By Hiroshi Shiibashi. Released in Japan as “Nurarihyon No Mago” by Shueisha, serialized in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. Released in North America by Viz.
We’ve come to the final volume of this Shonen Jump series, and as it turns out I had not done a full review of it since the very first. That first review is sort of retroactively hilarious, talking about what was mostly a high school comedy about Rikuo trying to hide his yokai heritage from his friends while dealing with a minor love triangle. Now here we are at the end, and I don’t think we’ve had a volume that wasn’t basically either a giant battle or preparations for a giant battle since around the early teens. When you have a hero that can transform into a handsome badass, and a large cast filled with eccentric but fascinating supernatural creatures, no one cares about your human childhood friend. Sorry, Kana.
But of course the tradeoff is that, while I’ve basically enjoyed myself throughout the series, there’s been very little to talk about with each individual volume, hence why I’ve kept my comments to the Bookshelf Briefs. Even here, the first half of the book is basically the climax of the final battle, which is as you’d expect – the villain is convinced he’s won, but with the help of all his yokai companion, as well as a reformed villain or two, our hero pulls it out despite risking death (as does his grandfather, who actually meets his wife in “heaven” before returning as his time is not yet over). With everything won, we return to the (somewhat beat up) clan house, where a giant party proceeds to end the volume. Well, except for several side-stories to pad it out to a proper length – by the end of the series, Nura was running in ‘Jump Next’, a side-magazine, which allowed it to have its 80-page finales but also hinted it was being put out to pasture.
And it’s for the best, really, as I’m not sure how much more Nura had to give. It’s always been one of those series that was good but not great, and you can’t see the ‘Final Volume!’ at the back cover without thinking “Oh good”. As ever with Jump series, we’d had an escalating scale of villains, but with the last one basically being a creation of absolute evil, there’s nowhere else to go after that. As for the romance, it was the typical non-romance you get in Jump titles like these. There’s enough tease to keep Tsurara fans happy, and it’s implied Rikuo returns her feelings, but nothing really happens. In a world where we recently saw Naruto trying to pair people up and fail so miserably (I actually do like Naruto/Hinata, but there’s no denying that rushed ‘epilogue’ was pretty miserable), and where Bleach fans await the end of their series with dread and prepared outrage, this seems quite satisfying.
The cover shows us three generations of Nuras, which is good as honestly in black and white I can’t tell them apart, and they’re all smiling and showing off their badass poses. It’s a good cover for a series that has never been amazing or addictive, but more solid and dependable. I enjoyed reading you, Nura. Now… GET OUT!