Nabari no Ou: Ninjas! Plants! Watercolor Backgrounds!

Approximately two weeks late I finally manage to catch the first episode of Nabari no Ou. I was going to do two at once but that backfires when you don’t actually have the second episode on hand, so this reflects the first episode.

I was actually fairly pleased with the first episode, much more so initally than the other shounen offering this season (namely Soul Eater–although, upon further reflection and approximately 50 viewings of the OP sequence later, I feel more like Soul Eater needs time to sink in before I will know whether I like it or not, so I’m back to having high hopes for it, but this isn’t a Soul Eater post so enough of that). I think the large portion of this enjoyment came from the more subdued tone Nabari no Ou took. And the backgrounds. Oh, god, the backgrounds.

I’m devoting a whole paragraph to the backgrounds, that’s how awesome they are. I’ve always liked watercolor/watercolor-style backgrounds in anime ever since the heady days of my youth when I watched Figure 17, which, by virtue of being traditonal cel animation (and the last anime to be animated in such a fashion, I believe) most likely had actual watercolor backgrounds. The last show I can remember that had backgroun visuals that had this effect on me is Simoun. The backgrounds in Nabari no Ou are beautiful to look at, and really fit in well with the subdued tone of the first episode.

And, yes, there’s ninja action in this episode, but that didn’t stop the overall feeling from being subdued punctuated by brief moments of violence. I don’t think I’ve ever really watched a ninja anime (Jubei-chan the Ninja Girl didn’t sit well with me, and I loathed the two episodes of Basilisk I saw, but these probably shouldn’t count as ninja anime proper anyway) or ninja anything, so it was pretty nifty seeing the whole ninja thing happen. Having not ever seen an episode of Naruto probably made this first episode much more fun, I think. And the supernatural angle thrown into the mix with the Hijitsu and sprouting plants and scrolling fleshtext and whatnot was pretty nifty as well.

I really don’t know where this is going, as I’ve only ever read the first three manga chapters, but the third chapter introduced Raimei, who I distinctly remember as bowling me over with the cute/sexy lethal combination. I can see how it’d be easy to superimpose BL relationships all over this series, given the designs and character interactions thus far, but a little fanservice for girls never hurt an anime, and it’s fair that they should get some, since guys get the brunt of the fanservice attention sometimes, so I don’t mind. I actually quite like MIharu, and not just because of deep-voiced Kugimiya: he’s quirky without being obnoxious, and he’s very firm in his opinion, which is mostly “I don’t care, please go away.” Which is a fine opinion to have, but not necessarily when there’s ninja gunning for your head.

Unfortunately I don’t know how long this is going to run for; I’m presuming 26 at the moment, as I don’t think it’s popular enough to merit a neverending series deal, but it might go for 50. As long as it has a coherent beginning, middle, and end, I’m happy, though, so let’s see how much justice to the background art this series does.

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2 Responses to “Nabari no Ou: Ninjas! Plants! Watercolor Backgrounds!”


  1. 1 blissmo 17 April 2008 at 2:02 am

    I love this anime and I read a bit of the manga cos I couldn’t wait for it to come out. The second episode gets kinda lame and boring at first, but it gets interesting again when Kumohira goes all weird with the entire “Transportation is bad since you don’t know what will happen” thing going on.

  2. 2 eipu 17 April 2008 at 6:17 am

    I love this series so much! and i also appreciate the watercolor background they used here.


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