of the Gokadoin leaders. Shiibashi has done something similar in the past, and here it has the same bonuses and issues. Yes, we may get to see what other characters we have come to care about are doing, but not a lot of time is spent on each one. None of these get very in depth, and we don’t even see the actual conclusion to some of them until some of the short bonus scenes after the final chapter.
The last third of the volume is made up of bonus stories. Partly these are made up of the uninked conclusions to some minor fights, along with some stories that expand on certain characters now that the battle is done, such as Rikuo’s childhood yokai friends Zen and Shoei, who also must now lead their parts of the clan alongside Rikuo. Other stories fall hard on the goofy side, like when Rikuo, in his demon form, gets horribly drunk at his celebration party and starts hitting on every woman in the room, or when Tsurara’s mother gives her the important task of stealing a kiss from Rikuo. These ones are a bit painful in their awkwardness, though Tsurara’s hints at a romance that goes beyond the petty jealousy we’ve seen occasionally through the main story that is actually cute, and would have been nice to see before the absolute last page of the story.
The final volume of Nura is definitely exciting, with the big final battle, though unfortunately it’s awfully cluttered, with the battles the other yokai face being crammed into the corners of Rikuo’s own big fight. Everything comes to a happy end, with — realistically or not — little tragedy on Rikuo’s side, though the characters themselves don’t seem to have much for a final bit of growth. Still, there’s a sense of finality as friends and allies do, or do not, come together in the last pages, something that’s really needed in a long series (even if it’s a bit cheesy). The bonus chapters filling out the volume were a nice way for Shiibashi to include stories that didn’t quite fit and would have interrupted the flow of the last couple of chapters, and while much of that is goofy, or opens up a plot line that will never be finished, there are some touching moments that make these stories worth reading.
Nura, in the beginning, had an interesting premise following the young part-yokai leader of what was basically a demon yakuza organization. The story immediately took several large steps backwards with the human side of Rikuo trying to separate himself from his previously beloved yokai heritage, and it took the series volumes to climb back out of it. Nura did eventually get there, with the merging of Rikuo’s two personalities and the backstory of his father, Rihan. A lot of it felt like Shiibashi was making this up as he went, rather than planning his plot, but this eventually resulted in a more engaging plot, even if in the end the world became cluttered with his yokai, fun and varied as they were. Nura will never be one of the greats, but for shonen action fans who like their stories to come to a reasonably timed conclusion, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is certainly not a bad series to get into.
Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released by: Viz Media
Release Date: February 3rd, 2015