Nabari no Ou Season 1 Review Part 2

With nearly every ninja clan roaring after our protagonist's blood, you'd think that the plot would have accelerated from its lazy norm to explosive new heights, regardless of Miharu's cold apathy. The funny thing is that Miharu has started to care, quite passionately, about one thing: Yoite. Their relationship has evolved from one of obligation and dependency to a kindred bond where they each value the other's life over their own. The series worked surprisingly well when Miharu was an emotionless stone in the face of peril. Even if the humor of the predicament missed the mark sometimes, the balance gave the show novelty and breathed life and direction into its slower pacing. Now Miharu is on the lam, making emotional and irrational new choices in hopes of saving Yoite rather than erasing him, and this can only mean a better, tighter-paced series, right? Actually, all it means is that a new problem has arisen. Miharu's apathy has now bled over into the series on the whole, turning it into an emotionally overwrought bog of narrative chaos with twenty different characters whose subplots don't matter one iota running from one episode to the next with no clear destination in sight. If this sounds hectic, that's the funny thing: it is horribly sluggish, slower than the first half ever was.

This is a shame because the series' high points have more than proven that there is a great story hiding here. Still, what plays out is far less than what Nabari had started with. Miharu and Yoite's relationship, while still characterized well in scenes like Yoite's escape from the hospital during a Christmas blizzard, becomes so overwhelmingly the focus of the series that every other plot thread gets dropped on its backside. The side characters still have screen time to fill, however, so they spend the majority of it talking. The number of fights in this volume is painfully lacking even by the standards set by the first half. Although a great deal eventually happens, it comes at the cost of so many stern conversations from an inactive supporting cast that the end result comes off as being bored with this ninja apocalypse that it will get around to showing later.

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