Manga Review: Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan Volume One

Article first published as Manga Review: ‘Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan’ Volume One by Hiroshi Shiibashi on Blogcritics.

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan Volume One is a manga by Hiroshi Shiibashi, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2011. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan Volume 1
Written by: Hiroshi Shiibashi
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 1, 2011

The main character of the series is Rikuo Nura. He is the grandson of Nurarihyon, the supreme commander of the Nura clan. The Nura clan is made up of yokai, but Nura is only one-quarter yokai, since his mother was a human. His grandfather intends to Rikuo to become the head of the Nura clan once his yokai powers are realized.

Since Rikuo grew up around yokai, he thought they were cool and didn’t realize that humans thought that yokai didn’t exist. One day, Nurarihyon announces his intention to make Rikuo the next head of the clan at a meeting. This doesn’t go over well Gagoze, a high-ranking yokai; he tries to kill Rikuo while he’s on the school bus. Rikuo actually missed the bus, so he goes to help the kids trapped in the bus. During a confrontation with Gagoze, Rikuo suddenly transforms and taps into his yokai powers. Unfortunately, he has no memory of this happening afterward.

The story fast forwards a few years, and Rikuo wants to embrace his human side and no longer desires to become the next head of the clan. Meanwhile, Rikuo finds himself recruited into a new club at school that is dedicated to tracking down yokai, because the head of the club wants to find the yokai who saved his life during the bus accident that happened earlier in the story.

I think there’s a very interesting concept for Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan. It’s ultimately a story about a boy who finds himself torn about where he fits in and what he truly wants to do with his life. While yokai and demons may play a major part in the story, the overall theme of the series is very relatable to readers, especially to teenage readers.

Being a shonen manga title, there’s a lot of action involved in the story and the art. There are number of what I refer to as “busy panels” that highlight how action-packed the story is; “busy panels” tend to utilize lines and large sound effects to emphasize the action that is taking place in those panels. The overall art style for Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is rather decent, and it works perfectly for the storytelling being used for the series. As a reader, I was convinced that what I saw on the page were actually yokai and demons.

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan seems to be off to a good start, and it’s a series I wouldn’t mind reading more of at some point in the future. I think this series will hold a strong appeal to readers who enjoy stories about yokai and demons that contain a lot of action.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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