I was pleasantly surprised with the first part of Nura: Demon Capital. It solved many of the issues plaguing the original series while also being a highly enjoyable adventure for a mature crowd, Going into part two I had high hopes for more yokai goodness, and I was not disappointed. Well, until the end.
My thoughts on the shows story and themes can be read in my review of part one.
Demon Capital’s second part kicks off right after the clan land in Kyoto to stop Hagoromo Gitsune and her night parade. Nura and co run off into the city to defeat her powerful henchmen, but are faced with many obstacles on their way to stop the resurrection of Nue.
Story is never Nura’s strong point, and the majority of the plot points are there so yokai from different folktales have an excuse to trade blows. It’s best to just turn your brain off and enjoy the flashy bouts for all of their bloody glory.
Thankfully the show wastes no time getting to the action packed death battles. Nura seems to be afraid of downtime, often showing off multiple fights at once to make sure you’re never board, and sometimes new characters show up to make each showdown involve more combatants. The downside to having all these fights happen is that it keeps jumping between them, and it makes keeping up with what’s going on difficult.
There’s a point around episode 17 where two characters team up to fight against an enemy yokai, only to jump to someone else and not go back for another two episodes. It’s clear the idea was to keep you on the edge of your seat, but it becomes frustrating when your dragged away from your favourite characters fighting to watch someone explain how bad the situation is. Just shut up and let me watch demons kill each other!
And there are a lot of demons to kill. Both the Nura clan and Gitsune clan have a wide range of interesting and powerful yokai that all have lovable personalities. Sadly, such a large cast means that many of the yokai in the Nura clan are left out (largely due to the Tono Village yokai and the Onmyōji being so prominent). On the plus side this allows more time for Nura to shine, and shine he does.
Nura’s character changes dramatically through the show, starting off as a small wimp who would cower at the site of a demon to a strong teenager with the powerful fear of a yokai leader. Watching him learn to embrace darkness in both his yokai and human forms with such determination completely changed Nura from a character I hated to one I respected as a strong willed warrior.
During the second half of the show he awakens the ability he has become famous for in the manga, Matoi, and proceeds to make spiritual bonds with members of the Nura clan. It was great seeing him earn the respect of his comrades and fuse with them to become stronger, and it kept me guessing on who he would team up with next, making me marathon the entire second half in one sitting.
The biggest issue with the series comes with its ending. Or should I say its lack of an ending. Avoiding spoilers, all I’ll say is that the series spends its entire 25 episode run building to a big showdown, only to end right before happens. It comes as a smack in the face, as if the show is waving a giant ice cream in your face for the whole series before throwing it on the ground and kicking you in the leg. It’s just mean to promise something to fans and then not attempt deliver on that promise. For those looking for a satisfying ending you’re just going to be aggravated.
It’s more about the journey than the destination. Thankfully the journey is a lot of fun, because the destination is complete pants.
Nura isn’t trying to reinvent the shounen wheel; instead it aims to be a bloody good time and holds nothing back. If you felt let down by the first series, I implore you to check out Demon Capital. For everything the original did wrong, Demon Capital does oh so right. Fans of Japanese folklore and shounen battle anime will love what the series has to offer; just don’t expect anything more than mindless fun.
+ The fancy animated special attacks
+ Demons battle to the death!
+ Nura’s character development
– Uneven amounts of screen time for characters
– The awful, awful ending!
– Manga goes downhill from there, doubt a new season will happen
Thanks to Manga UK for supplying a review copy